Crowdfunding has become the quickest way for artists/entrepreneurs/potato salad chefs to directly engage with their fans. Creatives can kill two birds with one stone by getting money directly from their base and gauge actual interest in whatever they want to get off the ground. It’s worked wonders in the fields of gaming, movies, books, board games, and food, and musicians are becoming increasingly attracted to the pseudo independence that comes with a Kickstarter campaign.
Hip-hop has a handful of campaigns to its name, some insanely successful, others falling short of their goals. Check out seven of them below.
$3,505 (at time of writing)
Jersey’s own Naughty By Nature are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year by dropping an EP, and they’re prepared to send you enough pilot jackets, vinyl, and complimentary games of pool in order to make it happen.
Yes, two of New York’s hardest hip-hop acts were actually preparing to release a joint album produced by Snowgoons for a minute there. The campaign eventually collapsed under the pressure of beef between the two groups. At least they’ve still got “Throw Ya Gunz” and “Ante Up”
Coney Island’s own Torae has his hands in too many baskets, so he decided to reach out to the fans for support and interest in his second studio album. “I used Kickstarter as a marketing tool to see who was really down. It was a heat check,” he says in our exclusive interview. “I found out someone was willing to pay $600 for me to come to their house and play the album. That’s valuable.”
His gamble paid off when Entitled was released just a couple of weeks ago.
Elzhi’s Kickstarter campaign has been wrought with controversy. The project was funded back in December 2013, but progress was slow. Promises of singles, artwork, and rewards fell by the wayside, and by January 2016, fans were tired of waiting for the new album to drop and filed a lawsuit against the rapper. Earlier today (January 29), Elzhi announced via Noisey that the album, now called Lead Poison, is dropping in March. Good things come to those who wait, then complain. Check out the new single “coSIGN” below.
3. Geto Boys
The legendary Houston group wanted to deliver another album to their legion of fans who’ve waited patiently since 2005’s The Foundation. But for whatever reason, that fanbase couldn’t be galvanized to get Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill the $100,000 they needed to bring the project to life. Scarface went on record saying “We had a great run. And every few years we should tour. But I don’t know if that reunion is ever gonna be. If the fans don’t wanna do that shit, then I don’t do it. I’m with the fans on this one.”
After the death of member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in 2002, both remaining members of the phenomenally popular R&B/pop group Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, took to Kickstarter to fund their fifth and final album. The duo only asked for $150,000, which they received in less than 48 hours, and ended their campaign with upwards of $400,000. Given their financial troubles in the past, having “the fastest most funded pop project in Kickstarter history” is a really sweet ending. The album is set to drop sometime this year.
1. De La Soul
The legendary New York trio came out of the woodwork last year to announce their seventh album And The Anonymous Nobody and a Kickstarter campaign to go with it. They made just over $600,000 off of a $110,000 pledge to become the third most successful music project in Kickstarter’s history. De La’s also lagging behind their original September 2015 release, but steady updates have the project pegged for April 29, 2016.