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Flambey: Hustler Rapper

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Rising rapper Flambey is more than a businessman; he’s a Business, man! This self-taught CEO has just inked a distribution deal with Arizona-based 101 Distribution, one of the major independent distributors in the country. Though the road has not been easy, his tenacity and ability to think outside of the box has gotten his singles “Uncut Raw” and “Hot Girl” heavy airplay on satellite radio stations XM and Sirius and regional love coast to coast. Armed with vast music industry knowledge and an ambitious nature to match, Flambey’s business-savvy rivals that of corporate CEOs and surpasses the level of many of his peers. Hailing from Harlem, Flambey’s “gangsta sexy” sound and entrepreneurial nature make him one to watch in 2005.

AllHipHop.com: How did you get started in the music business?

Flambey: Like most kids growing up in New York, music was always around in my household. Both my parents worked in the music business and I was just inspired by it. Now as far as being serious about producing records and putting them in stores, that came about in 2002 when I started Bright Vision Entertainment and put out my first record. Before that, I had been recording demos since 1995.

AllHipHop.com: You describe your style as “Gangsta Sexy”, can you elaborate?

Flambey: Basically, I’m hardcore for the fellas and hardcore and sexy for the ladies. When I talk to the ladies, I try to give it an edge, but I’m never mushy or disrespectful with it. I like to be balanced, but I represent for both. Of course [Big Daddy] Kane, LL [Cool J] and Slick Rick are influences.

AllHipHop.com: That sounds new. What sets you apart from your peers in the industry?

Flambey: With my label, I’m going to be an anchor for the rest of my artists. A lot of artists complain that “the label didn’t market and promote me right” but at the end of the day, people are buying you. Keeping that in mind, I make music from a fan’s perspective and I take what makes me different combined with what I think the fans will like about me. Artists need to remember that this is entertainment first and if you can spin your story into something fans can relate to, then that helps. Cats say, “I’m just a regular dude”, well being a “regular dude” doesn’t usually convince a consumer to spend their $15.99 on your album.

AllHipHop.com: Although you are a self-taught CEO, you possess a degree in Business Management and Marketing. Is that an area you would have pursued if Hip-Hop was not your first love?

Flambey: If I wasn’t a CEO and an artist, I would still be involved in Hip-Hop as a business consultant. I’ve done everything from managing a budget to distributing records…basically I’ve experienced every facet of being an artist. If I wasn’t rapping, I would be great at marketing and promoting artists. Playing basketball was also an option, but injuries and my lack of focus in college prevented me from going pro. Plus I always took music more seriously than basketball, to be honest with you.

AllHipHop.com: Your bio explains that you want to “challenge the ‘normal way’ of making and distributing music…How do you plan to do that?

Flambey: By thinking outside of the box and getting the music directly to the fans. Just look at my website, http://www.BrightVisionEnt.com. On my website, you can buy my music directly, which literally makes me my own I-Tunes. It’s the same thing with radio airplay. For whatever reason you can’t get commercial radio airplay, the Internet is always a possibility. I thought outside of the box and I knocked on doors until I got a response. Now, it’s true you can’t get everything you want as an independent [label], but you have more control over your destiny, which is important to me. You can compete alongside the majors as long as you believe in yourself and your fan base.

AllHipHop.com: How did you get your music in rotation on satellite radio?

Flambey: I just did my research, knocked on doors and people listened. You gotta just forge relationships and somehow, some way, you can be heard.

AllHipHop.com: Your borough, Harlem, has bred stars such as Cam’ron, Big L and many others…Do you feel any pressure to live up to certain expectations?

Flambey: No, not at all. I feel like I fit in and people will definitely recognize what I’m about. I’m trying to bring it back to the glory days of Harlem, when you had the Cotton Club and Sugar Hill, but mixed with the streets.

AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that there is a void in New York Hip-Hop today?

Flambey: Yes and no. East Coast Rap can still be very dominant but it has to be done the right way. New York can be very creative as far as appearance and styles but once New York lost track of what was going on around us, things changed. New York started trying to be ultra-gangster and we lost our imagery, our lyrics and basically, our identity. Nothing is wrong with being inspired and borrowing but a lot of what is being borrowed is not what New York is known for. I think cats can benefit by taking it back to the days of the EPMDs, the Kanes and Rakims and drawing influence from those days. Take a record like Eric B. and Rakim’s “Microphone Fiend”. Here you have a classic example of universal, melodic production and hardcore lyrics. Lyrics, hot beats, a good image and universal things work best. Your best bet is to “do you.” There’s too much copying going on is music, period. I’m about staying true to what I do.

AllHipHop.com: What is next for Flambey and Bright Vision Entertainment?

Flambey: I’m starting a consulting company that will be ready in 2006. Also acting, modeling and an independent film are all in the works.

AllHipHop.com: Any words of wisdom for AllHipHop.com’s readers?

Flambeyt: Of course. A lot of people who check out AllHipHop.com want to rhyme but must first realize that it takes money, a game plan and determination. My advice is to look at all of your favorite rappers, CEOs, whoever and watch what they did. You have to prove yourself and remember: it is a hustle. Some people get lucky and get a break sooner than others but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself: “What am I willing to sacrifice to get what I want?”

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