Helping massa build a new house

If you’ve been reading my shit for any amount of time now, you’ve probably noticed I’m a cynical bastard. Any time I see a news item about hip-hop from a business perspective, I immediately assume there’s some underlying scheme to perpetuate this current state of affairs, in which the ranks of the ownership class in hip-hop are staffed by relatively secretive tall Israelis – and meanwhile the artists, who do all of the heavy lifting that actually generates such an insane amount of wealth in the first place might, if they’re lucky, function as fake executives and owners of various businesses, so as to create the perception of real ownership. The thing is, I’m right more often than not always.

Take for example this blog by Jermaine Dupri at the Huffington Post. Reading it yesterday, the first thing that crossed my mind was that this was obviously an attempt by JD to drum up interest in his new book, which is indeed advertised on the same page as his blog and then plugged again in the blog itself for good measure. And the second thing that crossed my mind is that the TIs at Universal must have put him up to this. They may have even written the post themselves and attached his name to it, just like I’m sure someone else actually wrote his book.

You see, the TIs at Universal are pissed at Apple and iTunes, because they’re the only one making any money on music these days. What’s more, they don’t even have to sweat signing and developing artists and recording music; all they have to do is let labels upload their shit into their system, and then take a nice little chunk any time they sell something. And there’s hardly any real overhead, other than what it costs to develop the site and pay for the bandwidth, so they’re probably making a mint profit-wise.

In particular, Doug Morris from Universal was involved in a row with Steve Jobs from Apple earlier this year having to do with the cut Apple receives from each song that’s downloaded. Because Doug Morris needed to get some money from somewhere, and obviously getting Jay-Z to come up with a good idea was out of the question, he decided he’d just demand that iTunes take less money from each song downloaded. But he was at a loss for leverage business-wise, since iTunes controls the lion’s share of the online music industry. He could take his proverbial marbles and go home, but he’d be taking a substantial financial hit to do so.

So Doug Morris is planning on teaming up with the TIs from a few other major labels (i.e. probably his cousins) and releasing his own version of iTunes. Only thing is, it’s probably gonna take a while to come out, and when it does, it’s probably gonna suck balls – just like almost all of the other pay music download services, including iTunes. I’m sure they figure they can fucking trounce iTunes, since the vast majority of music released these days is controlled by a few major labels; if you want to buy some bullshit from Def Jam or Atlantic Records, you’ll have no choice but to cop from Doug Morris. Given their track record though with regard to managing change and adapting to new technologies, I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow managed to fuck this up.

In the meantime, it’s pretty obvious to me that pulling Jay-Z’s American Gangster from iTunes, and then making such a huge spectacle of it, was just an effort to fuck with Apple. Never mind all of that bullshit in the Jay-Z press release and the Jermaine Dupri blog about Jay wanting people to listen to the album in full. Major labels used to pull this shit all the time back when there were actual record stores. Since the vast majority of people who went in record stores in any given week were there to cop what was hot that week in particular, labels knew they could fuck with record stores by not sending them new releases. And if it was one of the year’s biggest releases, like American Gangster, it could probably fuck up a store’s entire quarter. That’s all that was going on here.

But whatever. After all, who gives a shit whether most of the money from an album’s sale goes into Steve Jobs’ pocket or Doug Morris’ pocket? Most people probably couldn’t pick either of them out of a lineup. For all we know, they could be the same guy, just fucking with us. I do find it unfortunate though that this latest chain of events is probably gonna lead to yet another situation in which one of the primary business institutions of our culture is controlled by a secret cabal of tall Israelis, with a few black guys like Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri serving as a public front, in case anyone gets suspicious. With the amount of resources these assholes have, you’d think they’d be interested in starting their own iTunes, not helping Doug Morris start his.

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    • I LOVE JEWS

      If your theory is true about israeli’s running the industry that sucks jewish balls for you. I would think a black male would realise jews and black people are in the same opressed boat . Bascially if black people arent running things who better than us Jews?

  • Smartenup

    You would think that they would want to start there own but it’s much easier to beg for a portion from massa.
    We have alot to learn

  • ATL = All Trannies Live

    Whatever. I use Limewire.

    • Cuban Link

      haha lmao, but co-sign

      • http://www.xxlmag.com EReal

        Bittorrent all day bitches! lol

  • BossGame

    African-Americans need to take control of our resources period. Good post Bol!

