Read In Your Language

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Learn The Rap Alphabets

somebody asked me this question earlier today. and i told them... well i didnt. i told 'em to check our site. then i thought, matter of fact, why not repost this banger from my partner, the illustrious net crawler, Mr. McCaine. no snitchin under pressure tho... ( i know only a few of u are gonna get that...)


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


Yo fam, everyone involved with music should read this post. Hip-Hop or whatever genre, it applies to them all.
Good work

thats love. and thats real. thanks for stoppin thru. we got more shit comin. stay tuned...

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