Mixtape buzz is a myth

New Rule: Just because 50 Cent once rapped on mixtapes and now lives in Mike Tyson’s old house doesn’t mean that Saigon’s going to. Or whatever shitty mixtape rapper you happen to be into.

In case you don’t read the paper[1], there was a story in the USA Today the other day about how mixtape DJs and rappers are the proverbial new ska. In fact, XXL‘s own (he still works here, right?) DJ Drama was quoted in the piece. Get familiar, or whatever.

As my esteemed colleague himself put it:

“50 Cent revolutionized the mixtape game [...] This game has nothing to do with numbers. It has to do with the streets, and when the streets talk, the labels pay attention.”

Oh goody! In that sense, it’s certainly a good thing 50 Cent came along, now isn’t it? Ever since the hip-hop community was introduced to mixtape uber alles, rappers sell way more albums than they did before. Wait, they don’t?

The USA Today puts forth Saigon (star of HBO’s “Entourage”), Chamillionaire (the fifth hottest rapper in Texas), and Lupe Fiasco (a Muslim with a Reebok deal) as beneficiaries of mixtape buzz, as if a) no rappers ever got record deals before mixtapes and b) we should give a rat’s ass about any of these bags anyway.

Then later in the article Dipset CEO, or whatever he’s referring to himself as, DukeDaGod explains that he uses mixtapes to get music by artists like Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, Hell Rell and J.R. Writer out to the fans, because they don’t receive as much exposure from radio and video outlets as other artists.

You wonder if it ever occurred to him, business-minded indivdual that he is, that media outlets are passing on giving a J.R. Writer mixtape a commercial release because there’s not a business case to be made for doing so. If these bags’ albums were better, there wouldn’t be any need for all this extra promotion.

Checkit:

[1] Not that the USA Today could really be called “the paper.”

  • http://www.thursdayplantation.blogspot.com lar

    third

  • http://www.myspace.com/geoffdilkes G Off

    Mixtapes are the NBDL of hip-hop. Except every once in a while Kobe and LeBron decide to hop in and play a game every once in a while.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    ^Um, yeah.

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    Mixtapes are at the very least overrated. However do not doubt their significance in hip-hop.

    Whilst Clipse re-negotiated their record deal, mixtapes:

    1.) Kept their name fresh in peeps mouths and made fans yearn for a new full-length.

    2.) Gave them leverage in negotiations with their record execs due to the large number sold.

    3.) Lined their pockets with a little change.

    As far as Chamillionaire goes, he is by far the best rapper to come out of Texas in the last couple years.

    By placing him fifth, I HOPE you’re not placing him below Mike Jones and Paul Wall…obviously they’ve sold more but he is far superior; he’s a solid writer and an above-average producer (how many mainstream artists produce themselves these days anyway?).

  • Belize

    Can You write some shit that we dont know already????
    ps. If u think lupe and saigon is wack then u are not lame but just plain stupid, and u dont know hiphop which brings me to my point? Y do u have this job?
    Ur still lame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lefty 2Gunz

    The mixtape game is oversaturated! Too many artist have a new mixtape every 2 damn days!

    Don’t get me wrong I wanna hear the next hottest sh!t like the next man but damn if it ain’t a lot of bullsh!t coming from EVERY camp out!

    I remember when it was pretty much all exclusives and joints you’ve never heard but now one hot track makes it onto 10 F@#KING MIXTAPES!

    This sh!t is real sloppy now

  • Doc Flav

    Another Reason Why You Have No Business On Here. You Seldom Say Anything Supportive, This Is Just A Means To Show Your Dislike And Envy Toward Artists Getting It. I Can Give Valid Reasons Why The Mix Tape Is Necessary And Appreciated In The Hip Hop Genre, (Young Geezy) Why Bother Im Going O Be Deleted Anyway. Lol @ Lar First Calling Third.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    >You Seldom Say Anything Supportive

    Sorry.

    No one’s saying mixtapes aren’t significant in hip-hop today.

