Tainted love

I was charging money for album reviews back before it was all trendy.

Back in 2004, I joked in a post on my own site that the albums I was reviewing were getting so bad that I should start charging artists $20 just for having to listen to them. I didn’t bother to think anyone would take me up on it. Labels hardly ever send me albums to review, and when they do, it’s an artist I’d be doing a favor to even mention on the Internets. With some of these guys, you wonder how they come up with the $1 per or whatever it costs to send out promo copies of an album on CD. (What am I supposed to do with a CD?) They’re too lame to be drug dealers. They must be borrowing money from their parents. Any album from a major label I’ve reviewed in the past six years or so I got the old fashioned way. From a record store. Roffle.

Speaking of guys who’ve received a favor from yours truly, no homo, a guy actually did take me up on my pay for reviews proposition. It was some guy from SOHH, Ron Mexico’s former employer, back before the days of the Pedophile Army, Teh Gyant, that time it got hacked by racists and/or those same people who stay fucking with the Church of $cientology, so on and so forth. Suffice it to say that site’s seen it’s share of hardship. I was going through my own hardship at the time. As usual. I skimmed the “tainted” album review just now, and I saw where it said I was no longer with White Castle. I may have been in between jobs. I definitely could have used the $20. Only thing is, the sorry bastard who took me up on my offer didn’t have $20.

His name was Minus P, which I found amusing at the time because we used to have this saying at White Castle, when someone would order a White Castle without pickles. (Why?) We’d call it a “White Castle, minus the pee.” Which seemed even more amusing, to me at least, because we kept the pickles floating in this stainless steel bucket full of greenish yellow liquid that actually did kinda look like piss. And when you ate White Castle something like three meals a day, five days a week, which I did, because it was free and it was all I could afford, your piss would smell like a White Castle. White Castle actually is one of the better places to work, if you can’t get a job that pays more than $8 an hour, which I suppose I still can’t. Most places don’t let you eat for free like that.

Sidebar: Another amusing White Castle term I just thought of: we used to refer to chicken rings as cock rings, or if the manager was around, c-rings. You know, since cock is also a term for a chicken. And we used to play the roll of pennies game, which I’m sure is familiar to anyone who’s worked in a restaurant. If a hot chick came through the drive thru, you’d yell for the other guy who worked there to toss you a roll of pennies. Never mind the fact that he was working the grill. It’s a wonder I didn’t get into any more trouble than I did back in those days.

Minus P promised me that, if I was ever in the shitty part of New York, he’d find me an hispanic woman to have sex with. Which may have still been a good deal for him, what with the state of the economy. I’d take him up on his offer, the next time I’m in New York, but something tells me he’s long since forgotten. Also, it wouldn’t be good for my “brand,” since it would mean I’ve been compensated for a review. Technically, I haven’t charged for an album review yet. I just said I was going to, and then reviewed an album I never would have otherwise, if I hadn’t. I wouldn’t want someone to read my site and have to wonder if I’m writing about something because I’m generally interested in it, or because there was a dollar to be made.

Like Kevin Nottingham. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the controversy from this past weekend having to do with the fact that his site was charging for album reviews. Some producer no one ever heard of hit him up about reviewing his album, and one of Kevin Nottingham’s minions sent him a reply requesting a payment of $35, and touting Kevin Nottingham’s inclusion on XXL’s list of the top 100 hip-hop websites as proof that it would be money well spent. The producer sent a screencap of the email to Wax Dart Adams, via Twitter, which is where I found it. Nullus. I posted on my own site, as did a number of other hip-hop bloggers. We couldn’t believe that a blogger would have the sheer balls to request money in exchange for an album review, and that they didn’t seem altogether concerned with being found out. It’s not like there was a disclaimer or anything in the email. It must not have occurred to them that people would find out, and they’d be none too pleased.

Here’s the thing: It says right there in the email that Kevin Nottingham receives way too many promo copies of albums to review them all (must be nice), and that’s why they have to charge independent labels $35 for a review. Even if I were dumb enough to think that taking money under the table to review an album wouldn’t have any effect on the content of the review, which Kevin Nottingham of course tried to claim (as if he’d admit the opposite), it stands to reason that paid reviews of albums by artists who have to pay people to listen to their music would crowd out reviews of better albums by independent artists who know better than to give some guy no one ever heard of $35 to review their album on a blog. I took a look at the list of the tainted reviews, and I’d never heard of any of that shit. And if I’m one of the people who actually read Kevin Nottingham, I’m wondering why I should have to sift through reviews of shit I couldn’t possibly be interested in, just so this asshole can make $35 – though it should be noted that hardly any of his readers seem to give a shit. If that’s the case, maybe he should continue to charge for album reviews. Who cares what I think? He’s already got XXL the magazine’s seal of approval. I just blog for their website.

  • http://www.KeepItTrill.com Trill Chris

    Lol….Why wouldn’t he charge for an album review if it takes his time and energy to listen to a full album and review it song by song? Is it not considered work? Do you not get paid to write for XXL? Not to mention, they must have admired his work enough to want to get a review done by him in the first place.

    Kevin doesn’t owe any artist a damn thing. Whatever he does on his website helps to promote an artist point blank. So tell me again why he shouldn’t get paid?

