Once again we are back with another installment of “Watch The Sound”. This time we are blessed with some FUNKY cuts by DJ, producer & Musician, the homie, DJ Day. Make sure to check him out at www.djday.net | Filmed by @underkut | www.openformat.la
This Friday (November 25th), the day after Thanksgiving, is an event that you don’t want to miss. The Invisibl Skratch Piklz, The Beat Junkies, & Peanut Butter Wolf are performing at Control. A full night of Turntablism & Party Rocking. All happening at The Avalon in Hollywood, CA. Don’t Sleep!!
Members from the legendary Beat Junkie Crew (DJ Babu, DJ Rhetmattic and Mr. Choc.) talk with DJ Trexxx aka Yung Dean about the future of turntablism and how the internet generation has affected DJ’s. Dash Radio Exclusive. You can listen to the Beat Junkies’ station, “Beat Junkie Radio” on the Dash Radio app. www.dashradio.com
RC: Ok Ladies and gents, this is DJ rchecka, and on behalf of the Beat Junkies and myself, I’m honored to be talking with the Musical Enforcer, the legendary DJ Ready Red of the Geto Boys. What’s up Ready Red!
RR: What’s going on DJ rchecka? What’s happening my long time brother and Friend?!
RC: Sall good man, I’m very happy to be speaking with you. I’ve been doing my homework, going through the archives and I dug up some good questions to drop on you! So I hope you’re ready to go back to that time.
RR: Hey, Ready Red, comin at ya!
RC: Haha, alright so we gotta start right at the beginning of course… You were with the Geto Boys from I believe 87 to 1991, does that sound about right?
RR: About 1992 some say 93, I got released in 93 so let’s go with that.
RC: Ok, so the story goes that back in 87, you were in Jersey and got a call from your sister to come down to Texas and help her out with some boyfriend problems, and that’s the phone call that basically got the ball rolling for you with the Geto Boys, can you elaborate on that?
RR: Yes, this would have been December 1986, she says “Hey, I need you to come somewhere with me.” I said “What’s going on?” “I need you to grab your stuff and come down here.” So I said OK.
I planned on being gone at least a month. So I got to Houston, and meet this guy she was still with. We was cool for the first couple months then he started tripping out so I had to put some things on. I had to whoop his ass. And I just met James Smith the owner of Rap-A-Lot Records that same night. Later on I asked him to loan me a couple of dollars to help me out, and that’s how I got down. I got a thousand dollars to get down with the Geto Boys since he helped me get my sister out of a bad situation.
RC: So then after that did you have a DJ Battle in Houston that really got things rolling for you?
RR: I had a DJ battle down at the world famous Rhinestone Wrangler on Murworth, right up the street from the Astrodome off of Main. So I went up there and I did my East Coast, Trenton, New Jersey style of DJing, which is pretty much our style of DJing, with a Philly Twist, and New Jersey Twist, being that I’m from Trenton, and there’s a world wind of culture there in Trenton between Philly and New York, so this was a whirlwind of techniques and ways that you can attack the art of turntablism.
RR: …So yes, I rocked them, and that’s when I met Jukebox and the late NC Trahan, and that’s how I got down.
RC: So that’s how it started. Just like that you were a part of the Beat Junkies,Err, whoops! That will be edited… I mean a part of the Geto Boys.
RR: (Laughs) I wouldn’t mind being a part of the Beat Junkies, the Beat Junkies are pretty cool! But yeah, that’s right when I came a part of the Geto Boys.
RC: Ok. Now you mentioned briefly NC Trahan, and like I said I did my homework and dug way back thru the archives, and back in the day, on oldschoolhiphop.com’s message board, you mentioned something that stuck with me.
“NC Trahan was big part of the GB early days before I came down to Houston he let us practice at his crib all day and nite never said a thing. In 1988 while shooting Raheem’s video for A&M Records, NC was killed at a gas station by a Punk Asss Bytch Mutha Fucker from what I hear it had been a knuckle up at the club and like a 1 hr later he was dead by a shotgun blast to the face!
RR: Yeah that was True.
RC: (Continues)“I was back home in NJ around the holidays I got a call that he been killed!. Vicious Lee of the Def 4 got arrested that night for trying to get to NC.”
Then you mentioned… “Somebody always got killed during the making of a GB album! RIP Big C.”
That last line is pretty stunning if you think about it. Can you build off that part?
RR: Well first person that I knew that was good people was Kenny Ray and he got shot and killed on the Making Trouble album, so we always used to wonder, if during the making of a Geto Boy’s album, “Who’s Next?” I knew him very briefly but for the year to 6 months I knew him, I knew he was folks man.
RC: I see. Well I’m looking at that “Grip It From That Other Level” cassette tape right now, and I see that Rest In Peace note you put on the cover of that. So that album must have been dropped right after that happened.
RR: Yeah. He was killed right before that.
RC: Yeah, ok. Well let’s change gears a little bit. You also briefly mentioned something about your early sampling of the movie Scarface, Were you the first person to sample that movie for a rap song?
RR: It’s been duly noted that I am the first person to touch that movie, Scarface, Al Pacino’s voice. So yeah, I am.
RC: You are? Ok, well that’s pretty damn cool. Well I was just listening to that tape and I notice how you peppered his voice in that album a few times.
RR: It filled in the gaps. When I started working with the Geto Boys they were already wrote half of “Making Trouble” and I was trying to come up with something that woke it up. When Johnny C came along, I came up with “Assassins” with Johnny, and “You Ain’t Nothing.”
Then I was playing around, and Bushwick Bill came over, and I was watching Scarface, and I just made a bass beat on a TR-808. And the part where Sosa is talking to Tony and he throws my man Omar my man out of the helicopter window… Right around that part, that’s when Bill comes along and sat on my start and stop pedal, which basically recorded “All I have in this world is my balls and my word” and I heard something.