    Anything the TIs decide should be significant will inevitably become significant, except for maybe hyphy.

    That doesn’t make them any less retarded.

    Also, I’m questioning their alleged value from a business perspective.

    It might help artists like Saigon and the Clipse get six figures from a major label, but I wonder how much of a positive impact they’ve had on hip-hop over all, economically.

  • http://asurion.com twest

    bol,you are just a hater…i hope you are putting pimp c before that slaw ass dude C ouldnt H ave A Million sold

    yes i said a hater… the south has more artists or record sellers than wherever it maybe that you are from. you say that record sells dont mean anything but what are they in the game to do.

  • Danja29

    I agree and disagree. I think tooooo many people are stuck on mixtapes as their “way out”, when it’s so obvious that nobody really gives a flyin’ fuck about Jae Millz or most of these other pseudo-significant rappers on that circuit.

    BUT it is an outlet for them and their music just in case the labels are in fact sleeping. Also, the gloves are off on mixtapes, whereas turning albums in to old white men is more of a controlled environment.

    I’d say mixtapes have helped those artists who thought it smart to actually display themselves as REAL ARTISTS on them… not so much for those who’ve used them just to waste endless bars over somebody else’s beats.

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    how are mixtapes overrated? ever since dre and em signed 50 off his mixtape hustle, that game changed.

  • Doc Flav

    Bol, Its Small Business @ Its Core. Think About A Baker Who Bakes A Unique Loaf Of Bread, The Baker May Not Have The Resources To Distribute\Produce The Bread Nationwide, But Only In Say A Statewide Area. The Baker Can Establish The Bread’s Brand, Potentially Expose It To Other Areas Meanwhile Maximizing Revenue. This Makes It Attractive To A “Sara Lee” Or “Wonder Bread” Giant, Next Step Corporate Buyout.

  • Doc Flav

    Not Everyone May Like The Taffy, I Mean Bread, Lol But If You Get Enough People With A Taste For It. $$$$$$!

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    I’m not questioning whether or not it’s profitable for the bag that actually puts the mixtape together.

    But I wonder if this mixtape uber alles has had a positive for the industry at large both on an artistic and a business level.

    I might have to expand on this.

  • david

    according to some clipse interview they didn’t make a dime on mixtapes.

  • http://xxlmag.com E-man (South c)

    Fuck whatever all ya mafuckerz is talking about,E-man is an upcoming Gangsta rapper and He do de mixtape shit to Enhance his craft and step his Game-up;Maafuckerz in order for a nigga to be noticed it aint about which category He or you in,its about how strong ye wordz is maafuckerz, take note.

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    ^ HA

  • 50 Cent

    Don’t blame me, blame your pathetic mothers for not being able to close her legs. OOPS!

  • Troof

    yeah, alot of what you said is true, but as far as chamillionaire goes, mixtapes are probably the biggest reason he has a deal… his selling tens of thousands of mixtapes and 100k albums w/ paul wall with no major backing and limited radio play is evidence in itself that mixtapes are important… at least as far as he is concerned… being a tx resident, when mixtape messiah (you prolly have no clue what im referring to) dropped, it sold around 5000 its 1st week in south tx alone (ask around numbers, more or less accurate… at around 20 a pop… not too shabby for a mixtape, helping him negotiate his own label deal b4 ever having a major release

  • Nick Chainy

    i for one am glad that someone spoke on this…mixtape are indeed overrated…but i think its that way because people dont see them for what it is anymore…most (notice most, not all) of the artists who make them are feeding us this farce that “its for the fans.” thats bullshit…mixtapes are the new demo. Thus they are specifically for labels and DJs…fans last. Its as if the artists are killing two birds with one stone…they make a mixtape to get at labels and hopefully garner some fan support at the same time.

