On ASAP Rocky, Record Deals & The Evolution Of Hype

10.30.11 6 years ago 28 Comments

We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t buy into the hype.” But what happens when society moves so fast hype starts setting the trends? What happens when businesses are making potentially door-closing decisions on a whim because of the staggering pace at which their industry moves, and murmurs from one niche of the Internet lure them into a corner of no return? What happens when one rapper – no, one human being, in general – happens to land smack-dab in the middle of this once-in-a-lifetime portal of technological prosperity?

Well, apparently he turns a single “Peso” into one of the largest initial record deals the genre has ever seen.

That’s right, in case you haven’t heard, that “pretty motherf*#cker” A$AP is telling Pitchfork he walked away from his recent Sony/RCA/Polo Grounds Music deal with $3 million. When I read that, I immediately starting cussing in public. Not because I dislike dude’s music or downplay his string of recent success, but because throwing around that amount of cash to an artist coasting on a buzz just doesn’t add up in the current state of this industry.

When Drake had the hottest mixtape in the country and earned nationwide radio success, he signed with Young Money four months after the fact. The process was drawn out and he still ended up reportedly getting one million less than ASAP. How is that possible? For most business professionals, having a reputable brand and legit profits like Drizzy did are the only things that warrant a start-up sum that substantial. In the Harlem MC’s case, it took less than a year of online banter and a single song getting a few plays on NY radio to earn the 23-year-old more money than most folks will make in their entire lifetimes. It’s a scenario so unlikely, you begin to realize why the oh-so-elusive American Dream is just that: a dream, to so many of us stuck doing seemingly so much more than rocking a mic, smoking purple and drinking lean.

But, then again, we aren’t ASAP Rocky. He lives in the mecca of the genre, thriving off the biggest fan-base any city in the world could offer and slangs a style that’s just as much of a melting pot as his surroundings. And, while his local competition is too prideful to stray away from its concrete roots, Rocky revels in embracing his outsourced swag, which David D. alluded to previously. With that almost-patented gold-grill smile, the MC with a government name of Rakim is both an easy and ironic answer to a question that’s been posed since Chris Wallace passed and Jay became too Forbes to carry the one NY torch that doesn’t hover over the Hudson river.

The people at PGM hope so, at least. The full-service Big Apple label might be backed by a legacy, but in its five-year existence, the hip-hop/R&B provider only put out four releases, which include two from Hurricane Chris and one from Pitbull. And, while they may have albums from Yo Gotti and Avery Storm on the way, do they really have enough experience to turn around an Internet-famed artist whose come up so quickly?

Well, they better when considering label-head Bryan Leach is literally banking on ASAP’s music. If undefinable tracks like this new, Clams-Casino-produced “Bass” don’t entice hip-hop fans enough to make them believe that when LiveLoveA$AP finally drops this Halloween, NY really is back, then their whole operation is at risk. If it turns into the next So Far Gone, though, well…the rest could be history.

As an extra, take a look at the video below which includes a look at Rocky’s NYC mixtape listening session and an interview, which begins around the 2:50 mark and catches the young MC speaking on his affinity for high-end fashion, how the ASAP crew formed and receiving sage wisdom from Dave Chappelle. Footage courtesy of IFWT.

A$AP Rocky – “Bass” (Prod. by Clams Casino)

Update: Rocky speaks with VladTV and speaks briefly on the figures and rumors surrounding his deal. To loosely quote, he says he doesn’t have $3 million personally but the deal is worth that much.

Around The Web