Former Shady/Aftermath/Interscope artist, Stat Quo recently discussed (February 20) why it was smart for 50 Cent to leave his long time label home. In an exclusive conversation with HipHopDX, the Atlanta, Georgia native dissects why he believes the major labels’ only value is in building an artist’s brand.
“You can put your own music on iTunes,” Stat Quo says. “iTunes takes 30 percent of it. That means essentially if they sell it for $9.99, you’re getting $7. Even if you go through an online distributor, they take 20 percent and you get 80 percent of it. You’re still winning. If I sell a CD, and lets say that I’m just putting it on iTunes, I’m getting $7 in my pocket for every CD that I sell. Whereas if you go through a label, what do they give you? A dollar? Some change? A label is only good at building your brand to where you can go all over the world and be who you are.”
Stat Quo explains that 50 Cent’s career and brand is established past the point of requiring a major label to promote his music.
“50 Cent is who he is, so what he’s doing is very intelligent because that brand is solidified,” he says.
Stat Quo continues: “Eventually it’s just a natural progression. He’s as big as he’s going to get under that situation. At this time, it’s time to do something else with his career. It’s the thing that I say about Game—it’s the natural evolution. All these guys that are coming out that people love now, Game had the opportunity to sign a lot of these guys. He just wasn’t in that mindset at the time to be nurturing careers. But now he’s there now. It’s about evolution. It’s about evolving as a man, as a human being.
“And 50 Cent, how long is he going to stay up under Eminem and [Dr. Dre]? At a certain point it’s, ‘I’m my own boss.’ Which he’s been his own boss for a long time, but truly your own shit. He’s looking at [Jay Z] and [Diddy] and is like, ‘Yo, I make just as much money as them.’ Why would I not put my own shit out?”
Stat Quo also believes that younger artists are beginning to understand all of the options available and have become less interested in signing major label contracts.
“I think a lot of these kids is getting smarter,” he says. “Really they don’t want to do record deals because they doing shows, they making money, they selling their T-shirts and then they go look at these contracts and they’re like, ‘Well, we’re gonna give you $500,000 but you gonna make this off an album.’ And they’re like, ‘Yo, well, if I put album out, I’ll make $7 an album. Yeah I might not sell 100,000 but if I sell 50,000 times $7, that’s $350,000. Wow. Ok, I get to go on tour.’ These labels try to bamboozle an artist and say you’ve gotta do a 360 deal because they’re not making as much money, which is bullshit. They just making the money differently. These artists is like, ‘Why would I do that?’ You’re gonna take some of my show money. I’m only going to make 75 cents an album? Fuck that.”
Stat Quo was signed to Shady/Aftermath/Interscope from 2003 to 2008. He is the only artist other than 50 Cent who was signed to both Eminem’s Shady Records and Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment.
Tomorrow (February 25), Stat Quo will release his latest EP, ATLA (All This Life Allows). The project is available for stream exclusively through DJBooth.
View HipHopDX’s exclusive interview below.