Independent labels are taking over the game, and we're here to highlight a selection of them.
We're in midst of a major shift in hip-hop right now, where rappers are taking matters into their own hands. Major labels like Interscope, Def Jam, and Atlantic Records seem to be having less control over their artists. The tide is changing, and the result is a mainly positive one. Fans are receiving music how they want, when they want, from their favorite artists without the major-label hassle.
While we've seen successful independent artists take their talents to major labels, like Logic signing to Def Jam under Visionary Music Group for instance, the opposite is gradually becoming more common. Last year Compton, California rapper Game opted out of his contract with Interscope to become an independent artist. Azealia Banks, another artist unhappy with her record deal, recently did the same. As did 50 Cent.
Though going the independent route can be rewarding in many ways, it can also be very risky. Like any entrepreneur would tell you, the DIY method requires much responsibility and effort. The chances of crashing and burning are equal to if not higher than the chances of succeeding. However, independent rappers continue to prove us wrong. Just look at the 2014 XXL Freshman class. Nearly half of the dozen artists on the list are working independently or chose to sign with an independent label. Troy Ave, we see you. The tide is changing, and the industry is becoming flooded with independent talent.
Scroll through the list to unveil 10 Independent Labels who are up next. Major labels stay away, because these indies are well on their way to stardom. Take note that we chose to include indie labels without any major label association (i.e. no Dreamville, 300 or Cinematic), likewise, we avoided all independent labels that already have a well-established reputation, such as Fool's Gold and Rhymesayers Entertainment.