The Life and Grind of ESSO #2

What’s poppin,' people? It’s been pretty crazy since the last time we talked. It started off on Monday October 16th at Diddy's Black Party (the Press Play release party). Puff is legendary for throwing the meanest parties goin’ back to his days in DC at Howard University, so it felt good to know that I was gonna be able to say that I was at one of his events. The party definitely lived up to all the hype and I gotta say that's the most fun I've ever had at an industry party.

Usually industry parties are only about networking and being seen, but the dance floor at Crobar was packed all night. As an unsigned artist, bein’ seen at events like that is a good look, especially when I know how many people outside didn't make it in. But what really made it crazy was realizing how many people were there that I knew, and actually feeling like I belonged there. Its one thing to be there. Its another thing to be there and feel like you're supposed to be there. S**t was kinda crazy Tuesday morning when the pictures went up on AllHipHop and random people started hittin’ me on my MySpace tellin me they saw my picture up...hahaha (Good Lookin AHH!)

Thursday night I went to a John Legend listening party that Sony put together. It was also the release party for Shade 45 on air personality DJ Wonder's "School Daze" mixtape. Wonder is a DJ on “The Cipha Sounds Effect,” so I met him a few times back in September when I was doin’ the "Don't Quit Ya Day Job" rap competition on Cipha's show. Cipha's other co-host Angela Yee was there also, and I was around them for most of the night. I also had a chance to talk to two of the original producers from the Bad Boy 90's, Easy Mo Bee and D Dot. Mo Bee is a legend in the game (produced half of Biggie's Ready To Die) and D Dot's track record speaks for itself. I also met Eddie Blackmon (G.O.O.D. Music) and Devo Springsteen (who produced “Diamonds” for Kanye).

I guess right here would be a good place to stop and break down why I'm always out and why I'm always at these different parties and events. It's not because these parties are all that much fun, or because the liquor is free (because most of the time it isn't) or because there are groupies there... Regardless of whatever industry you're in, NETWORKING is something that you HAVE to do if you want to advance.

The strength of your network is what's gonna determine how far you go in whatever game it is that you're involved in. If its the streets, and you're network is all the connects wit the best prices, you're gonna make the most money...if your hustle is Corporate America and your network is full of your peers and people who are willing to mentor you, then you're gonna advance because people take an interest in your career. If its the music business and you have people that you can call on at certain times when you need to get something done and they know they can expect the same from you. Your chances of getting a real shot are that much stronger with the right network.

Some people get it confused and think networking is all about who you know or how many numbers you have in your phone book or Sidekick or blackberry. Think about it like this...say you bag a bad chick on Friday night, if you don't call her that whole next week, what's the chances of her really remembering you when you call? Now what about two weeks later? Now a month? The strength of your network isn't about how many people you know, its about how many people know you, and what they're willing to do for you based on that relationship. It’s also about knowing when to use your relationships to your advantage.

Sunday October 22, I went to a showcase competition in Midtown. My homie Sickamore was judging, along with Amadeus (producer), J Mazur (TVT Records) and Curtis Dixon (J Records). I ended up sitting in the judge’s booth all night with Sick which was real interesting. Seeing how the judges were responding to the acts gave me a kinda different perspective. This time last year I was on those same stages and some of those same A&R's were probably looking at me the same way. Being there and not having to compete really let me know that I've made a lot of progress in the last year. For those of you in the NYC area, you can come check me on stage at T-NY on Nov 8.

I’m out! By the way thanks to all the people that have been adding me on MySpace, keep the adds, messages and comments coming! GONE.