A common complaint from young rappers hustling to make it is that record labels tend to suck artists dry of their creativity, their sound, replacing it instead with a cold formula they believe will yield numbers. Palm Beach rapper Wifisfuneral, who recently earned some praise from Earl Sweatshirt, has brilliantly found a way to sidestep that old problem.
The 18-year-old South Florida native keeps his social media game strong and his quickly growing crowds begging for more — without the help of a major record deal. Fresh off his first tour, he just surpassed a million plays on SoundCloud, and with the September 11 release of his EP, This Is Temporary, Wifi credits artist management as key to his recent success.
Depending on the arrangement, proper management can allow a young artist to explore the music industry with few strings attached. The job of a manager mainly consists of booking shows, arranging production and recording
“I chose artist management because it feels more natural," Wifi says. "I don’t really agree with the direction labels are going right now, so I’m going to keep everything independent. No one is telling me I can’t be myself."
After teaming up with manager Tariq Cherif of Dope Entertainment, Wifi went from "house parties to festivals. I went from rocking living rooms and crowds of 300 to festivals, and I really have to thank them.” In 2015, the young rapper performed at Rolling Loud Festival and TxL Festival, in addition to headlining his own “
"Attitudes change when you sign to a label," Wifi says. "I just want to do this music shit with nothing fabricated. Everything is uncut and to the point.”
"Uncut" is one word you could use to describe his latest project, This Is Temporary, which at seven tracks falls somewhere between an EP and a mixtape. On the debut,
This Is Temporary has already racked up more than 100,000 plays in less than a week and is easily a set you can bump on your way to the most lit party of the weekend — It has the energy to get you hyped and showcases
“This Is Temporary is a reminder that all the shit you’re going through right now is temporary. Pain doesn’t last forever,” says the talented young rapper.
Wifi is right; nothing lasts forever. So how will his current management setup help shape his career in the long run? There are more components to a successful trajectory in the music business than just performing. Merchandise, distribution deals, and promotion all come into play once an artist rises to the next level, and that kind of teamwork typically lures artists to sign to a label.
For now, “I’m confident in my management," says Wifi. "It’s important to learn the background of the industry. If you let a label control you, then you lose percentages, and no one needs a middleman."
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Update - 9/21/15, 3:00 p.m.: Dope Entertainment has just announced Florida rapper Robb Banks' Year of the Savage Tour featuring wifisfuneral, IndigoChildRick, and more to be announced. Check the Florida dates —
Jacksonville - November 9
Orlando - November 10
Tampa - November 11
Miami - December 5
Tickets go on sale Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at YOTSTOUR.com.
Follow Cristina Jerome @CrisdaCat.