Over the last year or two, I’ve noticed a new trend in the music industry on how some people market themselves. Some artists still use some of the traditional means of marketing while others take more unconventional means. Artists like 6ix9ine have made a career out of trolling. Last year, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West used trolling as a strategy for getting noticed, especially before announcing a project. Even though trolling is a rap tradition, it seems like today it’s getting more and more out of control. So let’s take a look at how artists used trolling to gain the attention needed to secure their bag.
Before we look at how artists today used trolling to their advantage lets take a look back at 2007 at one of the biggest trolls to date. In 2007, Kanye and 50 put out their albums on the same day to see who would have the highest sales. The battle was one of the biggest things in hip-hop since the passing of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. The competition between the two help take hip-hop out of a time in which people started to stop buying music.
50 even went to the point to say he would give up being a solo artist if he lost. In the end, Kanye won selling 957,000 to 50 Cent’s 691,000. Ultimately both rappers came out on top with huge record sales. 50 went back on his word and went on to release three more albums. The two made money from the attention this troll gave them and ended up being one of the most successful marketing plans to date.
Trolling today is a little more radical than ever before. An artist’s actions have proven to be impactful on their personal success. Thanks to social media it is easier for people to troll. “Good” trollers benefit from getting more positive attention to their work. Those who are too good at being bad, like 6ix9ine, end up in more trouble than they bargained for. The trolling is what enabled Tekashi to be in the spotlight to showcase his music. It also is what made him a target for investigation for some of the crimes he allegedly did.
The new kids aren’t the only ones using trolling to get attention today. Nicki Minaj worked with Tekashi, the king troll himself, to get her highest-charting song since 2014 in ‘FEFE’. Kanye also teamed up with another known troll Lil Pump for ‘I Love It’ along with his own trolls to give West his highest-charting single since 2015.
Speaking of Kanye, his negative actions haven’t affected him too much. With his public support of Trump and other antics, his album ye debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. Even though when he initially came into the industry he didn’t need to troll, I feel that the success from trolling has made him addicted to it. For him, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad he feeds off the attention.
In the end, a lot of artists have turned to trolling to gain the attention needed for their work to be noticed. Being able to become a meme or the topic of debate has allowed a lot of people to push more albums and products. It’s essentially one of the best marketing plans today regardless of what it does to a person’s reputation. It’s up to the troll to not take it further than needed to make the sell.