Jonah Berger Details Inspiration Behind Nipsey Hussle's $100 Mixtape Idea

Exclusive: Author Jonah Berger explains how his book "Contagious: How Things Catch On" inspired Nipsey Hussle to sell his "Crenshaw" mixtape for $100.

During a recent interview, Nipsey Hussle said that Jonah Berger's Contagious: How Things Catch On book inspired his $100 mixtape #Proud2Pay campain for Crenshaw.

Berger spoke with HipHopDX about how his book might have inspired Hussle and why he believes Crenshaw's #Proud2Pay initiative succeeded with Hussle making $100,000 in one day off of the mixtape's sales. 

"The $100 mixtape is a really clever application of the principles I talk about in Contagious," Berger says in an exclusive statement to HipHopDX. "It’s great to see how successful he's been with it. Word of mouth is ten times more effective than advertising. When used correctly, like Nipsey did, it’s a really powerful marketing tool." 

After the project's sales figures came in, Hussle revealed that he sold all of Crenshaw's 1,000 physical copies that were pressed. He also said that Jay Z purchased 100 copies of the mixtape.

$100 Cheesteak Sparked Nipsey Hussle's $100 Mixtape Idea

During a recent interview with New York radio station Power 105.1, Hussle said he got the idea from a $100 cheesesteak he read about in Berger's book. 

"This new high-end steakhouse was about to open in Philly and needed to generate buzz," Berger says of the story that inspired Hussle. "So they came out with a $100 cheesesteak. It’s got Kobe beef, topped with a lobster tail, and served with Clicquot champagne. But it’s more than just a cheesesteak. As I talk about in Contagious, it’s is a Trojan Horse Story that helped the restaurant catch on. The story is remarkable. People would expect a cheesesteak to cost $5 and people talked about it because it made them look cool and in-the-know. But along the way, the story acts like a walking advertisement for the restaurant, grabbing people’s attention and helping the place become popular." 

According to Berger, his book can help many musicians with their careers.

"Contagious is filled with concepts that musicians can use to get attention and make it big," Berger says. "How to boost sales. How to get more word of mouth. How to get your albums and projects catch on. The book talks about 6 factors, or STEPPS, that make it all work: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public, Practical Value and Stories. There’s also a free workbook on my website that anyone can download to help them apply the ideas." 

Hussle applied some of those ideas with Crenshaw, creating a marketing plan that he has said he will reuse when his album, Victory Lap album hits stores. 

When asked how it feels to have an idea from his book influence a Hip Hop artist, Berger says he hopes more can benefit from his work.

"It’s pretty dope," Berger says. "I wrote the book to help people take advantage of the cheapest and most effective marketing tool out there, and shout out to Nipsey for how he’s run with the ideas. Hopefully other people will do the same." 

In an article published October 29, Hussle spoke with New York radio station Power 105.1 about how Berger's book influenced his plan to release Crenshaw for $100

"I got a few mentors who put me on books and literature and all that," Hussle said of his inspiration behind his mixtape's release. "I got to the second chapter of [Contagious: Why Things Catch On]. It was just talking about how this restaurant owner in Philly started selling Philly cheesesteaks for $100 out of his restaurant. It set off all types of conversations. Everybody was talking about it. All types of influential people came through and wanted to check out why it was $100. Oprah came through and bought one. David Letterman bought one. He got all type of exposure and publicity. It became a staple. Everybody started to come through to support, buying $100 cheesesteaks. I put the book down and I was like, 'We about to do that with the album. Nobody did that with music.'" 

RELATED: Nipsey Hussle Says "Victory Lap" Album Will Be Sold For $100


  • riv216

    I encourage everyone to read books. I encourage everybody to soak up this knowledge, cause knowledge is power, but you know that? come check out the new music video "The Good Die Young 2K13" in 720/1080p HD here:

  • sxxx4

  • Anonymous

    $100 for a cheese steak? sure i might do that if its special but $100 for a nipsey hussle mixtape of throwaway tracks? you must be out your god damned mind

  • jasonnns

  • jasonnns

  • 666

  • Cheated

    I'm sick and tired of being hussled out of my hard earned money, Mr Hussle. As an wide eyed 11 year old boy from Slauson, CA, I saved up money mowing lawns and performing odd jobs around my neighborhood for 2 weeks, hoping that Nipsey Hussle would provide me with inspiration to move out of the ghetto while I was investing in a rap career of my own someday. Now I know you were trying to cut out the middleman, which is a great idea, but your disc wasn't worth the hundred dollars that I slaved for. As I went to the swap meet to get my autographed tee shirt and mixtape, we posed for pics, we posted it on our Instagrams, and you told me "Be the best rapper I can possibly be". But as I ran home telling my neighborhood friends that I just bought a CD from my idol during a family BBQ, and we gathered near the stereo to listen to your music, everyone of us were quite appalled. Ny 82 year old grandmother, who bumps your music on a consistent basis, had a heart attack after listening to the thrash that you call a mixtape. Thanks to you, she's in a coma. We will be taking legal action and you WILL have your day in court. Thank you for destroying a young boy's dreams. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to fill out a job application for 7-11 mopping floors and performing other menial and mindless tasks. Thanks for nothing. Oh, by the way, I used the autographed T shirt you gave me as toilet paper. 100 bucks down the drain! -Signed, a little boy's dreams who were crushed!

  • Anonymous

    if hov bought 100 on of the $100 mixtapes...does this mean he expects hov to do it again or some other rich rapper..a la diddy or 50 cent cuz no regular fan is gonna pay that. Im confused as to why he would try it again??? Switch it up bro

  • Anonymous

    thats cool and all for Nipsey but I don't know if its gonna work twice...

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