Interscope has been pimping their artists for a minute now. From Jadakiss to Young Buck, many rappers have warned us on and off tracks of Interscope’s shady business practices—frequently cited as shelving artists and, in a few notable instances, limiting their creative control.
Chief Keef is the latest artist to have had a falling out with the division of Universal Music Group. Despite Sosa’s insistence through his tweets that the relationship has been severed, there is no indication that him and Interscope have formally parted ways—at least not yet. They probably will, though. I can’t imagine Interscope maintaining the contract of an artist who refers to them as WhiteHonkies in front of nearly a million devout Twitter followers for much longer.
Incidentally, I’m not too upset to see the two parties go their separate ways. It wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven. Chief Keef is most likely worth little to Interscope as a human being aside from his marketability, and there are at least one-hunned different reasons why Chief Keef doesn’t need Interscope, either, as a platform to succeed. With the good of Chief Keef comes the bad: although he has had somewhat of a problematic public persona, including multiple citations of involvement in gang violence, the brand of innovation he is partially responsible for pioneering within the sphere of Hip Hop music is remarkable. Without Chief Keef, there would most likely be no Rich Homie Quan or Bobby Shmurda, just to name a few—and whether you like these dudes or not, you have to admit that they’ve been important in shaping the current course of the Hip Hop lifestyle. That being said, his behavior hasn’t always made him the best ambassador for a record label that includes the likes of Imagine Dragons and Carly Rae Jepsen. I’m sure Interscope isn’t lamenting too much over the souring of relations. There will always be artists willing to prostitute themselves so long as there is art.
If I were Chief Keef I wouldn’t be lamenting either. He has the opportunity to take his music in unfettered directions going forward—a situation critical for the development of the young rapper’s voice in an industry teeming with snakes.
Lots of people falsely assume that a gangster image, reinforced by real-life association/participation, is a bad look for major labels. Interscope has the same ability to profit off of violence and controversy just as much as other power structures in society do. It wouldn’t surprise me if Keef’s involvement with Interscope prompted a lot of his subsequent behavior, exposing him to a lifestyle that, at the time, he wasn’t well equipped to handle emotionally. It seems like if he would’ve had the influences and resources that major-label funding should rightly provide then he could’ve experienced personal growth alongside artistic achievement.
So don’t get it twisted: Interscope won’t drop Chief Keef because of anything he’s done off of the field. The only reason Interscope would drop an artist is if said artist was no longer of use to them from a monetary standpoint, and that’s true shit.