  • og bobby j

    I always wondered why an artist like Jay or 50 or whoever, that claims to be so rich, wouldnt just cut the record labels out of the equation…..create there own site for there own company…with exclusive downloads and the cd’s avialable to ship. Shit just seems smart. I know its expensive, but these cats are caked up…..it could work.

    • Worley

      I usually disagree with this dude, but I co-sign this one. JD sounded like a slave wondering why people were buying cotton from another plantation.

      The dude that mentored Suge Knight at Solaar Records had a distribution set up but sold it to his regret. To my knowledge Suge, Irv Gotti and J Prince tried to get their own thing going and then, surprise: all three had Fed cases on their heads. I think whitey is scared sh*t of us owning anything.

      Think on this: 50, Jay and Puff made the billion dollar remix because between them they got a billy. But they look silly as hell working for Universal. Dudes gotta pull their heads out of their asses first. Then we’ll see what happens.

  • De

    I mean Dupri with or wihtout Jayz could start their own shit.

    JayZ should start a downloading/mp3 music company, i mean whats stopping him?

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  • Jerz!

    I read on and off, but this is the best shit I’ve read from you. Not that that means anything, but I’m saying.

  • KQ

    haha i thought the same same when i read about JDs blog post. nice post bol.

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    “With the amount of resources these assholes have, you’d think they’d be interested in starting their own iTunes, not helping Doug Morris start his.”

    Sometimes you hit it right on the head. I gota admit I thought the same thing when I read the post. JD seemed to advocate not letting ITunes control the music and instead letting the labels go back to controlling the music. When will the artists control the music?

  • P-Matik

    co-sign

  • kritiq

    this post is as useless as Old gay bobby j’s comments,and co-sign ATL lime wire is the shit

  • http://www.rockthedub.com khal

    “I always wondered why an artist like Jay or 50 or whoever, that claims to be so rich, wouldnt just cut the record labels out of the equation…..create there own site for there own company…with exclusive downloads and the cd’s avialable to ship. Shit just seems smart. I know its expensive, but these cats are caked up…..it could work.”

    you hit the nail on the head: its expensive. jay could probably do that NOW, but this is only after he caked off of his Roc money through the Def Jam venture. Major Labels = distribution, solid distribution, that’s going to be thrown on many retail spots, automatica. A nigga with a dollar and a dream can only go so far, esp. if they’re trying to like, make an iTunes-esque site that’s going to a) be fast and b) be consistent. That shit costs money, and is why companies like Apple can cake off of it. They have the Mac game on lock, they know the way to make their product efficient, and are raping even more duckets out of the artists pockets.

    Beans said it best: get down or lay down.

  • og bobby j

    @ kritiq
    does my dick taste good? your life is a useless as your mother…fuckin gutter rat…wash your fuckin mouth out….sardine ass nigga

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  • M.Garvey

    Sometimes i think your an idiot, but u did on w/ this one.

  • Styles

    I knew just by looking at the title that this was going to be a good one…. Good job!

  • http://xxlmag.com houston’s finest

    !Viva bootleggers!

  • white widow maker

    they need to get mel gibson involved, let him go mad max on those TIs

  • mike

    wow, this is incredibly discriminatory and most likely wrong. Example: most people online think Jimmy Iovine is a greedy jew, when in actuality, he’s Italian.

    Don’t listen to this prejudiced idiot. Does he feel the same way about Indians? I guess it’s ok when hispanics control the drugs he buys.

  • http://paidandpopular.blogspot.com Anthony to the S.

    lol @ the dude above.

    http://paidandpopular.blogspot.com

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  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=16572 Jay

    dosent effect me when i like an artist i go buy the album if its just a hot song n i like it but dont even consider buying the album i use bearshare.. free so fuck itunes and apple

  • http://xxlmag.com Kane Corleone

    Next thing you know rappers are gonna start bootleggin their own shit ,I would make sure i get all my money back. Shout out to all the fake g’z & the Kerrs cant forget bout ya’ll

  • Josh

    God, JD sounds like such an idiot.

    First, I am a Jay-Z fan. I think Reasonable Doubt, Vol 1, Blueprint & Black Album are all classics.

    However, Blueprint 2, Kingdom Come and American Gangster suck.

    Point blank.

    And I still bought the goddam album. I buy almost every album that comes out because I’m sick like that.

