The future of the Hip-Hop music industry as we know it is in Drake’s hands. Maybe not from an artistic standpoint, but his buzz is just as big on the business side as well. Out of any of the upcoming artists — Top 10 Freshmen or not — Drake has become the one to watch.
Regardless of whether you think he’s the truth or not lyrically, he’s doing things that haven’t really been done in awhile. He’s secured a fan base through his assorted mixtapes. Along with his stint on Degrassi & affiliation with Lil’ Wayne, he’s got facial recognition with people beyond the computer screen. He’s got both the ladies and gents riding for him. He’s touring on his own & performing his own recognizable material, selling out venues across the country. He’s accumulating co-signs from tons of industry heavyweights and has several record labels vying to secure his services.
That’s right; he’s done all of this without the backing of a major label or commercially released material. Apparently, he’s ready to dip his toes in the water with his song “Best I Ever Had” and mixtape So Far Gone both hitting iTunes shortly. Will people be willing to support an artist and buy something that they’ve had in their possession for months already? When he originally released So Far Gone through his website, I was surprised as to how many people stayed up til 5 or 6 in the morning despite the delays. I was even more amazed when he had somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 downloads on one zShare link alone after a day. After talking with some other Crew members, we joked that he should’ve opened up a little webstore (something like this) and sell it for ten bucks a pop.
Now that he is planning on selling it, the question is what he will actually sell? As for the statement I originally made, the fate of the music industry does rest on his shoulders. Not that he’s going to single-handedly save the industry with a couple of albums, but the execs will be closely watching his numbers. Because if they can’t get him to do platinum plus numbers with all the momentum he’s built up already, will they ever be able to do it again? If they can’t, there will likely be some drastic changes in how Hip-Hop is handled on the distribution end.
Previously Posted — Midterm Grades: XXL Class Of 2009