Media training 101

When I first started writing about hip-hop, one of my friends in the industry gave me a piece of advice about interviewing rappers. “The dudes on top know what the deal is,” he told me. “But you gotta watch out for the has-beens and the haven’t-made-it-yets. Those are the ones that are going to act up.” I thought about that advice this week when I read Lauren Carter’s op-ed in the Boston Herald:

Nothing hip about hip-hop harassment.

It seems that Ms. Carter was in the process of interviewing Stat Quo, Obie Trice and Alchemist about The Re-Up mixtape when newcomer Stat decided that it would be a stellar idea to demand phone sex. The Atlanta rapper—whose debut Statlanta is currently scheduled to drop on Shady/Aftermath Neveruary 33, 2107—went on to inquire if the reporter used a vibrator, joke about Alchemist defecating while on the phone, detail his groupie escapades, and claim that he was phoning in from Bangladesh, where he was “bangin’ the flesh.” The reason? Apparently he was salty that the reporter’s questions were too general.

As Ms. Carter points out, this type of behavior is mind-boggling counterproductive. Promoting yourself obviously shouldn’t involve pissing the press off to the point that they publish a piece that makes you look like a clown. Not exactly rocket science.

The phone fiasco surprised me, since Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit artists are known for being pretty media savvy. Apparently nobody has got around to giving Stat the heads up. So allow me to offer a few tips for dealing with reporters:

Always assume that you’re going to have to deal with someone again in the future.
The thing about us writers is that we occasionally make it. You might talk to us when we work at a local newspaper in a mid-sized city. You might think that you are free to act up because you’ll never have to see us again. You might be right. Then again, you might find us reviewing one of your records for a major publication a year later. Best to play it safe and refrain from requesting random hotel sex.

When the tape is rolling, anything you say can and will be used against you. So don’t say stupid shit.
Seriously. If you let loose with a bunch of outlandish crap, it will get published. Don’t say things that you don’t want to see in big, bold quotation marks in the middle of the article.

The more famous you become, the less your interviewer is going to know about you.
When you’re coming up, you are probably going to be talking to writers for indie rap mags, hip-hop websites, and alternative weeklies. These people will normally know your work well and care about it on some level. The bigger you get, the more mainstream publications you are going to talk to. Which means you’re going to talk to reporters who were assigned your interview hours before, don’t know much about hip-hop—let alone you. They are guaranteed to ask a bunch of inane questions. Get used to it.

Phone interviews suck. Period. Don’t make them more painful than they have to be.
Everybody hates phone interviews. Don’t drag it out by giving one word answers, or talking to your boys, or shouting directions at your driver, or playing video games, or smoking weed, or taking other calls, or eating lunch. Or suggesting phone sex.

Don’t flake out.
Here’s a secret about reporters: a lot of us are freelance. Which means that if you make us wait around for hours and then stand us up, we don’t get the story and we don’t get paid. Writers get grumpy when they don’t eat. Grudges can develop.

Media skills pay the bills.
You’d be surprised how far a few jokes, some decent conversation and a pleasant disposition will get you.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    You tell em, Tara!

  • sATaLyte

    Stat Quo’s terrible music pretty much sealed his fate anyway.

  • http://www.myspace.com/16kingz TheBestout!

    FIRST TO SAY FIRST FIRST YOU BITCHES!!

    ANYWAY, NOBODY GIVES A FLYIN FLIP ABOUT STATQUO ANYWHO SO THIS LIL’ MEDIA GOOF OFF PROLLY’ WON’T AMOUNT TO A HILL OF BEANS, SUMIN’ SIMILAR TO THIS CATS CAREER!! HA-HA (IN EMINEM VOICE). TARA YOU NEED TO COME HOME OUR KIDS ARE STARVIN’ AND i FORGIVE YOU FOR LOVIN’ YOUR WORK MORE THEM ME, I MEAN WE, UHH HER…NEVA MIND!!

  • Incilin

    Nice tips, but this post seems directed at actaual rappers. I doubt that many rappers actually will have enough sense to read this blog. Let alone, listen to it.

  • http://thecouchsessions.com Stone

    Stat who? Never heard of ‘em. I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.

