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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.

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