I started Rap Coalition
with my own money in 1992 because I got tired of hearing about my favorite
artists getting jerked by greedy labels, unsavory production companies, and
unknowledgeable managers. I came to rap
as a fanstarted listening to rap in Philadelphia in 1980.
Many of you werent even born yet.
I didnt get into the
industry to f**k rappers, or attend parties, or walk red carpets, or get free
CDs, or to get interviewed on BET and therefore, almost 17 years later, I still
dont do any of that shit. That industry glamor s**t is fake to me. I care about
the deals, the rappers, producers, and DJs getting paid, and enjoying the music
(I am still a fan). And heres the
important part: MY ACTIONS MATCH MY WORDS!!
So those folks in this
industry who are here to:
get a check (especially those with the bullshit seminars, conferences, showcases,
and award shows that are ripping folks off; or the labels and managers who are
barely more than just a business card), and/or to
elbows with rappers (I see the same muthaphukkas carrying a camera everywhere
wishing they worked for a real magazine, but where do those photos end up besides
on their bedroom wall or their Blog that no one reads?), and/or to
folks actually building something and making things happen in this industry (yes,
some folks are an angry bi-polar waste of space that no one listens to, and to
explain that to them, one would actually have to see value in picking up a
phone and calling themwhich they are not deserving of you see, they are so
irrelevant that they dont matter enough), and/or to
rappers (men and women)
Wont last very long. Ive watched many folks come and go over the
years and most are just a tiny blip on the radar screen of this industry. Some of these losers are even a joke for
those in the industry with a real career and a track record of success (lets
see what this idiot does next since she cant get clients, and totally fucked
up her bullshit award show destroying a bunch of brands along the way). Yes, Ive really heard people talk that way
behind their backs, and some folks even have conference calls to discuss
destroying and blackballing the real idiots in this industry.
While I have always taken
the road of letting karma deal with the idiots who are useless in the industry,
my powerful counterparts take aggressive action to throw blocks their way. For some people, the only noise they can
attempt to make in this industry is by calling out someone who matters, or
sending an angry email blast, or sneak dissing them in a blog or an e-newsletter. Fortunately, most of these wanna-bes would
actually have to be enough of a force to be reckoned with for folks to read
their angry rants, and they are not. Of
course, they could always land a column at AllHipHop and take shots .but theyd
have to have something tangible to offer, or some real track record of success,
to actually do that.
These folks who dis, rant,
and complain publicly about others are commonly referred to as HATERS. The one quality they seem to have in common
is that they are irrelevant, trying to gain some relevance, not through
success, but through attacking folks publicly who are good at what they do and
who do have something to offer the industry.
Personally, my haters have another quality in common--they are mentally
unstable, and it very quickly shows itself when I try to confront them. Additionally, most of them are female.
Im hated by many of the
folks who are bad at their jobs because I actually talk about it and name namesusually
in private, one on one. I am very vocal
about the wack contracts I break for artists for free, and have no trouble
shielding others from going down the same painful road. But every now and again I will use a column
to grind an ax about someones ineptitude, or stupidity-- usually when I hear
many people complaining about the same detractors. I am very careful to be honest and back up
everything with fact, lest I be a hater myself.
I may clown someone on
stage at their own event when I get the mic but everything I say will be true--
whether they want to hear it or not is something totally different. If you suck at what you do, be prepared to be
told instead of making that come up that you figured you would. Those who are looking to hit a quick lick in
this industry instead of putting in time and hard work are treated as such.
With all the backstabbing,
the hating, the bad deals, the ripping folks off, the black versus white
bullshit (I love you Nutt!), and the unqualified idiots trying to get a quick
check (UPS is hiring!) it comes down to one thing: Most of us who are making a
REAL difference in this industry are here because we love the music. What really matters most isnt what anyone
thinks or says, but the rappers, the producers, and the DJs, who ARE truly the
backbone of this industry. Sadly, they
are usually the last ones to get paid, but the ones who are most deserving of
Maybe those in the
spotlight get tired of the same hater bullshit that the rest of us do. And they must get it 100 times harder,
because they ARE in the spotlight. I am
just a tiny blip in their worlds, standing way behind them. I cant imagine how much it must suck to be
in the spotlight and constantly in the line of fire, just because they want to
rhyme. B.O.B. sure was right, there are
haters everywhere, while T.I. and Maino are embracing theirs and using that
power to move forward and excel .Hi Hater!
