Further proof payola is rampant in online hip-hop journalism

If you’re an up and coming rapper, and you’re incapable of coming up with a song anyone actually likes, you could always just pay several hip-hop sites to run a feature on you. Apparently, that’s now an option.

That is, if you have the means. I’m not sure how much that would run you. To find out, I might need to holler at a kid named S. Fresh. He’s currently got features up on at least four prominent hip-hop sites, and you can tell it’s not because they all found him particularly newsworthy, because they’re all the exact same feature, verbatim. None of the sites bothered to do anything other than slightly reword the title, presumably for SEO purposes. It isn’t clear who actually conducted the interview. Most of the features just carry a generic byline, e.g. the feature at AllHipHop is said to have been posted by “AHH Staff,” whereas their other interviews carry the name of the failed journalists who conducted them.

I first realized shenanigans were at play when a guy I know pointed out to me that both AllHipHop and the obscure ’90s-era hip-hop site HipHopGame (which is apparently now owned by iHipHop) were running the exact same feature, and he wasn’t aware that the two of them have a content-sharing agreement or anything. I checked both sites, and I noticed that, in addition to the fact that neither of them indicate who conducted the interview, neither of them acknowledge that it’s the same exact feature that’s running elsewhere on the Internets (or, god forbid, link to wherever the feature originated), nor do they carry a disclosure indicating that it’s an “advertorial” or some shit, rather than an actual feature.

Then I consulted the Google, and I noticed that at least two other sites were running the exact same feature, BET and a site called Yo! Raps. I thought BET might have been the actual source of the interview, since the version there carries an actual byline, a fellow named LowKey, but then I checked the actual dates. The one at HipHopGame hit the Internets first, on the 24th, i.e. the damn holiday, the ones at BET and Yo! Raps went up the next day, and the one at AllHipHop didn’t go up until yesterday. There’s no way the guy at BET could have conducted the interview, if it went up on another site the day before without his byline or anything.

He must not have gotten the memo about running the interview more or less anonymously, so at the very least it doesn’t look like you’re trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. I guess he figured there wasn’t any chance of his regular readership noticing that it didn’t sound like something he’d write, since he has no regular readership to speak of. I checked the comments section, and there was nothing but spam ads for pr0n, “replica watches” and what have you – just like the last several pages of XXL.To his credit, I’m sure he gets paid more money than I do, plus they actually send it to him. That’s why I’m hating. It’s really just confused admiration. Nullus.

Most of the features also include the video for S. Fresh’s song “Boss Chick,” except for HipHopGame, which has the exact same design as it did back when I was in college, and hence might not be technologically capable of posting an embedded video – though I notice they did get rid of that thing where you couldn’t copy and paste text, and replaced with an obnoxious pop-up ad. (I’m sure that came in handy for the guy at BET.) I took a look at the video, in part because I felt obligated to make sure that this guy’s skills don’t merit the press he’s received, but also because it features the ridonkulously well-endowed video ho Angel Lola Luv, whom you might remember from the late, great King magazine. It was already late in the afternoon; I figured I might have to take a 15 minute pause for the cause.

Alas, she’s not in her underwear or anything. She’s actually got on a leather coat and shit (what part of the video ho game is that?), and worse, she kicks a verse. I hope he didn’t actually pay her. Maybe they had a deal where she agreed to appear for free, if he let her foul up his song even worse than it already is with her raps. It was probably extra to get her to dress like a street-walker, and he just didn’t have it. Which just goes to show how little it must cost to corrupt these hip-hop sites. He does have Lloyd singing the chorus, but it’s explained in the interview that he’s friends with Lloyd’s cousin. Plus, let’s keep it real, what else did Lloyd have to do that day? Wasn’t he on Murder Inc.? I rest on your face.

Elsewhere in the interview, we learn that S. Fresh’s career is really taking off, as evidenced by the fact that he was recently featured in the dead tree version of XXL, on page 83 of the issue with Drake and Nicki Minaj. Indeed the entire feature seems to be pegged to the fact that being mentioned in XXL was such a coup for him, even though I’ve been informed that said mention was a paid advertisement, and presumably, clearly labeled as such (obviously I wouldn’t know), and hence is only impressive in the sense that he could actually afford it. They ask him if he’s ever recognized in public from it (roffle), and if he thinks he’s ever gonna be a member of the Freshman 10. He says it was his goal to be on a magazine cover, even before he became a rapper.

If the competition for the 2011 freshman class is too intense, he might consider paying whatever it costs to get on the cover of Ozone magazine. I’ve heard that can be arranged. I doubt anything like that goes on here at XXL. I’m sure they had no way of knowing, when they sold this guy an ad that sorta kinda looks like a feature, that he’d pay other media outlets to run an interview in which he pretends it’s an actual feature, if only because who could even imagine some silly shit like that?

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Call me cynical, but any time I see an artist get burn and extra hype out of nowhere <> Asher Roth <> I always thing that someone’s palm was greased. It’s cool…everybody is trying to get paid. As long as you don’t consider yourself a ‘journalist,’ there’s no issue.

