Papoose has officially done the unthinkable: released a project every single month for a full year.
So one question remains, how did he have the freedom to do so? TuneCore. Thanks to this music distribution company, which recently announced their newest business model titled “Unlimited Plans,” independent artists now have the freedom to drop music at their convenience, all for a super low annual flat fee.
In fact, this serves as TuneCore’s biggest announcement since 2006, priding itself in having the most affordable unlimited distribution plan on the market. Unlike other distribution companies, those who sign up with TuneCore have the bandwidth to schedule their releases in advance with official verification on Spotify and Apple Music, along with artist support response time within a 72-hour time span.
With Papoose’s impact on the rap game going strong for decades on end, it was only right for him to be the spokesperson for this new venture. On the music tip, Papoose recently unveiled his critically-acclaimed new single “Cap,” calling out the current artists in the rap game while laying down his signature braggadocious bars.
AllHipHop caught up with Papoose to discuss releasing an album each month, collaborating with Lil Wayne, how he celebrated his anniversary with Remy Ma, love and respect for Shyne, new single “Cap,” and more!
AllHipHop: Talk about your relationship with TuneCore. When did you join and how’s your experience been?
Papoose: I joined TuneCore maybe 2009, that’s when I first heard about it. Just the word Tunecore itself had a different meaning to it, it meant you can put out your own music and you don’t need nobody. You heard the word TuneCore, that was the definition of it. “You need to get TuneCore,” and that meant independence. That meant you were going to be able to have freedom as the artist to do your own thing. It was introduced to me, that’s how the person broke it down. So I went ahead and signed up, got on. I’d try it out here and there to see how it works, so I was learning it over time. I always had it, but I didn’t go full-fledged until recently.
AllHipHop: Where were you before and what is the biggest difference in joining TuneCore?
Papoose: I had a deal with Jive back then, I signed with Jive for the big deal. When I got off that, I did something with Ingrooves. I did something with EMPIRE, United Masters, you name them. I’ve experienced all of these people. So when I’m giving you my outlook and my opinion, it’s from my experience. I haven’t worked with nobody better than TuneCore yet, that’s just being honest.
AllHipHop: What is it about TuneCore that makes it such a great experience for independent artists?
Papoose: Well, it’s all up to you. You become your own boss, you make your decisions. It’s up to how hard you work, that will determine the outcome as opposed to you and a label. They basically tell you, “this is your single, this is the one we like.” You gotta get it going first. You gotta get radio play, you gotta get streams. You gotta get all these different things that they have set up before you can release your album.
As opposed to when you’re at TuneCore, you can decide. You don’t base the release of your music on commercial success. You organically let the fans appreciate it, then when your project comes out, they support it. It’s natural, it’s not forced. With TuneCore, they have a staff set up if there’s any problems. You can get someone on the phone, you can communicate to fix it. It’s like other places: during the process of releasing your music, you can’t even communicate with anybody.
You upload your music, you pay a flat fee, you can upload as much music as you want. TuneCore is unlimited as f###! [laughs] As opposed to when you go with another distributor, you do a 20/80 or whatever split they give you. They steal your money, TuneCore isn’t like that.
AllHipHop: It’s a super low price a year right? $13?
Papoose: Yeah, that’s just insane. They selling nicks on the dime block right now, you kidding me? [laughs] You could release as much music as you want, it don’t get no better than that. That’s basically telling the artist: as much as you wanna work, they’re giving you the outlet. It’s up to you. You can determine how much money you make, how much exposure you get, how much music you want to release. It’s all up to the artist, TuneCore really just gives you the freedom.
AllHipHop: You released an album for each month, that’s crazy!
Papoose: I decided last year that I was going to release an album every month, titled after the current month. That’s something that was never done in history, I really challenged myself through that. A lot of different distributors turned their back on me. “Oh, you’re not going to be able to do this. It’s not going to work. You’re going to overlap yourself.”
Everybody told me “don’t do it.” I can’t think of nobody that said, “Yeah, good idea!” Everybody that I know personally said “yo, there’s no way it’s going to work. Bro it’s too much, you’re not going to be able to do it.” It’s crazy because with the outcome, it was one of the best things I ever did in music.
AllHipHop: In terms of bread?
Papoose: In terms of financial gain. If you look at my process, what happened last year, I started out just doing my regular music with some great solid, unknown producers. But towards the end of the year, you see me with production from Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, features from Lil Wayne, Fabolous, Rick Ross. It just shows you how much hard work pays off, and you see it grow throughout the year. You’ve seen from my first project, as it progressed, the speeches, the production, everything got better. It opened so many doors for me as an artist.
It was crazy, it was a rollercoaster ride for me to watch it unfold like that. I can credit that all to the consistency. Without an outlet like TuneCore, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Other distributors said it wasn’t going to work, it’s too much. TuneCore gave me that freedom.