I was like “Oh Shit!” so I rewound my VCR, I got ready, punched it, and got “All I have in this world…”
I said, “Bill, did you hear that?” “He goes. “No man, what are you talking about I didn’t hear anything.”
So I immediately went to work, sampled on the Studio 440 “All I have in this world, is my balls and my word” “and then I just started playing around with “All I have… All I have… All I have… in this world this world this world.” And that’s how I made Tony Montana, AKA Al Pacino start singing in rhythm to the 800 drum machine.
RC: Nice! So on that same album you got the song “Gangster Love”. Anyways there are 2 versions of that song, one sampling Steve Miller Band’s the Joker…
RR: Yeah one would be Johnny C and my version’s using Steve Miller, and when Rick Rubin wanted to do the song and remix it later, he chose Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” so Rubin’s version came later.
RC: Ok, I see. So was it just sample clearance issues with Steve Miller Band or artistic differences or what was it that made you guys remix it like that?
RR: Well some bullshit I heard, that Steve Miller was trying to make a comeback, that he enjoyed the song but he didn’t want to be attached to the shit, so we had to give him some 250,000 dollars, I don’t know, it was some bullshit that he got all our money, I never saw any of that money.
RC: Alright, let’s talk a little bit later on. Eventually you guys hooked up with Rick Rubin. Is it true that Rick Rubin respelled your name GETO?
RR: Yes, it was Ghetto, which is the common spelling, which is an old Jewish term, and he changed it more ghetto to the G-E-T-O. So you know, being Rick Rubin, a man down with Def Jam, and Russel Simmons, and all the hip hop royalty, so what you gonna do? I ain’t gonna argue with Rick.
Cuz after that, damn we hit it big, you know?
RC: Yeah, no kidding, that was a smart move. I think some of the younger cats I talk to sometimes don’t realize there was a different spelling of the Geto Boys at one point.
RR: Yeah, so you got the old rare first press of that tape with that spelling. That’s Ready Red with the sun shades on! That right there is the first press, and if you notice, that’s Jazzy Jay rolling dice in the background!
RC: Hey, I was happy to land that tape for sure. That one I have been looking that for a while! I guess that album never got dropped on vinyl did it?
RR: No. I only had about 4-5 special Rap-A-Lot party wax pieces of that. There’s a few radio versions and a some dirty versions that I could spin for the shows. So, if you see that Rap-A-Lot wax, with that on there, that’s Ready Red’s!
RC: Oh, ok so those are show vinyl versions?
RR: Yeah, just for my shows.
RC: Cool, I never even knew those existed.
RC: So let’s fast forward a bit, and talk about closer to the end of your years as one of the Geto Boys. You became more aware of the greedy nature of your label Rap-A-Lot, and their lack of fair pay.
RR: For that I have to start at the album “Making Trouble” which was good enough to get us on the Fat Boys “Wipe Out” Tour. We went out for days with Fat Boys, Salt N Pepa, Ice T,and we went thru about four or 5 cities, and we blew up. Eventually I found out that we sold 100,000 copies, but I was told we only sold 20,000, and that was the start, being an upstart label from the South.
So I was able to get an apartment, and an SP1200 that’s when I started making “Grip It”. Then the personnel change came right after we had a 12” out called “Be Down”.
Believe it or not, the owner and his helper went to LA for a meeting with some people and came back and said “Hey man, we’re gonna scrap this album that you’re working on, and we’re gonna become “Gangster Rappers” and we are gonna talk about some stuff, blow, this and that, blah blah blah, whoop, whoop, whoop…
And Johnny C says “Yo man, I’m not with this.”
So Box writes the first rhyme to “Mind of a Lunatic” “Paranoid, sitting in a deep sweat. Thinking…”
That joint right there, but then in the middle of us recording it with Willie D and then finally Scarface, and Bill, Jukebox says to me “Yo man, this shit is crazy! Man, I ain’t with this!” So he quit.
Then we became the Geto Boys with Willie D Scarface and Bushwick Bill and myself.
RR: So go down to Jay’s ranch in Praireview, and we put together the historic album called “Grip It On That Other Level” and that’s how we started touring, Detroit, Chicago, Down South, Memphis, we was going everywhere man. This album really put some light to what was going on in Houston, so I’m proud, of everything before that and after that.
But, then I was like, “Yo man, where’s the money at.” Cuz we was getting peanuts and crumbs but where’s the money? Cuz every time royalties come around we get nothing, so I started looking at the business end of this stuff, cuz I was like “You know what? I been here for many years. I’ve given this man everything he could ask for. I’ve given him some of my best work and yet I’m not being compensated.
So I went to them with this, and challenged them, and they wanted to pay me in installments, but I needed all my money which was owed, and that was 29,000 dollars.
RR: So anyways, Little Jay got mad, got pissed.
I hear, “Oh man, Little Jay is pissed” I say “well shit, I’m pissed too!”
And right around the time I just met my wife, future wife. Well yeah, I was getting disillusioned anyway when we started working on the “We Can’t Be Stopped” album.
So Scarface come over and we was digging thru my crates, and I been trying to work with a song from the Tough Guys soundtrack, and I only bought it cuz it was Tony Williams on the cover and it was Isaac Hayes.
So I was like, Ok, so we played around, we found the joint called the jam. So we started putting it together and during the time of that, and I was telling Face, “Yo, if you hear something, I can put it together.” So on that song we we did it. During the time of that I became very disillusioned, I thought , “Yo I won’t be getting anything out of this”
So I called all the Geto Boys up and told em what was going on, and later on that night, Jermain comes in there with the Get Down Boys, which is his thugs and shit, and shit got kinda crazy, and I left that night, and I haven’t looked back ever since.
And I seen 20-30 years later, that nobody got nothing out of that. They got famous, but this man got all the money.
So I’m glad I left. I went through some changes, after I did leave, I didn’t get no credit on that album.
RR: And on that album, my friend got shot in his eye, and they put that shit on the cover!
