Creative ownership means different things to different artists. To some, it means owning their masters, and for others, it means having the freedom to pursue an authentic creative vision.
That’s why we went to A3C, Atlanta’s premiere hip-hop conference, with Raedio, Dead End Hip Hop, and Bravo Ocean Studios, to ask artists what creative ownership means to them and how they’re pursuing careers in music without waiting for permission.
So how are they bravely going where the industry has never gone before? We sat down with the creative class to learn first-hand.
On the business side of creativity
“If my personal goals are to be able to work in music then I just do it, everyday, regardless. Then, the business side of it I just get to learn as I go, because I’m putting myself into the situation.” – Aja Kahti
“When I am doing the creative side and making the music that’s all I focus on and when it’s time to worry about putting out the project then I shift over to the business side.” – Grandad Woolly
On ownership of how, why, and what you create:
“I oversee the production, the management, the distribution, everything that goes into the music, I control it and I know it’s going to be done to my liking.” – Grandad Woolly
“Ownership to me just means that it’s yours. You’re the person who created it, you’re the person who put it out. Whatever it is behind it, whether you produced it, whether you sat in the studio, it’s yours. People don’t do things the way I want them done, so from engineering to shooting my own videos to recording myself to doing a whole bunch of different stuff like that, the best part about it is just knowing it’s yours” – Damone Tyrell
“When you’re in a situation where you have to ask for the least amount of permission and you have the control to do what it is you want to do that’s always what every creative wants.” – Benoni Tagoe, President of Raedio
“Creative ownership to me means owning your stuff. I signed a deal years ago, I didn’t really know. I came from nothing and nobody was telling me about this stuff. So I love how people promote it now — own your stuff, own your masters.” – Kap G
On embracing independence
“The grassroots is more powerful than it ever has been. It’s a partnership, not an employee-employer relationship, now we control what we want and all we need is distribution.” – Feefo, Dead End Hip Hop
“Creative independence is doing you, not saying and not doing it like anybody else.” – Parris Ladame
“I am a fully independent artist, but I found a way to monetize my music and my brand.” – Grandad Woolly
“Saying what I want to say unapologetically wearing what I want to wear when I want to wear putting out the creation the way it feels inside regardless of how anyone is going to receive it.” – Aja Kahti