Earlier this year, Lil Wayne penned an essay in Time Magazine for Time’s 100 Most influential People issue. Among the list of pioneers, leaders, icons, and artists, was Nicki Minaj. Wayne described his mentee turned colleague as “..one of the best to do it in the history of music.”
As many recall, Nicki Minaj made her musical debut back in 2009 under Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment alongside many other acts including Drake, who has a success story of his own.
In the rap community, a co-sign is a term of endearment, that can help sky-rocket careers. Typically a successful artist will acknowledge or credit another artist who’s on the verge of stardom.
Remember in 2011 when Rick Ross introduced mainstream Hip Hop to emerging Philly street rapper (at the time) Meek Mill? And who can forget when French Montana hit the scene as Diddy’s new addition to Bad Boy with breakout hit “Shot Caller”.
Recently, buzzing NYC Rapper A Boogie With Da Hoodie, known simply as A Boogie, opened up for Drake’s Summer Sixteen show at Madison Square Garden. Although, A Boogie isn’t signed to the Grammy Award-winning artist, the co-sign is pretty major.
“Make some noise for A Boogie, coming out here killing sh*t tonight”, Drake announced to a packed MSG arena on Aug. 8, 2016. The young rapper performed “Friend Zone” and “Bag on Me” from his latest project Artist:The Mixtape, currently in circulation at Hot 97 and Power 105.1.
So, what does a co-sign mean for a new artist?
A co-sign can help by giving a new artist a platform, something that is crucial in the beginning stages of a music career. A Boogie for example, had the opportunity to perform at a major venue for the first time ever, opening for one of the hottest rappers in the game right now.
Kendrick Lamar received praise from Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg, Lady GaGa and more around the time of his major label debut Good Kidd M.A.A.D. City. Honestly, when you receive a major co-sign you have a new-found reputation to uphold. Luckily, Kendrick went above and beyond expectations to deliver.
Before he became Hip Hop royalty, Kanye West was actually co-signed by Jay Z, serving as an in-house producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000’s. Eventually Kanye made the transition from producer to recording artist. Today, both rappers are the best of friends at the top of their game.
Ultimately a co-sign won’t make or break an artists’ career; and yes you can be successful without one. At the end of the day it boils down to the influence of the person who initiates the co-sign, (preferably someone credible) and the work ethic of the up-coming artist.