I’m not gonna be on the album cover with my friend’s eye hanging out. No matter what! I just ain’t that fucked up.
And if I done sat down with you rchecka, I done met your mother and your family, and this and that, how I hell am I gonna explain “Oh yeah, Bill got shot in his eye, but yeah we needed an album picture.” You know?
And that shit was crazy to me, and it’s crazy now.
People come up to me and say “Don’t you be regretting not being on the album cover?” and I go “No, not at all!” and I’m gonna stick with that man.
RC: Of course, man. Of course! I can’t imagine that kind of anguish that night that you were feeling and for this guy to be like “Yeah just get in the picture” it’s basically just greed.
RR: Yeah. I was freaking. I been in between 2 guns pulled on me. That night I’m like Yo this ain’t what I’m signed up for”
Fuck this. Shit I don’t need it. I’m from the real Hip Hop shit. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, Afrika Bambaataa, Cold Crush Brothers, I’m from the Old School. We don’t get down like this man.
RC: Right, but they never even put your credit anywhere on that album at all. It was kind of a white wash.
RR: Cuz they knew doing that right there would lead to some better things for me. But I took a downward spiral cuz every 5 minutes that record was being played.
And the way they spun it was like I left and all of the sudden they got a hit and I had nothing to do with it.
So everyone was thinking, “Hey, Ready Red leaves and the Geto Boys blew up!” “Man he ain’t do shit!”
RC: That wasn’t the worst of it either. Let’s talk about Scarface’s album… This was just after you left Rap-A-Lot Records, and they blacked out your face from that album cover.
RC: I gotta know… What was it like the day you picked up that album and looked at it?
What were you thinking when you saw they just kind of old school Photoshop erased you from the cover photo?
RR: I started laughing and I said “Look at this shit right here!”
RR: Yeah, they tried to erase me out of their whole history. But, I’m glad that the fans know the truth, and I’m glad the truth is finally out there. All that because my man was mad cuz I said “Fuck him.” Know what I’m saying?
RC: Yeah, that was just one more thing they tried to do to erase your history of everything you’ve given to the label.
RC: Well they aren’t doing so hot right now. I’ve read that recent article about Rap-A-Lot’s CEO James Prince. That kind of business reputation he had didn’t fade. Like you said, people still talk about that to this day. They were just a corrupt business.
RR: Right. Well you know there’s a verse in the bible that says “What’s done in the dark will come to light.” It might not be the next day or the next year, but eventually what you do will come to light.
So anyways, back then I started to believe that, that I was nothing, you know what I’m saying? So I got into the darkness one night. I ain’t never started to get another job, I was 26 years old, man.
I had to get myself together, R. Now, I’m 15 years clean and sober. And everything I lost has come back; my respect, my technique, and I look back and I owe it all to the Lord Jesus Christ. You know, for helping me clean myself up.
Then I met you at the oldschoolhiphop.com me and you known each other before any of this business came back. I think I went in there right around 2003, right after I lost my older sister to a car accident. She was killed in a car. Me and you have been friends ever since then.
RC: Yeah, that sounds about right.
RR: And you are definitely in my crates man!
RC: Aw thanks man!
RR: Dumpster Funk is definitely in my crates man!
RC: Hey man coming from you, that means a lot man, I appreciate that!
RR: Yeah, you good folks. You’ve known me before any of this ever came back, since 2009 was when I really started my comeback.
RC: So do you remember when you became an official member of the Zulu Nation?
RR: Right after 2006, I joined the Gateway Chapter, then I hooked up with the Zulu Brothers and sisters. And there’s all tribes in San Francisco. Back then I was blessed to meet Afrika Bambaataa and have my time with a one on one. So that was like a dream come true I was in service.
RC: No kidding! Hell yeah!
RC: Ok so let’s fast forward a little bit. Right around March 8, 2008, apparently you got into a terrible car accident with your truck. From what I remember you were driving up in the mountains and spotted some wolves? (Laughs) I can’t even make this shit up man!
RR: Here’s what happened. I hooked up with my childhood sweetheart and I was on my way back home. And at the 249 Highway marker in Nevada some Coyotes jumped in front of me I was able to avoid that pack, but at the 252 mile marker a bunch of them came out and I swerved and caught the soft shoulder, on the left hand side, and I went down the embankment and I flipped over 3 times.
Man, I broke 2 ribs, 2 fingers, collapsed lung, and contusions on my hip some other various parts that were hurting, and I remember bending down to pick up my phone but it was cracked. I remember picking It up and passing out.
I woke up on my side, and I heard some people talking, and red and blue lights flashing. I saw the flashlight go past me, and I heard one of the officers say “You think he’s dead?” “The other said, “the way his car looks he might be.”
But I put my hand up to let them know I wasn’t dead. And they agreed to come get my ass.
RR: (Laughing) Yeah, it’s funny now. You know they wrote me a ticket for failure to stay on the highway??
RC: That doesn’t really surprise me. So this is just one of the many times where you’ve seen some crazy shit and lived through to tell about it. And now we can laugh about it. But that was crazy, how long were you laid up in the hospital?
RR: About 2 weeks or so.
RC: Yeah, and you lost all your stuff in that truck rollover too, right? All your records and your turntables and stuff?
RR: So the turntables made it. My SP1200 got damaged, I was mad about that.
But you know what? In all honesty, I was just glad to be living.
On March 21st I was on my way back home, I took the same route, and I set my foot back home march 25, 2002 I stepped foot in California. Six years later, I’m back in Trenton New Jersey. Six years later, I’m a lot better, I have a whole new life now. March 25 is how I mark my sobriety time. So on March 25 2016, I’m clean and sober 15 years sober now.
RR: And as I look back on all that time, I lost my Grandfather, my sister, I lost my mother, my grandmother, and just recently my brother last year, my only brother. I’m not looking back, I’m just looking forward, and I have good memories, cuz I tried to do more every year than I did the last year.
