One of our absolute favorite comic books is poised to make a return, doper than ever. The artist has deep roots in graffiti. I betchu aint even know that. peep game...
We reflect on the passing of the greatest single personality the world has ever known.
A LEGEND amongst legends has passed away in Philadelphia. You should probably know this name if you SAY you love hip hop culture...
Street Art? New???? Our Big Brother Samo, aka Basquiate and the crew was doin that back in the day in NY, sun. Take peep into the start of a movement.
Our favorite rap group is back making that unmistakable hip hop music. Nothin but fire. see if I'm wrong...
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
i know youv ssen this pic at this point somewhere. but bear wit me. it serves my purpose sooo well....
the industry is a motha fucka, yo. and quite possibly the single most dissappointing place any bonafide music lover to exist. there used to be a time when it almost seemed magical. i mean, in the golden ages, wack shit existed, but even then it had this feeling like it was tryiung to be dope. like it was trying to acheive dopeness. this shit... these dudes... its heartbreaking, yo...
its no surpise tho, talkin to a lot of these dudes that are tryin to participate in it have no imagination. even the approach to their business is rooted and grounded in unoriginal concepts and ideas. monkey see, monkey see. i was talkin to my man Nawdy, (a name he earned, after 8 in the belly), and i was tellin him how i was reminded of a time when dudes listened to the music and gained from it. the country got snmaller as both coasts started to become aware of each other. there was so much information movin around. dudes had an idea of their politics. they had an awareness of them selves that had this type of magical aura that made us totally magnetic to the world. nowadays, these dudes take pride in either being closet faggots (like who can fool us the best), or who can push the line until they get as close to the gay threshold as heteroly possible.
i mean, the new N.E.R.D. record falls into that category for me. i mean, Pharrel, 'cmon son (in this case, that spelling is appropiate). this is a dude that used to challenge the drum rhythms and sonics in the mainstream, to doin an album of Logic sounds and disco drums. i mean, theres nothin wrong with logic sounds, my man Nawdy gets biz wit it, but, goin from a rack of gear and creative patching and instrument use, to this all inclusive solution, while perhaps ergonomic, is outrageously lazy. well, campared to the way their more noteworthy tracks were crafted. it seems like this is the approach to this shit nowadays. no one wants to WORK.
i listen to any Bomb Squad production whenever i feel lazy. the amount of work on just the drum layering to "Welcome To The Terrordome" is enough to make u look at urself in shame for that simple Battery drum pattern. 3 loops, "Sally Walk", "Machine Gun", "Sex Machine", all on loop before they add the main snare and kick and hi hats, plus 808. all of that attention just to the DRUMS. it becomes easy to see after that kind of effort why they are the producers of some of the most profound hip hop productions of all time. i mean, white guys constantly vote Public Enemy to Best of All Time lists, right alongside The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, while PE made a career on callin them DEVILS. the power of the music simply overpowers any reservatiuon based on personal principle. its so powerful that it just makes 'em seem like ur just being petty.
who can u describe today that makes music that even comes close? and u bet not say Dre, specially after hearin these couple of leaks. even he doin disco beats. and i can't speak for none of yall, but i am sick to my stomach with hearin these synths! i mean good gotdamn! like there idnt any other synth sounds that are fly and could still make that slick, i dont wanna/ am incapable/ need to not think of real shit right now songs that rock these clubs nowadays. altho in the club space, i think its probably appropriate. i cant draw a useful conclusion how that has utility during the day. i dont see how music that focuses on lying can be personally empowering.
altho, on some truthful shit, i was listening to "The Infamous" the other day like, 'get the fuck outta here!!!!' these niggas was talkin some real super hero shit. and i couldnt help but think what kind of manic mothafucka would sit down and have an imagination centered around an innumerable amount of gunshots and seemingly senseless killing and violence. well, shit, that sounds like most writers employed in Hollywood! but its still those verses in "Shook Ones' and "Survival of The Fittest" that ring the most true. it is no wonder that these songs are considered classics. these are the songs that wring the MOST TRUE.
i sometimes feel bad for these young niggas nowadays. its like i want them to have the same type of impact that it had on me. it was life changing. it was something that i cared deeply about and defended at every turn. as a graffiti writer, i risked my life on a regular basis, being up in rival neighborhoods, and walking train tracks and subway tunnels while trains were still runnning, all to just express my excellence at the form. all in the selfless name of progression of the art. i know this may seem a little heady for a self professed asshole such as myself, but shit, every asshole will at one point in its existence, wear some really nice pants. and as the ass cheeks said to the toilet bowl, "i only got to take shit from this asshole. u got to take it from everyone else"!
