The A&R Commandments

A&Rs

Sorry I took so long today, but this one was important to me so I had to make sure it was right. Since I started blogging, I’ve been asked to do a post on what A&R’s really do and what they’re looking for in an artist. So I’ve decided to give you guys a small glimpse of how the A&R mind works. I’m currently employed with the most hated label on the blogosphere right now but I’ve worked at smaller imprints like Just Blaze’s Fort Knocks and Beat Street Records. All in all I’ve getting paid to A&R for over 3 years now. Over time I’ve pretty much got this hustle down to a science, all of which I’m not going to expose on this blog. But I will give you aspiring artists a few tips and hopefully save you sometime and money.


 

Demos are DEAD

Think about it for a second. Even if Biggie re-incarnated was in one of the 4,389,763,725,638,033,271,968 demos that are sent out a month, why should the A&R listen? There are only 4 labels these days anyway, so chances are you’ll be picked up by a production company and be shopped to the same place. I personally think myspace is the new demo. Not only can I see your bio, press kit, best 4 songs all in one spot, I can see fan feedback and how people react to you. Save that UPS money and pay someone to step your page up. Then send the demo after someone requests one. But don’t just call and send unsolicited packages because that’s just wasting everyone’s time.

 

An A&Rs Job Isn’t To Listen To You

I get about 1000 messages a month on myspace alone with people asking me to review their page. Luckily I’m nice and really check out people’s music but I do take my time with it. But believe it’s not fun. Actually it’s painfully bad most of the time and I’m listening to them when I rather be watching the Bombers beat the living hell out of the Bosox. Most A&Rs just don’t care and only listen to maybe 25% of the music that comes there way. An A&R really is supposed to go after what’s hot and buzzing. You don’t necessarily need BDS or Soundscan, but at least have a couple local DJs should at least be supporting you. If not, the word of mouth of your shows should garner you some attention. But Hip Hop isn’t like R&B where you hear somebody rap and you just give him or her a shot because they’re super nice. By the time you’re fully developed the A&R would be out of a job. It’s more like boxing; you move up in the ranks. Knock a couple niggas out and the talk of a great fighter will spread. When you make it to the top, people want to give you the big purse. Especially you New Yorkers; no one in the past 10 years has come straight out of New York and been successful without hitting the underground scene first. Whether its mixtapes, Lyricist Lounge or open mics, people have paid their dues. So don’t tell me you started wrapping six months ago and want a deal now.

 

Please Don’t Put More Than 15 Beats On Your CD

You’ll drive the A&R crazy. After a while I start seeing colors and shapes. Just put your best bunch and keep it trucking.

 

Don’t Sell Yourself To A&Rs

Most A&Rs are arrogant cocky bastards like myself. Don’t go all out your way trying to sell yourself to them; save that for the fans. Your main hustle should be getting your buzz up, honing your skills and mastering your IDENTITY (more on that in a second). A&Rs don’t want to crush your dreams, so they’ll make you jump through all kind of loops instead of saying “you suck” flat out. This isn’t Krush Groove and you’re not LL.  Perform and get as much exposure as possible to make them come to you.


 

Artist Development Is No More

Pro: All these independent production companies are making tons of money overcharging labels for what they did to TLC. Roc-a-fella, Grand Hustle, Swishahouse etc all are breaking artists on their own and only relaying on the major for distribution and the check.
Con: Since all these small labels are doing all the work, why should the major sign the artists without one? Why do artist development when someone can do it for them? So what the majors do is just sign “movements” and pushes them out through the imprint. Or sign an artist to the label and put them with a winning situation. We’ve seen this time and time again: Game and G-Unit, Slim Thug and Star Trak etc. 
I’ll give you guys more commandments later this week. Plus if you have any questions you want me to answer, you can leave them right in the comment section.
Oh yeah, stop writing me messages saying I deleted your comments. I don’t edit comments at all. Take it up with management. I love the feedback whether it’s positive or negative. Sticks and stones…until tomorrow.
 
 

  • crack

    stroke of genius

    • http://YOUTUBE.COM/IVISIONFILMZ FENO

      its joseph pryor i sent you a message 4 my videos ghetto cabl on youtube./ivisionfilmz see if you love my music reverbnation.com/#!/alldaywitt my number is 305) 712-1089 ALL-DAY-WIT!T MYSPACE.COM/ALLDAYWITITMISIC

  • pop a poppa

    Sickamore Says:
    Demos are DEAD
    Think about it for a second. Even if Biggie re-incarnated was in one of the 4,389,763,725,638,033,271,968 demos that are sent out a month, why should the A&R listen?

    you obviously haven’t heard Hot Rod’s story. Hot Rod (all the other good names were taken?) was workin’ at an office when he got a call from 50 Cent himself. how did 50 find out about Hot Rod? thats right… a demo cd that he mailed to the record label.

  • http://www.myspace.com/phzsicks1 PHZ-Sicks

    Thanks, fam

  • yes

    next blog, how to become an a&r

  • Juliano ~Aka 20-2~

    Yea I Fuck With This Article I Agree With Everything You Said I Myself Rap But I’m Not Interested In Becoming An Artist I’m Tryin Be An A&R So I Mean What Tips Do You Have On Becoming An A&R Cause I Have Read All Them Other Articles On How To Become One But I Would Rather Hear It Straight From Tha Source

  • Da Mad A&R

    Sic, u probably just shaved like an hour of bullshit off my daily hussle. muchas gracias.

    your brother in arms

  • http://www.sickamore.com Sickamore

    G-Unit is one of the small labels I was talking about in the artist development paragraph

  • Misccindi

    Great info…”compelling and rich.”

    Peace & Love

  • I GRIND, DO YOU?

    easily one of your best 31 day blog series…part 2 needa come out asap…good reading material for a&r’s and artists alike….yous a smart muthafucka lol….keep grindin

  • Lady Precise

    lol..or yall starting sending people to me. Looks like you and KK are spending quality time in the field. Just another day at the summit heh?
    Chicks is jumping ship at AR these days..crazy.

  • http://MINDYANECK.COM Rae Rae Frum BK

    VERY INSIGHTFUL!

