Lately I’ve been getting a lot of requests for features on tracks from different artist around the world and I am beginning to think that people have the wrong idea about what we do as artist. It is clear that many of you do not understand that for many of us this is our job. This is how we feed our families and pay our rent or mortgage. Of course we love the art and love what we do but, that does not negate the fact that we as artist offer a service and it is not wrong for us to expect to be compensated for that service.
When a little or unknown artist asks an artist with some popularity and a larger name to feature on a track that feature request usually has a two pronged purpose. First, working with one of your favorite artist could be a dream come true and the request for the feature is out of sheer respect and admiration. The other purpose is to boost the popularity, interest and awareness of that particular song. Of course there are exceptions but, this is the basic rule. For example, if Mc Fly Guy gets a feature from Nas on his album he will most likely use that song for a single knowing that people are more likely to listen to a song that has Nas on it then a song with just him not knowing who he is no matter how good of a rapper. Mc Fly Guy has little to no popularity and is a huge fan of Nas. Now if Nas asked to get paid for this feature is Nas wrong? Mc Fly Guy will be using Nas name and reputation to promote this song and hopefully bring attention and money to himself in the process. Now some of you reading this may say “Illogic you are not Nas” and of course I am not but, does that make the use of my name less important? Should I not value my name and reputation just as much? I have worked on my career and built my name for over a decade and for me that is worth something. This the same for all artists underground or not.
I had one particular person get truly offended when I requested payment for a feature. In short he told me that I am a sell out because I expected to get paid to write a verse and for him to use my name on his album. He told me that I should do it for the love of the work and put the work in to promote and possible make money on the back end. So he basically wanted me to allow him to use my voice, name and on top of that work for him to promote his music. He told me that it was for the greater good of Hip Hop or something like that. He told me that I was all about money and I didn’t care about the art all because I wanted to get paid for my work. He said that my value should not be in my name it should be in my work. I tried to explain that me doing a song with him benefits him more than it would benefit me and I have no problem with that. I know how the game works but, I expected to be compensated for it. He did not listen to anything I was tiring to say. I’m being nice with what he said. Frankly he was an asshole about it and was extremely disrespectful in his approach to the point that I was really angry.
The point that I was trying to make to him is that this is my job. This music helps to keep my lights on in my home and gas in my car. It helps me pay my rent and put food on the table for my wife and children. It is just fortunate for me that I love what I do. Any of you that go to work everyday expect to be compensated for your service and we artist only ask for the same. Don’t take it as we don’t love the art or are all about money. Understand that this is our livelihood. We put work in for years to build enough of a name so we could feed our families from something that we love and you who try to degrade us because we want to get paid for work are cheapening our profession. Many of you already don’t buy our music anyway; you find it and download it for free. Where is the real support? Of course this is not directed at everyone but, you who it is directed at know how you are. I have heard countless stories like this from other friends of mine that are artist for a living and it is mind boggling how little some who call themselves fans of ours think of us.
I feel you. Just want to say your a real inspiration to me as a lyricist.