What happens when you sign a Music Contract? Ep. 1 | Rules to this Sh!t


I love music.
I hate the industry. It’s an entirely
shitty situation. I’m all over the fucking radio.
These motherfuckers love me. Why the fuck am I broke? You know D, that’s how you felt,
like Goddamn. That’s the fee you pay
to get into the game. Wow. So this piece of paper
really holds this much power. They just spend these kids, man. People get fucked
over all the time. Where do you learn it?
There’s no school for hip hop. Well, Puff is like my idol.
You know what I mean? He’s one of the reasons
why I wanted to be a part of Bad Boy, why I wanted to be hit man.
So Puff was like, “I wanna sign you
to a publishing thing. I wanna do this,
I wanna manage you,” and I was like, “This is, like,
Puff wants to do this for me?” And I’m thinking, I’m like,
“Wait a minute … If I sign all this stuff, that means he gets paid
from everything I do. And even if I produce with him, it’s like he’s getting
paid twice.” And I was like,
“Get the fuck outta here.” I remember we were in the studio
and I screamed at him, it was the first time
I screamed at Puff. I was like, “How am I
supposed to get any money?” And he was like,
“Alright then.” It wasn’t like
there was no beef, but then it was like, alright so you about
to go to this party afterwards. So at that moment,
I realized is a difference between friends and business. He never stopped being my friend because I didn’t sign
those papers, but like, shit, if you gonna
let me do it, I’m a try. I never told him,
I appreciate you for that because that was one of the best
learning experiences I ever had
in the music industry. We are about to sign
our recording contract. Over here, we got all
the Cristal we about to pop. They have fucking clauses in
these shitty contracts that say, “We’re only gonna pay you 15%.” In that 15%,
the label’s charging you for every fucking thing
that takes place. Yeah, you see we’re getting
D Dots joint down there now. Proof. The artist has to pay everybody.
The producers, the songwriters. Every dime they spend, they either gonna charge you
half or 100%. So most of us, including myself, had no clue
what the fuck that meant. All these motherfuckers
with your shitty paperwork, your money’s gotta
go through all them. Damn, we only getting
12 cents off a dollar? And outta my 12,
I gotta pay you, you, you, you and you? What the fuck? Damn, can you at least
put some Vaseline on it? Can we have some wine
and cheese before? Goddamn, like,
what’s happening here? You have a lot of kids
coming from these inner cities that never even seen
10,000 dollars cash before. So if you have a person
that’s coming to you like, “Here’s 20,000. Sign to me,
I’m a put your album out.” They’re not looking at
no legal team where like, “Let me call my lawyer and make
sure that this deal is right.” You’re taking the 20,000, you’re
going to sign the contract and you’re going
to figure it out later on when the money is gone. It’s too much coming
at them too fast. A lot of people just are
so thirsty for a platform that they sell themselves short. You just see a big label,
and you’re like, “They wouldn’t do me wrong.” Where do you learn that?
There’s no school for hip hop. You know, I definitely signed
some bad contracts in my time. Some still pending.
Now, I’ve got a piece of paper. It make you just think, like,
“Wow. Do this piece of paper
really hold this much power?” You dangled, like, this fucking
career in my face and, like, yeah, I want to do it. Of course I’m not reading
this shit, like, not to say that, like, it’s the smart thing to do,
but you’re young. But, at the same time,
you a grown man. You know how to read, too. You told not to read
that contract. So I don’t get when people say,
like, “Oh, don’t sign with such and such, you know,
they be fuckin’ people.” You know, hell,
they aint fuck nobody. You had it,
you could have read it. You chose not to read it.
You look at the fact, that they put this two bit stats
of a minor over here next to the contract.
This is all you gonna ever get. You aint even look
at the contract. We have a frustrated artist
who wakes up one day and realizes that,
“I’m all over the fucking radio. These mother fuckers love me.
Why the fuck am I broke?” And then they explain to you,
like, “This is why. Paragraph 64 clause
B says you don’t get shit.” When you’re a artist,
you gotta make hot records. That’s what your job is to do. You’re not making hot records,
we have to move on. It’s nothing personal.