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    @TROOF — not just with Chamillionaire… LOADS of MCs are getting signed off the strength of their mixtape hustle. Slim Thug is one of them. Hell, Jeezy to an extent is one of them. They see how good they can make a name for themselves by themselves, then figure “this nig can sell X amt of units”…

  • vex vortex

    not directly related to this post, and purely outta curiosity (as I don’t remember u ever kissing any rapper’s asses), do u actually like any hiphop artists’ music?

  • bhillboy

    I used to think you were just being critical, now i’m sure you’re just a hater. Not a hater of bad music b/c if you were you’d just say you didn’t like it and leave it at that. But you don’t respect anything. Mix tapes, overrated for some but for others the way to get on. When you hear about major label rappers getting the rug pulled from under them for selling 300k+ (joe buddens and a sh!t load of others)it makes you wonder why a person wouldn’t market themselves through the underground. If you live in ny or la you have every record company within reach. but if you live in cincinnati or little rock or even chi you have to make some noise before you blow-no homo- and you probably won’t do that rapping for your aunt at the backyard bbq. i can’t really hear you when all you do is talk about what you don’t like all the time. it’s no wonder why you’re constantly getting shouted at on your own forum. how about telling us what you do like for a change?

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    Is that really what hip-hop needs? More people “getting on.”

  • http://xxlmag.com Boston’s Finest

    Mixtapes are very important especially for the streets, i do admit there’s so many of them now, that their overrated but mixtapes albums help alot of people eat and generate much needed buzz. speaking of J.R. Writer that writers block 3 is fire

  • d rock

    mixtapes are so dam plaid out. my grandma got a mixtape coming out next week. its called 100 years old and running !!! lol

  • Doc Flav

    Bol, Tapes Allow The Artist To Bring The Music Directly To The Fan, Bypassing Corporate Middlemen Or Biased A & R Reps. I Consider That Great As Far As Artists And Fans Are Concerned. Props To The Chuck D Article On All Hip Hop For Insight.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    ^Yeah, because we know corporations aren’t involved at all with mixtapes…

  • Roc the Trashman

    Well can someone tell dipset to stop making and hopping on so many damn mixtapes? Thats all.

  • bhillboy

    you even hate the terms people use- ” getting on.” or—-making oneself known, getting attention, becoming a part of the larger culture. it’s fine if you don’t like “getting on” as an end in hip hop but you could at least say what you do want instead of always saying what you don’t-

  • Doc Flav

    Corporations Couldn’t Beat It So They Joined. Thats Why Jimmy “Rock & Roll Nigger” Iovine Loves 50 So Much.

  • jd

    gh

  • Dee

    I have to say that mixtapes are helping hiphop for several reasons.
    I think that rap music has kinda hit its high. If you look at album sells since 50′s Get Rich and Nelly’s Nellyville in 2003 no rap artists ahve hade the commercial sucess of selling 11 or 10 million records.

    For instance 50 and Nelly’s last albums sold significantly less.
    50′s sold 5 million
    Nelly’s Sweat and Suit together i think sold around 3 million

    Even extremely popular rappers with alot of buzz like young jeezy just broke a million (and im not saying that not sucessful, its just not anywhere near 11 mil).

    I even say T.I. with selling over 500,000 in the first week still won’t go past x2 or x3 platinum

    So with the overall decline in rap sells, i would say that mixtapes allow rappers to make some $ on their own. Its a good thing for hiphop and music in general. If you like hiphop then why not buy a mixtape? At least you know that the money u spend on the mixtape is mostly goin to the rapper, instead of going to some company like Universal, Sony, Warner etc.

