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Who’s Got The Props?!?

Hip-Hop on your radio is dead. I’m sure there is some rap music that you may hear from the radio, but as far as hearing real Hip-Hop you would be better off killing your radio and smashing your television with a sledgehammer. At least here in New York City where the home of Hip-Hop is restricted by commercial outlets all owned by the same corporation you have to go back into the underground to listen to some rappers who still spit their stories about living life in the margins. They fill their rhymebooks up to the margins as well, but we all talked about the value of writing rhymes the other day so I won’t go back into that today.

They say that in business the fourth quarter of the calendar year is when the winners emerge. It’s true for sports as well because you se how the Patriots handle their business on the field during the fourth quarter. We all remember Michael Jordan and his fourth quarter exploits. Even the American Gangster and self-proclaimed MJ of the rap game has been a major player for the fourth quarter of 2007. Whether Jay-Z does or does not write down his rhymes, and whether he has or has never sold drugs are all subjects open for debate and further discrimination. What is not in question is that he will be a wealthy man when this calendar year ends. And with all of his acclaim and success Jay-Z was NOT the biggest winner in Hip-Hop this year.

Duck Down Records has been slowly making a resurgence to prominence in the last few years. Several years ago I was sitting in a dirty, dank, smoke filled Brooklyn basement with members of the BootCamp Clik and underground smut video purveyors BOOZ Entertainment as they shot reels for a Boot Camp Clik x Ghetto Girls Gone Wild video. I thought to myself that the BCC was always the most progressive underground movement. They are the original dirty backpackers movement all the while keeping a gat stashed in the goosedown jacket. While collectives like the Wu-Tang were able to spring up and receive commercial success and fellow Brooklyn backpackers and Rawkus alumni Blackstar were also embraced by he mainstream, Duck Down had remained below the radar.

I say below the radar in the general acceptance sense. Hardcore rap fans have never stopped fucking with Buckshot, Tek, Steele, Rock or Ruck. As a matter of fact, Ruck a/k/a Sean Price might be on more mixtapes than any other rapper in the game now. And that was achieved without kissing another man on the lips or taking off his clothing for the cover of a nationally distributed magazine. If you ever want to get into the music business I would advise you to study the work ethic and habits of Dru Ha and Buck. The fact that they have over fifteen years together as a team in the music business makes them a perfect guideline for weathering the fickle nature of fanhood in this arena. Being able to stay focused through the highs, and especially the lows in the music business will speak volumes about your personal character. I see other collectives in rap that can barely handle their success – G Unit. While others have a hard time staying united when the funds begin to diminish – DipSet. Through the storm Duck Down Records remains and they are poised to have their best year ever.

Forget the fact that these dudes have been touring this year like runaway slaves. The real moves that Duck Down has made has been in re-establishing their commercial profile. Credit Sean Price with doing the majority of the heavy lifting. Between the critical praise of his ‘Monkey Bars’ album and the follow up ‘Jesus Price Supastar’, Sean Price has captured the title of the ultimate underground emcee. Duck Down has used that to springboard themselves into deals with ESPN and the History Channel. These are smart business moves because of the distribution and viewership both networks have. How many millions of people watch SportsCenter? Shit, I watch the 1:00am and the 2:00am broadcasts when I am writing these drops. FYI, fuck the Ohio State. LSU all day bitches.

The real coup that Duck Down Records scored was with the internets video channel YouTube. If you have ever watched a clear video on that site the chances are the runtime was under a minute. You normally have to compress a video to the degree that quality is greatly sacrificed. YouTube will be hosting large format video files for the record label which means that we will see better quality and better production values from their video content. Let’s face the music, literally and figuratively, video content is how people want to receive their information. Typewritten blogs are as dead as ‘snap rap’ in this post-literate civilization. Duck Down Records has once again taken the lead in setting the trends that the major labels and distributors will follow. I know they got the music biz open kid. Don’t front.

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