Read In Your Language

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learn The Rap Alphabets

Are you an aspiring rap artist? Do you have skills with the production? You might want to check this out. Now if you just wanna flow over some beats and hopefully get a deal, or sell your street CD's (mixtapes), this info may not be useful to you.

I get people approaching me all of time with a CD. At the store, in the street, especially in the bars. I’m an approachable guy, and hell, free is a good thing. But I always ask while looking at the CD, “which one are you with, ASCAP or BMI?” 95% of the time the answer is “what’s that?” That’s the moment when I return the CD.

“Naw I’m good, I don’t want it.”

“Why not?”

“Your music isn’t protected, anyone can steal it.”

“Naw ain’t nobody gonna steal my sh*t, everybody knows who I am.”

Although ASCAP & BMI do not protect your music from theft, when I do this to rap dudes I have started a conversation with them that makes them reassess what they are truly trying to do with that CD of music, whether it's a demo or a beat tape. Dude might have a couple of good songs, ideas, choruses or very good production on the CD that are ripe for the taking. How many times have we heard about a rapper or a producer who goes public saying so and so artist took that beat or song from me?

“I sent them a beat tape /gave them a CD at one of their shows…that number one song on the radio was my idea/song/beat.”

I feel bad for you homie, but you have to take that loss. Just like inventors have patents to protect their inventions from being stolen, if you truly, truly want your music out in the public it should be copyrighted (Library Of Congress) for protection. There was one incident where one of my homies was in the studio and made a certified banger, and one of his friends begged for an instrumental copy so he could play it in his CD player on the way home and think of some rhymes. That dude disappeared the next week and took my homies song, memorized the chorus and verses. Got signed off of that song and blew up. And another incident where dudes would listen to demos to snatch rhymes and beats from them, under the ‘looking for new talent, send us your music’ cloud of secrecy. Foul sh*t huh?

How many of you remember the Drake/Kia Shine situation? The InterNets were going crazy calling Kia a hater, saying he’s dick-riding Drake for fame, he’s lying because it was Wayne’s song first, Kia’s broke. But Drake backed down from denying it. Applaud Kia Shine for knowing his rap alphabets. Every time ‘Best I Ever Had’ gets played Kia will receive a check.

Now what inspiring artists/producers do not know about ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC is that these companies can help you get your music out there, they are not only about collecting royalties. They have workshops where record label artists and producers get to listen to your music. A lot of ghostwriters (songwriting) are made this way. Movies, TV shows, commercials and video games have music too. You can get a plaque if your music is on ‘Mortal Kombat 39’ and it sells 500,000 copies, music on a video game is classified as a soundtrack. In some instances, being a member of these organizations and being a part of their scheduled activities can get you noticed quicker than passing out a mixtape or demo (do they even call them demos anymore?) in the street. If you’re very active and have good material they can/will showcase you to RSVP’d industry people. Being at these workshops also gives you the opportunity to meet other artists and industry personnel so you can pass the business card around. Every artist should have business cards. It looks more professional than a Sharpie-d CD in a jewel case. And a card with your name, email address, website address where your music is located, label or group logo (do you have a logo? Every company/business has a logo.) is cheaper than making up CD’s.

Do you aspiring music artists know that your publishing catalog is your ultimate bargaining chip in the music industry? Think of Michael Jackson owning The Beatles’ publishing rights (Sony/ATV is the third largest music publisher in the world, owning the rights to songs by Elvis, Willie Nelson, Akon, Bob Dylan, and Eminem) as well as his own Mijac publishing. He was able to always get money by selling percentages of those two music catalogs, and he also had a say in where the music can be played (elevator music, music at sporting events is subject to royalty collection). Perfect example of this is the lack of Beatles music on iTunes. Most ‘blinded by the lights’ artists realize way too late in the game that they gave the label way too much of a percentage of their publishing and recording rights. Most rappers do not own their publishing (you may hear the jargon ‘owning the masters’). A lot of old school artists get pennies on the dollar for some of rap’s classics you hear all the time because of this fatal error. Think of Dr. Dre still suing Death Row for unpaid royalties on ‘The Chronic’, Jay-Z signing that Live Nation deal that included his publishing, The LOX doing D-Block because Puff gets a healthy cut off of anything looking like a LOX (he controls the name too) song or project, Fat Joe eating off of Pun’s catalog.

If you are truly serious about being in the music business you SHOULD treat it like a BUSINESS. There are so many ways to sell your music, and perhaps getting on stage and doing tours and dealing with the industry fukkery may not be in your best interests. Think about the Schoolly D ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ rap theme song. Every time the show comes on, even if it’s a marathon, he gets credit for a spin and is entitled to royalties. My homie has a band that strictly does commercial and TV show music, no musty ass bar shows or MySpace account. He's clocking ducats. All the rappers who have music on NBA Live and Madden know they can get a platinum plaque and some good royalty money off of those games. Don’t forget there's music on the news. Think about the sad violin or climatic horror movie music (remember movies go to DVD). Kid cartoons need music too. Being in the game doesn’t only consist of wearing a fitted with a chain and grabbing the mic to rap about getting money. You can sit home out of the public eye and still get a lot of money off of your raps (songwriting) and production.

Thank me later (no Drake).

The $ykotic Don McCaine


That was tight !! Man, I applaud you for this one. Peeps only see the fame, groupies and money. When it's all said and done, those 3 will disappear in 5-10 years if you're lucky enough to have a career that last more than 3 CDs but owning your shit is the best !! LL owns his shit so when you hear his music being sampled or used (Time
for War used in MMA commercials) or for syndicated shows on FX or for awards shows, he's getting paid !! He doesn't have to pick up the mic to spit new shit.

