Many independent artists hate the idea of getting signed to a label and put an end to their independent grind. Being signed is not at all negative but a part of evolution for an artist’s career. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of labels/management companies that exploit the artist’s lack of knowledge about the business and this eventually ruins an artist’s career. In this article, we will look at four such rappers that suffered because of bad contracts or bad management.
Jerry Heller began to manage N.W.A. in the 1980’s and was one of the primary reasons why N.W.A became an international success. After the rap group started pooling in money, members of the group complained about not receiving their fair share. Jerry Heller, according to reports, favoured Eazy-E and used to put more than what he deserved into his pockets. Dr Dre and Ice Cube left the group because of the contractual agreements and them not being financially well kept.
Both Hopsin and N.W.A were screwed by the same label that Eazy-E and Jerry Heller started. After the death of the west coast legend Easy-E, his wife Tomica Woods-Wright became the person in charge. Hopsin in an interview stated that:
“She tried to change my image a few times. It was a horrible label. It was probably the worst label ever. You won’t get any money at all, except a signing bonus. Then they will lie to you. She told me she would take me to the San Diego Zoo. We never went. I was excited, I’ve never been there. That’s one of the things that she said to get me to sign. She promised me I was going to have my own brand of contacts. Nope, never happened. She didn’t get me any merchandise. Didn’t get me on tour. Didn’t get me any radio play. Not even on [Power 106‘s] New @ 2. Even my local homies get on New @ 2. I can’t even can get on New @ 2? Fuck Ruthless Records.”
Therefore, Hopsin dissed Tomica in one of the most aggressive tracks he ever did.
Hopsin went on to leave Ruthless Records and went on to work with Funk Volume. During his Funk Volume years, Hopsin went from being a Disney extra to an internet sensation. Unfortunately, Hopsin left Funk Volume because of financial disputes with the label and was screwed over once again because of bad management and weak contracts.
3) Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne is undoubtedly one of the best rappers ever. Lil Wayne previously was signed to Cash Money but later went on to leave Cash Money due to the fallout between him and Birdman. Birdman sold Lil Wayne’s contact to Jay-Z for 75 Million Dollars and Lil Wayne now is working with Jay-Z. ‘Tha Carter‘ Series is Lil Wayne’s finest work till date. Tha Carter 3 & 4 broke Billboard records and dominated the Billboards for months.
Unfortunately, “Tha Carter V” is not going to be out anytime soon mainly because of the contractual agreement Lil Wayne had with Cash Money. The album, on the other hand, was scheduled to release in 2013 and there is an active lawsuit between Lil Wayne and Cash Money.