    However, back in the days when I was a teen and had very little cash, I was more discerning.

    I would buy full albums if: 1) it was from an artist I loved or 2) I knew had more than 2 hot songs. Otherwise, I’d 1) buy the single, 2) dub the fucking single off the radio, or 3) dub the album from a friend.

    The internet revolution hasn’t changed shit.

    People do not want to buy wack albums.

    It’s only shmucks like me who are obsessed with hip hop that buy shit just to have shit.

    That’s not your average teenager/20something, who, let’s face it, is the target crowd.

    Instead of dubbing off the radio or buying a single, or dubbing from a friend, they rip a song from Kazaa (or whatever), buy the single from iTunes, or download it from sendspace or some shit. OR BUY THE FUCKING BOOTLEG FROM 125th STREET (or Fordham or Jamaica Ave or Flatbush or Canaol, etc.).

    There’s one thing that remains constant: People will not buy wack albums.

    The reason why Kanye sold so well (which, I suppose isn’t stellar compared to years past, but whatever), is cuz that album’s kinda hot.

    What other hot rap albums came out this year?

    Little Brother?

    Yeah, maybe, but nobody woulda bought that shit in ’98 either (or ’87) cuz its on ABB, poorly promoted, no single, etc etc.

    And for JD to say selling singles is like selling a chapter from a book or the corner of a painting is preposterous.

    Give me a fucking break.

    Pop Music (which has included hip hop for 15 some odd years) is a singles-based industry.

    It revolves around radio (including internet and satellite) and video. Honestly, you should feel lucky people buy singles, cuz all they’re doing is buying the same shitty 20 songs that get spun on radio 30 times a day.

    Just turn on the radio if you wanna hear Soulja Boy. Why would you buy that single anyway even if you liked it?

    Look at disco. Single-based. Nobody wanted to listen to a whole disco album cuz that shit was wack.

    Look at pop. The only reason “Thriller” sold so may copies is cuz it had like 8 hot singles.

    And authors have been putting excerpts and chapters of their books in magazines for decades. If you like what you read, you got out and get the book.

    And trust me JD, even though I’m sure your book is worthy of 5 mics (or XXL, sorry Elliot), if there was only one chapter worth reading, book stores would start selling that one chapter.

    Like “American Gangster.” Everyone can say Jay’s brining it back to “Reasonable Doubt” all they want, but rhyming about selling drugs 11 years later isn’t bringing it back. When will Jay learned that people liked him because he was a lyricist with clever word play.

    “Herion got less steps than Brittney, that means its not stepped on, dig me?” is just not hot. That’s some real corny shit. I can go on, but why bother.

    Jay sounds like he has zero inspiration to rap, which is ironic, because his post-Black Album guest spots were hot (see Diamonds (Remix), Hustlin (Remix), that Aztek song, whatever else I can’t think of). But something happened with Kingdom Come. He lost that energy, that swag, that what the French call “I don’t know what.”

    When rappers start making hot albums again and labels promote them right (by the way, there were like 5 Def Jam ads in the new XXL – when was the last time you saw so many major label ads in a magazine? Seriously), albums will sell again. Even if people buy them digitally instead of on CD.

    JD forsees the death of the iPod. He’s out of his fucking mind. I have an iPod and I’ve maybe bought 30-50 songs from iTunes. All from when I was DJing and needed shit for a party that I couldn’t find online for free. Yet I have like 3,000 songs on my iPod. Mostly from CDs that I’ve actually purchased.

    But you know what, people still can buy hard copy legit CDs illegally. It’s all over Ebay and Amazon. People sell promo copies or used copies for dirt cheap. And labels don’t see a dime from those sales. Why direct all this backlash at iTunes. At least ya’ll get paid off iTunes. Fucking idiots.

  • Tyler

    Finally. Great post BoL, old chap. But when are U going 2 go Ape shit over Kanye’s mother biting the dust? When are U going 2 do your thang and put your “cynical bastard” spin on ‘dat topic? ? ?? Did we finally find a subject that is 2 taboo for even the lowest life forms, like U? Hmmm, very interest.
    SolutionsGlobalMedia.com aka SGM7.com
    Love it or Hate it Tell a Friend.

  • Tyler

    Oh yea’ Happy Thanksgiving 2 all U Jive Turkeys.