So if you are going thru some things, and you think you can’t do it, just gimmie a call, look at me, I used to think there was no hope too, you know, but I’m glad that God had a plan for me. I been sticking with that plan and it’s been worth it.
RC: Yeah I hear you, I totally hear you.
RC: So let’s back up just a hair… Were you still injured from the wreck when you met DJ Q-Bert? Or am I wrong about when you met him?
RR: Q-Bert gave me my first 1200 in the Bay Area. He actually threw a party for me. This is 2002, my first year out there. Jasper Bradley told Q that I was in town, so Q called his DJ Friends, DJ Flare and Magic Mike, and a lot of other cats who have scratches named after them, and I went to the Octagon, and me and Q-Bert bonded instantly.
We became friends, we started talking and Q says “So what you up to?” “Well you know I’m out here for a fresh start, and my Grandfather just passed…” and before I left Q-Bert said, “I got something for you.” So he put an SL-1200 in my hand and he told me to “Get busy again”. Even though I never left them, I just didn’t have a pair, but I had 35 years of being a DJ at the time, but that really hit me. On the way home I just held it in my lap and started playing with it, getting back into it, feeling it like it was a beautiful woman.
RR: But, I’m now a Stanton DJ, so I don’t really use 1200s, I use the Stanton STR8-150 since I been a Stanton DJ for 5 years. So now when you see me, I play on the stuff that has my name attached to it now.
RC: Yeah, so how’d you hook up with Stanton then? That’s interesting too. Tell me how you got approached by Stanton.
RR: No, I approached Stanton. My 1200s died on me, so I needed a new pair, so I ordered a pair of Stanton’s online. And when I got them I was so impressed by them, I was like “Oh shit!” so I went to Stanton to tell them how much I enjoyed them, I saw a contact number, so I called them and left a voice mail. About a week later, I get a call from a guy who says “Hi, my name is Dan I am the president of Stanton, and would you like to endorser our Stanton products.”
So I said, “You know what? Before you even approached me, I approached you and told you how I enjoyed the product, so, yes I would love to become a Stanton DJ.”
See, I bought them blindly before any of that ever happened. That’s how much I believed in them.
RC: Hey, I feel you on that. Cuz I’ve had my STR8-100s for about 20 years now, and I use them all the time, and they are still just tanks!
RR: Damn right! I never thought that I would say in my lifetime that I could say that I found something better than the 1200s. 1200s are still good, they will always gonna be good, but once you get on the STR-150s and go back to the 1200, you’ll see how good things are with Stanton. I’m sorry, but I like power now.
You can take a record and put it on a Stanton joint, and it will start and stop right on the beat, super fast. I can backspin now on a Stanton and it spins right back up to speed right away so I’m straight now from now on.
RC: Yeah, it’s a totally different feel between the two brands. I think people get accustomed to “that feel”. It’s kind of like relearning how to spin if you switch back and forth between the brands, cuz then you have to compensate one way or the other for the different torques.
RR: I had to relearn how to DJ when I first tried to got my first Technics 1200s, cuz I was on Technic SLB 101s. They were belt drives, so you had to push them up while you was back spinning, to catch them up on time so they wouldn’t slow down. That was a bad habit that I brought over from my belt drive, to a direct drive. But with a 1200, you didn’t have to struggle like that. That struggle was gone, when I got the 1200s.
RC: Right on, let’s talk about a couple of your heroes right now. You look up to 2 very different people as your heroes, Bruce Lee and Grand Master Flash. Why do you look up to these two guys?
RR: Well, being a red headed freckle face black kid of the 70s, really light skinned, I was chubby, I picked on a lot rchecka. I was just meeting my father at 8 years old for the first time I remember, and he took me to go see the Chinese Connection in downtown Trenton. And I was just like “Wow!”
RR: See Bruce Lee is kind of quiet. If you check out his roles in his films. Bruce Lee was kind of quiet, but he whooped your ass.
So shortly thereafter, my father left again, so my Grandfather took me to Karate School, cuz I was showing some interest in that. I started studying Shotokan Karate, so soon, all the punishment that was inflected on me, I could stop that, cuz I learned how to defend myself, and only defend myself and others who I saw injustices being done to.
So it was Bruce Lee that gave me my confidence by not being afraid to fight. I don’t care who you are, if you come my way and you disrespect me, put your hands on me and try to hurt me, I will get with you, but other than that, I tried to use the art of fighting without fighting. So Bruce Lee has been an impact on me since I was 8 years old. I’ll be 50 this year.
RR: I actually used some of his teachings to get my life together. See if we go back, Lee himself had some issues. He wasn’t a totally put together human being like most people think. But if you really research him you’ll see that he was a proud individual like all of us. He was just a hell of a fighter, but behind the arena he had weaknesses.
See like my arena was music behind the turntables, oh I’m super bad, but you take me out of that arena I may not be the most put together person, Know what I mean? Cuz I’m out of my element. So I had to learn how to be secure in front of the wheels and off the set. See Bruce Lee taught me about that.
RR: Now Grandmaster Flash, is the Pinnacle of DJs. See back in my day he was the litmus test of being a DJ. And I share a special bond with my Grandfather who… my Grandmother reported that my Grandfather, whose name is George, “he stays in his room all day and all night making strange noises and I don’t know what he’s doing up there.”
So my grandfather comes upstairs and says “What’s going on up in here?” So I show him, and he has a story from Jersey, and he tells me to come up, and he presents me a ticket for him and a ticket for me to go see Shannon, singer of “Let the Music Play” and Grand Master Flash and the Furious 5.
So we sit there in the audience, we get thru Shannon, and out comes Grand Master Flash and he starts cutting up Good Times.
So my Grandfather sees that and says “Oh, is that what you are trying to do?” I said “Yeah!” So I explained to him Kid Creole, Scorpio, Melle Mel, Rahim, the Late Great Cowboy, and I said “Yeah, those are great MCs, but Grand Master Flash, the guy standing behind, he just DJs!”
