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The True Story Behind That Hot New Guest VersePosted by Nathan S. on 04/21/12 | Filed under Top Stories, Features
Weekend Edition: The weeks most popular stories on RefinedHype, running from Saturday to Monday morning.
I really don't believe the average fan cares how new music gets to them, so long as new music gets to them. But RefinedHype Nation is not comprised of average fans, so whether it's pay for post fuckery, digital distribution or royalty payments, I do my best to share what little knowledge I have of what happens behind the scenes with the citizenry.
And today a not-particularly-rare situation unfolded that made me think I should delve a little into the stories behind the guest verses we hear every day. Now I'm not going to name names here. I want people to focus on the larger issue, not the specifics, but you can probably figure it out if you feel like investigating. Here's the situation:
Track comes out for a lesser-known rapper featuring a famous rapper. Minutes later, I get an email from the famous rapper saying, "Don't post this, I don't know this guy and I don't know how he got the verse." I hit up lesser-known rapper and he says he got the verse from a DJ, who assured him that the verse was legit and totally cool to use.
That may not be a common occurrence, but it's far from a rare one. In the digital verses can be recorded, sent, resent and resent again until someone's got a verse from a famous rapper they've never so much as emailed with sitting on their desktop. DJs, who are constantly being sent new music, are great candidates to accumulate such verses, which they then often sell or hand out in exchange for a favor. Hence today's situation.
Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing or shady thing - DJs can help put together dope music that would have never seen the light of day otherwise - but it often can be a bad/shady thing (as we saw today). Even worse are beat brokers who, like some rap used salesman, buys verses from DJs and other then resells them for a profit. It's not uncommon to get an email blast from someone saying, "I got new Busta Rhymes and Gudda Gudda verses! Hit me up for prices!" I don't know what suckers buy those verses, but obviously there are enough suckers out there to make it a lucrative business.
As long as I'm here, the same thing happens to producers constantly too. I can't even begin to count how many times a producer has told me he has no idea how a certain rapper got his production. More times than not, Rapper A will hit up Producer A for some beats. Producer A sends over some beats, Rapper A decides not to use any of the beats but keeps them on his computer. (This even happens to more established producers like Madlib.)
A year later Rapper A is in the studio, randomly comes across Producer A's beats, rapper B also happens to be in the studio, overhears it, says, "Yo, let me get that!" and before you know it, Producer A is hearing a new track from Rapper B featuring his production that he's never met and probably didn't want to work with.
Ultimately, here's the point I'm trying to make. If you're a rapper, definitely think twice before grabbing a verse from a rapper you don't actually know and wasn't actually written for your song. Sure, you may get a momentary push in publicity, but it's far more likely you'll end up making a weak song and pissing bunch of people off.
Second, if you're a fan, you might be surprised by how much of the new music you her everyday has come about essentially at random. Like some hip-hop Frankenstein, a solid percentage of the music you hear everyday was created by piecing together a new verse, a two-year old guest verse from a more famous rapper who'd completely forgotten he'd ever recorded it and a beat from a producer who's never met anyone involved.
Ah...the joys of music in the digital age.