To answer your question, yes the financial gain is impeccable. I can’t even sit here and front. You know me, I don’t like to talk about money because everybody starts thinking you owe them something. Everyone comes asking for handouts, other than the one who deserved it. But that’s a whole nother topic. The money is amazing. As for artists, I’m a tell you now: the money is amazing. Because you’re putting in more work, you’re putting out more product for people to buy. It’s common sense, and the exposure is great. It paid off for me in a tremendous way.
AllHipHop: How did you first find out about Unlimited Plans?
Papoose: In the process of me doing Unlimited Plans, I ended up meeting with the great people of TuneCore. I sat at dinner with them. We sat down and talked, we traded ideas and thoughts. Them people over there are genius. Collectively in our conversation, they came up with the concept. They said “you know what we’re gonna do?” Because I expressed them and I told them, “working with your platform is one of the things that enabled me to be able to release 12 projects in one year.”
To me in my eyes, they were trying to interact with artists. Figure out what’s going on in the mind of an artist? What do you like about TuneCore? What do you dislike? Within that conversation, they seen that there are artists out there who want to be consistent, but distribution companies don’t allow them. Record labels don’t allow them to. Everyone’s trying to make a certain song in a certain way, to push out at a certain time and fit into a certain category, instead of artists being themselves. Releasing music when you create it, just getting it out there naturally. Expressing that to them, they came up with the concept. “You know what, let’s do unlimited for a full year. Allow artists to have that freedom.”
AllHipHop: What was their reaction when you dropped a project a month?
Papoose: They seen it happen. They’re probably in the office like “f### is going on here?” You gotta understand, you upload your own music. I dropped a project in January, they’re like “okay we got this Papoose project.” February, “oh we got another Papoose project.” March, “what the f### is up with this guy? What is he doing?”
I talked to Ebro from Hot 97 around March, because he works at Apple. He said “I don’t know what the f### you’re doing, but keep going man. Keep flooding the system up, I’ve never seen no s### like this.” He told me that, so I got a gauge that I was on the right track. A lot of people were trying to discourage me in the beginning. But around March, April, people were starting to see results. I was starting to get feedback.
Because I did it quietly. People don’t pay attention, I announced it. I got over 2 million followers, but the population of the world is way bigger than 2 million. As I started to do it, people started to see and realize, “oh this n*gga not playing.” July, people were going back like, “wait a minute, this is not the first album this year he dropped others?” It was creating a lot of awareness for me.
AllHipHop: Did it force you to really go hard in the studio? Or were a lot of the records already recorded?
Papoose: It made me better, it made me so much better as an artist. Exactly like you said, it forced me to go hard in the studio. I got so much better. I don’t even know if I’m that good now because I haven’t been releasing music at that rate that I was last year, but I noticed how much better it made me as an artist.
September, I did it one day. I waited all day, because I dropped each project on the final date of each month. I’m talking about it being the 30th, and I wouldn’t have any songs done. I had to drop a project by the 31st. I had to record, mix and master, create artwork, get it out, upload to TuneCore in one day. I did it in September, I was able to do it. But had I not been dropping projects each month, there’s no way I would have been able to deliver a project in one day.
I was creating at such a high rate that it made me better. It was easier to write, ideas were flowing constantly because I’m constantly creating. It made me so much better. Honestly by the middle of the year, it became easy. In the beginning, it was a little challenging. But as it progressed, it was flowing like water.
AllHipHop: Where does that drive come from? What made you kick it in high gear?
Papoose: Initially, when the year started, I said “I’m going to retire from music. This is my last year rapping. To show my appreciation of my fans, I’m going to drop a project each month. It’ll be my final run.” Rest to peace to Kay Slay, he was the first one to call me and say “You can’t retire. You work too hard, there’s no way you’re retiring.”
I told him, “Yeah, I’m retiring. It’s my last year rapping.” He’d debate me: “no, you can’t do it.” As it progressed, I didn’t know I’d get that much love. I didn’t know that so many people would be excited about those projects, so I had to reevaluate things. Listening to what Slay said, he really didn’t want to see me give up or retire. I took his advice and I’m still here, but that was one of the reasons why I did the projects each month. I was planning to retire.
AllHipHop: How’d you get in contact with Lil Wayne?
Papoose: Man, you know what? It had been brought to my attention that Wayne was a fan of what I do before. When he was locked up, Mack Maine had reached out to Slay. He told me “yo we f### with Pap. He said “he loves “Alphabetical Slaughter” which
is a song by DJ Kay Slay featuring Papoose.
I had met him a couple times, we slapped high fives. But in the process of me doing this run throughout the year, I started to see a different environment for me as an artist that was out there. A different type of energy. I told myself one day: “this is the best time for me to reach out to artists that I respect, that admire, that I want to work with.” Lil Wayne is one of them guys. When I tell you I reached out to him, he responded instantly. [snaps]
AllHipHop: Was it via Instagram DM?
