Could you imagine charting billboard.com from your home studio? Street Legal is West Michigan Native that has a story that shouldn't be so quick to forget. Street Legal has been a promoter & a recording artists for a long time. He's no beginner when it comes to making hip-hop records. Street Legal has had the chance to collaborate with industry names such as Young Buck, Lil Wyte, & much more. What we need to highlight today is Street Legals latest solo album "Free Speech." Street Legal managed to chart Billboard from his home studio here in West Michigan.
With features from Cryptic Wisdom & D-12's Bizzarre "Free Speech" has some very great music. Two of the album's videos were captured by the notorious Jimmy Ball. "The Last Dance" (Music Video) is available on Youtube for viewing.
The raw emotion really draws you in & gives you goosebumps. Watch the story of a drug addict who partakes in a physically and emotional abusive relationship.
Jimmy Ball really made the song come alive. Street Legal is an inspiration to many artists, and luckily let me give him an interview. As an artist myself, I was really curious to know more about his greatness. Keep reading to learn more about how you can chart billboard.com just like Street Legal.
E.R. The Maker : “How long have you been doing music for?”
Street Legal: "I started writing way back in 1998. I was 13 years old (showing my age lol) and just lost some really close people to me, so I turned to writing as a form of therapy. I didn’t gain access to a studio until 2006....home studios weren’t really common back then, so you had to find the plug lol. Since then it’s been a wrap! "
E.R. The Maker - “Where are you from?”
Street Legal: "Originally I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan. When I was 7 we moved out to Greenville, Michigan for a minute....I’ve been back & forth between the two ever since. So when people ask what city I‘m from, I always rep them both. Some great people in them cities man, they’ve showed a ton of support over the years!"
E.R. The Maker: “How did you get into hip-hop?”
Street Legal: "Great question. I remember my mom used to pick me up from like 1st grade and she had the MC Hammer & Vanilla Ice cassette tapes. They were hot back then, so that planted the seed. But when I first heard BIGGIE a few years later....THAT is when I fell in love! That “Ready To Die” album just hit me. Then I got 2pac’s All Eyez On Me project! I just started buying up all the shit I could afford (pre-internet, we actually had to purchase everything lol) and just studying what this shit was. I was in love with it man. From there it turned into writing lyrics to escape pain. At first, I was just emulating what I’d heard on my favorite albums. Once I found some original beats I figured fuck it, why not me? So I gave it a try. Started studying classics & refining my craft over those early years. Now we’re here!"
E.R. The Maker: “What is your advice for Artists coming up.”
Street Legal: "This is actually a tough question because there’s so many pieces that they really need to hear! A few key things I try to instill in the young cats I work with are these:
⁃ Don’t jump into hiphop thinking it’s a money grab. It’s gonna take a TON of work & dedication to reach success. So if you pursue it, pursue it out of passion.
⁃ Be prepared to invest in yourself. Today’s industry requires a lot of investment....not only financially, but time as well. You’re a business. Be prepared to sacrifice for this shit if you really want it.
⁃ Learn EVERYTHING you can. Especially the business. Find experienced mentors. Listen more than talk. Take notes. And set your damn ego aside. Being humble gets you much further.
⁃ Perseverance. You’ll hear “no” a million times, and that’s ok. You’ll never please everyone, and you shouldn’t try to. JUST BE YOU, and NEVER compromise your integrity!
⁃ Follow your HAPPINESS. Fuck money. Fuck reputation. Fuck all that dumb shit that social media & the industry tries to push on you. At the end of the day, what makes YOU happy? Set goals around that & you’ll never lose."
E.R. The Maker: “How Does it feel to chart billboard as an Independent artist right from your home studio?”
Bro, it’s incredible. I’ve achieved so much over the years, so I wanted to set a goal so lofty that I thought I couldn’t hit it. Low & behold, the fans pulled through and reminded me how lucky I am to be doing this shit at this level. They really showed out, and I kept my promise of delivering a great album in return. Together, we made history!
You don’t need a big label deal or anything like that to be great. You just need to educate yourself, conduct solid business, and work your ass off. At the end of the day, I’m just a regular dude who wasn’t scared to look foolish by following his passion, even still when I’m older than your average rapper. And by not caring what people think & just being genuine, people have really gravitated toward me. It’s crazy what can happen when you’re comfortable just being yourself & taking shit to that next level. The people who support me are incredible, some true Thorough Breads!
E.R. The Maker: "How did you do it?"
Street Legal: "The shit is easy as far as the setup.
⁃ Order your physical albums & setup digital distribution (I use DiscMakers for physicals & CD Baby for digital)
⁃ Register your UPC(s) with Nielsen Soundscan that way the sales actually count toward Billboard (Billboard and other major reporting services use Nielsen’s data). If you have multiple UPCs for your project, be sure to request a merge so Nielsen knows they are all for the same project.
⁃ Setup your online store & report your UPC(s) to them as well. Be sure you use a storefront that reports to Nielsen so your sales get reported. If your website don’t report to them, mine does....just shoot me an email (my info is below).
That’s the bare minimum, easy as that! You’ll need a fan base capable of showing enough support (sales). I’d also suggest reading up on Nielsen’s rules....they are strict about what constitutes a sale & have ways to prohibit people cheating the system. For instance, they prohibit bulk sales, discounts beyond a certain percent, some bundled sales, and so on....you’ll definitely want to read up on it. Which is great, because that keeps their numbers legitimate for the most part. There’s obviously strategy shit that comes into play also....you wanna market your project well, get a street team setup if possible, release some dope videos prior to the album release date to help the social media push, etc.
One HUGE strategy that helped me was running a pre-sale....that allowed me a couple of weeks to gather sales & allow my fans time to budget for the release. Since my album didn’t drop until September 28th, those previous weeks didn’t report to Nielsen until then. So this actually gives you an advantage because all pre-sales count toward your first week sales (light bulb goes off). This is what I mean when I say study the business. Study how things work. Study how money is made. Study how contracts work. How labels work. How they rape you lol. How independent is far & away the best route for a motivated artist. How the artist has become the customer in today’s industry. How people are using the dreams of inexperienced artists to rip them off at every turn. Just study. Knowledge & experience is EVERYTHING."
(FREE SPEECH ALBUM COVER)
You can find STREET LEGAL on all major streaming platforms and online at www.ThoroughBreadMusic.com
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