  • nation of thugacation

    good stuff man, even though i was feeling the 80′s baby stuff. i was checking all day to see if you posted something…

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/PETERLAKE1 PETERLAKE

    I ALWAYS READ YOUR ARTICLES AND I USUALLY COMMENT AS YOU KNOW WHETHER I AGREE OR DISAGREE…..ON THIS SUBJECT MATTER I DID NOT FIND THIS USEFUL AT ALL…..I MEAN MOST ARTIST WHO IS DOING THIS KNOW ABOUT THAT DEMO B/S…..MOST KNOW YOU A/R’S ARE ARROGANT AS#^%@ AND THAT’S WHY YOU GUYS LOSE YOUR JOB AFTER ABOUT 6 MONTHS ON A BASIS…..AND MOST KNOW THAT MYSPACE IS THE NEW DEMO BECAUSE YOU CAN REACH A MULTITUDE OF INDUSTRY EXEC’S, DJ’S AND RADIO PERSONALITIES….WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IS WHAT IS GOING ON TO CHANGE THIS….WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IS WHAT KIND OF PRESSURE IS PUT ON YOU GUYS TO FIND TALENT IF ANY AT ALL…WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES ON FINDING TALENT I.E. ARE THERE SPECIFICS IN MUSIC GENRE OR AGE OR VOICE ETC…WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IS THE PROCESS OF AN A&R SIGNING A TALENT, I MEAN IF THE A&R LIKES THE TALENT DOES THAT MEAN THE ARTIST IS GIVEN A DEAL….GIVE MORE OF THE BEHIND THE SCENE STUFF AND NOT THE STUFF WE HAVE FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE OF….ADIOS AMIGOS

  • erueruery

    thanks for breaking it down, sick…

  • Marky

    how do i go about applying for an internship in the big apple when, i would intern for free, but on top of that,have to support myself with what cash..?
    thanks im out..
    signing off…

    1

  • Cyrrus1

    trill shit u spit here its true the day of artist devlopment is over now a days A&R are looking for some one that has already gone to school and know what he has to do when he signs to any deal. its half the work and half the money with all the prophets

  • http://www.myspace.com/edword52 eDworD

    My dude Sickamore is it really like that on the west coast? To me it’s like all the 70′s babies don”t want to hand the torch to the 80′s babies! For instince BWS has this young dude “young life” and they signing dudes from AZ. WTF! I’ve been born and raised in LA and the hip hop underground out hear doesn”t even get any love until “MuRs” linked up with “9th wonder” But even then MurS doesn”t get the love he deserves! You said it so well a cuple blogs ago my dude!We (80′s babies) have alot of cleaning up to do due to the (corp. card generation!) eDwoRd1

  • The Dynasty

    Yo so how does one become an A&R… I wrote to your myspace account too so only one answer necessary

  • http://www.skibeatz.com DJ Main Event

    thank you for the insight.

    beat cd’s = 13 is the lucky number

    no more than that.

    myspace.com/djmainevent

    skibeatz.com

  • http://www.myspace.com/liveentinc Live!

    wht’s the best way for managers to shop production of producers they rep, to A&R’s or to get meetings, when there’s been no production done w/ major artists?

  • Projectnrm

    What the hell does an A&R do?

    Really, I want to know.

  • http://www.myspace.com/thelowends tony

    wise words. appreciate it, sick.

    by the way, i caught ya interview in the new scratch. nice read! peace

    - fat tony, the low ends
    http://www.myspace.com/thelowends

  • kel

    thanks 4 that note.. I BEEN A&R FOR YEARS DOWN HERE IN PHILADELPHIA. I LIKE 2 REALLY GET A&R JOB? CAN I GET SOME GUIDES ON THAT PLEASE. LOOK CHECK OUT ONE OF MY ARTISTS ON MYSPACE.COM
    MYSPACE.COM/TWIZZ53
    HIS MUSIC IS HOT!
    GET AT ME
    MYSPACE.COM/2DATOPYBE

  • Nino

    Im behind u 100% on that kid!!!

  • MistaLaidBack

    How much does an A&R make????

  • thoreauly77

    “why being an a&r is irrelevant and why i want to be one”.

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/DJKUTCASE DJ KUTCASE

    MY DUDE SICKAMORE IS THE TRUTH, IF YOU WANNA LEARN MORE FROM HIM CHECK OUT MY LAST MIXTAPE (SUNDAY SCHOOL) WITH TONE CAPONE HOSTING AND INTERVEIWING MOGULS LIKE SICKAMORE, TYSON BECKFORD DMC AND MANY MORE…. HIT MYSPACE.COM/DJKUTCASE

  • http://OnSMASH.com Young Legend

    When Are You Going To Tell Us Who You Signed…

  • http://www.dubcnn.comwww.streethop.com Greg/ YG Da Boss

    Sick this a long post I went in on a mini blog lol if you got time read plus Yanks are hammering the sox anyway so u good.

    First offVery interesting man you read my mind I was thinking man I need some direction in these type of situations. First off I want to let people know Sick does check out stuff and is a man of his word and obviously a hard worker so you got my respect on that and damn 1000 messages is no joke.
    Now as you know I got at you for some West Coast acts such as The Snowman Cliq & E White and some interesting points I saw.
    1. My Space- I had misjudged the importance of this while we network through it I personaly neglected the Snowman Cliq page and still didn’t get my guy to design it and as far as the tracks and full bio we just have the guys favorites cause I looked at it as just our way to communicate with our folks. Now I will take a week get a new design and put everything we had put in those packages on the page and post the best four tracks. E White same thing I had told meech wells post the hottest mixtape tracks not just “personal favorites” I think our problem was we took My Space for personal use while realaizing it’s importance in networking underestimated it’s presentation.
    I will make a request give me less then a week and I will notify you again and come by check the new myspace pages which will be more presentable.
    A. http://www.myspace.com/Ewhite562
    B. http://www.myspace.com/snowmancliq1

