I hadn’t listened to Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw mixtape, hosted by DJ Drama, until I was fortunate enough to read an article on HipHopDX.com about how he managed to galvanize his following to pay $100 per copy of his newly released mixtape through his #Proud2Pay campaign. Nipsey announced in late September that he would be releasing Crenshaw on October 8, 2013 and that the first and only 1,000 hard copies would be sold for $100. HipHopDX.com reports Nipsey as saying, “My intention was to create conversation solely. But my goal was not to sell out. He continued “My motto’s always been ‘F the middleman.” Admittedly, when I first heard that he was selling Crenshaw for $100 a pop I brushed the idea off as silly but when Jay Z purchased 100 copies for a total of $10,000 I thought that this might not be such a bad idea at all. In fact, Nipsey sold every single copy the day of it’s release, and grossed $100,000 off his ingenious marketing strategy, to a crowd of fans lined up around the block at Slauson Ave Store in Los Angeles waiting to purchase a signed copy of Crenshaw that contained a single ticket to a future Nipsey concert.
Nipsey was born and raised in the Crenshaw district of South Los Angeles and his lyrics reflect the urban southern California reality. Beyond the Hollywood Hills, Rodeo Drive, and the tree-lined blocks of carefully planted palm trees is a long history of gang culture. As a member of the Rolling Sixties Neighborhood Crips, Nipsey appropriately starts off Crenshaw with an excerpt from the 1991 motion picture, Boyz n the Hood. “What set you from? Look like one of them Crenshaw Mafia muthafuckas. Naw, you probably one of them Rolling Sixties, huh?
An entrepreneur at heart, a bulk of the content on Crenshaw is about hustling to build more capital. What’s even more impressive is that unlike many gangster rappers, he raps about going about this legitimately. The first song U See Us, a track produced by Mike Free, could have actually been a lead single if this were an album. With production credits from 9th Wonder to Mike Free, and guest appearances from Rick Ross, Dom Kennedy, ZRo, and Slim Thug, Crenshaw is sure not to upset Nipsey fans.
What strikes me most about Crenshaw is the story behind the music. Nipsey’s out of the box business mind makes me respect him on a different level than just an artist. His #Proud2Pay campaign is not only inspiring but it let’s you know that there is a lot money to be made out here. With the Internet serving as a vehicle for artists to generate capital without record executives; Nipsey is a part of a privileged era in entertainment where he can build his own empire without the middleman. In fact, #fuccthemiddleman has been his mantra, and more recently his hash tag, since 2003 when he first got his feet wet in the music business. Not following the rank and file of the music business’ hierarchal structure, Nipsey’s independent streak has led him to establish Hip Hop’s first vertically integrated record label, All Money In No Money Out Records, where he’ll release his debut studio album Victory Lap in 2014. Crenshaw is more than a mixtape, it’s Nipsey merely scratching the surface of his blossoming business acumen.
Crenshaw download here http://www.datpiff.com/Nipsey-Hussle-Crenshaw-mixtape.532448.html
© Copyright Eddie Savoy Bailey III, 2013
Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group
Twitter @BttleRapHistory & @SavoyMediaGroup