When it comes to hustlers in the rap game, there are two types making waves on that entrepreneurial tip.
Obviously, first you’d have to the moguls at the top of the list. The guys like 50 Cent who went from drug dealing to selling platinum records. Now he’s executive producing on television and landing movie roles with a net worth of $150 million.
Not to mention the five richest guys in hip-hop who just made it to the Forbes Five.
Then there’s the younger independent artists who are kinda like the startups, finessing their way through the game and controlling their own brand. It takes a shitload of work but guys like Chance The Rapper and Curren$y have found the formula.
Then there’s artists like Nipsey Hussle.
He falls somewhere in between that independent rapper title and mogul status but if there’s one thing that’s for certain, sooner or later he’s headed to that Forbes list.
That’s because his mindset for business and the way he strategizes his marketing is already up there with some of the best. But how, you ask?
Nipsey has been in the game since he dropped his first mixtape Slauson Boy Vol. 1 in 2005.
He would go on to grind for the next five years collaborating with the likes of Drake, Snoop Dogg and Problem.
But he didn’t get to flex his business acumen until he walked away from his deal with Epic Records to go independent in 2010. This is when Nipsey began to shine.
He then launched his own record label All Money In. That’s when he released his mixtape The Marathon which also became a mantra.
What made Nipsey different though was his strategic marketing scheme to sell records in an industry where no one buys shit anymore. So what did he do?
He priced his 2013 mixtape Crenshaw for $100 each and reportedly sold 1,000 copies.
5 days #CRENSHAW
Free on http://t.co/t1HLMzLpoq
$100 for a 1 of 1000 Proud2pay hard copy w access to the secrect live event. TBA soon.
— THA GREAT (@NipseyHussle) October 3, 2013
That means he made $100,000 in 24 hours for the project. This was the trailer he made leading up to the release.
Even Jay Z bought 100 copies by himself totaling a $10,000 transaction.
With the success of this strategy, Nipsey keeps trying to find new and different ways to monetize his product and his brand. He did a similar thing for the albumVictory Lap through the Proud 2 Pay program, also offering it up for free with an option to buy. Through this genius marketing, and a rabid fanbase, people still copped Victory Lap for $100.
Nipsey ran this marketing plan back again for the mixtape Mailbox Money but capped the $100 copies to just 1,000 orders, making them more exclusive.
Nipsey Hussle understands supply and demand and the psychology of the consumer. People will talk about the fact that there’s a limited supply of only 1,000 his mixtapes at a cost of $100 and in turn people will cop.
He actually got the idea to price his mixtapes at this amount from author Jonah Berger who wrote about a restaurant that charged $100 for a Philly Cheesesteak in the book Contagious.
Nipsey is able to release his music and brand himself like this in large part due to his success.
Nipsey can give his music to guys like LeBron to preview who he knows will help promote his shit.
Other stars like Isaiah Thomas rock Nipsey’s brand All Money In. The Crenshaw rapper develops meaningful and loyal relationships with stars and spreads his movement throughout popular venues, like the NBA.
Nipsey is one of the most respected artists in the game, not just for his music but for his bold and savvy business moves.
He’s currently working with his city to build more small businesses within the community.
And he even has his own weed strain, sold in California dispensaries.
He even collaborated with Fatburger when they opened their first franchise in Compton by giving employees special edition uniforms to rock.
In an age where artists get fucked with 360 deals and royalty splits, independent artists like Nipsey are controlling their own future. As his label says it best, All Money In.