Nelly Says Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Success Is "A Middle Finger" To Major Labels

Nelly, who was rejected by 10 labels before his platinum partnership with Universal Records, applauds Ryan Lewis and Macklemore's independent hustle.

Before St. Louis, Missouri star rapper Nelly found success with Fo' Reel/Universal Records in the late '90s, the former minor league baseball player was turned down a reported 10 times by recording labels.

After six releases with the New York-based UMG, Nelly recently took time to acknowledge Hip Hop independent Macklemore, who with Ryan Lewis, is approaching platinum status on the self-released 2012 album, The Heist. "You know why I like [Macklemore]? Because he’s independent,” Nelly told Charlotte, North Carolina's Kiss 95.1 radio station. "I respect hustle… I know what it’s like to sit there and have labels tell you that your talent isn’t good enough to make it.”

Nelly added that labels, including his own, are likely bothered by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' commercial success and mainstream acceptance. “For someone like Macklemore to do it independently and to really just give the middle finger up to the labels now, it’s awesome.”

Nelly, who is part of the Charlotte Bobcats ownership team (along with Michael Jordan) is currently trying to change the team's name, possibly back to the Charlotte Hornets, who left the city a decade ago.

Nelly is expected to release his seventh album, M.O., in October.

RELATED: Nelly: Shut 'Em Down [2008 INTERVIEW]

73 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Nelly makes a lot of trash music but then on the other had has some really good ass songs so I respect him to a certain degree and he is right their success is amazing.

  • Anonymous

    "Neither do you" Actually we meet for cheesecake every other week. Ross breaks his street resume down, and then gives me advance copies of his albums. Very humble for a drug lord.

  • Boomtune

    there arent record deals anymore really most people SYS and indie. people were independent and black owned back when the rapper from st louis so called made it. why try and piggy back on someone else? dud aint made an album in 3 years. thats a wack nigga i could go on. he the reason sales low

  • Anonymous

    Unless you followed him around with a camcorder you really have no idea what he did or didn't do.

  • Anonymous

    "and ross is probably addicted to all kinds of substances" He's addicted to the street life.

  • Flyq the Anchor

    I got this new song and I think I did good. Im lyrical, im real, im growing. Im from nowhere so I grind on the net for now. Shoutout to chemist on the beat. https://soundcloud.com/theanchor/brain-work-pt-1 flyqtheanchor@gmail.com to work

  • Hattie R. Rodriguez

    my neighbor's mother makes $81 hourly on the laptop. She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her pay check was $16509 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site... www.Can99.com Kendrick would NEVER call out Big Daddy Kane. He would get murdered.

  • Anonymous

    if you think this dude is indie you are out of your mind. indie is the new face of major label, y'all keep getting took.

  • sdaki

    yet macklemore is horrible @rapping. he isnt hiphop, hes just some pop act and that is causing popularity to the radio and public in general.

  • Anonymous

    nelly killed hip hop krs one should have won the beef

  • Cracklemore

    More a middelfinger to Real Hip Hop

  • Gucci Mane Special Forces

    Gucci Mane is the realest rapper and heres why. - all other rappers rap about being gangster shooting and killing but they havent done it. - Eminem raps about killing he hasnt. - Jay z raps in open letter about sending shots he hasnt. - T.I. snitch to the feds - Young Jeezy was never bmf - 50 Cent snitch and was never in jail but a youthcamp - Game was never a banger but lived the life of his brother in his lyrics - Nas Escobar never sold drugs - Ice Cube never was a gangbanger - Dr Dre never was a gangbanger - Snoop was never a crip - 2pac was a ballerina and never sold drugs after he become famous he was doing some stupid stuff like beating and shooting at people because he though he could get away with it. Without Suge Knight 2pac was just a skinny motherf*cker. - Mobb deep are the biggiest cowards in rap they are short as midgets and keep talking this g sh*t but never did g sh*t. - JA-RULE IS THE BIGGEST CLOWN IN HIPHOP WITH TOTALLY NO STREETCREDIBILITY! Be in jail for smoking weed, carrying a gun or tax evasion is for pussies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Most of the rappers rap about stuff they havent done yet you all support them and say its real rap. - When rick ross does it you all claim he is fake and say its fake rap. This shows that hiphop fans are hypocritical and all these real hiphop fan wanna be's are just some unjustified haters whose opinions are just as irrelevent as the swag fag rapper fans. BIG GUWOP KILLED A MAN HE WAS A DRUG DEALER BEFORE RAPPER HE HAS STREET CREDENTIALS HE IS THE ONLY RAPPER THAT RAPS ABOUT FACTS THERE FORE BIG GUWOP IS THE REALEST RAPPER IN THE RAP GAME AND THATS A FACT!

