|Yesterday was a really great day. I had the distinct pleasure of being one of the people selected to participate in a roundtable discussion with some of Baltimore music most influential people. We were all bought together by the City Paper's Jason Torres and Jess Harvell for a feature they are writing for an upcoming "Big Music Issue" story. This is huge because Baltimore Hip Hop is in the spotlight again.....WE MATTER.....folks are taking notice of the progress and the increased public profile. Pat yourselves on the back!!!!
Lemme start with the end in mind.....
I truly feel like the radio wants to play local music.
Digest that for a min....LOL!
The panel included:
Sekani Williams (MTV film's Carmen: A Hip-Hopera)
K-Swift (DJ/92 Q)
Victor Starr: My first impression.... HE IS NOT AT ALL WHAT I EXPECTED. I can't say that one enough. Not sure what that means [myself]....so don't ask! LOL! He is probably nothing like anything anyone one of you can imagine either....LOL! You ever met a white guy that tried to damn hard to show that he is connected to the "streets"...LOL! You know, soooooooo "yo yo yo yo" that it seems fake? I can't take it....LOL! Well that is not him [.....or I should say, he did not present him self in that way]. He seemed very real to me and you can tell he has hung out with a few black people during his life...LOL!
I'm a go out on a limb here and say.....I truly believed him when he said that he is committed to helping Baltimore become a music mecca that can rival Houston and ATL. If you could have seen the passion and enthusiam that I read in his eyes...you would have believed him too. I am so elated to find that someone else sees the BIG picture! We need all the help we can get!!!
He spoke at length about how Baltimore is in a very good position to dominate if people from here would work on covering more of the I-95 corridor (aka Middle East: Philly, Maryland, Delaware, DC, VA). I was so happy to hear him point that out.
Have you ever noticed that Southern artists refer to their region as the South....Regardlesss of where they are from [TN, GA, TX, MS, etc.]? This is a very effective marketing strategy because it covers a wider area and because its all inclusive. In addition, it encourages a collective sense of pride [identity] that people can get behind and support. THAT IS A MOVEMENT!!! People are happy to promote because everyone wants to be part of something that is bigger than them. I hear a few people holla out "Middle East" or "Durty North" here and there, but when it this going to go from a slick thing to say to an actual movement by the artists who represent the area.
Sean Caesar [Unruly/DTRL] spoke about how when Southern artists have in-stores and release parties....the community comes out and supports in a BIG way. Artists line up and support one another, buy 20 copies of their fellow MCs CDs and support each other's efforts because at the end of the day....they all need each other, but more importantly.....BECAUSE its just plain good for business. His knowledge of the retail end of music is invaluable....He is the person yall need to be worrying about getting a meeting with...he is someone that can definitely tell you how to make it happen because he lives it.
I can't say it enough....
D.O.G. is an extremely humble dude. I am always impressed in the way that he expresses his feelings about his fellow artists and his love for his hometown.....when seriously.....he could be a jerk & be on his own nuts right about now.
The Invisible Set is doing it. There were on a for real "PRESS JUNKET" yesterday....LOL! Jet setting from the City Paper offices to 92Q for the 7 o'clock hour without skippin a beat. BRAVO, gentlemen!!! I heard the "RYDA GYRL" remix featuring Young Joc (Yes! The College Park, GA representor) for the first time yesterday and had to pull over and listen. K-Swift and Swirrel Wide spun it back to back ..they was feelin it so much! It definitely sounds like Sean tweaked the beat a lil more and D.O.G. has added a third verse. This variation may prove to be the one!!!!
Noooooooow........I only heard it once.....so don't write me with the correct quote if I am wrong.........LOL! I seriously think there are people that sit around ready to point out that I never get people's song lyrics right.......LOL!
I thought D.O.G.'s
"She's praying and hope in' / Maybe later on I'll put my boat in her ocean...."
was the funniest!!!!
Until I heard....Young Joc's line
"I got me a RYDA Chick yall
Thighs so thick......like she play kick ball...."
I may be forgetting a bar LOL!........but I was just talking to someone about kickball the other day........LOL! & we were trippin about how we haven't played kick ball since the 8th grade...LOL! Then he comes with that line.....that was cute. I am always liking the dumbest lines. And I can vouch for what he is sayin'....play enough kick ball and you could crush a grape with them bad boys.
What they look like???
Folk don't know the business......& it is not the RADIO's job to teach you! Ogun suggested that the station offer some kind of music business conference. I agree, that would be an excellent idea. Yall know I had to add my 2 cents .....LOL!......"Don't call it ....."Fittin" to be.........anything!" I said. I mean....come awn $175 and you can't even call it something that sounds professional. That name insults my intelligence.
Sometimes when I get music from people, I refrain from reviewing it [publicly] because I have genuine affection for the artists and don't want to hinder their chances of tricking someone into buying their CD.....LOL! In many ways the radio's decision to not play local music is done for the same reason. They are trying to prevent you from looking like a damn fool..... and furthermore they are trying to make money. If you put the average, homeboy basement mixed, non-mastered song on the radio between Rick Ross' MEGA HIT "Everyday I'm Hustlin" and T.I.'s "What chu know about dat?".........people would turn the station because the sound quality is not on the level. That is just talking about the sound ......we haven't even got to content yet.
