Every now and then you get a story that warms people up taking place right on Twitter timelines. An upcoming artist reaches out to an established bigwig and strikes a lucky break in the form of a put on or co-sign of some sort.
Someone who recently caught one such lucky break is a dude that goes by the name Mass The Difference (Twitter: @MassTheDiffer) when he reached out to Cassper Nyovest and J Cole, tagging a video of himself rapping on a boombap beat. It would be months before he got a response from any of the dudes he tagged.
You guys inspire me both!—
Utlwa how I Rap🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/LrJRe5996h
MASS THE DIFFERENCE (@MassTheDiffer) February
Things moved fast once Cassper Nyovest stepped up in response, asking for MTD to send the beat for him to lace on. Not long after that Cassper dropped his own video in a similar black and white style to the one MTD. The style is abstract and brings a nostalgic feel to it. And boy, Nyovest stepped up, reminding sceptics like me that he can actually rap when he wants to. And later on in the day, a full version of the song was released. See lyrics here.
I’d like to jump past the product of the interaction and focus on the importance of the interaction itself, the put-on. This was not the first time Cassper Nyovest used his platform and influence to put on a younger upcoming artist. He did the same with Nasty C when it was most crucial. That there is the crux of it all – established artist helping to pave the way for new acts. Cassper himself is a product of a put on from HHP. And there has been a number of put-ons since.
While these put-ons work to introduce an artist, the same might be required to bring them to a point of sustainability when signed to other artists. In these times where artists are heading up their own production houses and being responsible for other artists, what’s needed past the put on is a similar approach, applied past just one point of introduction.
This consistency might be the answer that will break the great curse of labels ran by artists where they tend to compete with their own artists and end up restricting their growth in the process.
In any case, once an artist starts a label, they are in business. And it’s good business for your artists to do good, ego aside. Many a times in SA Hip Hop we have seen a failure to separate the businessman from the artist.
A culture of paying it forward is the answer to all of this. It’s what could make the difference.