He said “Really?” And he started to get really fascinated by it. “And for all that he was just spinning records?” I said “Yeah!”
So after the show, we’re driving home, he started asking more questions. When he started asking questions, it started getting interesting. He said “What would you need to uh, you know, start doing that type of stuff?” “Cuz the offer is this… If you graduate from High School, I’ll get you a car.” But I was soon to graduate High School but I didn’t want a car, I wanted some useful equipment, rchecka.
So I got a pair of 101 Technics belt drive turntables, a Gemini mixer, some records, tape decks, and some other stuff. He says “You know what? You’re the first guy I ever met who didn’t want a car!” But it would soon pay off. So that’s what I did man.
RR: In New Jersey and some greater cities they had what they called junk days where people throw out their junk, so I got pretty good at tinkering and putting stuff together, so I had some changers, you know changers is one of the best DJ turntable ever, you just gotta cut off the long spindle but once they get going, they get going. They may scratch up your records on the other side, but those things was tough!
So I had 2 of them, I was good at cutting with knobs and stuff.
So um, the adventures of Grand Master Flash, I would play follow the leader. It goes on “You say! You say!” and before Flash would let the last “You Say!” go I would try to play like him. “You Say one for the treble, 2 for the time, come on yall let’s rock that —-“ I would grab the record and try to get the timing that he had. Cuz that record is like a teacher.
RC: “Yeah! You’re right!”
RR: And I became fascinated with GMF, Joseph Sadler, he’s always been one of my heroes and always will be! Just like Grandwizard Theodore, DJ Red Alert, there’s so many…like DJ Tony Tone, Charlie Chase… I hate to start naming all my heroes, cuz I’ll forget their names. I love anybody from the true school foundation, know what I’m saying? I love them because I am them, in a lot of ways man.
RC: Yeah, you are man, and I watched you recreate Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel, I mean you did it. I saw it on YouTube. That was kind of like a rite of passage for you to complete that wasn’t it.
RR: Well you know what, I did it on Serato on that Youtube vid. I wish they would have shown me when I was young and I would do it on the wheels. I used to have a cat who was passing off the records to me. My cousin, B, My cousin Brian Lovett. Passed off the records. Anyways, I did it on Serato cuz you always hear “oh that was a studio produced joint.” No it was not studio produced that was nothing but turntables man.
When they recorded it, to make the levels using limiters all go level across the boards you really had to know what you was doing back in the day. But Flash was with that man. Flash was the king.
As he says “I don’t care who’s better, Flash is forever.” “I’m the first one to do that”
RC: Yeah I hear that!
RR: See back then, Hip Hop was the up lifter. It was invented by folks who saw a positivity for what Hip hop would come to. Cuz you know, it was rough, and it comes from the gangs.
Bronx groups like Savage Skulls, Black Spades..They know we gonna get down on the streets with our Ghetto brothers. And it had this rough status, but it became peace, unity, love and having fun.
That’s how the Zulu nation was born. Along with the Godfather Kool Herc, who had a birthday party by the request of his sister Shelby.
So DJ Kool Herc came to play his block party and that started it all. So that’s what I wanna focus on, that’s the only reason I got into this in the first place.
I’m glad I had these heroes that I could bring to my mother and grandparents and say this is what I wanna do. But she wouldn’t hear that.
So I’d sit and listen to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five album with her or Kurtis Blow or the Fat Boys.
Cuz back then you could listen to it with your family. But man, now? Now, I’ll be like “DAMN! What the hell are they saying? I find it kind of shocking.
I don’t believe in censorship for the artist, but I believe the artist should be responsible for what comes out of he or she’s mouth because you have the gift of life or death in your speech.
One thing that I remember when Al Sharpton when he was doing James Brown’s Eulogy, he said “James Brown told me on his death bed to tell Michael Jackson and Prince to raise the music back up.”
Raise the music back up meaning that your parents, your grandparents, your kids, can all hear the positivity in the message man. So that’s my mission, is to raise it up. And I’m gonna raise it up man because we need it.
RC: Yeah, we do! We need to hear that. Actually, yeah, that’s really what I want to talk about… We wanna hear about that project you got going on with Johnny C and Jukebox!
RR: I got back with Johnny C and Jukebox of the Original Ghetto Boys and we are now the Old Young’nZ and we’re working on an album now. We’ve just been putting together stuff and ideas, we are working on getting the sound that is ours.
That’s Johnny C and my sound, we had that sound in Trenton Jersey way back in the late 70s early 80s. And we just coming up with good grooves and stuff.
We’re both 50 years old now, so we’re coming with Old Young’nZ a point of view, we’re not trying to compete with these youngsters. We have to come up with some solutions to some of these problems.
We’re working on what they call peace, unity, love, and having fun which was an element of the DJ and MC that I don’t hear on records any more.
With some of the new stuff, and I still spin current stuff, cuz I get booked for a lot of parties, but I don’t hear party records any more. I hear dreary, death and destruction that doesn’t really give you a lot to live for nowadays.
We’re putting this together out of love, and we won’t give it away, but we’ll put it out there.
So it might be a minute, we was trying for the Spring, but you know, things happen, so you know were’ working and trying to get at least 2 singles dropped, just to let the people know, hey, we’re doing our thing.
I’m also being constantly booked to do DJ joints or shows, so my time is you know, spread thin.
RC: Well, you want it to be right, and you want it to be good… So you are taking your time getting it right. You got kind of a timeline on this? Are you a perfectionist?
RR: I would say yes, I am. But back to the point of when it’ll get released. it’s to the point where as a DJ, I could have put that away, or I could put this away. Sometimes you gotta know when to stop and be like, take away, you know what I’m saying. You got to know when to stop.
Sometimes you think, I could have used a better kick, or a I could have used a better snare. When I listen to music I hear the high hat, I hear the kicks, and snare. And I know when that kick and snare is gold. There’s only a handful of artists that I can listen to and be like, “Ok, yeah, they jamming!” But I never followed what a lot of other folks did, I always just did what I felt.
