Too Short recently spoke with MTV2’s Sucker Free, discussing the merits of being an independent artist and how he started out doing things on his own. During the interview, he recalled signing with 75 Girls Records at the onset of his career, which gave him experience in how to hustle independently.
“When I came out in the rap industry, I was just a young kid, like 18, 19, trying to get my records out. And I worked with a label called 75 [Girls], and they were doing the independent thing. I was a youngster, but I kept my eyes open. I would ride with Dean, the dude who ran the label, I would ride with him not just to the studio, but I would go to the pressing plant, I would to go the distributor and I would keep business cards and stuff like that. A couple years later, like 1989, I was on my own. I didn’t have a choice, man. Grabbed some money, pressed up some cassettes, drove to a record store and said here, take these, pay me later. We did that all over the city, and the stuff was selling.”
The West Coast veteran recalled recycling his first paycheck back into his career, pressing up 15,000 cassette tapes and making a profit. He recommends to new artists to get their buzz up using social media sites, which will later open doors.
“I remember the first time I ever saw some money, I don’t remember how much I spent, but I got 15,000 cassettes,” he said. “I dropped them off at one distributor. Seven days later, he had like, $60,000 for me. I was like, this is what I want to do. You don’t have to deal with every single distributor anymore. You don’t really have to deal with major labels if you don’t want to. You can do iTunes or all the other websites or deal with independent record stores. It’s a big grind out there. If you can get your social weight up now, you’re really poised for either a major label deal or a good run as an independent. That’s what I tell a lot of young cats now. Make yourself famous and doors will open.”