    KeepItTrill.com charges for album reviews for the reason I mentioned above. Hell, one of the few albums that I was paid to review myself ended up creating a good friendship with that artist for me. Money doesn’t influence my opinion of music one way or another. If you want to pay me for my feedback, my feedback is what you will get…You can chose to take my criticism and step your game up, or you can get mad at it. The ball is in their court. If I did it any other way I couldn’t call our site “Keep It Trill.”

    We would gladly accept any interns who would like to review albums for free, but free work is hard to find. At the end of the day, it’s all a business and i’m in it to make money, not do charity work. I have to pay my bills too.

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      ^ This

  • DetroitDraper

    Where can I get that New York Times post Bol?

    MAYN HOL’ UP

  • Master CHeef

    You still review albums?

  • Zooloo

    it’s funny how after so much blogging about bloggers not being journalist and therefore free to shit on anyone, anything, anytime with rabid impunity, a blogger then gets upset that another blogger is not upholding the journalistic standards of objectivity. let kev make his shells, bol. after all, to paraphrase you, ‘…hardly any of your readers seem to give a shit.”

  • Enlightened

    Leave it alone Bol. You on that bullshit again. Did you pay the dude for that video interview that had everybody laughing at how you looked, moved, acted, and sounded when we actually saw you in living color?

  • OG Matt Herbz

    I was caught up in a similar situation last year after receiving a few emails from a young lady who wanted me to talk to my friend, the owner of Magic City, about her procuring a job at the club. She asked me about doing her the favor nice enough, but if I played Mr. Nice Guy with every female that wanted me to do them a favor, I’d never have time for myself, to do the things I want to do–like get high and go to church.

    So, I replied back, “Meet me Saturday night, 9pm, in front of Cumberland Mall. Bring 2 Trojan Magnums, and a new, sealed mini bottle of Listerine.”

    I never heard back from her so I just kept it moving like the Playa’ Playa’ that I am. Next thing you know, she’s trying to out me on my Twitter feed talking dirty about how I gave her “Trick” (the STD) and how I was a dog and I wouldn’t even meet her unless she performed sex acts on me. It was funny… Most of my women responded back on my behalf saying things like…

    “Somebody must have flunked Biology 101 because any bitch off the street knows that Matt Herbz’ Supersperm is impervious to STDs!”

    and…

    “No shit you dumb bitch, he’s Matt Muthafuckin’ Herbz, the Supreme White Being. You would have been lucky if he’d came in your hair, kicked you out his ride and never called you back!”

    Shit was hilarious, and though I did notice a drop in the number of random hoes hitting me up for job references, my Fuck Game statistics for the 2nd Quarter were up 15% compared with 2008′s numbers. If I’m not batting 1000, I’ve got at least 996 and need 4 mo’.

    Tell Kevin to call me if he needs pointers on sifting through the rift raft, I’d be happy to help…though I charge much more than $35.

    –OG Matt Herbz–

    • oG Ron Bz

      I remember when that happened on your twitter page. You’re a fool Matthew, a real character!

  • sealsaa

    “Lol….Why wouldn’t he charge for an album review if it takes his time and energy to listen to a full album and review it song by song? Is it not considered work? Do you not get paid to write for XXL? Not to mention, they must have admired his work enough to want to get a review done by him in the first place.”

    Complete nonsense. Its an obvious question of objectivity(or lack thereof). How can you trust him to give an objective review when he’s already deemed the albums that people refuse to pay him for unworthy of a review?

    LOL @ your ridiculous straw-man arguement. Comparing a blogger who gets paid to write about random topics to one who gets paid to write about specific material. You could’nt be that dense.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    @ Herbz

    You’re crazy son…

    @ sealsaa

    If you look at it, all of them are paid to do it. Siskel & Ebert down to Kevin. They review what’s given to them, MOST of the time.

    SOMETIMES, these critic people find a diamond in the rough.

  • M

    “Did you pay the dude for that video interview that had everybody laughing at how you looked, moved, acted, and sounded when we actually saw you in living color?”

    That feels like forever ago.

  • http://xxl All Dae

    Herbz is a fo wit it…that comment was more interesting than most blogs on here.

    I think that hustle made itself. someone was gonna go there. its stoopid cause yr cutting yrself short if yr unknown. Music is to be shared and enjoyed.

  • http://twitter.com/michaelbjordan Mike Jordan

    It’s payola. That’s all.

  • sealsaa

    @ $yk

    “it stands to reason that paid reviews of albums by artists who have to pay people to listen to their music would crowd out reviews of better albums by independent artists who know better than to give some guy no one ever heard of $35 to review their album on a blog.”

    ^This

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      But which critic actually goes out and handpicks what they critique?

      I would hope the person investing the $35 would know this is an advertisement review, and not a Source 5 Mics spot, but did The Source require and do this same formula, perhaps just not as outspoken?

      I understand the moral issue but payola’s been going on.

  • GIFT

    SHAMELESS PLUG, BUT IF U LIKE NEW HIP HOP, CHECK OUT MYSPACE.COM/EAST35.
    THEY THE NEXT BIG THANG OUT OF TEXAS. AUSTIN, TX TO BE EXACT.
    HEAR IT!!!!!LUV IT!!!!!!!!BUY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!APPRECIATE THE ONES WHO ACTUALLY CHECK IT OUT. KEEP IT 100

  • John Cauner

    I used to think K. Nottingham had an OK website(except for snitching on producer’s sample sources). I never read their reviews anyways. So whatever, but I’m not surprised by the payola for reviews.