Life Is But A Knick Chair
March 1st marked 1 year in the system and I'm still not rehabilitated. This my first real "job" as some of you may already know. Not counting a small $6.18 an hour job I had in Prospect Park Alliance when I was 14. All I did back then was surf on SOHH anyway. In light of my newest achievement, I’ve decided to do a Esquire-ish “What I’ve Learned” blog for the past 365 plus 5 more days.
-This is the best time ever to be independent. If you have a plan and 500 spins, you will be a millionaire in no time. Major label artist aren’t cracking 2 million records. Not Jay-Z, not Game, not Jeezy, not T.I.. If I was an up-coming-hot-shot-whippersnapper-rapper, I’d take my chances indie first. Between ringtones and low overhead, you might actually recoup.
-The flip side of that coin is you probably won’t be famous. You won’t get millions in cross sponsorship deals. No crazy marketing plans. No $30,000 per show just for having a video on 106 & Park. A lot of major label artists never recouped in their lives and aren’t complaining one bit. It’s an interesting argument.
-Watching the Knicks is way more fun in $1900 courtside seats. Only problem is Spike will talk your ear off.
-Most of the rappers I came up with no longer have deals. It’s like a lost generation that nobody wants to talks about. Only ones left are Saigon, Papoose, Tru-Life and Remy Ma. It’s hard out here for a NYC rapper. We’ve resorted to making southern records just to stay relevant.
-With that being said, I can tell you first hand that Saigon, Papoose and Tru-Life’s albums are all incredible.
-Blogging > A&Ring: It’s more fun and a lot easier to critique records then make them. I started XXL the same week I started at Atlantic. Both have their ups and downs. One pays significantly more than the other. The other allows me to take off the blazer, loosen up the tie and express how I really feel to the world. So maybe they balance out. But I wouldn’t trade either for the world.
-Ballllllllllllin' is way more fun when they give you back the money in 2 weeks. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is that he didn't expense. “The Corporate Card Is Like Free Cash!”
-“…and you see that 80’s Baby shit right there…I started that”
-People always ask me why I stopped doing mixtapes. I always retort that I want to be respected and the music business doesn't respect DJs. No matter how many artists you break, how many parties you do or how many CDs you press up for promotional use only, "they" don't respect you. The game just looks at you as someone in the way of his or her success. An obstacle they "have" to deal with. Not the heart and soul of what keeps this hip hop shit alive. Nothing has proved my theory right more than the industry's reaction to this DJ Drama and Don Cannon case.
-You’d be surprised who reads these blogs. I’ve gotten feedback up from execs, rappers, barbers, models, waitresses, strippers, lawyers, journalists, oreo sports writers…etc
-Speaking Of Ms. Hill, that conversation had about 3 more replies back and forth. One day when I have nothing to post, I’ll up them.
-There’s nothing more annoying than having to ask yourself “How would this sound on a ringtone?” when your in the studio.
-Back to Drama for a second. The Gangsta Grillz series since 2003 has arguably broken more rap
artists then any record label during the same time period. The same goes for Clue tapes between '95 and '99. Drama's stamp of approval is in every signed artist’s market plan. Drama is the voice for the whole Southern movement. Cannon is one of the games most sought after up and coming producers. But if you listen to the RIAA representatives, they're G Money and Nino Brown. But isn't the RIAA same organization who were looking to arrest 13 year olds who download a couple years back? The witch-hunt continues
-DJ Drama’s first compilation album is being released by Grand Hustle/Atlantic this Summer. Go cop that.
-Blogs > Magazines. Bol is more famous than any hip hop writer you can think of.
-In my heart of hearts I really do want to sign the next Nas. I would love to have the next incredibly super lyrical fly MC to takeover rap. The next B.I.G. The next whoever. The first whoever. But let’s just look at the state of the game right now.
- WHO THE F*&$ IS OUT THERE WHO FITS THAT CRITERIA? Lyrically!
- Those artists signed for incredibly cheap deals. Nas’ advance was $17,000. CNN split $5,000. Deals on real talent have to be a lot cheaper. Now I’m not saying take 10 stacks as an advance, but let’s be responsible. The expectations are higher when you sign a million dollar deal. The check writers aren’t trying to hear “I just made the new Illmatic. The next Reasonable Doubt!” Sad but it’s true. Kanye has been the only new MC this MILLENIUM to walk that fine line of artistry and commercial appeal. If you know someone holla at me. I’m easy to find. Don’t tell me about your boy or your artist. Someone you actually feel, pause.
- The outlets aren’t there. Mixtapes are dying. Showcases sucks. No more Stretch & Bobbito on the radio. Myspace is a needle in a haystack. I’m going to build the new Lyricist Lounge in NYC, LA, Miami and Houston. I think that’s my next goal.
-John Brown is a marketing genius. Lock him and Nas in a room together, I bet they’ll come with the greatest campaign Hip-Hop has ever scene. Not music, but an incredible campaign.
-The best part of this gig is showing DJs and 80’s Babies how far you can go if you work smart, not hard. If I fail as an executive, I feel like I’ll let a lot of people down (not anyone here in the comment section though). I personally believe Drama, Kay Slay, Whoo Kid, Mick Boogie, Clinton Sparks, Clue and all the great entrepreneurial DJs should have high up corporate jobs. A lot of them are making tons of money, even a couple millionaires, but it’s something to be said to have people who did it at the lowest level in the highest offices. When you make a mixtape you can’t have a bad ear. You just wont eat the next day. You’re your own sales, marketing, A&R, new media, promotions and finance department all by yourself. Compared to that, corporate life is a cake walk.
-My next stops are Miami, Atlanta and Philly on my talent searching world tour. Will be in all of those places in the next two weeks. Hallelujah hollaback when you see me.