Following his previous success with a similar model in 2013, Nipsey Hussle has sold at least 60 physical copies of his album Mailbox Money at $1,000 apiece, according to The Guardian. Two years ago, Hussle sold 1,000 copies of his album Crenshaw for a $100 each. Both Mailbox Money and Crenshaw were made available for free download upon release while the high-priced, limited run physical copies were promoted as a part of Hussle’s #Proud2Pay campaign.
“It surprises me,” Nipsey Hussle told The Guardian of his latest rollout. “As much as I believe in it. Every time I get a transaction, I get a text on my phone, and I’ve been hitting them back. The feedback and the connection I have with these people help me understand the psychology of the person paying $1,000 for some songs that, realistically, you could download for free.”
“The highest human act is to inspire,” he added. “Money is a tool—it’s the means, not the end. [Inspiration is] the metric that dictates whether or not a project is a success. It’s more realistic than trying to aim for radio play, or trying to satisfy an A&R, or the other gatekeepers on these platforms. I don’t even know how to create with those things in mind. But if you tell me the goal is to inspire? That makes my job a lot easier.”
While the contents of his latest limited edition CD package aren’t available to the public, a purchase of the album is coupled with an invitation to a private listening session for the rapper’s next release.
In the same interview with the Guardian, Hussle also credited R&B singer Ryan Leslie with the means by which he released the new album.
“Ryan gave me access to software that he’s been developing, and even redesigned my website,” Hussle said. “The software is a direct consumer enhancement tool that allows creators of the content to own the relationship, and own the data of those transactions. It existed before Mailbox Money, but its first usage is with the release of this album. It’s going to blossom pretty soon, and I feel like it’s something every artist is going to use. You had to add Instagram, you had to add Twitter, and I feel like everybody will be using this.”
As for the inspiration behind his unusual pricing structure, Hussle seemed to blame current major label signing deals for his own bypassing of the system.
“The labels aren’t letting us live,” he said. “They’re not letting artists own anything! We’re going to end up 60 years old without a pot to piss in—no catalogue, no mailbox money, no residuals. We’re supposed to be in control. We’re supposed to own this shit. Unless you don’t have the mental capacity to do so, but that doesn’t apply to me.”