There’s alot of smoke and mirrors in this music business, a lot of people playing their cards under the table, a lot of fans not seeing the corporate hustle behind the street hustle.
The days of artists announcing a record deal is hardly something most fans want to hear about, they don’t wanna buy into that ‘establishment’ play. They want to hear rappers bragging ‘fuck the label’ and while we all want to believe you can do it yourself, do we really get to know who’s actually doing it themselves. The industry behind the indies are working the game harder than you know. With revelations that Apple are now financing video deals, as well as making investments in return for exclusivity, what’s really going on behind the screen? Brands are in on the game too, and while the independent grind may look real, there’s something more going on with some of these whirlwind rises of everyones favourite ‘independent artists’. Is it time to call out the fake indies?
Going from releasing tracks week to week independently and dropping 11 self-produced albums before getting signed, it’s all started to go next level for Russ since he announced his reported multi-million dollar deal with Columbia Records. While the rest of the internet have been playing catch-up trying to work out where the hell Russ came from, to the ones that knew him, the seemingly fully independent artist looked like he’d gone rogue. Is signing the new sell out? While the DIY mantra has become synonymous with winning in the Hip Hop game today, signed artists are still swerving the stink of an industry plant and playing the underdog card.
When Russ made his debut Arrival to the UK, he spoke in depth with DJ Semtex about bringing his own success into existence with persistence, building a devoted fanbase years before he decided he was ready to make a deal. Watch the video below and get to know Russ if you don’t already.
Russ isn’t about to let anyone second guess or pretend being independent is anything different than being fully independent. Russ comes clean about everything but at the same time he’s not falling for the ruse, because ‘Y’all gon have to do better’. ‘Exposed’ is Russ at his fiercest coming in harder with no holds barred on a lyrical assault with one intent when you see ‘Fake shit call it out’.
Russ is succinct, a razor sharp storyteller who even makes an industry tale sound like a head nodding banger. The new breed of young hip hop G’s have still got something to prove, like it or not rappers have to be consistently better at setting the bar higher. Russ has already conquered the independent hip-hop game on his own terms, accumulating a global fanbase because setting the bar comes naturally to him. Like it or not, do the work, look behind the curtain, or prepared to be disappointed when you find out your famous rapper has been rising off a ruse.