  • South Africa

    Kendrick Lamar - Bitch don't kill my vibe Lil Wayne - love me, RAF 2 Chainz - Feds watching Jeezy ft Akon - soul survivor plus more Nelly - a lot of his songs Macklemore - same love, can't hold us and thrift shop (getting the most play on MTV and Trace Urban Ace Hood - bugatti Asap Rocky and Asap Ferg - shubba(just saw it last night on MTV) Fact is mainstream is all the shit that's on youtube now with more than 10-15 million views... the fuck you idiots talking about...do you even have MTV, Trace Urban on your satellite subscription pack? Bet you just watch shit on youtube...ahahaha mainstream don't give a fuck about you, thats why all them boys are selling out.

  • Daniel

    "is currently trying to change the team's name, possibly back to the Charlotte Hornets, who left the city a decade ago." Yeah that deal has already happened...........

  • Anonymous

    "Jay-Z corny ass was making music with Jaz-O back in 89... it took him 8 years to blow up LOL" That's still less time than it took Macklemore, asshole. Also look who Jay was surrounded by back then. Big Daddy Kane. Big L. Dame Dash, etc. He was learning the game.

  • Anonymous

    "most rappers take about that amount of time to blow up, 5 years min" Ok, but it took Macklemore 10.

  • sxxx4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo8tr4DjVaM

  • sxxx4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or6aXEHG1xs

  • Anonymous

    "which major label is he signed with then?" MMG wanted to sign him, but Ross doesn't want Macklemore's drinking problem to get in the way of making hit songs like Imma Boss.

    • Anonymous

      Is that a joke, bitch?

    • Anonymous

      and ross is probably addicted to all kinds of substances not to mention all the crab meat and chicken wings he needs or else he will go into a seizure if his grease and cholesterol levels get too low

    • Anonymous

      lol the irony that macklemore is a sober recovering addict makes me laugh at the ignorance of ur comment

  • Fish

    Macklemore is NOT a middle finger to the major labels because he's pushing the same softcore, pop shit that the majors are pushing. If anything, his tracks are even softer and more bitch made! All Macklemore does is disspell the myth that the major labels force a certain type of hip hop down our throats - people will follow this kind of bullshit music no matter what kind of label its on. FUCK MACKLEMORE!!

    • Anonymous

      this guy is just mad cuz macklemore and them made it independently rapping about whatever they wanted and got popular on their own witout the machine. most u kids only like whats marketed rite

    • Anonymous

      Fuck you white people above me

    • BP

      ^yeah but people don't start out doing that shit. A lot of artists/rappers end up selling out to get to that point and by then the labels already have a chokehold on them. you're mostly just describing Macklemore there who started right off the bat doin this shit so yes the labels shove it down our throats, Macklemore was just one step ahead and did it indie style so he's blowing up AND making most of the album's profits

    • Anonymous

      You're obviously brain dead. NO ONE mainstream is touching topics like Same Love. Not even Frank Ocean, and dude is flaming. Shut your b1tch ass up trying to sound all intelligent and sh1t, you're just a dumb ho.