    2. The Packages and sitting around waiting for feedback. I knew it’s more important to focus on developing the work and establishing the buzz but I can still remember in regards to the package I sent for the Snowman Cliq some funny behind the scens stuff.
    I put pressure on the guys to get the package together so we can send it out by Friday afternoon so it arrives first thing Monday. So I go down to South Central at one of the homiez spot and were all meeting it’s early morning by the time we select songs an hour has passed now we have 34 tracks and we have to fit on 3 Discks.
    We go back and forth about adding a DVD since it was made early on in their career we finally decide after 20 minutes to throw it in lol. Now we need the CD’s to look more professional so were getting the group’s name printed on the Disc’s another 20 mins.
    Ok the music is their now, and we have the DVD now do we throw in a professional bio we have or create a new fresh one. Mind you we have the group which consists of four members and myself and each discussion with 5 people invovled takes time so I decide to write a new one but it comes out too long and 30 minutes later were back to the old bio lol.
    Now we decide about the pictures hmmm time to go to the computer files and get old photoshoots problem is the files are hard to locate and we could only put them on a disc we think it’s better to have printed but the printer is not working….
    After some calls we finally get some pictures printed out and we debate that maybe the disc would have been better. At this point it’s about 3:oo pm and now I come up with a fresh idea to add an “Internet Links” page to show the internet feedback and newsposts on the artists guys like it and real quick we drop that. The finale is near and we decide we need a table of content so Choc calls a friend who had the printer to print out an outline showing what in the package to make it more professional.
    The fodler- we need a nice fodler that can hold 3 discs, a DVD and photos etc and time to drive to office depot and after a lot gluing and packaging it’s about 5:30.
    I am feeling real proud at our accomplishment and drive to the closest fed ex and find out the overnight time is over and it would cost $60 bucks so at this point gotta wait till Saturday Afternoon and the earliest it could get their Tuesday and all that stress, rush, expenses, and funny comrpomises all for a package that I had a feeling seems kind of dated these days.
    Thanks forthe input man and hope you drop some more points.

  • KO

    So, how much money would an artist with a buzz get if they were to get signed to a typical good deal?

  • Jackson

    Sickamore you act like you mastered the AR game. Think about it, do you really have the artists best interest in mind? If so, what are you doing on a daily blog, while Saigons album is coming out? Dont you get nervous if it goes wrong cuz if it does, you will be fired. and its gonna be your fault cuz in that time of worthless bloggin you could have done something useful.

    Let alone your I can make you famous scheme. When will tru life come out with his record? Why is there no significant press to wake def jam up?

    What the fuck are you doing all day aside from blogging?

  • Dolla .R

    Can u post up so advice for up and coming A&R’s like what should we be doing to get in ur position? And if we are dealing with artist what is our job?

  • http://myspace.com/roughdraftent Doc

    Myspace – With producers I dunno if I necessarily agree with Sickamore (maybe thats cause I haven’t sunken any money into my own myspace) but for MC’s or singers, definitely, you gotta have your myspace page up to snuff. Ever since 50 reinvented the mixtape game, the demo has been dead. One thing though – SAVE YOUR BEST SHIT FOR THE ALBUM. This kills me – MC’s put out 4 or 5 mixtapes before their album drops, they’ve got nothin left in the vaults. Lupe (from what I’ve heard so far) and Spot (from what he’s played for me in the studio) are two exceptions to that rule.

    Beat CD’s – You know its funny, I’ve come to the point where you almost gotta carry around two different copies of beat cd’s. If you run into an a&r/manager/somebody who’s not the artist himself, you need 10 songs on the beat cd – straight up your most easily accessible shit. If your talkin directly with the artist (especially if you’re headed to the studio to play tracks for him/her), stretch it out to 15-20, and don’t be afraid to reach a little bit with some tracks you might think are outside the norm.

  • http://myspace.com/neofromthego neo

    Don’t sale yourself. That was my favorite line. That’s also probably why I’m not signed. What the fuck I gotta sale myself for. This shit sales itself. You woke up 2day looking for that new aritst, that new promotion, that corner office and that bad bitch. If you let me walk by you that’s your fault cock muncher.

    Yeah that’s probably why I’m not signed. But I always figured that’s an unwritten rule and if it isn’t I always figured it should be.

    myspace.com/neofromthego

  • http://www.dmcworld.com/technics2004/video/2004dj1-100k.wvx Fine Ass Tffany

    Greg/ YG Da Boss

    YOUR A FUCK’N IDIOT…WHO THE HELL GETS PERSONAL ABOUT THEIR DISFUNCTIONS IN A BLOG?

  • http://www.myspace.com/fastlanebeats Fast Lane

    What’s good Sick, keep lacing us with this info man, I’m on your heels.

    peace.

  • Meka Soul

    and an a&r does what?

  • http://www.skibeatz.com DJ Main Event

    greg/yg the boss really… REALLY… broke their situation the fuck down.

    From what Sick is saying (correct me if im @ all wrong) an A&R is basically like a talent scout for new artists. Just find whoever is unsigned yet hot in the streets, got they shit together as a marketable package and then just feed them to the lions…. i mean SIGN them to a label!

    Sick, who’d you end up signing?

    please tell me its not Plies…

    and, anything in particular you yourself look for in an artist/beat?

    speak on it…

  • Roena

    you are the fucking truth sick,your literary style is nice too you actually shoulda been a music journalist netherless I am sure that you are on top of your A&R game x

  • http://www.myspace.com/slawstl Slawson

    Sick thanks for the info. But, I do have one question. For producers not in New York, how can we submit tracks to an a&r / label / artist. We don’t have the same access as someone in your city. And for my fellow readers, will you please take some time to check out my page and tell me which tracks do you like the most. I have 35+ in a mp3 player on my page. The site is : http://www.myspace.com/slawstl Honest feedback welcome. Thank you in advance.

  • P

    Props on this post, and your blog as a whole

  • I Am A Hater

    Oh so thats what a A&R is.

  • Mally

    wuz up Sick, ya blogs r always an interesting read. Ive been managing artist on a small scale as far as booking shows, getting radio rotation, recording and getting thier mixtapes heard by prominent people in their region. and my question to u is how do I get my resume in the right hands of an executive so a brother can be given a shot at employment.

  • Andrew

    g-unit hot rod is the shit.

    canwait til 50 comes with his new album this december or january

  • http://www.myspace.com/liveentinc Live!

