Thug’s elastic delivery carrying more meaning than its lyrics. By February, Kanye had reportedly summoned Young Thug to California from his home in Atlanta to record. It turned out the answer was a record label whose contract with Thug was a secret. Because although Young Thug wanted nothing to do with the label, he’d signed a contract with them that he couldn’t get out of. According to multiple sources, he felt ripped off and went rogue, how To Make Money With Tailoring Legion out new advisers, while those at the label that now owned a percentage of his income scratched their heads and waited.
In the meantime, the career of one of hip-hop’s most promising rising stars hung in the balance. 1017 Thug’s title pledged allegiance to Gucci Mane’s label, 1017 Brick Squad, and Thug has remained fiercely loyal to Gucci since that tape’s release. Thug’s allegiance wasn’t in name only — he’d also signed a binding production deal with Gucci Mane and 1017 Brick Squad. This happened around March 2013, said an Atlanta music publicist who has worked with Thug. So when Young Thug signed another deal with Atlantic Records imprint Artist Partners Group just weeks after Gucci Mane returned to jail last September, it’s not clear if he knew that by doing so, he was creating an arranged marriage of sorts between them and Gucci Mane. I think at that point, felt like the Gucci contract was void. APG on the Young Thug project and was privy to Thug’s contract negotiations and promotional budget. APG has two divisions: Artist Partners Group for recording artists and Artist Publishing Group for producers. When APG look at someone, they think about breaking somebody into popular culture, not something that’s gonna be the hottest thing on the urban market.
That’s the reason APG exists: They’re gonna go find those talents that Atlantic Records probably wouldn’t put any money into, cause they’re a higher risk. According to Jordan, APG thought of Young Thug as a risky artist, with a vague name that might be hard to sell. R department — on the idea. Still, even though APG stood to make money from Thug’s music as well as his other ventures, their up-front investment in him was small. Until the early ’00s, labels focused less on promoting existing songs than creating new ones, and tailoring them to mainstream tastes. In post-Gucci Mane 2014, artists compete to be seen as street favorites, making hits on their own terms that spread organically among fans, with the help of tastemaking blogs and sites like Livemixtapes. These days, rappers prove their viability by breaking into public consciousness independently. R guy is at this point is just checking the internet and being like, ‘Who’s bubbling? How can I get that guy to make money for me?
By the end of January, Jordan said, APG had stopped spending money on Young Thug altogether. Rapper Danny Brown asked Thug to open up for him on the U. Jordan says Thug turned down the offer when APG refused to pay for Thug’s tour expenses, because he hadn’t been cooperating with them. The easy scapegoat here is APG — the industry guys signing the local scene king for whatever he’d take. But in fact, it seems there’s no one party totally responsible for what’s become of Thug’s deal. He wouldn’t take the time to go meet with a lawyer.
Young Thug did not respond to multiple inquiries, through reps, to comment for this story. This type of situation — an artist signing a production deal, then joining up with a major label — is not uncommon, and usually wouldn’t be an issue, if the original deal-holder was able to negotiate the terms of the new deal. But by implying he was a free agent when he signed with APG, Young Thug essentially forced an unintended partnership between APG and Gucci Mane, without either party’s consent. It didn’t help that Gucci Mane and Atlantic already had a particularly sticky relationship.
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Gucci Mane was once signed to Atlantic as a solo act, and his boutique imprint 1017 Brick Squad was distributed by Atlantic. According to Jordan, APG realized that Thug had a pre-existing deal with Gucci Mane around Thanksgiving 2013. R who brought Thug into APG, called Thug a liar, according to Jordan. After that incident, APG’s working relationship with Thug unraveled quickly, and Thug’s star rose rapidly. In January, while Kanye was dancing to Thug at clubs, Thug fired his manager, Marcos Rippy, who had brokered the deal with APG. Robin Thicke’s manager — spent time with Young Thug in the studio.
For Thug to get out of the APG deal, according to Jordan, APG would have to willingly terminate the contract, or Thug would have to fulfill the obligations of the contract — to record and release music. Even so, Thug continued to speak as if he was clear to get out of the APG deal and move elsewhere. After just a couple of weeks, Young Thug and Bu parted ways. According to multiple sources, Birdman — the Cash Money Records mogul best known for guiding the careers of Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Drake — came on as Young Thug’s manager in February. He’s been dreaming of working with those guys his whole life.
When asked about his label allegiances these days, Thug trumpets this new affiliation. March interview with The Fader, referring to the name of Birdman’s management company. It’s uncertain what Thug, with the backing of his idols, will do now. Thug’s friends have been releasing new Thug songs online, apparently against the will of APG.
But Young Thug’s gonna do what Young Thug’s gonna do. All of this uncertainty has become a part of Thug’s appeal. Isn’t his charm, at least for now, his being fundamentally unwrangleable? You don’t wanna create some romantic idea of a guy who’s an outlaw from the system, but I like the fact that he seems to be operating a bit in the void right now.
Thug from APG to 300, the new label from veteran executives Lyor Cohen, Todd Moscowitz, and Kevin Liles, which will be distributed by Atlantic. According to Jordan, it may be possible for 300 to sign Young Thug because 300 is in the Atlantic system, and has more sway over Atlantic chairs Craig Kallman and Julie Greenwald than APG CEO Mike Caren. If Thug does sign a deal with 300, it seems that Gucci Mane will remain involved in some capacity too. In the meantime, a Gucci Mane and Young Thug joint album will be released on April 1. The songs on it were recorded in the summer 2013, before Gucci Mane went to jail, according to the Atlanta publicist.
The biggest takeaway from the Thug mess is that the music industry is hungry for capital-A artists, who’ve independently proven themselves to be creative, polarizing, or generally attention-grabbing enough to cut through the clutter around them and engage their niche of the market. You want somebody who has potential, the talent, and is a star. But for his fans, Young Thug is now a star in waiting, a corkscrewing voice with a deep inner well of resonant ideas. Fans know how he sounds, but they’re waiting to see how his brand might look on a large scale. For now, though, the dream of his emergence from label limbo, his sonic promise matched to a big-budget live show with outrageous costuming, feels distant, and hard to touch. Andrew Nosnitsky, who runs two popular rap blogs.
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