Def Jam MC Valee Explains Why He's Purposely Crafting One-Verse Songs - DJBooth

Def Jam MC Valee Explains Why He's Purposely Crafting One-Verse Songs

The practice of crafting records with only one verse does have one major drawback.
Author:
Publish date:

Valee hasn't yet exploded on the proverbial scene outside of his hometown of Chicago, but in an interview with MTV News, in which he confirmed he has spoken with Kanye West but didn't address the rumors that he has a deal in place with G.O.O.D Music, he shared excellent insight on his approach to crafting material and how WorldStarHipHop helped him to determine a song's length.

"What stuck with me one day is no matter what video we're watching [on WSHH], someone starts a fucking conversation about something that has nothing to do with music by the time the second verse comes around," Valee told MTV News reporter Charles Holmes. "So what they're not knowing is, I'm sitting there working my ass off writing my second verse for a song that I'm trying to record, and it just let me know. Like, man, why the hell would I work so hard and these people are showing me that their favorite artist is Gucci Mane? They can't even keep quiet for another 33 seconds for his second verse. So you know, it just helped me cut things short and then it created, like, a thirst."

The brevity of Valee songs is a topic that has been covered before, but as it relates to future revenue generation, the practice of crafting records with only one verse does have one major drawback.

Most recording agreements state that the label won't pay the artist "mechanical royalties"—which is one source of publishing revenue—for songs under 90 seconds. Until now, Valee is best known for his spellbinding guest verse on Z-Money's "Two 16's," a song that checks in at 88 seconds. Had that song been Valee's own and released by Def Jam—who he signed a label deal with last year—he wouldn't be entitled to his "mechanical royalties" unless there were specific terms placed in his contract that stated otherwise.

Given the incredibly short attention span of Generation Z, shortening songs from three full verses down to one full verse, with an opening chorus and a repeated refrain, is actually a great idea. If more artists decide to make their records shorter, though, new language will have to be introduced to all record contracts to ensure artists aren't sacrificing future earnings in the name of holding the attention of their audience for more than 90 seconds.

Editor's Note: According to Spotify, Valee is indeed signed to Getting Out Our Dreams, Inc./Def Jam Recordings.

Related