    Sick, so whattdo-u think is the best way for managers of producers to shop production and get meetings w/ A&R’s w/o prior ‘major artist’ placement??

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Um, yeah.. You didn’t really say what an A&R does…

    Altho’ I did find this one very helpful.

    Good job, Sick. (even tho’ you’re a yankees fan–it’s Mets in ’06!)

  • Miami Monica

    BEAUTIFUL Sick! You put this one together real niceeeeeeee…. ;-)

  • http://www.myspace.com.com/donnygoines Donny Goines

    This actually made alot of sense to me. First off, I don’t send ANYONE unsolicted material but I notice when I post other thing and get atteintion in other way (Ex. I posted a bulliten on myspace stating that I’m the only unsigned artist rocking on allhiphop.com’s media zone this week and got contacted my a major this morning) I like the word of mouth appoarch rather than direct apporoach.

    I do disagree with the statement made for New York rappers and the undergroung scene tho. I feel as tho you can bypass that whole ordeal if you have the right mind set and game plan. And in all honesty I’ve only been rapping for 6 months serouisly and have alreay landed a spot in your competitors mag (I’m coming after A Pinks) Will be perforoming at the Apollo in Nov etc.

    And one more thing, artist devolpment in some cases should be considered, for instance… I’ve only been rapping serously for 6 months and I’ve achieved great things but I still gotta lot to learn. I feel in certain cases exceptions should be made, if not it’s the label who’s losing out.

    I do agree with most statments made tho and It was a real informativew read. Sickamore if you anit hear about me yet, you will. Much love. 1

  • http://myspace.com/broadway_p J.Pennyfeather

    Well There Is Some Truth To The Matter On Most Of The Commandments. But The Most Important Thing Is To Be Different In This Music Industry. Labels Are Being Cheap & Lazy, By Not Using All Branches Of The “A&R” Department & That, Along With The Promotions Dept. Are Supposed To Be The Strongest Parts To An Artists & Labels Success. Due To The Increase In Downloads & Bootlegs I See How Labels Are A Little “Scared” By The Fact Of Putting In Time & Money Into Developing An Artist. Sometimes They Think The Comeback Might Not Be As Great, But Yet Gamble With An Artist With A Little Buzz & Give Out Production Deals Or Yet More Points On Albums. The Industry Has Turned The “A&R” Position Into A Position With No Substance. Artist Development Is What Seperated Labels From There Competition, It Was About Who Had The Better Team. That’s What Seperated “Harve Pierre” From “Lenny Santiago”, “Mark Pitts ” From “Byron Leach”, “Kyambo Joshua” From “Shakir Stewart” The Way They & There Team Created An Artist Into A Superstar Was What Mattered Cause They Were Showing What The Label Can Do. But Now It’s All About Sending There Intern Out To See Who’s Rappers Name Is On The Most Mixtapes (Lol) Sad But True. Having No Artist Development Is Like Recruting A Whole Bunch Of Street Ballers & Putting Them In The NBA With No Coach & Saying Find Your Way. Step Ya Game, & Stop Just Collecting Checks. Sickamore, You The Youngest To Do It, So Take Advantge These Old Heads Ain’t Trying To Do It How They Used Too, Cause Face It They Getting Old, Haven’t Been In The Streets In 15 Years And Being Trusted To Put Out Quality Music.

    -J.Pennyfeather (21 Years Old) Holla

  • icon

    First of All, who’s your A&R…a mountain climber who plays an electric guitar? Well, he don’t know the meaning of dope, when he’s looking for a suit and tie rapper that’s cleaner than a bar of soap…and I’m the dirtiest thing in sight, matter of fact, bring out the girls and let’s have a mudfight.

    -Noteworthy 70s Baby

  • icon

    Nigga, you do be deleting comments though…good post, anyway

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Hell yeah, Icon.

    Protect Ya Neck, Sick!

  • http://www.myspace.com/therapistmusic Therapist

    it’s good advice… makes sense…

    my question is more like some clarification… so you actually suggest going through a production company first? one that holds weight, with credentials of course, but is that what your saying is basically the best way to get to a major?

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    Is that Choppa from Making Da Band???

    And since you’re rolling in ATL/XXL dollars, you really should be able to spring for a different hat.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?cat=29 noz

    i think this has been the most informative post i’ve ever read on this site.

    but yo, did you listen to that demo i sent you yet? it’s got some hot fire on it. peep my myspace. noz is da future.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?cat=29 noz

    and you guys really need to figure out this google thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A&R

  • e

    Props on the post and baseball refrences

  • Climax

    Hey Sic’!

    Love the blogging!

    Please give us some insight on your A&R’ing for Saigon and Lupe Fiasco…

    Thanx!

  • Mads

    Please make a post about upcoming producers!

    Who do you see making noise in the next few years?

  • DJ N-Credible

    To me its all about being in the right place at the right time or having your work in the right place at the right time…i personaly feel I can be an asset to any labels staff because of my creativeness…basically i know what is hot and what will produce numbers from the moment it touches my eyes and ears…i wanna get into the game but there aren’t nearly as many oppurtunities down south in the boot as there is in say New York or ATL…the meccas of the industry…technology will allow the new up and coming to display there talent to a broad audience of people…technolgy is the way along with timing and chance(luck)

  • twerkolator

    “All these independent production companies are making tons of money overcharging labels for what they did to TLC”

    Actually, it was a production company (run by LA Reid’s former wife Pebbles – the R&B singer) that screwed over TLC.

  • http://www.sickamore.com Sickamore

    @ Everyone who asked how to become an A&R

    I’ll answer that in another blog…still got 10 days left in the month

    @ Peter Lake

    This is only the first edition

    @ Marky

    Most Labels only take interns who are currently in college and can recieve school credit for their time

    @ Live!

    Make beats for more local up and coming artists first to get a rep…give away like 15-20 beats to the mixtape/underground rappers and see if you can get a buzz cut…get a resume

    @ Kel

    Find a local/up coming artist…make him hot…and when he blows up, you can take all the A&R credit…while most people fight over management, u fight for A&R credit

    @ KO

    Depends on you’re negotiation skills… new artist deals are worth anywhere from 200k to 1 million…seldom does it go past that

    @ Jackson

    The same way your hobby is hating, mine is blogging. It only takes me about 30 minutes out my day to write these things. Plus if I make myself more accessable as an A&R, don’t you think it’ll attract better and more quality talent?