    • imho

      i always find it funny that people say that labels shove that soft shit on us bec in order to get looked at now adays you have to rap about that soft/popular shit now adays in the first place.

  • SIC ILL

    More gud stuff Macklemore! Northwest Let's get it - SIC ILL

  • Cudder

    Nell is right because major labels would almost never let Macklemore full-on rap about what he's rappin about. Major labels want that gutter hood nigga shit, or the stuff that's popular(radio hits, party bangers) that's why Atlantic told Lupe his shit wasn't nice prior to Lasers

  • Anonymous

    All u macklemore haters, should study his hustle and try to learn! These Lil kids these days have no respect for greatness!!

    • Anonymous

      "Macklemore has shown me is that he has a terrible ear for beats" - most of the old heads define "real" hip hop as having a certain sound of beats (mostly early - mid nineties). The beats have absolutely nothing to do with quality of an emcee. Macklemore is a dope emcee and his songs are varied with a wide range of topics. Most emcees are one trick ponies when it comes to subject matter and are unable to write an actual song (including many rappers on the list above). Personally, Mack's sound is almost unlistenable because it's incredibly fucking pop, but he absolutely deserves his respect as an emcee and a lyricist.

    • Anonymous

      ^^^ get over your "real hip hop" shit. no one cares.

    • A Person

      greatness is Kool Herc, Caz, Melle Mel, Flash, Bambaataa, Kool Moe Dee, and all those early visionaries, get outta here with the "Macklemore is great" crap, he sounds incredibly average, and doesn't have the essence of hip hop that the best of the best happen to have. I mean, do do you seriously think this guy is a great on the level of Nas, Rakim, or Kool G Rap? hell no, even artists that I consider good in todays day and age (Roc Marciano, Ka, Elzhi, Freddie Gibbs, Skyzoo, etc) are much better on the mic, I can't say any are great yet, because great requires a ridiculous discography, that only a few true talents have, but these guys have potential, all Macklemore has shown me is that he has a terrible ear for beats.

    • anonymoron

      Did your stupid ass forget? Jay-Z corny ass was making music with Jaz-O back in 89... it took him 8 years to blow up LOL

    • ETK

      you act like that's any different from any other rapper. reality check, most rappers take about that amount of time to blow up, 5 years min

    • Anonymous

      Greatness? It took this wack ass drunk 10 years just to blow up. I give him credit for having some hit singles, but he will not have a long shelf life.

  • huh?

    MACKLEMORE IS NOT INDIE!

    • Anonymous

      Wow....... Warner is the parent of ADA. They control that distribution. Macklemore is not an indie, he ain't pushing these units through CD Baby, that's indie. Snap out of it. The deal kicked in and from what I see, Macklemore is good if that info is just. But they got y'all throwing your panties on stage like he re-invented the wheel. If this was Big KRIT's "Can't Hold Us" it would have been shelved. B.o.B. couldn't have done it and the whole sound is his lane. I'll let y'all tell it though.

    • yt

      ADA is not an A&R department, it's indie distribution subsidiary of WMG. Macklemore is by the books independent, but Warner decided to handle the promotion/radio campaign after they started to blow a little. Bottom line, Warner handles distribution and marketing, but do not own their masters or have them under a recording agreement. I still don't see how people that know nothing about this stuff talk the most about it. The comment section on this site is a joke.

    • Anonymous

      No hired arm, ADA is an "A&R" label for Warner. When something pops, Warner steps in and pushes it beyond ADA budget limitations. Simple.

    • Anonymous

      "So lets put that Indie myth to rest for Macklemore. You cant attain success like Macklemore, unless youre part of the big machine. Radios gatekeepers would never allow it. To go Pop and be No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100, money has to change hands. Its a great record, but do you wonder why less than 5 percent of Urban/Black radio is playing it. The machine says no. According to the ADA about page, during 2009, Warner Music Group (WMG) enhanced its independent distribution business by combining Ryko Distribution with ADA to create an independent label service company that provides a suite of services including physical and digital global distribution, physical production, merchandise production and distribution. ADA started in 1993 to focus on independent music business." ^ like the 5th time I pasted this, y'all been sold yet another dream You thought it was coincidence it was named "The Heist"? I commend them for getting the message out through all the fuckery, although "the heist" wouldn't have worked without said message.