  • http://www.myspace.com/crockerishiphop Crocker

    ^^^^^^^
    “I think whitey is scared sh*t of us owning anything.”

    Co-sign. Kill Whitey!

    ^^^^^
    “I think Reasonable Doubt, Vol 1, Blueprint & Black Album are all classics.However, Blueprint 2, Kingdom Come and American Gangster suck.”

    Two things:

    1.Vol 1 is a classic like Rupaul is a really a broad. Word to (Always) Be My Sunshine

    2. And Blueprint II doesn’t suck. It had classic joints, check “Meet The Parents,” or “U Don’t Know (remix) feat. M.O.P.), but here again people just shit on something for the sake of shitting.

    • Josh

      First of all,

      “Always (Be My Sunshine)” > “Hard Knock Life” (or whatever that Annie song was called).

      It is also better than “Roc Boys” and “Show Me What You Got” and “Kingdom Come” and “Do It Again” and “’02 Bonnie & Clyde.”

      Listen to the flow on that record.

      And the lyrics.

      Just off of these lines, alone, you can’t hate on “Sunshine”:

      If I ever go broke, would you hit the block for me?)

      Fo’ sho’(She replied, eyes open wide)

      (Put that on everything?) I put that on my life
      (Right)

      Second of all,

      Just because Blueprint 2 has some good songs doesn’t make it good.

      “Excuse Me Miss” was hot (remix was fire), “All Around the World” was hot (word to Dion), “Guns & Roses” was fire (I said it), the bonus track were hot (especially “Bitches & Sisters”)…”Meet the Parents” was cool…”You Don’t Know (Remix)” never should have been made.

      The album still sucks.

      I don’t shit for the sake of shitting.

      I give credit where credit is due.

  • DirtDogggy

    WTF is apple and itunes ? never herd of it, cause only a tard would pay for a dl on the dl.

  • T.R.E.Y.

    Blueprint 2 is Hov’s best album. no joke. the two Timboshits (“What They Gonna Do” and “2 Many Hoes,” weird considering how good he usually is with Hov) and that pseudo-Sinatra songs are the only bad songs. the rest kills

  • moresickaMC

    Imagine if 50, Jay & Diddy came together % started their own company?? U know “the man” will try and stop that at any cost.

  • JAY STONE

    Like someone above me said limewire is the shit.Unless the album is classic(nas exception)there is no way i`m gonna cop it when you can download it for free.
    I thought OG BOBBY J was dead.

  • JAY STONE

    WTF is apple and itunes ? never herd of it, cause only a tard would pay for a dl on the dl.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    what planet are you from bozo?

  • Roc the Trashman

    Thought about writing up a post arguing with you but um once again you’re most likely wrong and as much as I hate the word, a true “hater”. Your cynicism and distaste for black people knows no bounds to try to discredit a pretty simple reason for pulling an album from itunes; just wanting fans to hear a great album in its entirety to fully appreciate it. Amazing that you have the rest of these dumb asses posting “co-sign”.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=16572 Jay

    speaking of american gangster… how r u guys gonna claim ur a real hiphop site and do reviews of albums and not have american gangster review there??? or cassidys for that matter when i hear bout hot albums comin out i go 2 this site first and when i dont see those 2 albums up there its like wtf u got everythin cept that.. hiphopdx had it..allhiphop had it..step ya game upppppp… 2 hottest albums of that month n not even reviewed… u had hurricane chris review and not jayz hahahah wow!!!

  • Cuban Link

    the quality on downloaded shit sucsk, I only d/l shit when theres some single i like floating around, and the CD didnt come out, or the CD is awful.And even in that case its not like I pay for it.

  • c. gabi

    I got so into the post by Josh that I almost forgot what the original post was about lol, but for one of the few times ever in life, I agree with Bol.

    No one likes to buy wack albums, period. And back in the day (like 10 yrs back), I really was on some “if I haven’t heard 3 good singles from the album, I’m not buying it” type situations. I just download whatever lil songs I like and be done with it. Plus cd’s aren’t even fun to listen to anymore (remember when there used to be skits and funny interludes, wtf happened to those?).

    Graduation was the last album I bought (admittedly, I was duped into buying it so I wouldn’t have to hear another 50 album), but before then, I think the last thing I’d bought was the Nappy Rootz album (yea yea, I know, HUGE lapse in judgment).