i think the push online is all abuot the search for something new and meaningful, something we can discover and feel like its our own. this is already the greatest resource for every independent musician in the world. it may soon be the home for ONLY independent music, if niggas sites keep gettin seized. and then the entire paradigm must shift. because in my experience with the internet, i see a lot of dissatisfaction. the interesting thing will be when these greedy corprate fucks completely take the independent artist away from the competition that they find themselves in today, due largely due to this insepid and alienating appraoch to content control, that will inadvertantly create a clear lane for independent artist to dominate the attention span of net crawlers, cause all other content will be concentrated in controlled portals. i mean everybody know u cant stop the Africans and the Chinese on the bootleggy, but with the Net Nazi shit, i know sites are gonna be sick wit tryin to make sure the Furor (misspelling intentional) doesnt drop thru their Poland, er, portal.
and i dont give a fuck i'll say it, if no one else will. cause the dudes i looked to for inspiration are letting me DOWN. the Timberlands, the Dre's, The Neptunes, are trading in their forward status for returns on the rear end. sounds kinda gay, dont it?
and imma continue to say it, and thats word to Leon Evans. he aint the man who gave me the hair and the cheekbones, but he damn sure is the man who gave me the back bone. and i use it every time i stand up.
now air it out...
Monday, December 13, 2010
and thats the truth, all of it. it used to be a time when the RIAA certs were based off of what they SHIPPED, not what was ACTUALLY sold. the thinkin was to sell the fact that other people were buyin in, and therefore you should too. it works more than u think. i dont doubt that in Minaj's case, Baby shipped that amount, and probably actually bought some so that they would b legitimate to the system. in the meantime, he'll keep her lookin good n all that, but no dough... what she's gonna have to recoup is gonna b HEAVY. specially with her havin to pay Baby AND Wayne (she's signed to Young Money/Cash Money).
now heres another place where numbers lie; cause the numbers will show that she sold a million. but in a few years when her payments cycles run out (roayalties, tours, etc, and the cycles of her payouts increase), people will wonder how she can possibly be broke. people will also look at independent cats and the numbers lie to them. they'll say they aint makin no money, selln only 3, 400 thousand. but if they get $5 a record, compared to the roughly $1 labels pay artist (of which they have to pay everything back out of), they actually make more than ur favorite mainstream mothafucka.
speakn of which, they also do it with the earnings reports. these reports are more often than not in GROSS receipts. what they take home after payouts is considerably less.
like there is a larger percentage of black people on welfare. but there are FAR more white people actually on it.
48% of black women have herpes. i smashed a good 40% of that number. i have no bumps. i am, according to the numbers, a lucky mothafucka. tell that to my smashed up Dodge Magnum. well, i guess that took a turn there. however, the number can always tell a different story than a good one...
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I hope cats out there know Jay was incorrect when he said numbers don't lie, because numbers can be manipulated to lie to you, by and for those same men and women.
Take for example, Soulja Boy's new project sold 13K the 1st week. Well Soulja's never had strong opening numbers for complete projects, but he can sell SINGLES, this is proven fact. Soulja basically is doing his own production, the majority of cameo appearances are actually his buddies, his web site provides him any viral campaign that's needed, so how much money do you think the label is spending? His digital single sales are worth more than his physical album CD sales, so that 13K means nothing. I bet they didn't even press up more than fifty thousand units for distribution.
Nicki Minaj could not have had those opening week numbers. After the 'Massive Attack' debacle, they (Universal) basically went to their heavy hitters (will.i.am, Eminem, Kanye & Puff) for assistance, packaged her album around one of the biggest shopping days of the year, imposed a strong media blitz, discounted the album at retailers to create a larger demand, and voila, she's smelling RIAA certification by the end of the year, thus making her look like a winner.
Ghostface Killah will release 'Apollo Kids' on the 21st of December, and his 1st week numbers may be what the company wants to use as justification that they wish to severe ties. Although considering it will be the "last" week of holiday shopping, it is also the week people start traveling for their holiday vacations.
Manipulating the numbers is a long time label tactic to build and destroy careers. Last year they had Rihanna's album selling for a dollar during the Black Friday weekend. Think of Jay's string of #1 albums. I haven't forgotten about the label buy backs that are used for promo either, whereas Soulja realistically could have only sold 6K. Kanye (who also benefited from the same Minaj formula) went from 400K plus the 1st week to barely over 100K the second week, but the psychological point of this is he is already gold certified, thus a winner. Ross was building his career off of those opening week numbers lies until this year. 50 Cent will always have his career intertwined with numbers.
Men lie, women lie, numbers can lie to you. Even your eyes can fool you. Trust your ears.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
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.”
“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