    @ Main Event

    Going to announce it probably on Friday

    @ Mally

    no resume will get u an A&R job…track records will…cant go to school for A&R

    @ J. Pennyfeather

    You already know…u should have your own blog

    @ Icon

    GZA is a 60′s baby I think….my editor tells me all the comments have been approved…so hate away

    @ Therapist

    Production Companies are taking time out to develop artists…labels arent…90% of artist signed to majors are with production companies posing as labels

    @ Noz

    Demo is fire! You just need to change the beat on track 3 and do a new hook on track 5 (typical A&R run around)

    @ Climax

    Soon! But Lupe is more of his own entity

  • http://www.myspace.com/therapistmusic Therapist

    that’s good news then

  • keith White

    uuhhmm…Wynter Gordon is the Truth!

  • BREW$TER

    aint got no questions. ima shut up, sit back watch n learn. keep em coming playboi

  • http://www.honorablemedia.com/blog Honorable

    best post ever. i needed that.

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/JOEHOLIDAY JOE HOLIDAY

    Hey wut’s good sick ?
    Three part question
    (gotta let it out) :

    1) Why do A&R’s perfer
    BUZZ over TALENT ?
    There are artist who have the “money to pay dj’s just to create a buzz” but are not necessarily talented…they eventually become local hood stars but then fade away.

    Then there are artist who have the talent to become a force commercially with logevity, but without the type of budget needed to move in this world of payola…they never really get heard.

    2)Which would you perfer ?

    3)Is it possible for an A&R to take the talent and help create the buzz with his/her exlusive resources ?

    (This might not be fair,but I’m an artist so of course I’m bias.)

  • mike solo

    that shit sound good but that shit dont work for everybody.chi-town, h-town, la, new york any one of those cities got more people than my whole state. half the mufuckas in my state on myspace dont fuck with rap. the other half dont fuck with niggas that aint already blew up. so if myspace is the new demo me and a gang of other niggas is fucked.

  • j

    Even tho i hate you sickamore(which i do with a passion like martin riggs) this was actually worth reading in a sense that i learned nothing but it was still readable(if that makes sense). ive decided to forget the rules of grammar to mesh with your writing skills. still cant believe you did that dylan mixtape.you his a&r? 100k your out of a job and broke without means of a legit income in about 5 years(and i got that 100k ta waste like that babyboi). im ashamed to admit we have the same favorite mc. oh yea whens saigons album dropping fereal fereal

  • the young chuck taylor

    how can someone get there joint to you so you could cope a listen where could they send if they dont fuck wit that myspace shit?

  • http://www.myspace.com/therapistmusic Therapist

    1) Why do A&R’s perfer
    BUZZ over TALENT ?

    i know it was for sickamore, and i’m no a&r… BUT

    i think it’s just a matter of risk assessment… there’s a lot of really talented people that bricked/brick.. theres a whole fuckin lot of not-so-talented people that started with a regional buzz and blew up nationally… talent doesn’t guarentee sales, which to labels is all that matters…

    everyone is aware of the music industry turn-over rate.. your job isn’t guarenteed to be there tomorrow… therefore, imagine that you’re an a&r (especially of lower power level), are you going to go hard for an unknown but super-talented rapper you THINK could catch on?? or are you going to go with an artist who’s talent is average to you, but they’ve already proven themselves by establishing a buzz on a local/regional level? if you’re worried about your job, your gonna go with the safer bet, which is the latter…

    4 words

    young leek, def jam….

    …………..

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/JOEHOLIDAY JOE HOLIDAY

    Hey J, if you really got 100k to waste… don’t. Invest in my project.
    Check http://www.myspace.com/joeholiday
    and get a sample of my flow.
    If you feel’n it….we’ll politic on it. Don’t worry I don’t need the whole 100.
    (Yeah right)

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/JOEHOLIDAY JOE HOLIDAY

    HEY THERAPIST,
    Your thoery is logical and I can agree to an extent. Yes it is true that an A&R’s job is as unsecure as missy elliot in a bathing suite…But taking risk part of the job. An A&R that’s scared to take risks is like a cop that’s afraid to beat a minority….well not really but you get the picture. Another thing your theory could be the reason Hip-Hop is over saturated with semi talented artist. Which also could be the reason these A&R’s can’t keep a job.
    I think It’s time to break the cycle.
    By the way I apreciate your insight….Check the kid out at
    http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/JOEHOLIDAY
    Yeah mann.

  • the young chuck taylor

    ok…i been seen this myspace shit where dudes be puttin there shit on it an its watever but i aint got time to be hook-up a page and wat kinda dumb mutha fuckin dude do i look like talk all slick and shit and then in they end sayin my shits on myspace thats for all them bubble-gum rappers that are out today i mean really could imagin pac sayin he got signed cuz they found his ass on myspace so wat can i do besides tryin to jump in the circle everyone else is jumpin into…..so i said fuck that where im from people know and heard of me so am prove yall wrong and say fuck myspace and Sickamore watch this cuz am prove all these people wrong and one day am come back and say told you so…

    Artist name: Jairus
    HomeTown: Straight outta California
    Qoute: I aint going out without a fight!!

    P.S—-plus i got love for the homie sickmore am do it real. because i got the real music that motherfuckers feel and miss fuck all this snap and clap shit this is real music and i am an artist….peace and love…..catch me at the top.

