Steve Stoute's veteran expertise makes him the unlikely "LaVar Ball" to a teenage sensation like NLE Choppa.
NLE Choppa, a little known 16-year-old rapper/prodigy from Memphis turned down a major $3 million offers from bidding labels such as Republic, Interscope, and Caroline, just to sign with Steve Stoute's new startup UnitedMasters. What makes Choppa's refusal to sign a lucrative contract with such proven entities, all the more impressive, is the degree of risk associated with the decision.
NLE Choppa's decision to partner with UnitedMasters could prove incredibly wise if the 16-year-old develops as expected. The teenager kind of emerged out of nowhere by displaying an improbable level of cadence, and melody for a person his age, when he uploaded "Shotta Flow" to YouTube, where it now stands at 11 million views in just over a month.
Steve Stoute watched from afar as the major labels drove an unnecessarily high price through the roof. Like the rest of the big wigs at the table, Stoute noticed that "something special" in NLE Choppa within the first spin of his now-viral hit, helping the young marvel envision the second iteration of the song's music video.
"Record companies are calling the guy and offering a bunch of money," Stoute told Billboard. "Here’s the issue: He’s already just seen, with him owning the rights and us doing distribution, he’s earning money on Spotify and Apple Music, and his song is growing on YouTube. What does he need a record company to do?"
What makes Steve Stoute's UnitedMasters different from the rest is his emphasis on a 50-50 split of all royalties his signee garners, which to some precocious minds is a better outright deal than an underhanded $3 million advance. NLE isn't alone in choosing the less obvious of options: up-and-comers like Neek Bucks, Tobe Nwigwe and BAYLI have all signed on with Stoute as well.