Common Sense "2 The Temple"

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Matty C recalls the process by which Common got his deal with Relativity after his demo won “Unsigned Hype” in October 1991: “[The Source] decided to do an “Unsigned Hype” compilation album. It was [going to feature] Mobb Deep, Common, Biggie, DMX, Top Quality, and a few other groups. The [proposed] deal with Relativity was: $5000 per artist, and there was a clause that said, ‘You’re signed [to Relativity] once you do this. So we’ll give you five grand now for this album, and we’ll give you some more money for [your own] album. But we’ll negotiate that later—just sign here.’ And that’s why it didn’t happen. I was like, ‘Hell no, I’m not doing that—I got people ready to pay a hundred grand and more for one or two of these groups at different labels, forget it.’

“Right at the [negotiating] table [the label] broke down and [Relativity execs] Peter Kang and Alan Grunblatt were like, ‘But we’ll take Common.’ Because [Common’s] demo was mad polished. It was the cleanest demo I ever had that won the “Unsigned Hype” and got a deal. It was fully produced out of a studio. [It had] also won the New Music Seminar demo contest that year. It was that [high in] quality. These guys at Relativity didn’t know [about rap]. Peter Kang—he wasn’t really a rap head, he was some Asian kid [into] rock n’ roll. Alan Grunblatt—not really. But the sound quality was so good on that demo, and the music so good—you had the Roy Ayers sample, the Eddie Kendrick sample, real rich sounds—that [Relativity] was just so [impressed].”

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