  • http://yahoo.com quin_c813

    good post,im kinda dissapointed stat did wat he did,hopefully he learned his lesson and have more respect for the media.

  • Harlem G

    yeah Stat is pretty awful

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    I’d support Stat by going out and buying a mixtape of his but his music sucks.

    Requesting phone sex from female reporters and describing the alchemist defecating = gully

    Plus I doubt anyone cared about him before he made an ass out of himself.

    Bad publicity = Good publicity

  • Eman

    who cares it should be more about the music artist are producing then what they do in a stupid ass interview. I mean that was dumb as hell but would any body even know or care if u didnt just post this? And are real Hip hop fans going to give a shit…….

  • jacquez
  • LONZO

    who cares sbout some lame rapper named stat queer? shady/g-unit is dying, and eminem is on a sinkin ship. whiteboy better drop 50snitch cuz aint no body feelin that nigga anymore.

  • http://allhiphop.com DA DEVIL

    THE TIPS WERE FINE BUT STATS ON SUM BULL ANYWAY. HE NEEDS TA GET HIS ASS IN THE STUDIO AND MAKE SUM HITS.

  • Reggie Osse

    Stat Quo, whotta dick!

  • DEEZ NUTZ

    MEDIA TRAINING? MORE LIKE LACK OF HOME TRAINING.
    STAT QUO = STUPID ASS JIGG

  • Were Read 2 Def

    God gave us nuts, Tara. Be mad at him not Stat Quo.

    P.S. Stat is nice.

  • thoreauly77

    when i am a world famous rapper and you interview me, i will be very nice. on hand, there will be champagne, fresh strawberries and chocolate fondue(sp?). when the interview is over and you need to go home, i will have my army of nun-chuck wielding female assassins escort you. of course, you will have to call once the deadbolt is locked and let me know you are home safe.

    when i am a famous rapper….

  • DEEZ NUTZ

    MEDIA TRAINING? HOW ABOUT NO HOME TRAINING.
    STAT QUO = STUPID ASS JIGG

    PS DON’T ERASE MY POST AGAIN!!

  • john cochran

    That just goes to show some people arent professional. I mean it is the music BUSINESS. You should be business minded. But fuck, He’ll probably never really blow anyway. There roster is starting to get a little bloated. Obie is the only one Besides Em I’d listen to.

  • P

    good post

  • derfla

    stat that guy is still around? daim

  • Kevin

    this is kind of petty and underhanded… do you though

  • Belize

    Hmmmmm….int-eres-ting….

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  • skip

    I don’t/who cares

  • Scorpio1970

    Journalism Training 101

    “Then again, you might find us reviewing one of your records for a major publication a year later.”

    Says Tara

    This right here is one of the reasons you can not trust the opinions of anyone choosing to offer their thoughts on anything that matters to you. You have no idea what personal issues the reviewer or critic my have with the person subjected to the review. Ideally, the person discussing anyone’s work or even more significant, their livelihood, would have the professionalism to do that OBJECTIVELY regardless of whatever past personal experiences exist. Thanks to Tara, we all know that this is way too much to ask of journalists. Same thing with sports reporters who will never see good in anything Iverson or Terrell Owens does, but never hold Michael Jordan accountable for all of the shit he has with him. I HATE THE PRESS. Historically at least they were able to put all of the personal stuff aside to give honest descriptions of someone’s life’s work. Thanks Tara for confirming the fact that most of you are sensitive, unprofessional, pity individuals that hold grudges more highly than artistic integrity. Now try and justify what you said to mean something different.

  • NickeNitro

    1) I hardly think “general questions” is the reason. Here’s what Lauren Carter said about Stat Quo in her Re-Up review:

    “Stat Quo may be the biggest disappointment on an album that’s supposed to set him off. The Atlanta native, whose debut album Statlanta has been on the shelf for over a year, gets served some of the Re-Up’s illest beats (‘Get Low’ from Dr. Dre is an instant classic), but somehow manages to ruin them with an annoying, nails-on-chalkboard flow and obnoxious persona.

