Wait. So Labels Are Doing The Right Thing? – The Thesis

Recently, there’s been even more reason for me to have faith in this Hip-Hop shit. Major labels are actually giving record deals to artists that are actually dope. Wale has earned a deal with Interscope, Pacific Division has inked a contract with Universal Music, and Warner Bros. has signed Wiz Khalifa. [1] (Congratulations to all of these emcees, by the way) It’s like these mufuggas are actually smartening up, now.

A perfect illustration of this is Lupe Fiasco’s album, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, earning a gold plaque. I think that this is proof that talented young artists who are different from the status quo, if given all of the same resources, support and big name cosigns that their less talented peers are, that they can be just as successful. [2] [Begins Armchair A&R rant] Labels should realize that not taking a chance is a bigger risk than sticking to the previous formula. By ignoring the changing nature of the music industry and that actual quality is finally coming back into play, they’re setting themselves up for failure. I know, budgets are tight. But by setting up the freshly dressed [3], out-of-the-box emcees with essentially the same treatment that the others get, success is more feasible. Force-feeding songs on radio works for everything else; why can’t it work for something that’s actually dope?

For more on Wale, Pac Div and Wiz Khalifa, check the sequel to this post. I’ve got rundowns of each artist, what makes them stand out, and links to their music so you can make the determination for yourself. I think each of them have the marketability to get people interested, and the talent to keep them interested. Going for different, long-term investments instead of get-rich-quick signees? It looks like Interscope, Universal and Warner Bros. are headed in the right direction.

Admittedly, whether their full-length albums are actually released or not is a different story (Saigon’s just now finally getting his chance). And hopefully, these labels actually invest time and money into these artists instead of just giving them deals to glorify themselves. But if everybody follows through on their end, then this could really be a good sign.


[1] Warner Bros. gets mucho props from me. They didn’t only sign Wiz Khalifa – they signed Murs too, and they also partnered with Talib Kweli’s Blacksmith imprint.

[2] The inclusion of those is a key stipulation. Don’t say “Well Little Brother is talented as hell, but they didn’t succeed,” because they didn’t have nearly as much support that Lupe did. Having a major label deal doesn’t equal major label support.

[3] Don’t front, gear matters just as much as tunes. And that’s nothing new.