In the music game, the power of owning your own masters is considered an ultimate boss move, and Dipset capo Jim Jones is all about boss moves when it comes to his music. He went on Instagram this weekend to check the masses on whether anyone really understood what the phrase means.
“To be an independent artist is very dope. That means you’re keeping the power within yourself, dope,” he began his post. But then Jimmy asked if people really grasped the concept or were just parroting terms for the streets. “A lot of independent artists [are] talkin’ about “I own my masters, I own my masters.” Yeah, it’s a plus to own your masters. My question is, to you artists who say, “I own my masters,” do you even know what to do with your masters after you own ’em? Do you know how to cash in on those masters, or do you just own your masters like you own a chain? [chuckles]”
When it comes to masters ownership, that particular power struggle between artists and record labels might be the biggest one, and that is not unique to rappers. Pop superstar Taylor Swift and the late icon Prince have engaged in furious disputes with their labels with regard to this. As recently as last year, 50 Cent had to eat a major “L” versus his longtime rap nemesis Rick Ross due to not owning his masters.
But you would think Fif would have been one of the biggest artists to get a handle on this early. He and Jimmy had a heated spat about the importance of artist independence on the popular New York radio station Hot 97 in 2007. (Granted, that specific back-and-forth was more about distribution and royalties percentage, but the spirit of their convo remains the same.) However, in his patented troll fashion, 50 allegedly wanted to spin the tactic and had an interest in purchasing the masters of another one of his foes, Ja Rule.
Jimmy wrote on his IG post that artists should “have a Masters Class cause most of yal [sic] are still Slaves to th [sic] Rhythm.” And based on his confidence in the video, Jimmy might be the guy to package an online learning class for musicians on how to boss up.
“Get back to me if you even know exactly what a master even is, if you understand that whole method…,” he challenged his followers on IG. “Masters are digital [now], it’s [no longer a] physical thing that you could grab onto but do you know how to cash in on them? Lemme know and I’ll holla back for all you artists – independent ones.”