    “There’s nothing wrong with being a cocky asshole (if you’re Jay-Z and not really that much of an asshole), but you might want to tone down the arrogance factor when your delivery is questionable and your claim to fame is some underground mixtapes most people haven’t heard. Verses like this are not going to cut it when you’re trying to impress the Doctor, let alone the record-buying public: ‘Folk in the hood be askin’ where I be / I’m out in Hawaii / don’t like it, drink my pee.’ That squealing sound is listeners fast forwarding to the chorus where they don’t have to hear your annoying voice as much.”
    http://www.ballerstatus.net/reviews/read/id/06441714/

    There’s being critical, and then there’s being malicious and getting personal. Stat Quo had every right to be upset. That wasn’t criticism, it was downright cruel. And it was fallacious of her pretend this never happened and say it was because of her “general questions.”

    2) It would have been good to hear Stat Quo’s side of story before jumping to conclusions. Not saying that what Lauren Carter said he did was positive, but she comes off as very defensive and retaliatory in the article.

    She claims to “to love hip-hop with a passion that rivals obsession,” but then goes on to associate her version of the encounter with all of hip-hop, and even gives her article the incendiary, anti-hip hop title of “Hip-Hop Harassment.”

    So how is it that she’s “loved” rap then? By “complain[ing] about the nauseating levels of violence and misogyny that saturate commercial rap songs, “compar[ing] the mainstream rap agenda to a minstrel show, and of course, asking “[w]here is the creativity?” She then goes on to refer to the music she “loves” as being “depraved” and “nasty.”

    More of her “love” can be found here: http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2006/11/03/columns/columns71.txt, where she talks about “rotten rap’s” disturbed values and how it’s causing her students to not care about their lives. Certainly it wouldn’t be a teacher who gives way too general lessons like “I tell them they’ll need a diploma to go on to college or go to a trade school or have a successful future where they can live happily and comfortably,” or doesn’t trust them: “When some of these kids ask to leave class early because it’s dark outside and they’re afraid of getting jumped, I have to wonder if it’s just an excuse.” And you certainly couldn’t picture her being malicious, defensive, or retaliatory.

    Look, if her version of the story is right, then Stat Quo is an asshole. But can you just take her word for it without hearing his side when she’s clearly not being candid about why he would be upset or how she “loves” hip-hop. School may have trained you to take everything that’s written in print as truth, but that’s a false lesson.

    3) Reporters shouldn’t be excused for not knowing their subject matter because they are writing for a mainstream publication. Knowing the subject matter is their god damn job! It not acceptable for journalists to write good stories about who’s nice to them and bad stories about who isn’t. Their job is to write what the truth is.

    Look at the US. The reason criminals are in charge of government and using it to ruin the world is being our media is just horrible. Regardless of whether it’s because they stink or they’re working for the wrong interests, US residents are terribly uninformed and misinformed by the people responsible for supplying the news.

    So here’s another media rule: Don’t trust the media to do their job.

  • pileofshirt69

    QUESTION OF INTERVIEW ETIQUETTE:

    If the artist being interviewed is familiar with the person interviewing them, is it appropriate for them to mention that they are a fan of their work? If so, when would be an appropriate time to divulge this information?

    With the blogosphere (I word whose hatred I have comes in second only to ‘vlogosphere’) constantly expanding, and more rappers taking to the internet for promotion, this question is bound to come up sooner or later.

  • Damu

    Journalists,like most pop artists, do ridiculously inane theatrics(think Bol)to get a buzz,lusting for the shock value that generates hits,sells magazines,and exposes bare assholes in the name of art,for the love of money,fame and prestige.Believe!!

    P.S.What’s more gangsta than inciting a coastal rap war through print?

  • Rizzop2003

    That was pretty good for the people who cant think objectively and are essentially brain-dead. The fact that media puts anything negative about actors and artists lives therefore making people judge them for what they do outsdie of music more important than the actual music (ala the game)So when an artist finally makes the media fell uncomfortable, i really dont feel bad. Dont get me wrong the news has to get reported, but i’ve noticed that all the bad the artists do is reported above anything good they do. And YES certain members of the media have TRASHED other artists work , therefore not helping at all with sales. And the fact that has never been done to the rolling stones and U2s of the world shows me alot about the “media” I have actually ahve enjoyed alot of the music that stat quo has put out, and the only reason she would deem it counterproductive is because alot of journalists think they have power over the artists as is (i.e. bad record reviews) shit ya’ll shitted on Jay-Z’s record once it came out, but as a fan, i wasnt expecting resonable doubt…i was expecting one of the best rappers alive to make music….period. And since its such fun to talk about an artists lifestyle to begin with (which is what you folks do) It does interest me to know some of the writer’s dirt in her life. And what did i get to see once someone tried to put the tape recorder in her face…….