But how sad that haterism
(dont hate because I made up a word) is so pervasive that they actually had to
devote songs to the subject.
I wanted to write an
article about How To Deal With The Haters, because it seems like there is so
much of it going on these days. Part of
me didnt want to give any attention to the haters, because none of them really
have any success, and as I made a list and spoke to the folks in this industry
who matter, I realized NONE of the main Haters were even a viable asset to this
industry. So rather than give them
anymore light (lest they keep it up to get attention), I will write about
something really helpful to rappers (who actually matter in this
industry). Let me wrap up my hater rant,
however, by saying that if someone hates on you, punch them in the mother
fucking mouth. Then maybe haters will
think twice about saying some bullshit to get attention (since they obviously cant
get it by being good at what they do)
Rapping is a job, if you
want to actually make music for a living.
I know thats kind of obvious, but some artists really need to
understand this concept. If you want to
quit your day job, and make enough money as a rapper to survive (and maybe take
care of a family), your music will need to have value to a consumer who is
willing to buy your songs or CDs.
The way you get them to
buy your music is to build awareness through promotions (on the streets, at
shows, and on the internet). The goal is
to build a word of mouth buzz about you, and either you can do this yourself or
sign to a record label who will do it along with you. But the key here is that no one will do it
FOR you. They may finance it (but more
often they do not), but they wont work harder than you do.
So, here is your job
description as a rapper:
You must make music that
you believe in, that others will purchase.
You must build a movement around yourself. You need to give fans a reason to attract to
you (your image, your subject matter, your swag, whatever). And it must be believable and relevant. You must believe in yourself and have some
degree of talent. If your lyrical skills
are lacking, you need to make up for that in other ways.
You need to find the best
beats and music to rap over. If you suck
at picking beats, get someone on your team that excels at that. Tupac used to openly admit that he wasnt the
best at picking beats, but towards the end of his career he had folks on deck
to help him choose some real bangers!
You need to talk about subjects that your fans (your niche market) will
find interesting and topical. If your
fans are intelligent college students, talking only about street shit will
limit your market and sales severely.
And vice versa. Fans of the real
gutter street shit dont want to hear raps about the Pythagorean Theorem.
You have to find a way to
support yourself until the royalty checks and show money start to come in (if
you dont sell 350,000 or more CDs and you are signed to a Major label, forget
about the royalty checksthey aint coming).
If you are signed to an indie label, there is NOT enough money to
support you and promote you, so get a job and opt for the budget to be spent on
promotions. If you are entrepreneurial
at all (and be real with yourself when you decide this one), find an investor
rather than signing to a label. Control
and ownership is a wonderful thing when it impacts YOUR career.
Work really hard. We all hear that word grind as frequently
as we hear haters these days. Grind
means to work harder than anyone else, and then when you feel you cant
possibly do one more thing, do one more thing.
Work the streets: hang posters, blitz flyers in places where no one else
is, work industry events networking, befriend DJs and radio personalities in
markets working outwards from your hometown, go to every event and be visible,
meet and talk to everyone, and get up the next day and do it all over
again. Work the internet by appearing in
chat rooms and on the social networking sites (there are MANY of them now, and
they all matter when you are building a career).
As a rapper, it is your
job to make the music and make your career happen, whether you can afford to or
not. No one will ever work as hard for
your career as you will. But as you
start getting that all important buzz, others will flock to you. And then it becomes your job to choose the
right people to be part of your team.
You are only as strong as the weakest person on your team. The bottom feeders come first (because they
are the ones with the spare time to look for new talent to rape) so be very
careful. Find legitimate, well
connected, respected, experienced people to add to your team. If not, your career will be over before it
starts. And keep building your fan base,
one potential consumer at a time.
And when the haters come,
and they will, just know that for some reason its part of the territory in
urban music. As long as people are
insecure and weak minded (haters), they will always try to pull down the next
person instead of building up themselves.
Sometimes, its all they CAN do because they suck at what they are
trying to accomplish. If you focus on
them, or the anger or the hate, it will bring more of the same into your world
due to the laws of attraction. If you
ignore them and keep it moving, you will frustrate the haters by not giving
them what they want (which is for you to be as unhappy as they are, and to call
public attention to them so they can use your fame to try and get a voice). Just know that the more successful you get,
the less you will have to deal with the hatersfortunately, they cant reach
very high up the ladder...