Rather than abandon ship, Cons devoted himself to following the DIY marketing trends of a successful unsigned artist, and got it in. With at least four self-financed videos, magazine columns, and even a viral video of playing a toddler's game with Jay-Z on YouTube, we're talking about Don't Quit Your Day Job like it dropped last week.
With a new group with Statik Selektah and video director Rik Cordero coming together, Consequence is keeping it in-house in the 2008. As his You Win Some, You Lose Some is carefully crafted away, his debut album continues to move from the latter category to the former. In a discussion with HipHopDX, Consequence reveals how to stay relevant, with slow-cooked albums and fast-paced marketing and promotion. Relax and take notes.
HipHopDX: Youre still working on your album, hard, after a year of it being on the shelves. Tell me about that, and the connection you feel to Dont Quit Your Day Job, and what youve done beyond what the label did
Consequence: I can definitely say, and this is a real number, 75% of anything that youve ever seen or heard, promotional-wise regarding Day Job has been from my hands. [Laughs] Via going into my pocket, via getting into my car and driving to do a shoot; the record came out, and it had a slow start on a major scale. A lot of people didnt really grasp the concept that I put the record out through Red. I almost really didnt have a choice. Go the distribution route or play the waiting game, and I had been waiting 10 years already. Thats what people dont really understand. I had been doing a metaphorical bid on the streets, and I had been waiting 10 years to drop a record. This all resonates from my situation with The Ummah.
With the Sony situation, there was a time where I was told that I didnt have no temperature, and they didnt know when the record was coming out. When I really got on, on an admin level, I figured out a situation to get the record to come out. The perception was that since it came out and had a slow start that it wasnt good. Or it wasnt classic. I really felt in my heart that it was. Even with being in G.O.O.D. Music, falling in the totem pole hurt me a bit cause it was, Oh, he must not be as good as Common and Kanye. Nah, this record is terrific, but youre not getting to see that, so I gotta figure this out. It just took a little bit of time.
DX: You mention coming out of your pocket. A lot of artists try to make money off of advances and cut their losses. These recent videos
C: I couldve cut my losses! [A writer for King Magazine] told me, You couldve just cut your losses and started working on something else. I couldnt cut my losses, on me! Dont Quit Your Day Job is me! It is me packaged as a CD. Its my life. The Spaceship verse is me. Dont Quit Your Day Job is me from the deal with The Ummah to that little gray area to when me and Kanye linked up and started working together. That is probably the most passionate time in my life cause I was down on my luck. The only thing I can sell is what I know. The most passionate thing I could tell you is, Yo, I went from being a person who was essentially bout to pop off to a person who had to go back to work, and now Im back. Let me tell you about that, and how that feels. When you make your money, dont forget your peoples [was Dont Forget Em]. I couldnt quit on that. Its the just the irony of me calling it Dont Quit Your Day Job, and a year later, five videos later, and people are now are like, Yo, this shit is dope! Im gonna go buy four copies.
DX: Without necessarily getting into numbers, has that happened?
C: Its gradually spiking. The thing is, the internet, HipHopDX, Myspace Feel This Way got 350,000 hits in a week. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, 200,000. My playing Jay-Z [in Connect Four] is like all over the place! [Laughs] Utilizing the resources that you have [is the key]. I couldnt even go into a show when the album came out. When I saw what people were saying when the album came out [on message boards], people were chalking it up as a failure. I told people a year ago, The only thing I have to do is get my record out. That was the hardest part. After that, watch how I get it shakin.
DX: Let us not forget that Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt did not do great initial numbers, yet are revered as classics.
C: People from this era dont come from that. They dont know. Right now is the era of the haymaker. Just throwing that big punch, hoping it connects. If it connects, boom, you knocked em out. But if it dont, what happens then? You may not have the power-punch, but that dont mean you cant win the fight. You might have to switch styles. Promotion and boxing parallel so closely. Theyre both sciences. You have to figure out whats gonna work for you to get through the round. A haymaker might not always not do it.
DX: You had that line about you getting more buzz from playing Jay-Z in Connect Four on YouTube than your art. Having been on records in 1996, and having done this for so long, do you get frustrated with even that in of itself?
C: This is entertainment at the end of the day, and a show business. So a piece like me playing Jay-Z in Connect Four is lifestyle. Life is bigger than music, most of the time. You have to make people invest their money in you. Give them reason. Thats what temperature is to a label. People arent interested. People still want to buy into entertainment, and to music, but they have to be given just cause to. Everybody aint gonna sell a million records, and they definitely aint gonna do it right off the bat. The thing is, you have to give people reason to go to the store. The late 90s and early 00s kinda spoiled a lot of artists. Due to the fact that people were spending so much money. People were comin off a great economy. Everything circumvents. When youre coming off of a great economy like The Clinton era, people have money and they want [to spend]. Now with the Bush situation, theres no money. Youve got to adapt to that situation. You cant assume that people just arent interested. Life is 360.
