This time around, producers are speaking about the rise of full-length efforts being labelled a "commercial mixtape" or "street album." The trend has been a popular one in hip-hop, coming to a more mainstream head with the 2015 release of Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late. However, some producers claim this classification often leads to labels avoiding fair compensation for those who worked on the project.
As DJ Booth points out, ID Labs producer E. Dan (born Eric Dan) spoke of his work on Wiz Khalifa's 2016 project Khalifa an interview with production website BeatStars. While the effort was called a "compilation album" by Wiz, Dan says that Atlantic Records "came up with some really clever name that essentially meant, 'Everyone involved, you're going to get paid half what you normally do.' I've seen it happen often over the last few years."
In further comments made to DJ Booth today, Dan clarified that he "knew what [he] was getting into before [Khalifa] was put together." Dan said he was "happy that some of the older songs we'd done with Wiz were now going to be released, albeit in a format/structure that meant I wasn't going to get my usual rate," adding that he has "absolutely no reason to believe it's a common practice by Atlantic or anyone else."
However, more producers have since come forward to tell of similar experiences with other labels. Rook of production crew J.U.S.T.I.C.E League tweeted that "labels do it [with] black music. It's all about the bottom line. What angers me is the black executives that let it happen."
DJ Burn One recalled his experience working on A$AP Rocky's popular debut Live. Love. ASAP, recalling that "the label said it was a mixtape because [in my opinion] they didn't wanna clear samples and pay everybody. RCA sent me a work for hire out of the blue a few months ago for it. what a joke."
Marvel Alexander tweeted a similar story concerning RCA for his production work alongside Snugsworth on A$AP Ferg's 2013 album Trap Lord. Alexander said he fought for fair compensation for almost a year, adding, "I gave up cause I was nearly homeless so eventually we had to split $1000 for 'Shabba' I was deflated as a producer after this."
You can find their tweets below.
Been said this, but all labels do it black music. It's all about the bottom line. What angers me is the black executives that let it happen. https://t.co/QRrTWBgfjv— J.U.S.T.I.C.E LEAGUE (@JusticeLeague) January 3, 2018
RCA got us producers like this on the first rocky album too - ughh I mean mixtape. that's why it's not on streaming sites. we gotta eat shit while they tour off our records. https://t.co/KLePuKYe3z— DJ Burn One (@djburnone) January 3, 2018
the label said it was a mixtape because (imo) they didn't wanna clear samples and pay everybody. RCA sent me a work for hire out of the blue a few months ago for it. what a joke. https://t.co/KTYDMOHN3X— DJ Burn One (@djburnone) January 3, 2018
awful. i'm taking irv gotti's advice from now on - charge your advance fee plus 50k on the back end that comes out of the artist's show money. they tell you sales are low so they can lowball you but they got a 360 and are eating off the shows as well. https://t.co/nz3jDOZ2zB— DJ Burn One (@djburnone) January 3, 2018
RCA did this to me and @snugsworth on Trap Lord. Fought it for almost a year I gave up cause I was nearly homeless so eventually we had to split $1000 for "Shabba" I was deflated as a producer after this. Yams told me it was "paying dues" R.I.P. wise words I guess. https://t.co/XwydOyNPaZ— BOSSMAN (@MARVELALEXANDER) January 3, 2018
After this experience I vowed never to let this happen again reguardless of the circumstance. My rate is WAY up now. Producers don't be desperate and know your worth and what you have to offer.— BOSSMAN (@MARVELALEXANDER) January 3, 2018
Yea RCA and Ferg did great, I was homeless with a song on the radio https://t.co/7R05yolZeO— BOSSMAN (@MARVELALEXANDER) January 3, 2018
To add salt in the would RCA told me they didn't have the budget because Trap Lord was a mixtape. After mans signed a 1.5 MILLION dollar deal. When I tell you i was FURIOUS 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/pAbyaTqX6l— BOSSMAN (@MARVELALEXANDER) January 3, 2018