During the summer of 2007, 16 local rappers competed for the deal of a lifetime: a recording contract with hip-hop label Koch Records. Yet, when the dust settled, the one left standing wound up turning it down.
"I didn't want to sign my life away," says 24-year-old James Giddeon Jr., aka Glory, the winner of WDKX's 2007 online hip-hop tournament. The competition was set up like a NCAA bracket; MCs faced off against each other, and the winner (based on fan votes at WDKX.com) advanced to the next round until there was a champion.
Giddeon's song "Roll Call" took him all the way to the finals, where he and fellow MC Larry Love performed in front of Koch label reps at Venu Resto-Lounge & Nightclub to see who would take home the title. Giddeon emerged victorious, but his excitement was short-lived.
"I was going to sign, but other people were looking at the contract like, 'This isn't right,'" he recalls. The deal was structured as a single-song contract, in which Giddeon would submit one song to Koch and, depending on how successful it was, the label would have the option of signing Giddeon to a full album deal. There was no time frame on when the single would be released, so Koch would own the rights to Giddeon as a recording artist whenever they chose to exercise it.
After going over the contract with his manager and lawyer, Giddeon turned down the offer, bringing into question whether he was on the right path to success.
"I thought it was over," says Giddeon, who's been rapping since he was 18. "You know how you get to (a) crossroads, and you can go this way or that way? I was right at the turning point."
His decision to continue came down to one simple, yet reaffirming, thought -- "I love making music," he says. Now, void of any doubts, Giddeon is focused on the future. In October he opened for Ludacris at the Blue Cross Arena. And he just released his CD, The Warm Up, earlier this month, which he says is a prelude to his full-length studio album, So Glorious, due out before the end of the year.