Well damn, things I knew without being consciously aware of.
Things to keep in mind moving forward. I will be whoring this link out heavily when I am home from work.

Fellas I can't even begin to list the names of those who fell victim. Just think of the songs and ask yourself what happened to them. The answer will be obvious.

This post is also for the cats who have hit a roadblock with their music.

Just to add to the convo, this was taken from a google search...

**ASCAP ACE - Search Results: TONY GRANDS. 1. COME GET IT, (Title Code: 331527076). 2. VON DUTCH, (Title Code: 520330376). 3. WE RUN THA STREETZ, (Title Code: 531137896)**

"Tony And Family"

Preach, Don Mac. This youngsters don't know. I may never get paid for any music I've done, but CYA is always in effect. This is from an album I did with this nigga named Don Barak. & me & him was mad cool, mad, but that has/had nothing to do with business.

"The music is reversable...but time is not. TURN BACK...TURN BACK...TURN BACK...TURN BACK!!!"

Christians have mistakenly believed the perception of the Biblical definintion of The Beast as a person. I suggest The Beast instead refers to a

place:::The San Francisco Bay Area. In fact the Gods offer a geographic clue suggesting this, like so many others they offer around the globe, to help

people understandL:::
Mt.Diablo, "The Devil" is the "eye" of The Beast, the EastBay shoreline as the upper jaw/incisors while the peninsula is the grinding lower jaw. Witness

the disturbing upturned smile in the gullet.
The fact than man has shaped much of the shoreline in the 20th century is a testiment to the God's refusal to accept any culpability.
Gold Rush, counter-culture, alternate lifestyle acceptance, etc. The Beast was used to promote social decay throughout the 20th century and beyond.

Difficult to perceive in the current age, one can understand their impacts from a historical perspective.
There was a time when once the Gods "divinely" inspired punishment, where the act was inflicted by the hand of God. They were punishing people

and accepting the culpability arising, maintaining societal integrity. Now, in the 20th century and beyond, the Gods tempt man to inflict this punishment,

selling them on "earning", incurring no culpability in the process. The result is social decay and deterioration of mankind's favor in the eyes of the


The Italian peninsula is very pronounced as it juts out into the Medietereanean.
Considering the shape it is quite obvious they were the primary targets of the post-IceAge/Straight of Gibralter/Noah's Flood disaster.
Considering the shape of the boot and how Sicily "caught" the surge, the resulting tsunami inundated the entire southern portion of the peninsula, killing

everything and perhaps covering even the highest land masses.
In the 20th century the Italians were convinced entering clone hosting was ascention into heaven, and their success was a recruiting tool, just as the

Holocaust was for the Jews.

Until ugliness ocurrs I won't have the disfavored's respect. How ugly do you people need it to get?
They obviously fail to recognize storms are my specialty.
The Gods just sent another clue:::2.24 orca killing two days after viewing "The Cove".
She's better off dead than knowingly incurring evil in her profession, but this is very common today:::People think they are "earning".
How's an 8.8 for ugly????:::I was told I was not welcome because I insulted the shitty quality of their fruit.
"You're not welcome here." Oh no? Ok...
They're sending a clue about who I am.

The women have God's favor, and when the women do all the evil, as was the case in my family, this serves to "equalize" the playing field, ensuring

no wisdom comes to this family as they grow older. As a result they never make progress and achieve the lowest possible placement when


The Gods have black women betray the men to prime misogyny in the black community.
They're lying to you and they've been your WHOLE LIVES!!
Europeans deserved to be inflicted with Christianity and the United States. It's just too bad the black man had to assimilate into this white punishment.
How ironic:::As they strive for "equal rights" they actually are sinking lower into the mire of disfavor.
Reverse positioning.

Just as the Gods prohibited the Italians from attacking the Moors because of their favor, so were the Jews prohibited from attacking (most) motherland

i choose the right day to pop back into your site. this reminds me of one of my friends his pen game is crazy he working on his freestyling as well trying to make his way in the business. i went to go see him in the studio he does his stuff at and all i heard was beats. i see the rhyme book on the floor the booth light is not on. i am like whats up slow day got no ideas want me throw up a couple sloppy bars and you start rolling. he looked me in the eye and said the one thing i didn't wanna hear. " fuck that man the money is in production i am working on my beat game. i could sell my rhymes and i could write songs. i don't wanna be like little brother and murs. i don't want to spit hot shit then niggas shit on me because they can't bump it in the club. i put my heart into this and it's good everyone tells me that but the industry wants a hit. how the fuck is all my shit good but i don't got no hits. hits are fickle what worked last month might not work this month. i don't want to change who i am just to sell because then who will i be. i will be as fake as the industry" then he started messing with more beats. asked me if i still knew any girls who wanna sing hooks. i told him i could do that for him but i want him to finish his album for me shit for himself. he laughed and he said he is changing the title then. from my love my life to the requiem of doom. i laughed because that was the title of a song i never finished that i always said would be the best thing ever made.

"How ironic:::As they strive for "equal rights" they actually are sinking lower into the mire of disfavor.
Reverse positioning."

Good point but that's for the 'universe' post! Allow the troughs of wisdom to flow evenly!

@ Grands @ Nat

This is why. Tilt the screen so dudes can see the same thing at a different angle. Some of these cats can even learn how to really do the paperwork and charge their friends who rap or do beats. Errbody can't be a rapper.

Spoken like a true prodigy !!! Preach on, my brother.

Remember that scene in Cadillac Records, where a blinged up Muddy Waters say to Howlin' Wolf whom he met for the first time that he may get one of these shiny cadillacs of these days ? See this old truck, the wolf said, I own it, it doesn't own me.

Making it rain don't mean shit, if you don't own the water in the first place.

Another great piece, $yk, keep it up !

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