Free rap sucks

An underground rap group called Roosevelt Franklin, consisting of Mr. Len from Company Flow and a fellow named Kimani Rogers, recently made the decision to give away their album free on the Internet. The group’s second album, Bare Food, can be had for free via a link from a post on their blog.

Granted, this is not the first time something like this has happened. Public Enemy was famously escorted from the Def Jam building for wanting to give away an album for free on the Internet way back in the 1990s. More recently, the rapper that’s signed to Conor Oberst’s Team Love label has been attempting to give his album away for free[1].

Other than “for promotional purposes only” mixtapes though, which rappers couldn’t sell if they wanted to, it’s not too often you see rappers opt to give music away for free rather than sell it, especially compared to other forms of music. In fact, this seems to run counter to the hip-hop ethos, which is all about selling things.

Maybe it sucks, or maybe it doesn’t (it certainly has a class pedigree), but I doubt very many more than like 8 people will ever download the Roosevelt Franklin album. I try as much as possible to not agree with Stanley Crouch doppelganger Hashim Warren, but in this case he might be right.

Opting to give away an album for free, out of sheer love for the culture, certainly seems like a nice gesture, dubious though it may be[2]. But I’m not sure how hip-hop it is. Professor X, who died recently, once attempted to auction his body on eBay to buy a new nose ring or some such. I’d be more inclined to download his album.

[1] Yeah, I realize that’s the second time I’ve mentioned Conor Oberst since I’ve been here, which has only been like a week. Um, nullus.

[2] It’s likely they couldn’t talk any record companies into releasing it.

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • rafi

    “I doubt very many more than like 8 people will ever download the Roosevelt Franklin album”

    The Rapidshare page shows a counter after you select the “Free” button and it shows the file has been downloaded over 300 times.

    I think they could be doing more to publicize and sell the idea. But I can’t call it a bad idea. Most indie rappers do terrible album sales anyway and this way they get to make a little stir and get people talking and listening.

    What is the likelihood that XXL would have a blog post or any coverage on Roosevelt Franklin’s new album if it was for sale?

  • Bol

    8 was an exaggeration. I meant to say 300.

  • Mr.Len

    FYI. It’s not just available on Rapidshare, it’s also on MEGAUPLOAD. Unfortunately, they don’t keep count. A couple of things people should know. If we waited we could have got someone to put out the record, we’re a bit impatient. I appreciate that everyone is concerned with our pockets and our image but you’re reading into this waaaay to much. We have a following that we appreciate and are loyal to. We honestly wanted them to have this record sooner than later. Don’t you feel the hip hop consumer deserves some respect? Can’t artists just once bite the bullet and give back to the couple of people who actually support them? I know you have to stick to your lil schtick to be “the one rappers hate”. Take in the whole picture my man. If you don’t like the didn’t pay for it. However, if you do like the record and see the work that was put into it you may find yourself a fan of the group you so desperately want to insult and tear down. I thank you for your attention though.

  • The Cipher

    seeing this only makes me think of a sick underground rapper named benefit who said something in a rap that made me laugh histerically… “go to and free the music, download the program and use it”… would i buy a free album… obviously not its free why would i pay for it, thats just dumb…

  • daesonesb

    hi mr len.
    company flow was cool. Also, i like the Patrick sweyze song on this new album.

  • mujerdelrio

    Exactly. the Cipher, you’re right. it’s free, so there’s no need to “buy” it. & hell yeah, I’d download it. Why not? You people are so jaded. Stop posing cause hiphop ain’t shit nowadays, anyway. I bet if a mainstream rapper like 50 or Diddy or Jigga … offered free album downloads, everybody(except me) & there granddaddy would be downloading that sh!t only because the rapper is mainstream.

    Truly gifted & talented musicians/rappers/artists rarely get their due.

  • E-man South c

    “Giving free rap songz showz how wack or cheap yo work of art is/Come on underground artists/U could have given me that studio time i teach u How to practise/rock sh!t,rep a set turn poemz to hits/represent,yaa-mean,dont lose hope like ya cant reach on top/every star waz were u at/u gasta struggle for us to give u props/Quick take ma wax N rub ya tops(heads)/B bright N clean b,N see if entering the lime light is a problem/atleast ive told em;XXl One love.

  • Rick J. Bitch

    The Cipher, you’re an absolute faggot. You completely misunderstood what Benefit was saying. He was talking about “freeing” the music, not getting music for free. You don’t have musch sense do you? Let me hit you with some knowledge…pay attention in school ‘cuz whatever you’re doing now isn’t doing you a bit of good.

  • E-man (South c)

    Wa you talking to me rick j bitch,oh yes you are/girl is you in periodz?hah/what do you have 2 teach/bitch reach for yo padz coz i know yo pussy stinks/i can tell by how ye wordz mix/at least i gat buzz in ma hood/but i aint giving you hints of what i do/but do me a favour next time you start feeling blue/use ya middle finger 2 play ya dirty cuch/it will make you feel good.

  • http://yahoo LADY T

    Nothing new it’s the future

  • Hustle Hard

    wow. the title was what made me wanna blaze up a comment. But now i dont want to, seeing as this is as pointless as eating crackers, then throwing it up again like an anerexic gal.

  • Young G

    Basicly I wouldnt download it, but there is someone out there that would with that said, Mr. Len you said you did it for your fans, then why dont they buy it?

  • Yo


  • thatoneguy

    you guys are perverted… i like underground shit better than mainstream. immortal technique is pretty gud. i wud never download an album from 50 tho. i hate that bitch, thats why i shot him 9 times in tha face :D lol

  • fuckyou

    fuck you and all this shit…how the fuck would you know what hip hop is? you wouldnt know hip hop if it bit your fat capitalist asses. ruining the culture…giving a free album away is completely hip hop. i know that herc had jams to raise money early on but it wasnt on the disgusting capitalist, consumerist scale that its on today. fuck this wack ass magazine that proliferates and markets hip hop stereotypes. go to a bboyin comp or some graff forums bitch. thats fuckin hip hop…