  • mannyworld33

    HEY TARA :)

    DAMN STAT ALL THEM STRIP CLUBS DOWN THERE IN THE “A” AND YOU TRYIN’ TO GET SUM PHONE-BONE, LMAO!

    SOUTH PHILLY STAND UP!

  • boring

    ease up sugar tits…

  • B-Ease

    Tara, nobody gives a fuck if the media is mistreated. and only music nerds read music publications (myself included).Are we supposed to think Stat Quo is a dick based on this?? I think the guys a terrible rapper, but this just made him at least a tad more interesting.Also, he didnt even say anything that bad.You’re seriously overreacting. Hip hop is not the place for white feminists.

  • B-Ease

    Then again, you might find us reviewing one of your records for a major publication a year later.”

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    You couldnt have meant to write that. so joking about phone sex is a justifiable reason to throw journalistic integrity out the window?

    You usually come off resonable, but all women are over emotional i guess.

    Seriously tho, you have to elaborate on that quote. I really dont think you should be reviewing albums with a mentality like that.Seriously.

  • EReal

    shady/g-unit is dying
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    First let me say that sweeping generalizations like this are retarded and piss me off.. The Re-Up homie, check the sound scans, a mix-tape that Jimmy Iovine turned into and album is outselling or selling as much as your favorite rappers homie (prolly gayme) so take it thru the back buddy (No Bol).

    Now to Tara’s piece. Are you friends with this woman? Or have you had a bad interview experience in the past with a has been / wanna be rapper? Because this seems like a personal issue between the writer and stat. Dont get me wrong, I believe that she has the right to come out and blast stat all she wants. When you think about it tho, Stats “demographic” is just gonna laugh and say that dude is grimy wit it. So I dont get the point.
    Youve basicly just written an article outlining all the PROBLEMS with the media and the reasons they are hated. They pick and choose sides and pick fights, hold grudges, and spin shit to use for whatever they wanna say about that person. Granted you do have to have some personality and opinion and thats thrown in there, but what ever happened to like B said “Journalistic Integrity”. This seems more like a “Female in the Hip Hop Society” Issue, like the Source shite, or Superhead or some shit.
    I mean, I’ve just lost alot of respect and trust in your opinions of music and artists in general if this is truly the way you feel. Damn.
    Oh and CO-Sign B.
    From Philly to the 407.
    ORLANDO GETS GULLY TOO! HIGHEST MURDER RATE SUCKAS! Come down south and talk all that. Playa. ;)

  • blaQ

    Damn, South rappers aint gettin no nookie???….dry country…..

  • blaQ

    Tara…I know a rapper or two who has hit that…so don’t act oh so clean.

  • Stat Quo hater

    This dude Stat is talking about defocating like it’s a joke, when it ain’t really all the funny. See, I knew Stat from back in the day and it was from me that he even learned what the status quotient is. He had below par rhymes, couldn’t rap on beat, like to listen to Robbie Williams. In fact, at parties when everyone else was snorting la coca, this fool had his own little pouch of cooked-coke crack and used to get faded off the cheap shit. While everyone else was blitzed for a couple of hours off one or two lines, this cat was having to repack his pipe every 20 minutes or so. In fact, the first time dude ever got with a woman, he called me in the room and asked me how to put it in the girl. I told em that I do my women from the back–he had a disappointed look on his face and exclaimed, “Yeah, but she’s sleeping on her back, I can’t roll her over or she’ll wake up and then I’ll never get none.” I just laughed at his predicament then left his ass there stroking himself. Thing is, once a bitch, always a bitch–Stat Quo is that dude.

