Sit on the receiving end of a music PR’s pitch to get their artist coverage and you’ll hear them talking social media statistics, fan engagement, mixtape streams and blog coverage. The PR campaign will involve strategically offering premieres to multiple platforms in order to get the most online coverage as they can. Back in 2008 the Internet was a very different place. This blueprint hadn’t developed. That was until Charles Hamilton came along in 2008 with ‘The Hamiltonization Process’.
Before that a rapper’s ‘heat’ would be based on their street credentials, and the way through was to get on a mixtape hosted by gatekeepers like DJ Kay Slay or DJ Clue. Hamilton‘s eccentricities probably weren’t going to get him through that route right away, so with his Internet savvy approach he would bang out mixtapes and self-publish to his heart’s content. The Cleveland born, Harlem raised rapper became an Internet sensation, engaging with fans across all platforms and demonstrating unheard of transparency. He’d drop mixtapes (13 in that year, usually hosted by DJ Skee) via his own blog as well as teaming up with major hip-hop sites for exclusives. Three years prior, Houston rapper Mike Jones had made the news by revealing his phone number on his single ‘Still Tippin’, but what Charles was doing was that on a thousand.