Hip Hop: to sign or not to sign?
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Hip Hop: to sign or not to sign?

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The hip hop world is buzzing with excitement after it was announced Internet boy band Brockhampton signed a deal with Sony’s RCA Records. The label is home to a bunch of big name artists including Justin Timberlake, Pink and SZA, so it seems the group is in good hands. The deal is reportedly worth $15 million dollars, which will allow the band to release six studio albums over the next three years. It is not known whether it includes solo projects for artists of the 14-member crew.

The need for a record label in this day and age has become the centre of an ongoing discussion in the music industry. The internet and music streaming services have allowed independent artists to release music to the public with ease. Yes, it has also brought about more competition, but it allows the truly talented to stand out above the rest. In the case of Brockhampton, the crew have successfully released a mixtape and three albums without the help of a label. Their fourth album Puppy is set to drop soon and, with the help of RCA Records, the band is set to release six more albums. Brockhampton’s leader Kevin Abstract promises fans nothing will change. The boys will continue to make songs from their living rooms and keep making their own music videos. Signing with RCA will help the crew set out on an international tour, which is good news for Aussie fans. And according to sources, the label will not touch any money made from live shows and merchandise.

However, signing with a record label isn’t always the best decision for an artist. A few years back, Prince voiced his disdain for record labels. He compared contracts to slavery, urging young artists not to sign. There have also been many successful independent hip hop albums released in recent years, and two that come to mind are Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book and Frank Ocean’ssophomore album Blonde. Last year, Chance the Rapper made history when he received three awards at the Grammys, without selling a single physical copy of his music. Frank Ocean managed to get out of his contract with his former publisher by releasing a visual album Endless and soon after dropped Blonde on his independent label Boys Don’t Cry.

Signing with a record label is a major decision for any artist; it can open many doors and secure a successful financial future or make an artist feel trapped as they lose creative control over their music. In any case, fans hope Brockhampton will continue with their wackiness for years to come and keep their throne as the best internet boy band in the world.