Hip-hop’s landscape is ever-changing, and you can be damn sure that the scenery is quite different now than it was 20 years ago. Still, some rappers — those cut from a different cloth, from the old cloth — continue to hold on to what once was: Fans who rush out to buy your album once it drops, and don’t mind spending some change.
“By the time we got to the fourth record, I said, ‘I’m not giving this out. I got to do an album. I got to make them pay for this.’ This worthy of paying and I swear when I drop, I be telling my people, ‘I’m selling my joint for $29.99.’ I’m not going on there for $9.99. True hip-hop fans are going to spend that $30. That’s how I’m doing it. I’m marking my price up. Some people are going to get it, some people are not,” he says, adding, “The dude that love Beanie Sigel, they are going to rush out there to spend a little $30.”
Nipsey Hu$$le took a similar tactic in 2013, for the release of his album Crenshaw. The movement was called #Proud2Pay — while the digital version was free, he priced each physical copy at $100 and ended up selling 1,000 albums. He used the same strategy in late 2014, with the project Mailbox Money, but this time charged $1,000 for a physical copy, though the digital download was again free. He sold 60 copies.
It would appear Sigel doesn’t quite understand the latest iteration of rap fans, the ones who'd prefer to stream an album for free and probably wouldn’t buy an album that costs more than $10. But it’s also obvious that he doesn’t care about making an impression on them either. Rappers like himself and Nipsey rely on a strong fan base and hope to retain that support when they release music. These devotees are the ones who will, without a doubt, drop $30 on a physical album — or in Nipsey’s case, $1,000.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram