According to a study by independent marketing firm, Strategy Analytics, global physical music sales will reach $13 billion in 2013. That figure is nearly half of 2007’s physical music sales, but one artist has not let the shrinking demand for packaged product change his strategy.

“Even though I’m not on a major label, I see it as my first project,” Moreno Valley emcee The Faze said in regard to his debut EP, The Suicide Note. The Faze released the nine-song collection on December 3 with Sarkis Ter-Minasyan via BLIND R3PUBLIC (a full service production company out of Southern California) to form the “Righteous Rebel Republic” or 3RD REPUBLIC imprint.

The Suicide Note was promoted via a face-to-face campaign that saw the pair selling physical copies of the EP to listeners for $10 each. “I felt it was good enough to sell, and we put a lot of money, time and work into it,” The Faze said. “A lot of people love it. Everybody’s buying it and since I’m from Moreno Valley, they’re really supporting it.”

While some may interpret the EPs title as somber, The Faze said it’s a positive message meant to keep negative behavioral patterns from becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

“I wanted to do a project mirroring society and showing the problems we cause for ourselves,” The Faze said. “We end up writing our own suicide notes. If you’re smoking cigarettes, you’ll end up with lung cancer. If you gang bang, you might end up dead.”

As it relates to the aforementioned habit of smoking, The Faze pointed to some advice he received from a fellow emcee to help him improve his craft.

“In ’08, I spent some time with Royce Da 5’9 in the Bay Area,” The Faze said. “We recorded five records, and he’s a really good dude. Back then, I was smoking heavy, and I couldn’t even record without smoking. I remember one time we were chopping it up, and he told me, ‘Treat this like a business. If you had a corporate job, would you go to work high?’ That really stuck with me.”

The Suicide Note features appearances by Gilligan Gatsby and Sondra Clark. And when he’s done promoting and performing material from the EP, The Faze has another project exclusively produced by Willie B—whose discography includes work with Kendrick Lamar, Wale and Childish Gambino.

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