"Is Paying a DJ to Host Your Mixtape Worth It?" (Nope)

Now the long answer...
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Now the long answer...

Only sweet baby Jesus knows why, but RefinedHype Nation citizens occasionally email me questions. And since they took the time out of their day to write, it's the least I can do to take some time to respond.

Today's question comes from Uzi:

"Hey Nathan, I was wondering what you think about a rapper paying a DJ to host his/her mixtape. Do you feel like this may just be a way for the DJ to get money out of an artist, or is this possibly a legit and beneficial move for a rapper to make when attempting to get a bigger push and more visibility for his/her mixtape?"

Good question, the short answer is No.

Now the long answer...

Like a lot of shit (dropping projects on a Tuesday, the term "mixtape" itself), DJ-hosted projects are a remnant of the physical CD days. At that time, popular DJs often acted like quasi-labels: your local mixtape retailer, even if that retailer was just a homie who could burn CDs, would stock mixtapes from recognizable DJs first. So if you were a new artist looking to get in front of a lot of folks quickly, paying a KaySlay/DJ Drama/Don Cannon etc. could be valuable advertising.

But in 2012? Do I really have to say the times have changed? Now anyone can get their project out into the world with minimal hassle. That's no guarantee anyone will care, but these days dope music/dope videos are far more likely to earn you that attention than any DJ co-sign could ever do.

Or to put it more simply, every time a DJ-hosted mixtape is released, a "no DJ" version inevitably drops a week later. Does anyone say, "Thanks, but I'd really rather listen to the version with DJ Yells Random Shit all over it"? No, fucking no one does. So why would you pay someone to do something everyone wishes they hadn't done? (Follow that?)

I do have to offer an asterisk, though. There are DJs who don't just slap their name on a project for a fee. These DJs really believe in an artist's music, and in addition hosting a project, will actively spread the word about your music to their contacts. That kind of push can be incredibly valuable, but it's your music that will win over that DJ, not just some dollars.

Ultimately, the lesson is to keep that money in your pocket and spend it more wisely: paying money for some really top-shelf mixing, or artwork, or production, is a far better investment than purchasing some DJ hosting.

And, cue the hate mail from DJs...