By: Allyson Schneiderwind
For rapper Yung Joc, “Hustle by any means” is more than a simple overdub—it’s a way of life. Pull up his MySpace page and you’re bombarded with banners advertising everything from Yung Joc mobile trading cards to personalized Yung Joc answer tones (“Yung Joc here. You didn’t reach me, you reached Larry’s phone…”). His official website is much of the same, pushing Yung Joc iTunes and, of course, his latest album, appropriately titled Hustlenomics.
Many people think slangin’ mobile trading cards and personalized answer tones makes an artist a sell-out. But in an industry where album sales are steady dropping, and digital sales aren’t picking up the slack, Joc says it’s a simple case of hustlenomics.
“Hustle,” Joc explains to RapBasement, “means to gain by any means. Economics is supply and demand. So [Hustlenomics means] to out hustle your competition by supply and demand.”
This approach to the rap game earned Joc over $10 million last year, and landed him a spot on Forbes’ “Top 20 Hip-Hop Kings” list. The digital revolution has made Yung Joc one of the richest rappers in the world. And did we mention his 2006 debut album New Joc City, went certified platinum?
Initial sales of Hustlenomics, however, are falling short. The album only sold 69,000 copies in it’s first week.
These numbers don’t phase Joc, though, who says that first week sales are based mostly on hype.
“If you have shitty first week sales, like this second album for me, and you come out on top and still be a platinum artist, that’s phenomenal,” Joc explains. “That’s the biggest thing.”
But with tracks like “Coffee Shop” that contain simple rhyme schemes and mediocre lyrics, does Hustlenomics have what it takes to make the cut? Or are Joc’s club hits and ringtone-friendly hooks only aiding in to the so-called “death of hip-hop?”
“Hip-hop is alive and well to me,” Joc says. “It’s young, it’s youthful, and those are the people buying the albums, so those are the people I’m gonna continue to target.”
Often times, Joc is the first to admit his own lyrical shortcomings. In a recent interview with XXL, Joc admits, “I leave the super lyrics to the lyricists. I’m a concept guy.”
Joc revealed to RapBasement he is working on a collaboration with one of the biggest super lyricists in the game. “Me and Jay Z, we got some stuff we workin’ on…” Joc says. He also discussed plans to team up with Diddy, CEO of Joc’s label, Bad Boy South.
But his biggest future endeavor is his upcoming international tour. Joc plans to hit up at least five different continents, with shows already scheduled in Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and North America. Sounds like he’ll have a stack of international currency to add to his 10 million U.S. dollars.
So you can call him a sell-out, mock his album sales and laugh at his lyrics if you want, but you won’t break his stride or his bank. Yung Joc may be a rapper by occupation, but the blood flowin’ through his veins is pure hustler.