Jonah Berger Details Inspiration Behind Nipsey Hussle's $100 Mixtape Idea
Exclusive: Author Jonah Berger explains how his book "Contagious: How Things Catch On" inspired Nipsey Hussle to sell his "Crenshaw" mixtape for $100.
During a recent interview, Nipsey Hussle said that Jonah Berger's Contagious: How Things Catch On book inspired his $100 mixtape #Proud2Pay campain for Crenshaw.
Berger spoke with HipHopDX about how his book might have inspired Hussle and why he believes Crenshaw's #Proud2Pay initiative succeeded with Hussle making $100,000 in one day off of the mixtape's sales.
"The $100 mixtape is a really clever application of the principles I talk about in Contagious," Berger says in an exclusive statement to HipHopDX. "It’s great to see how successful he's been with it. Word of mouth is ten times more effective than advertising. When used correctly, like Nipsey did, it’s a really powerful marketing tool."
After the project's sales figures came in, Hussle revealed that he sold all of Crenshaw's 1,000 physical copies that were pressed. He also said that Jay Z purchased 100 copies of the mixtape.
$100 Cheesteak Sparked Nipsey Hussle's $100 Mixtape Idea
During a recent interview with New York radio station Power 105.1, Hussle said he got the idea from a $100 cheesesteak he read about in Berger's book.
"This new high-end steakhouse was about to open in Philly and needed to generate buzz," Berger says of the story that inspired Hussle. "So they came out with a $100 cheesesteak. It’s got Kobe beef, topped with a lobster tail, and served with Clicquot champagne. But it’s more than just a cheesesteak. As I talk about in Contagious, it’s is a Trojan Horse Story that helped the restaurant catch on. The story is remarkable. People would expect a cheesesteak to cost $5 and people talked about it because it made them look cool and in-the-know. But along the way, the story acts like a walking advertisement for the restaurant, grabbing people’s attention and helping the place become popular."
According to Berger, his book can help many musicians with their careers.
"Contagious is filled with concepts that musicians can use to get attention and make it big," Berger says. "How to boost sales. How to get more word of mouth. How to get your albums and projects catch on. The book talks about 6 factors, or STEPPS, that make it all work: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public, Practical Value and Stories. There’s also a free workbook on my website that anyone can download to help them apply the ideas."
Hussle applied some of those ideas with Crenshaw, creating a marketing plan that he has said he will reuse when his album, Victory Lap album hits stores.
When asked how it feels to have an idea from his book influence a Hip Hop artist, Berger says he hopes more can benefit from his work.
"It’s pretty dope," Berger says. "I wrote the book to help people take advantage of the cheapest and most effective marketing tool out there, and shout out to Nipsey for how he’s run with the ideas. Hopefully other people will do the same."
In an article published October 29, Hussle spoke with New York radio station Power 105.1 about how Berger's book influenced his plan to release Crenshaw for $100.
"I got a few mentors who put me on books and literature and all that," Hussle said of his inspiration behind his mixtape's release. "I got to the second chapter of [Contagious: Why Things Catch On]. It was just talking about how this restaurant owner in Philly started selling Philly cheesesteaks for $100 out of his restaurant. It set off all types of conversations. Everybody was talking about it. All types of influential people came through and wanted to check out why it was $100. Oprah came through and bought one. David Letterman bought one. He got all type of exposure and publicity. It became a staple. Everybody started to come through to support, buying $100 cheesesteaks. I put the book down and I was like, 'We about to do that with the album. Nobody did that with music.'"