    I just think we need some more Motowns (btw, who is still signed there?). I’d say LaFace, but isn’t that under Arista? Sugarhill Records (far-fetched, but the idea counts)? or just some real down White folks (I suppose) who aren’t trying to do us (Blacks) over. TIs, idk, I mean, the whole situation with them is both a blessing and a curse. Rap artists are making more money now than when Hip-Hop started 25-30 yrs ago, but there still getting the short end of the stick (i.e. white dicks–my bad that was crass of me).

    I guess the real question is who is more scared of Black people really running shit in the industry, white people or us?

    • http://www.xxlmag.com EReal

      Wooooooooowwwwwwww,

      You admittedly bought Graduation just to spite 50? *SMH*

  • http://- JJ

    First off, regarding Bol, I’m a fan of his work (at times), but please, he should do his homework before writing. Never once does he mention what cut Apple is taking, because he doesn’t know. Not once does he mention what cut record labels get, because he doesn’t know that either. And he doesn’t mention what artists make, because, once again, he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what it costs to develop, market, advertise, organize and negotiate with 50 million different labels, and then sell the product to the public. And he doesn’t know about the untold tens of millions of dollars and thousands of man hours that go into a project like iTunes before it even sees the light of day, let alone makes a penny. Are artists always the last to get paid, yes. That’s well known, and fucked up, we all know that. Without artists, there is no music industry. But without efficient distribution, we’re all selling records out of the trunk of our cars. We all have to compromise. Remember, it was Steve Jobs who refused to raise the price of song downloads past 99 cents per song, even after record labels threatened to pull their catalogs. That certainly would have put more money in his pocket, but he refused. iTunes has put me on to more new music I hadn’t heard before than I can count, and subsequently I purchased music from artists I never would have heard of without it. Is Steve Jobs the real “American Gangster”? Maybe. But he doesn’t lean as heavy as he could.

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  • www.UCanMakeBeats.com

    I co-sign the notion regarding why these cats don’t loc’ up like Voltron and run the game…then like someone already said look what happened to (Lil J) J. Prince, Suge & Irv…

    but the better question is now with the way the internet has murked the game there is no longer a need to distribute your music via the labels for artists like Jay, 50 n Puff… they could actually sell all their units online using the existing infrastructures that are in place and not have a major take any of their dough….

    true they will lose some sales by not being in your local Best Buy but that will pale in comparison to having nearly ZERO overhead and no whiteys’ to hit em’ with charge-backs, fees points etc…

    honestly, i think that day is coming though because people simply aren’t buying music in stores no more… all my purchases are online.

    http://www.UCanMakeBeats.com – take control of your music and bring production in-house!

  • Whitey

    I enjoy how african americans are so offended by the n-word, but then they use words like massa and whitey freely…good job guys, keep working on getting equality by using the weapons used against you

  • KKK nigga killa

    Black Bumble Bee Buzzin breezy = Carter 3

  • RealTalk

    I’m sorry I can’t buy into this bullshit and I find it funny that everyone is just nodding their heads as usual. Why is everything about racism? How is JayZ pulling American Gangster from ITunes have anything to do with racism, nevermind an analogy to slavery?!! Yeah, I see you rolling your eyes at me right now. “I can’t believe this guy Real Talk is actually questioning this.”. I feel like sayin fuck yall robots, but I don’t want yall to turn the channel on me.

    Racism is still around. Yes. Racist things happen everyday. Yes. But not everything is this big conspiracy theory. Some things have alot to do with racism. Other things have nothing to do with racism. When a man doesn’t get a job because of his race. That’s racism. When I wake up, scratch my balls, and drink a glass of milk in the morning, that has nothing to do with racism. White people, even “TI’s” are people just like you and me. They are not evil aliens. They are not sitting in their offices and homes conspiring on their next move to put down minorities. They are just regular people with jobs and everything.

    White artists in other genres including rock, country, and blues are going through the same bullshit wit the industry. It’s nothin racial about it. And JayZ isn’t a front. He’s the fuckin President. Why is a black man that’s successful automatically this sellout house nigga? I guess a successful black man like JayZ bein President of a major music label is just too mind bogglin for yall paranoid viewpoint of the world.

    • Fire

      Co-sign. Some people are quick to read too deep into everything and find racism. It’s obvious Bol’s posts are satire, but these commenters are definitely not kidding, and that’s pretty sad.

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