  • http://myspace.com/jmoneygetmoney jmoney getmoney

    damn homie you really mad at these rappers. you seemed pissed off.lol for what. cuz your writing a articl and they writtin music.lol you sound like a nazi talking about niggas.lol damn homie fall back and let these black men make there money.
    everybody go get my mixtape at http://www.soundclick.com/hustlehardentertainment

  • Tyler Durden

    Fuck your mixtape Jmoney…i dont even like it when REAL rappers rap..so why would i like your shit….ass clown

  • Tyler Durden

    oh yeah…Fuck you too Byron…U just mad cuz u was the nigga in high school who never got any ass so now you are mad at the world…i hate you and those little gay ass Ms. Santa Claus glasses u got on your Milk Dud head…u look like a broke ass Sadat X…

  • Ian

    Hell yeah look at all those garbage ass rappers doing the mixtape thing. Dipset. How many different ways can you say i make crack and rhyme it with abra kadabra, tooty fruity, smooty zooty and all that other shit they say. You need a 4th grade iq to fuck with dipset, that’s why they don’t sell. People don’t want to listen to that stuff on the radio. Exposure my ass, they put out the mixtapes b/c they can’t sell records to anyone other than to their die hard fans. That lame shit they put out don’t sell. I love the mixtapes when they’re done right, b/c it’s like another lp from your favorite artist, but I hate it when you have non sense like Dipset on there

  • memphis all day

    dude that wrote the story look wack ass hell anyway mane mixtapes r 4 the streets it aint like da shit new i mean im sure every artist made 1 at least one made 1 at sum point of theyre career

  • e

    Most mixtape rappers are severly overated because people want to hype up some rapper people don’t know about but some mixtape artists have undeniable skills JR Writer, The Clipse, Joe Budden

  • G.R.I.T.S. Gutta

    Coming from a rapper and not someone that listens to the music and has there own uneducated opinion, people really dont understand that for an unestablished rapper mixtapes are our outlet.if you dont have lil jon or scott storch producing your single you won’t get radio play anyway, so what do you do?Download there beat,make it your own,and put out something the actual artist would respect and bump.Do I make money off them?No, but i Guarantee,in one year,you’ll be reading about me, on the strength of MIXTAPES!!!!!!

  • http://www.burnlounge.com/trnmusic Triniti

    I feel that the mixtape market is a the best thing to ever happen for artist trying to promote who they are.
    While I dont like the fact that its not profitable and yes now its become the new “DEMO”, its a way to show the labels you do exist even if they cant see it or refuse to see it.
    I wonder what JD thinks now of Nelly and luda.
    He told them no and now they are Diamond Status.
    The one issue with mixtapes is that most rappers are not executives,they are from the streets and the mixtape market is the only real sense of music marketing they know. I wish rappers would also take avantage of online sales.
    What will get the interest of labels faster SALES REPORTS or BUZZ REPORTS
    Folks in the Music Industry are in it to make money and have no real connection to the music only to the sale of it. So Do your mixtapes Build a loyal fanbase and make your real product and sale it online.
    The Best online sales outlet is Burnlounge
    I am a retailer of Burnlounge
    my store is located at http://www.burnlounge.com/trnmusic
    where this gets best is that a rapper can make his music and sale it from his own store and if one does not like his music could do what they would normally do ,,buy someone elses music and the rapper would still get paid. So we have to think more like busines folks and music folks at the same time! if anyone has any questions call me I would love to asist anyone in getting them informed on how it really works.

  • AJTHROWBACK

    As usual, Bol makes some points that I agree with, particularly regarding Dipset. (They make way better mixtapes than commercial albums, although a lot of rappers do, so that’s not saying much.) Some of these rappers have great mixtapes and get a good amount of buzz off of it, but when it comes to their albums, a lot of them cannot capitalize on that buzz or the record companies do not promote the artists as much as the streets promoted them. I may not agree with Bol dissing Saigon or Lupe Fiasco, but he’s got a point that the mixtape buzz does not guarantee success in the mainstream.

  • http://www.hirollerz.com Lil Fats

    First of all, I want to say that whoever wrote this is an idiot. Saigon and Lupe Fiasco are 2 of the dopest cats out right now, hands down. And the fact is, mixtapes give light to the truly talented artists who dont always pack albums with bubble gum singles. Its not a matter if there album is better or not. Mixtapes create a huge buzz for truly dope artists, and theres no way around it, its a fact. Any dumbass out there who denies that does not belong on any site speaking about hip-hop. Thanks,
    Lil Fats
    Hi Rollerz Records
    http://www.hirollerz.com

  • http://myspace.com REAL HIP HOP LISTENER

    RIIIIIGGHT…. im gonna take this as a valid opinion from XXL magazine…you gotta be kidding me!!!!LOL

    you guys are about as important as a mixtape

  • BigNad

    Word up Bol, you speak the truth.