People need to really face the reality that their music is not ready for PRIME TIME in many cases. That is not to say that it's not good.....its just not comparable to the music that has proven to work [meaning get people to listen long enough to hear the commercials]. All of us want to leave our mark in this world.....I honestly feel like Victor Starr wants to go down in Baltimore history. So that being said.....give him something that he can use to take it to the next level!!! I know this wasn't just smoke up the whaaaaa-toot-sie b/c....an A&R recently said the same thing to me ....LOL! Give me something that can help me get a promotion....until you have that.....I'm busy. HOLLA!!!!
If 92Q turns you down....why aren't you trying to get a meeting in DC? Is it because you've never heard of anyone else making that happen??? Shucks....3 years ago ...would you have imagined that 92 Q would be playing this much local music? Would would imagine that an event like the Super Style Warz could have occured. My point is.....someone has to grow some balls.....go bang on some doors until someone pays attention. How many people actually go through the hoops of getting their music on Strictly Hip Hop (Fridays 88.9 FM) before going straight to 92 Q? I think people are more interested in hearing their music than actually lobbying the radio because its part of their larger marketing plans.
I made sure I got to the chance to make a few points.....I am happy about that. I'm hope'n I'll get a few Hip Hop quotables out the deal...LOL! BUT if not....I feel so blessed to have been able to reach out to so many people at one time....it was the ultimate networking experience for me.
There were a few things I wish I hadn't said and a few things I wish that I could have said, but all in all ....it was an eye wakening and enriching experience. I anticipate that most of the article will focus on the radio [which is good b/c a lot of jewels were dropped that people need], buuuuuut I do wish that we could have got more into a discussion about the independent/underground [for lack of a better word] scene. There is a real disconnect between the local scene and the general public's awaerness of events. Its so unfortunate because there is such a wealth of talent here that deserves a chance to demonstrate what they can do...."EVERY MAN HAS A RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTE A VERSE"
If I had an artists or a project....my plan would include providing the radio with updates of my progress [initially]...you are a no body until you become somebody...make them curious about you. Then.....I would work the pool of DJs we have in this city alone....get them spinning my music in the club and on their mixtapes. I know at least 3 DJs that create and sell mixtapes on a regular??? And they tell me...no local artists come and holla at them?!?! How many people even go to the club and at least find out what it will take for the DJs to give them a spin before going to 92Q? Seems like there is a lot of "putting the cart before the horse" going on round here. People just aren't out here working the system that is in place and besides its sooooo much easier to sit around fantasizing about how much closer you would be to "stardom" if you could just get on the radio. I am sorry to break it to you.....BUT if the radio is the ultimate sign of achievement......You need to re-evaluate your musical aspirations. You sound like you just want to be a rapper.
Sekani Williams made some very valuable points when he talked ....although I think much of what he was saying went over people's heads....I felt him. He spoke about the relationship between an MC and the artform. It is obvious that he still views Hip Hop as a culture. WOW! I thought that view point went out with the X Clan.
He made me realize.....
I too, still love H.E.R., I care about what becomes of the music, but at 30 + years old......she is sowing her wild oats....I'm just letting her do her thang. When she comes full circle.....I'll be here! After everyone uses her for all that she has to offer.....she is going to want to come back home.
HIP HOP LIVES!!! It's not a thing!
I know I am leaving out stuff....
You'll just need to keep your eyes open for the article....it will be coming in the next month or so (I believe)
I am not sure that Jason could have done a better job of moderating the discussion.....we were trying to fit an elephant and 10 people into a small room. Everyone has a different view point and perspective...it would have taken days for everyone to speak his or her mind. One thing that we could all agree on is that there is a reason to get excited about the chances of one of our artists blowing on a National scale. We have artists in position. We just need to supprt them...regardless of their lack of support for those of us grinding it out now..... Lord forgive for they know not what they do. Hip Hop is so much bigger than all of us...it is so much bigger than Baltimore.
For many... music is more a labor of love and a display of one's connectedness with God (it's a very spiritual; a metaphysical thing) and for many others it is a job ....a way to make money from the exploitation of other people's talents. When was the last time you asked yourself, "What category do I fall under?" As Mike McIntosh [ARS] pointed out, "Once you add money to any equation...it changes everything". I struggle with how to approach this business because I am very "feeling type" person ....The analytical approach with me is not innate.....I had to learn that. My facial expressions are very expressive.... so I am told and when I decide to speak on issues...I am generally very passionate about it. So many people that I come across don't make decisions based on what is right or wrong...most people in this business have long abandoned feelings of getting involved in music because this form of expression should be preserved and shared. But....I'ma keep on doing it...and feeling about it "my way".....being different is such hard work...LOL! Look at Wendy Day....she is my shero.
Yesterday was awesome....this was just the early part! Details of the "In the Field" Concert coming soon!
Thanks again, Jason, Jess and the City Paper Management for your continued interest in Baltimore Hip Hop!!! & Thanks for considering my imput essential.
check me out on MYSPACE @ www.myspace.com/clove