During a recent appearance on DJ Akademiks’ Off The Record podcast, the Alabama-born crooner revealed his “You’re Mines Still” collaboration with the 6 God sparked an intense bidding war between record labels, skyrocketing the value of the deals he was being offered.
Bleu began by explaining how he was “hurt” and “didn’t have a lot” after departing Columbia Records in 2019, to the point he contemplated taking an unfavorable record deal that offered him a $250,000 advance for four projects and the rights to his old masters.
Bleu eventually signed an independent deal with EMPIRE, who gave him $150,000 for an EP release with few strings attached. “Enlightened” by such a partnership, he returned to EMPIRE and earned an additional $300,000 for Love Scars: The 5 Stages Of Emotions, which contained the original solo version of “You’re Mines Still.” Shortly after, Drake came calling.
“I was like, ‘Man, if they give me this money for this project, why would I tie myself down?'” he said. “And then they promising me another $300K, so I just made like $450K with them in six months. ‘Shit, this the wave!’ I text Nima [Etminan, CEO of EMPIRE] one day like, ‘Man, Drake told me to send him ‘You’re Mines Still.” He like, ‘Get the fuck out of here.'”
— BLEU (@_YungBleu) October 13, 2020
With help from NBA star and fellow Alabama native DeMarcus Cousins, Drake jumped on the remix to “You’re Mines Still” just weeks later, catapulting the song to No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s when the relatively modest figures Bleu had been offered up to that point skyrocketed to seven figures.
“That’s when I started seeing them real numbers,” he said. “Just to put it into perspective, as soon as the Drake record dropped, I was having bidding wars between $8 and $9 million.”
In fact, EMPIRE even reworked the deal they had with the Moon Boy to reflect his rising stock.
“See, this is why I fuck with EMPIRE because they still had me for another project, so once I did the Drake song, they came back and redid my deal to way more,” he added. “But they ain’t have to, though, because they still had me for the $300,000. A major label’s not finna do that.”
Yung Bleu is far from the only young artist to have benefitted from “the Drake effect.” Migos (“Versace Remix”), Fetty Wap (“My Way Remix”), ILoveMakonnen (“Tuesday”), BlocBoy JB (“Look Alive”) and Dave (“Wanna Know Remix”) all enjoyed a boost early in their careers thanks to the Toronto megastar jumping on their songs.
Then, of course, there are fellow Canadian artists such as The Weeknd, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Majid Jordan, Roy Woods and dvsn, who have been able to walk through the door that the 6 God has opened (the latter four are signed to his OVO Sound label).
Watch Yung Bleu’s full interview with DJ Akademiks below.