When I started making records, A guy named Steve Founier who was a radio DJ, said to me, “You know what you need Red? When you start doing the process of recording, go get the hottest 2 records, and mix yours to the levels that these hot records are.” Cuz at first when come to the club, and put our wax on, the levels would be so low, and this was one of the rookie mistakes that a lot of artists make. Their levels are nowhere near the levels of the artists who were making it were. You gotta get your kicks up and snares up to the level of these hot records. You know, I’m giving you game now producers! Go get the hottest 2 joints and listen to where everything is on there. And set your mix accordingly so that way when you get to the club and you want the DJ to play it, he ain’t got to boost it all up. See it’s already there.
I’m sure you know as a DJ know how some records are really low and some records are really high where they sound good, and you don’t need to do anything to the high joint.
RC: Absolutely. Mixing highs and lows can be a pain.
RC: And speaking of DJs, let’s talk about the Hip Hop DJ in 2016… In the past you talked about the changes of the DJ from year to year. Nowadays we got controllers instead of decks, we got very advanced CD-Js that have been around forever… What do you think is the cut-off point where someone is no longer a DJ based upon what they use or how they use it?
RR: Man, you know what? DJ Red Alert said it best…. rchecka, do you still have a rotary phone?
RC: No, like a lot of people I don’t even have a land line.
RR: There you go. I stick with the times too.. My boy DJ Wiz told me when I was living in San Jose back in 2006-07 told me “Red, man, I’m using this Serato” and I asked him “What’s that man?” he said this device is just like spinning wax. So I plugged it in, and I stayed on that damn thing for 10 hours, trying to get my heat on. I was like “wow this is fascinating man! You can leave the records on!” See cuz as a Hip Hop DJ you always taking the records off. Sometimes you’d catch me taking the control record off trying to put on the next record. But yeah, you gotta stick with the times man. So I stick with the times, and I try to employ the technology to how I wanna attack.
See Grandmaster Flash said “If you was wack in the analog era, you gonna be wack in the digital era.”
Then again now there are these things on some of these controllers called sync, which is a sin! To me, that’s like biting a rap.
Now, do I have virtual DJ? You know what? Yeah, I played with it when I was sitting here in my bedroom, cuz I think it’s kind of cool just to play around with it. But I was just playing around cuz I’m always gonna be a wheels of steel guy. Cuz that’s just me.
I remember a friend of mine named Swell, say “Yo Red. I’m gonna get to the park in like an hour man. And I already packed up my 12”s, so I hooked up with his stuff, and I kept reaching for the tone arm on his CD-Js.
That whole repetition over the years of grabbing that tone arm made that a reflex. I’m not knocking people who use CD-Js or controllers, but to me turntables are a lot easier, you don’t have to worry about anything as long as the record is spinning in the groove. It keeps me on my toes, it makes me aware of the music, cuz otherwise I get bored quick, and I’ll go to sleep.
RC: So when you are working on your newer productions, are you using any newer tools or are you sticking to the classic gear?
RR: Well I use my MV-8000, which is a beast. A lot of people sleep on it, cuz it’s not the instant gratification they are used to. I tell people, you gotta get into your manual for this man. But I been using this for about the past 6 years I use Logic, I use Fruity Loops, I use anything that will work for me. I use modules that I sample into the machine or I’ll play. I do whatever it takes man. I use both worlds, analog and digital man. I really like using analog over digital cuz it amps it up and it really has that dirty sound. But for the basis of my work, I like to beat physically on the drum machine. I don’t like beating on the keyboard. Cuz it’s like (singing) “Flash is on the Beat Box!” it ain’t “Flash is on the Keyboard!” See the beatbox is FOR Hip Hop man.
RC: No doubt, and it’s like riding a bike, you know how to get around once you do it, and you know how everything’s gonna turn out.
RC: Alright, well let’s wrap things up, cuz I have one more question for you and it’s about your future. Let’s assume you get this project out and you are happy with the results. What’s next? What do you have plans for further down the road?
RR: Keep on doing it. Find some younger blood out here, just expand it, and it keep it going, cuz it’s not gonna stop. If I was to get back to where I was, that’s a beautiful thing. I have gotten to the point now where I could do it for a living again, or I could do it for a hobby. You know I have to have a balance.
I’ll be 50 years old. So I love it, and I’m always gonna do it, I don’t know on what platform, professional or being a veteran DJ again, but you know what?
At the end of the day Collins Adam Leysath is happy that DJ Ready Red can try every now and then and do something I love, you know what I’m saying?
I’ll be happy in my life as long as I stay true to that.
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Soundcheck Ep. 36 (8/23/16) with special guest: 9th Wonder
Tonight (8.4.16) is the Official 2Mex LA Benefit Concert at the Regent Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. An All-Star Line Up to boast to help raise money for one of LA’s Underground Hip Hop heroes: Dilated Peoples, The Visionaries, Sick Jacken, The Beat Junkies, MC Supernatural, Ras Kass, Busdriverr, Awol One, Bambu, & Cookbook. DJ sets by Dj Mark Luv, Dj Nobody, & Dj Houseshoes. All Tickets Sales will be donated to help pay for 2Mex’s Medical Bills. It is an ALL AGES EVENT! You can purchase tickets at www.ticketfly.com or purchase at the door! Doors open at 8pm and ends at midnight! Los Angeles, this is your chance to support one of LA’s sons! Please Support!!!
This last night’s episode (July 10th) of “Adventures In Stereo” radio show. The Funky President J.Rocc along with his “Dynamic Duo” partner Rhettmatic did a special episode in honor of what’s going on this past week…we’re living in crazy times right now. Soundtrack For The Streets! Rest In Peace: Alton Steerling, Anthony Nunez, Dylan Noble, Pedro Villanueve, Philando Castile, & the officers in Dallas, TX. J.Rocc’s radio show is every Sunday from 10p-12a on 90.7FM KPFK in Los Angeles or listen on the internet: www.kpfk.org.
