Cardi B’s Grammy-nominated mega-hit “Bodak Yellow” made her an overnight superstar. You don’t need to have an album anymore to reach that level, according to XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten.
“We’ve seen more than ever, more recently than ever, artists blow up and have a huge amount of success off of just one song,” Satten said.
Because of that, Cardi now has a major endorsement deal with Steve Madden shoes.
And she is not alone.
DJ Khaled is the new spokesperson for the Weight Watchers Freestyle Program.
Lil Yachty parlayed his popularity into Sprite commercials and his Nautica clothing line.
The marriage of music and marketing is generating millions of dollars for everyone when it works, according to James Cruz, a marketing expert and entertainment manager.
“There’s no real algorithm created yet, but what you look at is authenticity, what makes sense,” Cruz said.
Cruz knows this well. He has played a major role in the careers of hip hop’s biggest names, from Nicki Minaj to Diddy to Busta Rhymes. Cruz shaped 50 Cent’s groundbreaking endorsement deals with Vitamin Water and Reebok’s G-Unit sneakers.
“50 cent and Vitamin Water makes sense—he was healthy, he had a great body, he looked great,” Cruz said. “Puffy owns the nightlife, so alcohol made sense, Ciroc, and its astronomical success, makes sense. We look at a Jay Z, a marketing genius, he created a Roc Nation because he’s a businessman.”
Some never make it to the level of a Cardi B or 50 Cent because they get mired in legal and music ownership issues. There are simple ways to avoid them, according to entertainment attorney James McMillan.
“The main thing to do is to protect yourself,” he said. “Go to uspto.gov and go to copyright.gov and copyright your song. That’s the best way to do it.”