    • bluegrass

      They are indie, but they hired an arm of Warner Music Group to distribute their music. So it's not entirely independent, it's very similar to a Rocafella in the past.

    • Anonymous

      which major label is he signed with then?

    • Ja Rule Army [Top Troll Gang]

      The Heist is the debut studio album by American rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis. Independently produced, recorded and released by the duo, The Heist reached number 1 on iTunes within hours of being released on October 9, 2012 with no mainstream promotion or support.[1] The album was recorded in Seattle between 2009 and 2012 and was released on Macklemore LLC. - Wikipedia See label---> Macklemore LLC WHAT PART OF INDIE YOU DONT GET

  • Anonymous

    "The NBA unanimously approved Charlottes nickname change from Bobcats to Hornets on Thursday at the leagues Board of Governors meeting."-July 19, 2013 ^ step your journalism game up Still wondering why no one says Nelly owed the Bobcats, like Jay owned the Nets. And why people still say Macklemore's indie when his label's owner is Warner Music Group.

  • Teamgyt

    Check out Rocky-B http://youtu.be/-aQqhyI1miA

  • Anonymous

    ruff ryders stand up

  • dentaldamboy

    It's a middle finger to true hiphop like YMCMB and MMG.

    • gerryd

      You know it always amazes me how a culture that faced and still faces so much discrimination because of the color of their skin can have so much hate for gay people. Supposedly gay people are born like that just like how people can't choose the color of their skin yet its unfair to be raciest but lets hate faggots. Macklemore isn't gay by the way. He has a family member thats gay which is what that songs about and as long as gay people don't parade that shit in front of us then why should you have a problem with what another person does in his or her own private life. As for pop music. Unfortunately thats where the money. Stay underground and stay broke or get your money while you can. That should be respected not hated. Theres plenty of hardcore rappers out there still if thats what you want to hear. You don't have to listen to Macklemore

    • Anonymous

      i think hes workin on that album he promised us

    • Fish

      Yet another massive achievement for Dentaldamboy - He now has another troll (The Ja Rule faggot) telling him to shut up!! Congratulations Dentaldam, you're still the best. (PS, RIP So Icey Boi, where the fuck has he gone recently?)

    • Roll Tide

      I bet Weezy has kissed more men than Whacklemore ever will

    • dentaldamboy

      Macklemore is making shitty pop music that they labeled as hiphop. He talks about being gay and all that shit. Wayne is original and changes his music each time.

    • gerryd

      How is macklemore going to ruin the fabric of hiphop. Wait let me guess, is it because hes white? Record labels have been ruining the fabric of hiphop for a few years now and you want to blame one dude who makes some good songs and reached a status without the major labels. What let me guess, you think that everyone is going to follow his way and there will be no more DMX or Nas. You are delusional like that other dude said.

    • Ja Rule Army [Top Troll Gang]

      the irony when a troll has to say STOP FEEDING THE TROLL

    • Anonymous

      There's no truth in your comments, just delusional lies.

    • dentaldamboy

      This is truth, not trolling.

    • Anonymous

      I hope you're trolling with a comment like that lol..

    • dentaldamboy

      These true hiphop acts are still selling well with rich gang going platinum but Macklemore is going to ruin the fabric of hiphop.

    • Anonymous

      lmao true hip-hop fuck outta here although its definitely a middle finger to those labels with macklemore selling more than rick ross, french montana, wale, meek mill, tyga, ace hood, rich gang etc!!!

    • Anonymous

      More like a middle finger to your life. Get one.

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