It feels like just yesterday people were making parody videos mocking Waka Flocka, but in the six years now since he burst on the national scene, he's outmaneuvered a small army of doubters and carved out a solid career for himself, becoming a party music favorite and along the way apparently picking up some serious music industry wisdom.
After blasting his label, Atlantic Records, for "selling rappers dreams" and blocking the release of his Flockavelli 2 album, the man has clearly become comfortable operating outside the jurisdiction of a major label, and in a new interview with UK outlet Acton Entertainment, he dropped some indie music gems.
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[Labels] aren't a machine, they're financial backing. Labels use someone else's money, they're just managing it. So all you need is for somebody to invest in you. You don't need a label, you need money. A label's for money, nothing else. Literally. Who's better to market yourself than you? How can someone tell you how to act and how to rap? You just have to work three times harder. Find some contacts. You have to work, stop being lazy.
It's like, the label says, 'This is your single!' How are you going to tell me this is my single? You're not in the club, you're in an office. You're not even from my lifestyle. I'm gonna tell you what's my single. Matter of fact, the people will tell you. Put this music out and pay attention, the people will tell you what they like. Simple.
He's absolutely right, labels have connections with mainstream radio stations and (increasingly smaller) budgets, other than that they're not doing anything an artist can do for themselves with enough work and the right team. I never expected to write this, but let's try to be a little bit more like Waka Flocka.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram