There's a common misconception that an artist, you are inferior with out the backing of a major label, You aren't superposed to be able to garner enough attention to gain shouts from Jay-Z of DJ Clue during an MTV Direct Effect episode. Nor are you supposed to have a deal with Rebook, duets stars like Usher and Mya, a clothing line, or be able to move 250,000 units of your product. One man has done this and more. Meet the accomplished Mike Jones who is running the game with his master plan working as major without a deal.
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Born and raised in Houston, Texas Mike Jones has always had an eye on the future while laying the foundation to climb the ladder of success. Jones' first love has always been basketball. But when his hoop dream did not materialize, he had realized that he had to make money to become his own man. As most hoods Biggie described, either you're slinging crack rock or got a wicked jump shot. Mike Jones began to hustle however, instead of achieving his champagne wishes by squandering his money to create Ice Age entertainment in 2001 to pursue his other love, rapping.
After creating his own label and studio to keep costs down, Mike Jones ran into a problem whenever he needed music from producer. "Back in the day," he reminisces, "I'd ask for a beat and they'd be like, who are you? I'd say, Mike Jones. And then they'd be like, 'who?' 'Mike Jones!'" A good businessman recognized a possible branding technique and his famous "Mike Jones, who? Mike Jones!" hook was born. "I do it to throw it in their face. They helped more than they know," Mike states happily.
Next Mike Jones began to circulate his music by hitting Dj's and strip clubs to make sure his music was heard in the streets. He garnered such a buzz that the talented chopped and screwed master Michael Watts, owner of Swisha house, took notice. In 2002, Mike Jones became an official resident in the house and signed to the label. The partnership has been blazing lanes ever since under the Mike Jones motto: "You don't work you don't eat, you don't grind you don't shine."
With the work he's put in, his future is brighter than Lil'Flips smile in the sunshine. He has dropped four albums on Swisha house: Ballin Underground, First Round Draft Picks, Runnin' The Game, and Day Hell Broke Loose 2. The latter contains a high quality video of his latest single, "Still Tippin'." Meanwhile, the combine freestyle verses with popular beats mixed in with original works like "Who is Mike Jones?" and "Got It Sowed" can be found on two discs per album (one at normal speed and the other chopped and screwed). They've already netted Mike Jones over 250,000 units sold independently! Keep in mind that these are sales due to word of mouth, not through video and radio promotions. His next album, King of the Streets, is stated for a June release, while Platinum Underground is due out on November 18. Fans anxious for the heralded Who is Mike Jones album will have to wait until he achieves his goal of signing to a major.
With all of his successes, what is he waiting for until he signs? There is a certain amount he feels he deserves. "Major [labels] will respect your hustle and will give you more when they see you grinding. Choosers pay. If you choose, you have to pay. It's different if you approach them rather than be approached because they know that you have value and will make their money back." But, until that day, "I'm trying to be the first indie artist on the cover of The Source. I want to be on 106 & Park as an indie. If I keep grinding and building a buzz, I know good things will happen. I don't need to be on a major to get all of that. I want to show that you can do this as an indie."
In the meantime, he is perhaps the most accessible artist in the industry. Feel free to reach out to him on his personal number 281-330-8004, or AOL IM him at the handle Who2813308004. Plus, you can always visit his site WhoMikeJones.com for the latest gear from his clothing line, The Mike Jones Collection, or hear his newest tracks. But if you must find him, be patient. This Texan has already performed in California, Nebraska, Florida, Mississippi, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and headed your way soon. And just when you thought the grind was done, you can check Mike Jones in his new feature movie sporting the new Reebok's with "Who is Mike Jones" scripted on the side.
Whenever Mike Jones gets tired and feels too weak to move, he looks at the tattoo engraved on his arm for inspiration. It reads: "If you don't work you don't eat, you don't grind you don't shine. Anything my routine, 90% grind, 10% sleep. I grind so much I hardly get sleep. I'm not comfortable sleeping, but I dream, Mike Jones." According to Jones, "If I'm at home sleeping, I'm doing nothing but dreaming. That's what got me here. If I'm awake, grinding, and putting effort into it, I'mma be alright. I'mma keep hustling and producing good music. I give the streets what they want to hear." Remember the name Mike Jones, because he will not let you forget it.
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