We continue with another special edition of our Turntablist DJ series “Watch The Sound”, featuring Bay Area’s KODACVISUALZ representing Born Cinnaz & AsthmaFunk. For more info on KODAC VISUALZ, follow him on IG and Twitter at @kodacvisualz. For all things Beat Junkies, visit us at www.beatjunkies.com
Holla at Waju via @EyyWaju
Hopefully some if not all are artists that you can check out, follow and support in the future. If they are published here, it’s because I’ve caught their live shows, older projects and newer ones and feel they’ve put in the work to deserve some shine much like the prior 10 Artists You Should Know posts. Thanks for listening.
So as I’m doing more artist consulting this month, I’ve noticed that a few of these guys and girls are really struggling on trying to get true feedback and readings on their music. Getting that response is extremely important in the direction you may take an incomplete project, or maybe start a new one. People’s first impressions are generally their rawest, then a second listen or look yields different results ( the “sleep on it” and revise the next day, approach ). Regardless of if you want either of these reactions, you first need to have places to get an unsuspecting listen. So below I’ve made a list of a few ways that have worked for me, and others I work with, hopefully they work for you!
Aux Cords – I know it may sound stupid, or maybe even like a no brainer, but if you think about coffee shops, cafes, diners, uber, lyft, house parties, and so many other places that an aux cord can come in handy, if you get creative with you can literally replace the world around you with your own soundtrack (tactfully) — Note: I say please use this one at your discretion, your music may suck and your taste in music could also suck. I wouldn’t want a room full of people to
CD-R’s turned Data Discs – So I go to anywhere from 3 – 8 events per week here in Los Angeles, it’s not as exhausting, expensive or time consuming as you may think. Infact most of it’s paid for but I will say one thing that really gets my friends is when I’ve got 2-3 in the car and I have my mixes on. I constantly get asked “What is this track, my shazam won’t work” and other similar questions as they look at my LED dash that says SPIV_Untitled28. So I started distributing my mixes and music I intended on mixing or playing out at gigs to the friends who’d roll with me. It’s also great economically because these data discs can hold upward to 80mb (which depending on the size of the songs, could be upward to 150 tracks). Also in 2016′ they play in most systems. So at the start and middle of each month I burn about a dozen new cd’s and when I interact with Bartenders, Security Guards, Event Coordinators, or just have friends in the car or make new ones at functions and I can give them my music. Note: I generally also include a prerolled joint and preface them listening to smoking and ask them to give me their thoughts on it after.
USB – Similar to the above, except smaller and easier to get preloaded with music. You can get bulk orders of usbs pretty in expensively these days. They also have a larger capacity. Get innovative with customization aspects and you can really get your music far in these little babies. I give them out like candy on Halloween, and if I don’t get custom designs, I’ll put a small sticker that correlates back to my social media and just leave them at various unique spots around the city. Taped to bathroom stalls to sticky notes, I’ve put them in envelopes that say “Listen To Me!” and gone around parking lots and garages outside of events that have a demographic I’m trying to reach, and dropping them in any window that’s left cracked open or putting them on sideview mirrors. Get Creative. Your distribution techniques should be unorthodox and untraditional. Be unique in your approach and you’ll go far.
Shortcut Links – Long web addresses are hard to type, and remember. Keep it short and simple, using a site like www.bit.ly or other ‘link shorteners’ help people reach your music more easily and faster. You can press these on yellow manila envelopes, but them on USPS stickers, even pull tab signs. The shorter the better. It should either go directly to a download/autoplay link or a place giving people very minimal options of what they can do, and if they like what they see or hear — they should have a way of reaching you.
Digital – Distribution through digital channels is easier than ever with things like Tunecore, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc. Me doing guerrilla and viral marketing alongside business development and growth hacking. I choose to again, go a think differently approach. If you have 5,000 friends on facebook, export your friends list, alphabetize it, organize it, and highlight people who’d likely be down to share your product. Whether it’s a campaign, a service, a product, whatever you have, you know who’s down to ride for you, and there may be some people you don’t know who are also down to ride for you. If the quality of what you have to offer is good, people will naturally share it. I’ve done the angle of having multiple people change their profile pictures across 3 networks all at the same time, as well as create a share/RT/RP campaign that was very effective. There’s also a few other tips and tricks to the digital marketing game to explore, but I had to work for this knowledge, and you shall have to as well 🙂 — Think about the avenues of video channels, live streaming, podcasts and more. You’re smart, I believe in you.
Crowdsource Campaigns – Similar to my mentions above in the retweet/share/repost campaigns. Crowdsourcing is a great way to get yourself heard (and get paid). A very strategic and savvy campaign that showcases creativity, authenticity and ingenuity will definitely help get you heard by peers. Not to mention it allows you to generate revenue if the product is good or they believe in you. I think about having 5,000+ friends on facebook, and then my other social networks then my 25,000 person email list and I think. If each of these people were to share 1 hit song or 1 dope clothing article or just something that has the potential to spread — there’s just so many opportunities that can come from that. $5 x 5,000 people = $25,000 | Most people spend more than $5 daily on stupid shit they don’t need. They don’t need your music either. Make your music that stupid shit they spend their $5 on. Except, make it extraordinary and special, and actually worth much more than $5 so it doesn’t feel, look or sound like a stupid purchase.
Stickers – Not just “stickers” but window decals, murals, wheat paste, billboards, skywriting. whatever it takes. Take into consideration how long these things last, and how inexpensive they are. If they are designed well, they garner a lot of attention and can spread like wildfire in photos and videos. Much like several coveted locations in LA that people use for backdrops for their ” look at me, I’m basic” IG photos.: Much like stickers, stencils are also a valid route, but also more risky – Look into Post No Bills and other signage issues to make sure you don’t get in trouble placing stuff where it doesn’t belong or on other people’s property that it will have a negative result or impact on you. I have some stickers that are in nightclubs and bars that have hung on for 10 years and they STILL to this day get me new eyes/ears that occasionally reach out to me to compliment my music.
