Has there ever been a better time for the independent hip hop artist to thrive?
Independent artists can easily connect with fans, get invitations to live shows, and make money while at it. Unlike about a decade ago, when most new talent needed association with industry bigwigs and producers to really break the glass ceiling, one can easily make a website, and start cultivating an audience right from day one. All an independent rapper needs to create, distribute and promote their music is a laptop, and some determination.
In this article, we’re going to look at the top 8 hip hop artists in the game right now. This list is a combination of well-known veterans, talented new comers, savvy business minds, and lyricists from New York, LA, Atlanta, and all over the country.
The artists who’ve been featured to this list embody the grind, hustle, entrepreneurial spirit and determination that represents hip hop culture.
1) Tech N9ne
This is the number one hip hop artist in the game today. Tech N9ne has proved himself to be the true king of the independent hip hop game for years on end, and nobody has really come strong enough to unseat him. This hip hop artist from Kansas City, along with the likes of Mac Miller, is one of very few independent rappers who’ve made it to Forbes yearly Hip Hop Cash Kings list. Others to have made it to this hall of fame include Eminem, Puff, Birdman, and Hov.
Tech and Travis O’Guin, his partner and Strange Music CEO, have built a very powerful organization that’s raking in 8 figures each year. Most of their profits come from touring merchandise and music sales. To be independent means being able to do things by yourself, to cut the middleman and create, distribute, organize, book, promote, negotiate and market for yourself. If there’s anyone who’s been able to do this super-well, that’s Tech N9ne.
2) Chance The Rapper
Chance The Rapper is always shutting down major label deals and sticking to his own independent grind. Based on a Complex article on the cost of booking rappers, it appears that Chance is doing a $35,000 fee per show. That’s enough money to easily rake in between a million and three million in annual income, even after subtracting expenses. And this is notwithstanding all the money he makes with endorsement deals, feature appearances, and writing music for other artists.
Chance is faring quite well on his own, and there isn’t any chance why he might want to sign up with a label (unless, of course, the label is offering 100% creative control – which is highly unlikely – and an obscene amount of money).
3) Joey Bada$$
Joey Bada$$ is no less than the shining star of the New York hop scene. Aged just 21 years, this guy has got a lot of vision for his brand. Joey has managed to cultivate a loyal fan base who’ll follow him everywhere he goes. His debut album, …