  • Big D

    I love listening to mixtapes to the point that I rarely buy albums now. From the consumer/fan perspective, mixtapes are great. Where else can you get like 5 cds w/30 songs (some unreleased and rare) for like $20? Plus, as my man earlier mentioned, the artist can be themselves.

    From the artist perspective, it USED to help a lot but I am not really sure if they have that big of an impact like they used to. Everyone has a mixtape out now. Aren’t we on like G-Unit radio part 90? I stop buying them after three. Plus, as a consumer, I may buy a man’s mixtape but I won’t even think about coping the album because the mixtape is usually better. Buzz wise, the mixtape stuff works but financially, it might actully hurt the artist.

  • cvunit

    Bol shut the fuck up u allways talking that stupid shit Fucking pussy!!! When ur FATASS can rap and sell Cd’s like a real nigga u can talk but other then that all u do is EAT AND YAP about things u nigga don’t know about Fagot!!!!! Ur stupid ass Said Chamillionaire is the 5th Hottest rapper in houston HA HA HA HA U show me a nigga who Had a even harder time going big then him and a nigga who can freestyle better and write better then him in houston!! u can’t cus there is not 1 rapper better then him U fag!!!!!! This nigga let’s his own fans get his mixtapes for free bitch name a rapper who does that!!! Chamillitary mayne!!!!!

  • FUCK YOU BOL!

    stupid fool

    mixtapes are great for hip hop

    why?

    because i said so bitch nigga

    peace out

  • http://www.myspace.com/asickdoggproductionsliveditrecords DJSHORTDOGG

    MIXTAPES IS EVERYTHING,THE ARTIST MAKE BETER MUSIC FOR MIXTAPE THEN WHAT THEY DO ON ALBUMS ,WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HERD AN ALBUM WERE EVERY SONG HAD GOOD WORDS AND MADE YOU THINK ? SINS BIGG AND PAC ,SO WHY PAY 15.00 FOR ONE OR TWO SONGS THAT YOU LIKE FROM AND ALBUM WHEN YOU PAY 5.00 FOR A MIXTAPE AND GET THE TWO SONGS YOU LIKEDED AND 20 OTHER BETER SONGS FROM EVERY OTHER ARTIST AT THE SAME TIME.PLUS GET SONGS THAT ARE UNDERGOUND AND NOT EVERYBOUDYS HERD FROM UP COMING NEW ARTIST MIXTAPE IS THE BESTWAY CREATE A BUZ FAST IF YOU PUT YOUR WORK IN, EVERYBOUDY THINKS THEY CAN BLOW UP LIKE 50 CENT ,JUST REMEMBER ONE THING 50 PUT IN LONG HOURS AND WAS CONSISSTEN WITH HIS WORK HE WORKED VEREY HARD TO GET WHERE HES AT SO HES PAID IF YOUR NOT GETTING ANY BUZZ FROM YOUR MUSIC YOUR NOT PROMOTING HARD ENUFF IF YOU DONT HAVE A BUZZ IN YOUR HOME TOWN IF PEOPLE DONT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND YOU THINK YOU PUT IN WORK ,THEN GET A NEW JOB BUDDY NOT EVERYBOUDY CAND DO IT SOME ARE BORN FOR IT?

  • AV from OK

    Im tried of these fuckin geek ass journalist talking shit about people that could buy and sell them. xxl needs to get some REAL muthafuckers, but apparently most journalists are straight bitch. Stop hatin you fuckin faggot get a real job. Suck these COUNTRY NUTS. Fuck you.

  • HOLLA MANN

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  • Rob

    “Hey, this DJ writes humorously and eloquently. He must be white” [checks google images] yep.