DX: Im glad you brought that up. Do you think any candidate can affect Hip Hop commercialism in the next four years?
C: The only person I can give an honest answer to is Hillary, because of the Bill factor. She was instrumental in his administration as Im pretty sure he would be in hers. McCain is reallyhes a Republican, hes running with the same ideology as Bush. The threat [of terrorism] and national security. I dont know where he stands economically. Obama is very articulate, very clever, very smart guy, I just have never seen him execute, as far as a plan that would boost an economy. I only have one point of reference, cause of Bill Clinton. Thats the only reason I can say that.
DX: Im rarely a fan of mixtape verses. You had this track Do The Math that I probably play five times a week, from years ago. Tell me about that record
C: Oh, Do The Math! Thats probably one of my favorite raps! I had a homie named Al, that we would call algebra / But he could count money, just as fast as any challenger / And when it came down to certain days on the calendar / Hed walk around with a .38 caliber, thats just exercise. I just do verses like that cause I still love to rap. I still love to challenge myself when I do verses like that, or the verse on Gone or the verse on Champions. Thats just me loving to rap. I just hope I can keep doing verses like that.
DX: What do you think fans gravitate to the most in your style?
C: I come from the era of ill. The era where Redmans first album [Whut? Thee Album] came out, Snoops first album [Doggystyle] came out. You remember what it was. You really had to say something to make an impression. To incorporate the now, what I do is try to stay relevant. Just with the response my album got within the last year, it is relevant. My approach is do what I feel in my heart. When I hear records, I think of how I felt when I first heard Drink Away the Pain [by Mobb Deep], how it made me feel. When I was in the studio, the first couple times I was really starting to hang out with Q-Tip, and was being ushered into [A Tribe Called Quest]. We was in the studio when Nas was recording One Love. I was high outta my mind, passed out on the boards, but still, I was like, Yo, this is ill! [Laughs] Thats where I come from, and thats what makes me write things like Do The Math, that impression that that era left on me. It makes me go there. This is where I come from. When I spit for my guys, I want them to be like, Oh, this shit is crazy! [in Tyrone Biggums' voice]. I dont rhyme to get to the chorus; Ill get there later. I write choruses too, that aint nothing. Me and Q-Tip was the ones who came up with Stressed Out. Its nothing --- its something, cause thats where that bread is at. Its something, but its definitely isnt everything. What Im saying to get to the chorus is as important as the chorus itself.
DX: When the numbers came in for Dont Quit Your Day Job, you very publicly, offered to personally refund anybody who was unhappy with the album. How many people took you up on that?
C: Um, it might have been one person, honestly, out of thousands. It was people calling or leaving messages like, Yo, how much do I owe you for making this? Or, Yo B, Im gonna tell the homies to make sure they go get this, cause they aint up on game. It was one person who was like, Yo man dog, I dont really like this! [Laughs] Well, come get your money. Im right on the block. Come get it. [Laughs]
DX: Hip Hop loves dynasties. You are part of the Grammy Family. As crews like G-Unit, Re-Up Gang or USDA occupy the bulk of headlines, how do you think your artistic brethren and you will be remembered in the history books?
C: The whole movement is about to make a transition. I have a group coming out called Band Camp. We have a label of the same name. [The group] consists of me, Statik Selektah [click here to read feature...], Paula Campbell and director Rik Cordero [click here to read feature...]. Thats the new move. The album will be out [this year]. Look for Rik to say a verse or two. Paula is incredible. Thats really what Im on.
Definitely, the Grammy Family, John Legend, myself, Common, Kanye, GLC, [Really] Doe, SA-Raeverybodys made significant strides. Me and Kanye talked about a month ago, and we were just talking about a lot of internal crew stuff. Not for nothin, we all have made significant strides from the time he and I put out The Cons: Volume 1, when The Good, The Bad & The Ugly was the mixtape jump, when his mouth was still wired. If people remember that unit, theyll see that we all put our best foot forward to make good music.
DX: What else are you working towards in 2008?
C: The next record is called You Win Some, You Lose Some. Were looking to put that outI put myself in such a good position that I can just rap now. Its so beautiful. With the Feel This Way video, when we was in Europe on the Glow Tour, I wrote the treatment. Now Im veering in that direction. Were actually shooting Disperse in April; I just wrote the treatment for that. Im on it right now, man. Im really on it. The campaign for You Win Some, You Lose Some is gonna be marketed on a 360 scale where you see commercials for the skits; youll see it all before you buy it. Its coming along really, really good, man.