It’s business. Even as a executive, if I’m not
putting out hit records or I’m not signing hot artists,
they’re gonna be like, “I think we can find somebody
else to fill your position.” Everybody at the label
could get fired just like the artist
could get dropped. You could go to war
with your label and the label war is probably, like, one of the major
contributions to failed careers. At the end of the day, I’m trying
to take care of my family, too, just like you are, so what makes
your life better than mine? You start arguing with
these executives, and they just fucking turn
the switch off on your ass. Don’t like you anymore. First thing you gonna say is,
“Well, let me go.” They don’t do that shit. Obviously, all the cash money
we single doin this. Tyga claims that Birdman owes
him like 12 million dollars. You know, hey, Birdman,
you robbed me, so I’m going to put on
a loud speakerphone and tell everybody that you
robbed me and everybody else that comes to you
is going to be very careful about how you, you know,
they do those contacts. If anybody can take that stuff
personal and have stuff goin, they might not want
to choose this job. Literally everything
in the industry, they will try to get over on you
if you let it slide. I’m the type, like,
I will pull up the complex, you know what I’m saying? Like,
“Hey, where’s the footage?” You know, to be a boss,
sometimes, you have to be a bitch. You don’t work a nine to five,
so you don’t get, like, you know, your insurance
and your income tax check. You don’t get none of that shit. Published shit is kind of like
your paycheck for writing. You get paid for when people
listen to your music over and over again.
Those are checks that just come. You don’t want to give
that shit up. Sometimes, you might have to,
like, break a little piece off of somebody,
you know what I’m saying? But make it worth it.
Don’t give it all up. Ever.
Ever. Yo, Kanye, you gonna play
something? Yo, West! Kanye! Talk about Kanye
and the publishing. To manage him,
I had an opportunity to own some of his publishing. I didn’t want to do that
to any producer I manage because they were
my startup guys and Kanye was a sample producer. He took a sample from Jay-Z. Sample from this music,
and then you put it together. I was gonna pretty much
let him know that you’re not gonna make
no fuckin’ money in royalties with all these samples
you’re doing. I rearranged the deal
for everybody to where he got
his publishing back. The industry just wants
to rape and take. Labels should do what’s fair,
and that’s why the artists today are saying,
“Fuck you, record company.” And they should. Everybody’s trying to figure out how to get that money even
though the sales have dwindled. There was one time I met
these execs, like, brought us to the house,
laid, everything is crazy and gave us this whole
big pep talk, speech. And then, literally, like, I think it was
eight months later we went and met the same guys,
but this time in the office, and they came in and gave us
the whole same exact spiel. Like the same exact speech, like the introduction,
everything. And that’s when I knew,
like, “Man.” Like they just
spin these kids, man. I’m 19. He’s 21, like,
we’re young, so a lot of people
try to take advantage of us. Yeah. But the thing is,
they don’t realize that we actually
already know what’s up. We already know. I’m so scared to sign
my name on shit. I’m scared to give you
a autograph, let alone sign a contract. It’s kind of like old school
verses new school. Most kids now feel I don’t need
to sign with a label. They have all this amazing music
and I’m like, “I know some people,
you wanna … ?” And it’s like, “No. I just
want to put it out myself.” When we were coming up,
we didn’t foresee MP3’s, but somebody did because
in contracts we were signing, they would say things like, “You making records
for cassette cd’s and any form in the future.”
That line meant a lot. All of a sudden,
Itunes showed up and now, we’re fighting our contracts because we didn’t take time
to study what was in it. Somebody else did. Make sure,
before signing anything, to have somebody look over it just to make sure you just
don’t sign your life away. A lot of artists, from day one, they walk into
a shitty situation. Shitty paperwork, shitty deal, shitty people
around them sometimes. In my case,
we had the shitty paperwork. We went beyond that and we sold
a lot of fucking records. You seen MC Hammer lose, what,
20, 30 million dollars? Like, it can happen. We didn’t know nothing
about anything. I’m doing this shit. That was my first hundred
thousand dollar check. At that point,
we just started ballin. And that’s what you do it for. They givin’ us money to do this
and we get to go shopping. I’m like, “Oh, shit.
This is real. And I’m broke.” You check your account,
it’s like, “Where did that go?” Shit woke you up fast.
Really, really fast. The day we got our first check,
we ran out of gas, dog. That was, oh my God,
that’s hilarious! Yeah. We got our first pay, so we ran out of gas
on the freeway. We got our first- And we had to walk all the way
to the gas, it was like, how many miles? A lot of miles,
but, we had to walk. It was hilarious
and we were so happy. Yeah. I was driving, too. I was so happy, I went,
I didn’t even look at the gas. I didn’t even look
at the gas meter on the freeway. I’m like, “Hold on.
What’s wrong with the car?” Yeah. Yeah. Looked at the gas,
I’m like, “Ohhh.” Ohhh. It was 400, but it was 440 because maybe he gave us
like a tip, too. First pay stub ever was $440. Yeah.