Papoose: Let’s just say I reached out to Wayne. At the rate I was working, I knew a lot of people were paying attention. I was on their radar, let me say that. If I wasn’t working at that high rate, I don’t think I would have gotten that many great producers and features done. I reached out to Wayne, he hit me back quick as a m###########. He killed it. Shout out to Wayne, a man of his word. Everything he said he was gonna do, he did it. We shot the video, it was crazy.
AllHipHop: What’s the most important thing to you in the music business?
Papoose: My independence. The worst mistake I ever made was signing to a major label. If I could go back, I’d never do that s###. My independence is the most important thing to me as an independent artist, maintaining my independence. That way, I’m not a slave. I’m not doing so much hard work and someone else is getting the benefits. I’m not losing my creative control, so my independence for sure.
AllHipHop: You and Remy Ma just celebrated 14 years of marriage. How did y’all celebrate, and what does it mean to have her by her side all these years?
Papoose: Shout out to my wife, we celebrated 14 years of marriage by just loving each other. We had an amazing date. We did dinner, spent time with the baby. We bought amazing gifts for each other.
AllHipHop: What did y’all get each other?
Papoose: I brought Remy another diamond ring. I bought her a whole bunch of s###: the whole Versace setup from the Versace store. The Versace bag, the Versace robe, a whole bunch of Versace. I went crazy, I made sure I got her a lot. A lot of materialistic things. But more importantly, I gifted her with our longevity and just my loyalty. We try to take that date to reflect on our journey together and what it means to be able to say we’re going to have another 14 years ahead of us. Raise our daughter, send her off to college together. We celebrated it with quality time, it was amazing.
AllHipHop: Did you body Remy Ma your own song?
Papoose: [laughs] I could never body her, she’ll kill me anytime. She’s one of the best rappers to ever walk this planet.
AllHipHop: You just released “Cap,” who were you talking to Papoose?
Papoose: I’m talking to everybody. [laughs] Everybody! Nobody in particular, nobody’s excluded. I’m talking to everybody. If the shoe fits, ____ the pig that screams is the one that hits?. Just a lot of cats going on out here man. My music is a reflection of what’s going on in my experiences, I just see a lot of cappin’ going on. Shout out to all the cappers, because y’all inspired me to make a song about you. A lot of big s### be going on, that’s all.
AllHipHop: I was at BET Awards when Diddy brought out Shyne. What’s your relationship with them?
Papoose: I met Shyne for the first time a couple of months ago. He came up to me and gave me a lot of love, a lot of respect. One of the things he commended for, he said “what you do with your community, I really respect that. Make sure you keep going.” Because I do a lot of gift back, a lot of charities in my hood where I came from. Every year we go out and give out stuff during the holidays. I’m always talking to the kids, I give out school supplies. I’ve been doing this 7, 8, 9 years straight now.
It reached his radar. He let me know he respects what I do. I’m just a fan of Shyne man, Shyne is fire. When he came home, everybody hated on him. You know what’s crazy? When he was locked up, he released some music. He released a joint here and there. Every time I’d hear him rap, when he came home, his f###### bars were so crazy. I’m a listener.
To be honest, I compare that to when Remy was incarcerated. When I used to visit her and she’d spit certain verses to me, them s#### were so potent. I guess because they’re sitting behind that wall, their creative processes are different. Shyne’s s### was so potent. To see the industry and people say “oh nah,” you know how people have their opinion? Nobody been upfront now, because he’s found another way to reroute. He’s on another level with what he’s doing, shout out to Belize.
He probably don’t even care about this music s###. But as a fan, his music, his content was so fire. Everybody’s acting like it wasn’t, and that annoyed me. I was happy to see him come out with Puff, shout out to Puff. It was amazing to me. When I met Shyne, he showed me a lot of love and respect. There’s a video of me and Shyne chopping it up.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself?
Papoose: Just constant elevation. Raising my daughter, that’s the most important thing in my life.Being a father to her, making sure I make no mistakes. You have to be very careful, children are exposed to so much nowadays. As a father, as a mother, make sure you don’t miss one moment of their lives. I got other children so I want to be the best father I can possibly. Just be successful and continue to elevate.
Make sure everybody understands that TuneCore is unlimited as f###. All artists: if you want to be your own boss, go out there and get TuneCore. Because what I say about TuneCore, it’s not promotion. It’s from the heart. I’m telling you my experience as an artist. I’ve been on the major, I’ve had a $1.5 million deal. I know what that feels like, and being independent is the best option you can ever do as an artist.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
Papoose: I also have a transportation company, Honorable Transportation. We got all luxury vehicles, sprinters, SUV’s. Any artist who’s in town, if you’re in the northeast area and you travel, reach out to me. I’ll make sure you’re very well taken care of. Get TuneCore now, it’s the best way to go. Make sure you go to all digital platforms, I dropped 12 albums in one year. They’re all available on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. They’re all there for your purchase. Look forward to what I got coming next musically, you’re going to love it!