When Nipsey released his Crenshaw in 2013, he revealed that while the project would be available for streaming, 1,000 physical copies would be available for purchase at $100 a piece. The #PROUD2PAY campaign was seen as gimmicky by some, but many (including Jay Z, who purchased 100 copies of the project) praised the LA rapper for his efforts to place a real value on carefully crafted music in an era of half-hearted releases, rampant illegal downloads and free streaming.
With the release of his 2014 follow-up Mailbox Money, Hussle upped the stakes. The model was similar, but this time physical copies of the project were limited to only 100, each costing a hefty $1,000. At the time it seemed ridiculous, but Nipsey assured fans that his plan was leading to something bigger. What, exactly, was that plan? Nipsey was carefully weeding out all of his casual fans, solely focusing his marketing crosshairs on the super fans that would truly support his career. This move also turned out to be a success, as Nipsey reported that 60 of the 100 limited edition physical copies were sold as of January 2015.
Now, with his next official release, Victory Lap, looming in the distance, the West Coast emcee is planning to pay his most hardcore fans back for their continued support. Via his website, Nipsey released the following statement:
I'm going to bring the 1st 5 supporters of the Crenshaw PROUD2PAY campaign and the 1st 5 supporters of the Mailbox Money PROUD2PAY campaign on a guided tour through the places and situations that VICTORY LAP was inspired by to serve as an attempt to recreate musically.
I will personally play the album and narrate and elaborate on key songs and lines. We will physically visit the locations being referenced on the album to put our feet on the ground, breath the air, taste the food, and feel climate. While we listen to the music, we will create what we coined as an “Intimate Multi-Sensory Music Experience”. Almost like a real life director’s cut of a film.
Woah. So to recap: the first five supporters of both the Crenshaw and Mailbox Money #PROUD2PAY campaigns will be receiving what seems to be the most epic listening session of all time -- riding around with Nipsey and reminiscing on the events that inspired his upcoming release.
Tell me that isn’t the most creative, original way to experience an album that a super fan could possibly have? Imagine roaming through Queensbridge with Nas listening to legendary lyrics come to life, or rolling into Magic City with 2 Chainz to witness the very butt cheeks he's rapped about clapping together.
Many artists have found novel ways of interacting with their core fanbase over the years, but there are few instances in which the fans have been able to capitalize on their support in a cooler way than with Nipsey's #PROUD2PAYUBACK campaign. Props to Mr. Hussle for simultaneously reminding us of the value of musical craftsmanship and taking the fan-artist relationship to a new level.
By Brent Bradley. He's giving out follows for $1000 on his Twitter.
Photo Credit: Shaina Walker