  • Incilin

    Scorpio1970 and B-ease make good points about journalist integrity, which I think Tara ought to address (Of course she won’t, but hey) I will add that no matter what, everything is subjective. And asking Stat to just act right and decent isn’t much, and that screwup can’t even get that right.

  • Bang

    so what are you wearing, tara …?

    nah, but seriously, it does seem like only the arrogant, think-they-made it types or has-beens that seem like the real assholes. if you are too full of yourself, no one will want to work wtih you,

    thus, that’s why they are who they are. lol at stat, fuck that clown I forgot about him and his cornball music

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  • Prince Of The South

    The Atlanta rapper—whose debut Statlanta is currently scheduled to drop on Shady/Aftermath Neveruary 33, 2107

    Damn that’s harsh but true, I think Dre and Em aren’t trying to catch another brick. Maybe he’ll luck up and get the third single for the Re-up “Get Low” after “Jimmy Crack Corn”
    Dude stupid if he really did that. What he doesn’t get is that you need the media to keep you out there for the general public. He better be happy the Re-Up gold and collect his royalties off it, because he won’t drop this year between 50 cent, D12, and Eminem dropping this year.

  • Cuban Link

    sATaLyte Says:

    January 4th, 2007 at 1:00 pm
    Stat Quo’s terrible music pretty much sealed his fate anyway.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^co-sign

  • NickeNitro

    I guess you’re afraid to post my comment from three days ago because you think it will make you look bad, since it’s still “awaiting moderation,” and the only “curse words” in it are not mine but in a quote from Lauren Carter. Guess you prefer to have an uninformed audience.

  • TARA

    NickeNitro: I have no problem with your comment. The site’s comment moderation is not working properly right now. Apologies. It will post at some point.

  • Notorious A.G.C.

    tara ur hot

  • alleyeCNtower

    Tara, this is on point.
    As an MC and a journalist, I can appreciate this. And Stat Quo’s album is NEVER coming out. Daamn, homie! Rap is out of control :)

  • crimson

    It’s crazy that some people are actually defending Stat Quo.

  • http://straightoutleodis.blogspot..com Analogue

    Co-sign Incilin, Scorpio1970 and B-ease… are you not going to give us an answer on the journalistic integrity issue, Tara?

    Other than that, interesting article. Although I’d also maybe dispute your third point… true to an extent but it’s a fuck of a lot easier to google a few past 50 Cent interviews than to find anything on a previously unknown MC prior to making contact, no matter how much of a true head you may be.

    straightoutleodis.blogspot.com

  • NickeNitro

    Okay, my bad Tara. I usually like your writing, so I’ll try not to get upset at your blog again. I just took umbrage at Lauren Carter’s approach and possible lack of candor in her article, and maybe that you overlooked Donuts in your top 10 of ’06.

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  • http://www.ukhh.com lady c

    Then again, you might find us reviewing one of your records for a major publication a year later.”

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    You couldnt have meant to write that. so joking about phone sex is a justifiable reason to throw journalistic integrity out the window?
    ==========

    a little joke: no grudge

    being a total offensive w*nker: damn right I will NEVER write about you. It’s more effective to ignore an artist – cause they’re all craving any press coverage possible, good or bad, than slag them off! why should journalist write about people they dislike? why spread the bad energy? far better to just refrain from contributing anything to their career – if you read betw the lines in the press it is obvious who are nightmares to interview

  • jkl

    mind-boggling-ly

  • DRAMATIC

    tara i would wanna have sex with you phone or not. baby you are to sexy luv ya…

  • Hurricane Game

    Stat Quo=Weed Carrier for all shady weedcarriers

  • http://WRWERWER SHADY STAND UP!

    DAMN! TO MANY HATERS HERE! STAT IS A ILL NIGGA NO DOUBT ABAOUT THAT! THIS HOLE SHIT IS STUPID JUST LEAVE THAT NIGGA ALONE DAMN

  • EReal

    I wanna know how everyone knows Tara is hot.
    Is there an eye candy shoot or something Im missin? All I see is that lil pic up there.
    I mean from that lil pic, shes defs a cutie.. but how you say she’s hot without seeing the whole package ya know?

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