When it comes to making music, a majority of artists spend their time working hard to some day sign a fat recording contract with a major record label. For most musical artists a big record deal is a dream come true but for many fans of hip hop these artists (rappers) are viewed as “sellouts”.
A large majority of rappers come from underprivileged areas and use that way of life to influence their music. Unfortunately for these rappers the rougher your background, the “realer” and more believable your music is. As these artists continue to progress through their careers and grow a larger fan base they also begin making large amounts of money. It is only human nature that once we get a taste of money we search for different ways to make more, and this is where the record labels step in. When record labels approach these rappers it is always with more money then these rappers have ever seen (Jay-Z was once offered a $150 million deal) and they are faced with decision to either join pop culture and gain exposure on the radio or continue to release their own music and stay closer to the “streets”. Unfortunately those that rappers that choose the large record label ,often see a decline in their music quality (Lil Wayne) in order to appease to a more mainstream audience. Subsequently rappers that go mainstream are seen as “sellouts” in the eyes of fans.The Real question is, are these artists really selling out or are they using this record deal as an opportunity to better themselves?
I like to view this topic of “selling out” from the perspective of the artist. A perfect example of an artist that “sold out” is rapper Ludacris. Ludacris was known as one of the best rappers that the south had to offer but ironically his music career started to slow down the more we heard him on the radio. Ludacris managed to use his exposure on the radio to leverage his career in acting. Since appearing in his first film 2 fast 2 furious it has been all up hill from there and he has appeared in 16 major titles since. Another artist that leveraged their recording contract to pursue different avenues is 50 cent and he did this in a major way
My final question for you as fan is: Are your favorite rappers really selling out? or are they simply selling into their dreams?….