  • http://UG-RS.com Tyler

    HOMEBOYZ, DON’T LISTEN 2 THIS FOOL. . . HE DON’T KNOW SHIT. WHAT THE FUCK HAS HE WORKED ON IN THE PAST 3 YEARS ‘DAT HAS BLOWN UP OR SOLD MORE THAN A MILLION COPIES?
    NOTHING, WHICH SHOULD TELL u ABOUT WHAT KIND OF A&R HE REALLY IS YA’ DIG. HE HAS MASTER THE ART OF STAYIN’ IN THE GAME BY SUCKIN’ DICK WHICH i DON’T MEAN REALLY SUCKIN’ DICK MORE LIKE KISSING ASS AND SUCKIN’ UP 2 THE WHITEMEN THAT REALLY RUN THE OFFICES. .AND SOME TIME THE LOW NIGGAS LIKE BLAZE u DIG. . . PEOPLE LIKE THIS DUDE IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE MUSIC GAME.
    DO YOUR THANG AND KEEP IT MOVING CAUSE SOMEONE WITH “REAL A&R TALENT” WILL FIND u . . . i HAVE WORKED ON SOME MAJOR SHIT ‘DAT BLEW UP AND i WOULDN’T LIE 2 u LIKE THIS FOOL NOT SAYIN’ WHAT HE SAID AIN’T THE TRUTH JUST SAYIN’ HE IS SHOULD BE DOING HIS JOB AND HE AINT AND HE IS TELLIN’ u 2 YOUR FACE THAT HE IS NOT. . . WHAT A FUCKIN’ ASSHOLE.

    pEEP THE HEAT AT: http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MARCUSOREALIUSMUSIC
    http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MARCMAYSROCKANDROLLTHUG

  • the dough

    “So don’t tell me you started wrapping six months ago and want a deal now.” I can’t believe some jackass was complementing Sickamore’s “literary style”.

  • BELIZE

    Good shit star

  • http://www.myspace.com/paidmasons PEOPLE$

    That;s what it is, real talk, good lookin’ out on some insightful, useful and educational information. Nuff respect.

  • http://www.myspace.com/paidmasons PEOPLE$

    That’s what it is, real talk, good lookin’ out on some insightful, useful and educational information, keep it comin’… Nuff respect.

  • http://www.dubcnn.comwww.streethop.com Greg/ YG Da Boss

    1.Sick out of curiosity did you get a chance to peep the Snowman Cliq package and any feedback on that?
    2. Also for Sick or anyone else from the bloggers who has good knowledge how is it different for an artist like E White who had a deal and a name before and is resurging now?
    3. Also if we have the shows down, website and magazine features down, lol on the way of stepping up the myspace game, and a true local buzz from word of mouth to even industry connections and buzz, plus small radio connections just a few spins, drops and apperances, at that point do you keep shopping for a deal? or drop an independent project and build your buzz up? or a mixtape?
    This last part has been real hard for me to focus in on.

  • http://siani-music.apiphanymanagement.com/media.html M. Antoine

    The A&R commandments; this post is sick (no pun). Very insightful. The advancement of technology and the internet has changed the landscape of the industry. My artist, Flatbush Brooklyn’s own SIANI, Myspace page is used to showcase his talent, build a fanbase and make money. You can check it out at http://www.myspace.com/sianimusic. Believe it or not, dude gained some loyal fans online and we’ve sold alot albums/songs online (digital download)and hand to hand locally. At first I was not to convinced that it would work digitaly, but good music + genuine interaction with your friends online = digital sales. Aside from the great advice Sickamore is giving, use the tools and technology available to build your buzz and make some $. Ya’ll could check out a full preview of of Siani’s debut album at http://siani-music.apiphanymanagement.com/media.htm
    Drop me some feedback at info@apiphanymanagement.com.

  • RDB

    This blog just made the indie grind seem so much more appealing…so good lookin’, Sickamore!

  • Mr.Me

    Sick droppin jewels today. Good post nig. The only problem wit being a A&R is all the ass kissin you gotta do (no Cavalli jeans) just to get ahead. Im not built for that part of the game.

  • suckamore
  • suckamore

    .COM STRIKE 2 FOR LUPE:

    Y’all made someone famous once again

    http://nahright.com/news/2006/08/21/atlantic-records-is-fucking-clueless/

  • PRESIDENT CARTER

    THE LAST TWO REAL A&R’s in Hip-Hop were Puffy (Uptown) & Irv Gotti (TVT & Def Jam). They discovered and signed talented artists. Then they developed them into potential platinum artists, and then proceeded to co-produce classics for the artist that they discovered. But anyway who is this cat from Queens that you signed to Atlantic ?

  • Prince Of The South

    This is what I want to know. Someone said 50 killed the mixtape game and that’s how he got signed, but for that reason everyone is doing mixtapes, the market is too crowded with garbage, so wouldn’t it make more sense to send in a demo? Also if you produce do you think it’s a good idea to send material directly to a label, if the music is copywritten?

  • Hate it or Love it

    what is A&R ???

    what do the letters A&R mean ???

    can some one help me

  • Dee

    Sickamore

    I heard that some A&Rs are like glorified assistants and some actually are abel to inlfuence the artist’s production adn sound. Can you give a couple of examples of the different A&Rs and their salaries and responsibilities?

    one.

  • H-man

    I know it sounds like rap, but its real life 2 me…Im all about artist development…I live, eat, and shit muzik…We put the streetz on beatz…check out SCRATH mag…A&R iz like a pimp…they help U get your swagger on…naw mean???

  • http://myspace.com/djsyncity syncity

    some of ya’ll comments are wayyyy too long!! good blog siiiiick! so proud of u shunn! ;p

  • Mean Jay Green

    Wow. Gotta say I’m impressed with this blog.

    Hopefully we see more of this and less e-beef.

    Hella props dude!

  • Whoa

    u look like a crack head in that picture lol

  • http://www.rceason.com Rod Campbell

    President Carter, let’s not forget KP The Great! Probably one of the few ARs left that isn’t afraid to sign an artist based off of his belief in what the artist has to offer or simply put: The artist is hot! It seems to me that the essence of an AR by way of position is to be the ear of the masses and have an understanding of what the people will gravitate to. If that is not the case then shouldn’t ARing be obsolete? I ask because in Sick’s script where does the AR shoulder any culpability? According to the writing that prompted all these comments, being hot of better yet being Biggie doesn’t matter anymore. Hmm, I wonder why our hip hop is suffering. Sick, to you directly: The number of demos that you stated is astronomical and though I know that you’re being facetious your summation is accurate nonetheless. What you’re saying without saying is that not everyone should rap and I couldn’t agree more. That’s why your AR post is so important. Who is in a better place to stand up for hip hop and right the ship? Your position affords you the opportunity to look past your friend up the block who wants to rap of some cousin who thinks he’s the next. Your loyalty should be to hip hop and what can the artist offer to it. I could go on but alas I’ll step off my soap box and settle in. Lastly, KK and Pesos (the one who tells you who to make famous) are both feeling the boy Esinchill!! What up with a consult? One Love

  • http://www.rceason.com Rod Campbell

    Just cause, the streets is feeling the boy Esinchill, ask’um!!! In closing, myspace.com/esinchillandkingbeef
    myspace.com/rceasonmusic
    http://www.rceason.com

  • http://www.BeatzByKnotty.com Knotty of BeatzByKnotty.com

    A lot of things you say are true. so on that note. Feel free to check out http://WWW.BeatzByKnotty.com For Hot Tracks.

