G Unit has gotten back together with a new EP entitled The Beauty of Independence. With the album title in mind, it immediately harkened me back to a brief clip from former Roc-A-Fella records CEO Dame Dash discussing the “independent spirit.” The implications of what Dame discusses could change the Black and Latino community as well as disrupt the music industry status quo.
The penultimate goal of an MC after gaining a following is getting signed. The prospect of getting a record deal is the holy grail of recording artists to gain more exposure to their art. The idea of relying on a company who is most likely going to take advantage of you, but could possibly set a promising artist on a path to fortune and fame, seems like a worthy risk. Many contemporary Hip-Hop artists who have gone on to achieve prominence and amass nearly billion dollar fortunes, all have come to distinction through record deals. The deals they signed allowed these artists the exposure to expand their brands and generate revenue outside of Hip-Hop such as headphones or energy drinks. Rarely do we see these artists create these financial opportunities for themselves while not in conjunction with larger more established corporations. To be independent from any parent company is not the message within Hip-Hop culture until recently. With such big-ticket names as Jay-Z and 50 Cent being released from contractual obligations, the move towards self-sufficiency is the new “gotta get signed.” In celebration of 50 Cent being what essentially amounts to a free agent, he recently released unannounced on iTunes the EP The Beauty of Independence. This celebratory move commemorates his now independent G Unit imprint and rap groups move towards self-reliance.
Dame Dash of Roc-A-Fella records and Rachel Roy fame, speaks about the significance of the independent entrepreneurial spirit in the following interview
If this same entrepreneurial independent spirit was applied across the board in all business within the Black and Latino community we may be able to alleviate the sense of hopelessness that often plagues it.