  • The Decatur Dictator

    Bol, you’re right on this one, dude is W.A.C.K.!!!

  • http://YOUTUBE.COM/MIXTAPEPHENOM INDOE

    Great work Bol . Finally using your forum for something not teh gey like ..well take your pick from your past works . Maybe Fresh can earn a little extra cash by finding you the best pron sites on the web
    but then again you probably already know .

    This ain’t hate it’s the truth , good work Bol finally not another epic fail .

  • latino heat

    good job, Bol. you actually did some research for one of your drops.

    this dude S. Fresh also paid to get his video in the Bangers section of this site. i found it a few days ago and watched it for the same reason as Bol did. because it had Angel in it. and i, like Bol was very disappointed to see that she was wearing a leather coat through the whole video. dude needs to step his payola game up and get these video hoes in their drawls like their supposed to be.

  • mark ginnis

    I wanna Know how Diddy videos do wel, on 106 and park without doing well at radio. Actually I know he has INdians(red dot) in bangalor stuffing the ballot box. That or making of the band contestants doing it in lieu of getting him cheesecake. ITS THAT DIDDY money!

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    XXL better be careful who they accept payola from. Certain people being force-fed to the readership can backfire big time. Don’t believe me? Check out the funniest thing I’ve seen on the ‘nets over at AHH’s rumor section. Illseed force-fed Kat Stacks (obviously by way of payola) to the rumor section and the daily readers started a “Stop The Cooning” movement that damned near shut down that site. Illseed started deleting the commenters’ accounts, but they came back under different names with more, angrier supporters. Seriously XXL, go CHECK THAT OUT! I bet you can Google “Stop The Cooning” and “IllCoon” by now.

    “That’s why I’m hating. It’s really just confused admiration. Nullus.” – Bol.

    ^^Haha, nice!

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    1. That HipHopGame site is trojan-ed up. Be careful or break the link.

    2. Why do you think labels have promotion departments w/budgets?

    Real talk, in PA (Lehigh Valley) they have these music awards, and my crew was up for “album of the year”. When the guy came over to the studio to “officially” nominate us, he also brought the booklet of ‘packages’.

    The starter pack
    The gold pack
    The platinum pack

    We came in 2nd place out of 5 groups (the other 3 never even showed up), and even the guy who won said we should have.

    • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

      Yeah we paid a stack for radio promo, local newspaper “ads”, and a performance at the award show.

      Further proof payola is rampant in online hip-hop journalism the music industry.

      • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

        Lehigh Valley? That’s near where little Pierzy grew up. I see you, $yk!

        • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

          yessir!

          I could drop some stories on what Wired 96.5 & Pulse Weekly would do to an artist…

      • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

        I have a friend that used to work at Wired. I heard some thangs. Industry is crazy.

        • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

          Think of the pull-a-trix in Lehigh Valley alone.

          click on, I left some vintage LV footage over there…

  • these posts are racist

    you realize you just gave this cat major publicity, for free?

    • Worley

      No he didn’t. That’s just more payola at work.

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  • http://1hiphop.wordpress.com/ Noles506

    Go look at any popular rap site/blog with a Diddy post, especially about his new movie and the new album, and that’s payola at work right there…..I call them the “Diddy Blog Bots”.

  • dontsnitch

    Please dont snitch.

  • Greg

    Speaking of Diddy, “Get Him to the Greek” comes out tomorrow. The trailers with him look so funny. I will have to catch it this weekend at somepoint

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  • that nigga

    Damn, he fuckin sucks. SMH…..some niggas just shouldnt rap. Theres other things you could be doing to help other (better than you) artists, etc..or just other work to be done in the industry other than tryna be a star.

  • DV8

    That’s why I’m hating. It’s really just confused admiration. Nullus.

    ^^^^^THIS
    but also because it features the ridonkulously well-endowed video ho Angel Lola Luv, whom you might remember from the late, great King magazine. It was already late in the afternoon; I figured I might have to take a 15 minute pause for the cause.

    Alas, she’s not in her underwear or anything. She’s actually got on a leather coat and shit (what part of the video ho game is that?), and worse, she kicks a verse.
    ^^^^^ AND THIS

    $yk says:

    1. That HipHopGame site is trojan-ed up. Be careful or break the link.

    iHiphop is as well.

    Anybody know the status on Combat Jack’s site? Did he get that straightend out?

  • Ron

    Speaking of Diddy, “Get Him to the Greek” comes out tomorrow. The trailers with him look so amazing. I will have to see it this weekend at some point.

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  • http://www.myspace.com jaeson

    I kno i may be “slow” but what the f*ck does “pr0n” mean? and what are TIs??? i like reading these blog entries but dont know what the fuck bol is refering to at time…

  • http://youtube.com/selfmadebossenttv Self Made Boss Ent

    ZAR DA MERCILES! REAL LYRICIST ! BORN 2 RAP!

  • August Martian

    Good post, online advertisement dollars took a major hit when the recession hit so most of these sites have no choice but to live off of unknown artists trying to ‘short cut’ their way into a better position

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  • GethimtothePayola

    Diddy

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