Hip-Hop’s New Business Model: Major-Label Rappers Stay ‘Independent’

May 4, 2010  |  

(NYMag.com) — With his independently released mixtape So Far Gone, Drake went from digital dynamo (2,000 downloads in ten minutes) to Grammy nominee all before he signed on any dotted lines. Or maybe not: While a major-label bidding war supposedly raged, rumor had it that he was already signed to Young Money/Universal. Either way, the excitement around his quick, seemingly unassisted rise translated into true stardom. And today, a number of up-and-coming rappers, eager to re-create his magic, are at pains to represent themselves as boot-strapping independent artists — even when they’ve got freshly inked major-label deals.

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