    Other track are by Request only….

  • XTRORDINARE

    u droppin knowledge, and ill continue to listen….keep it up fam

  • XTRORDINARE

    u droppin knowledge, and ill continue to listen….keep it up fam

  • Millo “EL Rompe Consolas”

    We need more niggas like Sick!!!
    Peace!!!!
    afterlifentertainment@yahoo.com TM

  • http://www.myspace.com/dendproductions DJ S.E.

    Sickamore,

    Very good info. Brothers been grindin in DC for a minute, but the buzz is growing and people are getting famialiar with the D en’ D sound following those same tips. When you do one of those city to city scouts like you did around the 4th, stop through D.C. The nations cap. Soon not to be known just for Go-Go and R&B.

    Peace.

    Check out AKIR’s LEGACY album to hear what we been doing. We produced “Pedigree”. Shout out to ONE Enterprises!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/eq360 Jigsaw

    What up Sick. It’s Jigsaw of EQ. Good shit man! That’s exactly what it is! That’s why i’m trying to get at you to grind out some of these mixtapes me and Taylormade are working on. We wanna talk to you about pushing them thru I Can Make You Famous. We like the way you handle your business, and we’ve already worked with eachother before, so I think it could be good business. Holla back!!

  • Sushi K

    Nice quote, ICON. GZA write the best interlocking words in the industry.

    There’s not ONE “80′s baby” that articulate. Step up or fade away (like that abortion of a Pharell record). Time’s running out…

    ICON WROTE:
    “First of All, who’s your A&R…a mountain climber who plays an electric guitar? Well, he don’t know the meaning of dope, when he’s looking for a suit and tie rapper that’s cleaner than a bar of soap…and I’m the dirtiest thing in sight, matter of fact, bring out the girls and let’s have a mudfight.

    -Noteworthy 70s Baby

  • http://www.myspace.com/jimmychocolate mike roden

    i know u said u dont like demos and u only listen to music on myspace with 25% interest. but this kid is hot and u should check him out. he will go platinum. jimmy chocolate. http://www.myspace.com/jimmychocolate or myspace.com/jimmychocolateakakeithkronic
    u probably wont look but if u do. this shit is $$ in the bank

  • http://www.myspace.com/RobbHawk RoBB HawK

    No Doubt

  • http://www.myspace.com/therealmainef Young Swift

    Yooooo This is young swift you know my managment 800, he told me a lot about you…When you get a chance check out my music…myspace.com/therealmainef

  • http://soundclick.com/kenwillproductions KEN WILL

    Damn!I’m impressed with this blog, i never heard none of this shit before but now i know good look ma dude, cause later today sumone had hit me up from ATLATIC RECORDS n told me they ant to get at me. I produce so u know.

  • Ammerah

    Thanks for the info! I’m in the process of trying to become an artist manager and this really answered a lot of my questions and concerns.

  • http://www.myspace.com/afterthesmoke Whuzi

    myspace.com/afterthesmoke

    I would agree with some of this…it’s a lot of truth to what your saying…

  • http://www.myspace.com/realrecognize Quest’In

    Thanks for the insite on the mind of an A&R. I think what would be more helpful to some of your blog readers is a blog on How To Become An A&R.

  • Blak Soul

    I felt your article dog, cause, honestly thats whats up with the business side of music. Its basically about networking. Now the issue I have with the game is lately labels are lacking the same drive as before in the early 90′s hiphop has become glamorized and moved into a error of not only commecalized MCs but a lack of creativity. Which makes it hard for a MC such as my self to cross the barrier.I am a eastcoast MC but now a days if you aint snapping your fingers or leaning and rocking labels won’t even listen.
    Hip hop is lost I do it for the love of the art, creativity and love not the doe..
    FUCK RAP
    -REAL TALK-

  • Fingaz

    So what exactly is the industry looking for… We produced and recorded a whole album with Mr Cheeks while in his prime and the ish never was released. Not to mention we produced and recorded the BEST song Jr Writter has ever been gracious enough to do. (Check the imnotarapper website).And guess what.. Yep, it wasent released..

    Due to the disapointments, various apointments with A&R’s, and lack of creativity or direction in hiphop we have found ourselves headed in a more (how shall I say) Will I am Direction… Our best production is ish thats fit for Justin Timebrlake, Gwen Steffani, BEP, etc…

    With this whats the new or next trend for that matter in the industry.? If DJ CoCo Shanell can score Saigons first single then I think its only right we get a chance to shine…

    One comandment you failed to include in your blog is A&R’s tend to know absolutely NOTHING about Music.. When I mean music I mean anything outside of the streets.. Lets expand our minds people, the hood isnt the final fronteir.. Creativity and Imagination is much more valuable then guns and weed…

  • Prince Of The South

    Hate it or Love it Says:

    August 22nd, 2006 at 6:17 pm
    what is A&R ???

    what do the letters A&R mean ???

    can some one help me
    Artist and repirtore

  • rennie

    i wonder why ppl don’t want to read their books and go to school this days,instead wasting time on what they can’t see.
    y’all suck and stink. cuz the music biz is in the inside

  • Nemeziz

    See, this is the problem with “Hip Hop music today.. A&R Nigger is lazy.. and that the reason why sale have dropped…look at the charts today.. and then look at them.. in 98,99,00 what you’ll see is a hip hop controlled billboard.. now.. we are lucky to sell a million.. (example.. TI was the ONLY hip hop album to go platinum.. this year… … the art of A&R is dead, they used to really do they job…. now.. FUCK’ THEM…..

