Every unsigned rapper is looking for one thing: the co- sign from a well-established artist. It has been a tried and true way of “making it” for many years in hip hop. Everyone from Meek Mill to Drake to Kanye to Snoop Dogg received that co-sign that changed their career trajectory. But is a co-sign all it takes?
There are more rappers with co-signs that didn’t make it than rappers with co-signs who did. Case in point, pretty much 90% of Young Money. Jae Millz had Lil Wayne’s stamp when Weezy’s buzz was at it’s loudest. And what did Jae Millz do with it? A forgettable verse on a hip-pop collab so forgettable you were only reminded of it now and still don’t remember the name.
Even after Lil Wayne’s buzz died down, you would expect the public to accept his artist after his success with Drake and Nicki Minaj. However this is not the case. Young Money artist Tyga, whose had an amazing year, has yet to get a grip on the game. You would think Tyga who does have a hot single, female appeal and relentlessly tours would have gone platinum? Or at least gold. But nope, rap fans are not buying it. Even Mac Miller’s sold more and he’s independent. So what does it take?
Let’s look at Meek Mill who even admits that if it wasn’t for Ross he would not have made it. I actually think Meek’s being too humble. If you look at the amount of mixtapes Meek did prior to signing with MMG and having local hits like “Red Rose”, it was only a matter of time before he made “I’m a Boss” and “House Party”. Also keep in mind before Meek signed with Ross, he did a brief stint on T.I.’s Grand Hustle. So not even T.I. could break Meek Mill. It had to have been something more and that something more is…trumpets please…GREAT SONGS.
If you don’t have great material you could be co-signed by Jesus and no one will care. This is the music business and even though artists like Pitbull like to say it’s 90% business and 10% music, you still have to make great music. So if you’re an unsigned rapper and are frustrated, don’t worry about the co-sign, worry about the music. Obsess about it, improve it and then improve it again and I guarantee the co-sign will come. Though it still wont mean much.