In March, unknown Boston rapper Sam Adams came outta nowhere to top iTunes’ Rap/Hip-Hop charts with his debut EP, Boston’s Boy, beating out releases from Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled.
However, the news sparked controversy over the legitimacy of his sales, which skyrocketed to over 65,000 sales in just a few days. Some accused the rapper of purchasing his own album to boost numbers. But, the rumor was trumped by both Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard.com, who confirmed sales figures. Yes, they were legit.
We recently caught up with Sam, while he was in Los Angeles recording new music. He explained how the whole situation went down, explaining that he was just as surprised as everyone else when he logged onto iTunes to check his sales.
“I was expecting it to do pretty well. I mean, but to top charts in the first day and a half, two days? Hell no,” the rapper tells BallerStatus.com.
“Alex (my manager) and I were flying 14 hours after [Boston’s Boy] dropped, so we were in the air wondering how it was doing. A dude next to us had a computer and we looked over and checked the hip-hop charts real quick, and we were #3. We landed in L.A. six hours later and we were #1. Dudes were going crazy. I still couldn’t believe it. Then, the whole scandal started,” Sam explained with a giggle.
While Sam’s success seemed to come overnight, he’s actually been putting in work for months now. For the past eight to nine months, the rapper has been steadily building a college and Internet-based network of fans, all of whom have shown him strong loyalty.
It all started when he created his own remix of Asher Roth’s “I Love College” smash, dubbed “I Hate College.” After the track garnered over 1.5 million views on Youtube, his fanbase grew and he took steps forward to ensure that his growth continued.
“I was always on the computer, just posting sh**, making sure people know about it. Then, we were doing these shows that no one in the industry knew we were doing,” Sam explained. “We were going to schools. People started coming to us, inquiring like ‘Alright, can we get a show with Sam Adams? We wanna book him for a show.’ Alex just booked a bunch of shows [himself]. We did Boulder, Colorado three or four times; we did USC with Big Sean and Mike Posner; did some joint at Trinity with the Ying Yang Twins; and did a bunch of schools, mostly New England except for the West Coast. People would go to the shows, everyone would tell their friends, and we’d come back. It just sorta spread like that.”
Sam credits his constant digital grind and non-stop touring to his success. Makes sense right?
Despite his hard word, and Nielsen legitimizing his sales numbers, he says the hate is still coming in. But, he admits that it’s been a blessing.
“Controversy sells. Controversy and sex,” Sam says with a laugh. “[The headlines were] ill. People hated me like right off the bat … like ‘The kid buys his own music’. The comments were all sh**tin’ on me. But, it got completely trumped by Nielsen SoundScan, iTunes, Billboard … anyone that’s important in the music game. Billboard backed us and did like three interviews. It was funny, because people couldn’t actually believe that we did that. People didn’t believe that I could sell that many records. It was crazy. Then, they came out with all those things and it was like ‘Yea, it’s legit.’ People are still talking sh**.”
The buzz surrounding his iTunes accomplishment and the controversy surrounding it has given Sam Adams some leverage in the music biz. The rapper says since the news spread from blogs to major publications, he’s gained the attention major record labels, and has met with almost every one of them, sparking a bidding war.
As of press time, Sam has yet to sign a deal though.
Right now, Sam is hard at work on new music. In the next few months, he plans to drop a free mixtape called Party Records, which he says will boast “a big sounding bunch of records that are fun to party to.”
He’s also working on his next official album, still untitled.
Additionally, Sam is trying to finish his final semester in college and earn his degree. Since his sudden burst in popularity, the rapper has been doing a lot of press. He says he’s less than half a semester away from graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he’s majoring in political science. Sam plans to finish school.
“I’m definitely going to finish. I’m not sure if I’m going to graduate this spring, but I’m definitely gonna finish it out this summer. Get that degree,” he said.
Boston’s Boy is currently for sale on iTunes for $7.99, and boasts eight tracks including his current single “Driving Me Crazy”. For more info, visit him at SammyAdams.com.