  • Elietia

    First time reading your blog, and I’m so glad I came across it.

    Do you need an intern?? Cause I’m feened out to learn from the greats.

    Get at me!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/godzend Official

    Dc’s Finest MC bringing the Capito 2 the Capitol, real music for ya’ll..HIP HOP REBIRTH AND THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL..

    http://WWW.myspace.com/godzend

  • http://none killa black

    YO FAM, you are the first and one of a kind to do that, i feel you for that, and you are so right, so with that, my movement is called (HALL OF FAME) BIN GINDING NOW FOR 14 YEARS were in the under ground now, but check out this hot ass nigger, he makes hotttttt song, all his music is hot. myspace.com/blublack, stay up.

  • http://none killa black

    The art of the true A&R is dead, now they just want to keep their job for all the perks, i know a few, and its always a corney ass nigger, taking out all his revenge on a person trying to come up, insted of saying, (GIVE IT UP) he’ll have the rapper come up to the office just to make him self look important, like he realy gonna fuck with him, and 95% of them dont know what hot music is, but I must say an A&R job is hard,you got to listen to alot of wack ass rappers, and you guys must follow the label you work for, knowing that rapper or singer is trash,but you got to sale them as the hottest shit out, but sickamore for you to put that real talk up, is some real nigger shit, stay up.

  • http://none killa black

    I HAVE TO HOLLA AT THAT CHICK (J.PENNY FEATHER) on what she was saying about A&R, and she is so right,I heard of (HARVE PIERRE)and he damm sure aint no LENNY.S , HE DONT KNOW SHIT, HES JUST GETTING A CHECK, if he knows you, he wont help you, even if you are hot, LENNY SATIAGO, HES WAS IN THE STREET HEAVY,but now wont go hard like he use to, cause hes getting that check. Both of them has to listen to what their labels tells them to do, they cant sign you unless their boss likes you. so if your working for an independent label, the A&R is dead, its only the boss, stay up SICK.

  • Hiphopsince1978

    First of all, I don’t know why so many of you are interested in a job in the music industry. With record sales declining more and more every year (and it’s getting worse), there’s not much money to be made in the music business anymore! (unless you consider $30,000-$60,000 to be alot).

    I was an assistant to an A&R at Atlantic Records (hint: he signed T.I. and The Nappy Roots). The best way to become an A&R is to start with an internship. 90% of record labels will only take interns who are enrolled in a local college and MUST be able to receive school credits for it.

    I’m on the verge of graduating from a 4-year college with a Business degree, meaning that I could probably get a descent position at a record label. The thing is–as I mentioned above–Working in the music is DEFINITELY not where the money is at, and it’s an extremely unsecure job.

    To answer the question of “what does an A&R do”: He does pretty much EVERYTHING for the artist; he develops them, helps pick out producers/beats, helps them with hooks, correlates their marketing strategy, and is the general go-to-guy for the artist.

  • Sabotage

    Yo this is Sabotage out herr form St.louis, MO im in the southbay right now contributing to this huge movement going on out herr. Na i was checking out yall page yall be on some real shit and i just wanted to ask you being an A&R, does A&R’s ever take the time to listen to Mixtapes that get sent in or do yall only listen to specifically original production.

  • http://theblacksheepbrand.com/shoes.php Furiii

    I been sendin mine in to everyone and honestly i don’t believe anyone has even listened.

    Other Rappers Know…..

    Furiii

    http://www.myspace.com/frozecoldest

  • http://www.myspace.com/bendah1225 F.A.M.E. Entertainment

    I left you the website… no hype … just check it.. Tampa is feeling it … Jacksonville is feeling it… NYC… is feeling it.. damn we must be on to something.. WYATT EARP.. F.A.M.E. Entertainment.

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/JENNY_RIGHTEOUS RIGHTEOUS

    WASSUP SIC,

    I FOUND THIS BROWSING THE NET LOOKING UP STUFF ON A&R INTERNSHIPS

    HOW U BEEN?

    ANYWAYS JUS SHOWIN U SUM LUV N SAYIN HI

    MISS YA TALK 2 YA LAYER

    YA GURL,

    JENNY

  • dave

    the bayliens have a massive follwing in the bay area this group has two songs in the top 50 on wild 94.9 in san francisco bay area
    94.9 their first song “bubble gum” was an instant hit the radio station loved the feedback so much that they featured them on
    remix of timbaland i apologize and added their raps to the song which is Number 17 on their playlist…this is the link for their bio presented by 94.9 http://www.wild949.com/cc-common/podcast/single_podcast.html?podcast=wildtv.xml

  • dave

    here are the links to the playlist of 94.9 to prove it!
    http://www.wild949.com/iplaylist/playlist.html

    http://www.wild949.com/iplaylist/playlist.html?net=61

    2 different links will show these guys have two songs that are getting big play..
    and they are doing mad shows ..they were the headliners look at the people on this link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCFz5hbjNTM

    these guys have what an a&r would love a package and a following check em out!you wont be disappointed

  • http://www.studentsofhiphop.com Erik Abriss

    What is your contact info?

  • jasmin

    Thanks for this!!! i just recently started writing for a local music mag for the hip hop/ R&B column and becoming an A&R is gaining my interest fast!!! I am interested in it and its crazy how ppl come up to me and ask me if i am an A&R. Listening to all their music is overwhelming but i love going to shows, listening to their music, etc. its a great feeling to be a part of their hunger :) the process of trying to find a label to be an A&R for will be difficult but I’m up for the challenge.

  • http://www.Facebook.com/foblocc FiLThy-Fo

    Should You Pay Upfront To An A&R To Shop Your Demo!??
    And Would You Sign A 360 Agrrement Deal With An A&R Who States In ThaT Agreement That He Wants 10% oF Show, Merch, Royalties, And Over All Gross Income!??

  • London UK

    u are now my sensei real talk safeee

  • http://facebook.com/puigvaldez Puig

    yes i am another annoying upcoming artist.. hungry as ever, specially after your post. Mad love. Check my out and tell me what you think… This is commercial spanglish electronic pop:

  • Evan Weaver