Business Cards – The less permanent route. So business cards are inexpensive, they don’t have to be used as “business cards” they can be used as promotional cards. Due to the cost vs quantity situation with this, you can easily throw hashtags, websites, catchy quotes or art and literally give these out EVERYWHERE YOU GO. I used to drop them in checkbooks when I was bartending and waiting tables to every single guest of mine, I’d also leave them on the busses and subways, inside friends cars, bathroom mirrors, literally everywhere imaginable. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you the return on investment with these. I do a lot of things in this manner, what is the easiest or least expensive way to make the longest, biggest and best impact. — My only downside to these is environmentally, it’s waste. In general, I am conscious of these things so I do actually use this approach a little less often these days. I suggest making it reusable or plastic like a membership card instead of temporary paper promo.
Brand Alignment – What does your sound invoke? How do people feel when it’s on in the background, or if they’re working out? Is there any feeling in your music? I hope there is. Match the vibe of your style, content, and sound with like-minded people and businesses to get better results. If my music is very uptempo and fast paced like Styles Of Beyond, or maybe some Jungle/Drum&Bass/Breakbeat sounds. I’m probably better off trying to get it to people in the hands of people into active lifestyles, as opposed to couch potatoes or cubicle slaves, who probably prefer something more mellow and downbeat. If you’re loud and flashy, don’t pitch yourself to reserved, closed-minded suits. Find your niche and go for it. I look toward start-ups and publications to offer commissioned original music, production, writing, and songs to, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it definitely has benefits once placed to get you heard.
Collaborations – This is how you bridge an audience. Got a singer/songerwriter who’s really dope? get her acapellas remixed by a producer that’s equally matched and let them play with each others sounds to create something new and fresh. Collaboration over competition any day, every day. I’ve teamed up with Skating, Fixie/BMX brands, Shoe Companies, Clothing Lines, and much more in regards to creating collabs that extend beyond music. Once you get the hang of pitching yourself and your brand/product/service you really gain perspective on how businesses operate, who their markets are, and you can come up with ways of intertwining yourself with them in a mutually beneficial manner that allows you to reach their crowd and vice verse.
That’s it for today’s lessons, I hope you gained something from this and continue to create new and unique ways of getting yourself out there. Feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a line at any of the places below 🙂 If you need help with marketing, promotions, pr, design, etc. I can also help with that. Please repost this article as it doesn’t just pertain to music and have a wonderful day full of good music and vibes~
For the last couple of years, in honor of my birthday (May 10), I’ve been releasing some music (whether mixes or unreleased projects) to the public as a thank you to everyone who’ve been supporting my musical endeavors throughout the years, & just being grateful for able to live another day/week/month/year. Today is no exception.
Everyone by now should be familiar with the talented soul singer, the man called Aloe Blacc. Unless you are not into Underground Independent Hip Hop or didn’t grow up in the Southern California Music Scene during the 90’s, you might not know that Aloe Blacc is also an incredible Emcee and is part of a group called “Emanon” with producer extraordinaire, Exile.
What a lot of people may not also know that Aloe & myself recorded a whole album together back in 2004. “2004?!”….yup, 13 years ago….can you believe that?? This is around the time when Aloe was attending USC & I was living in Long Beach and was still working at Fat Beats LA. You’re probably also asking the question “Why is there an image of a Quarter on the front cover?”. I’m glad you asked that….Aloe suggested we do something like this: “Maybe an image that depicts something about 2004, like a pair of shoes that came out that year or a big news item. In 2004, I turned 25, maybe an image of a 1979 quarter”….hence, the reason why we have a Quarter on the album cover.
How this project came about is basically, both Aloe & myself were at some type of crossroad in terms of what we wanted to do as artists, individually. Aloe was taking a break from Emanon in terms of exploring, recording solo projects & working with different artists….Exile was in the process of becoming the producer he is known today by working on his own solo projects as well as crafting an album with a young, talented MC by the name of “Blu”. As for me, I was also trying to expand my horizons as a producer. Everyone knows me mostly for being a DJ/Turntablist from the Beat Junkies & the only production work that I did that people are aware of is with the Visionaries. I wanted to branch out & work with different artists as well to see what else I can do that I can’t normally do with my own group. I was luckily enough to have Aloe open to the idea in working with me. Around this time period, I was solely using the Akai MPC2000 for my main production equipment, & made a few beats on EMU SP1200 Drum Machine Sampler (Listen to the album & guess which machine I used). We recorded 14 songs but had really 11 strong songs. I just remember listening to our project & saying “Wow…Aloe is incredible!”. The plan was to shop the project but it never got a chance to materialized because we both went on to other things: Aloe got signed as solo artist on Stones Throw & I went to work on the 4th Visionaries’ album “We Are The Ones”.
On a side note, the song “Find A Way” was made originally for this project, that later became the B-Side single to Aloe’s “I’m Beautiful” off his Stones Throw solo debut album “Shine Through”. I had no idea that Aloe can sing and was really good. When I heard this song, I knew Aloe was destined to do bigger things. And this song also led to Aloe working with my good friend, the incredible DJ Khalil of Self Scientific and future Grammy Award Winning Producer. I played “Find A Way” for Khalil and the first thing he said to me was “Who is this person, I got to work with him”. When he found out who it was, & he was shocked. Many years later, they crafted together the successful hit song “I’m The Man”, which were backdrops for a series of Beats By Dre commercials as well for the 2014 NFL Draft & 2014 MLB All Star Game ads.
Fast forward to 2016….I had a chance to revisit the album and I totally forgot that Aloe & myself recorded a whole project that was made 13 years ago. I reached out to Aloe to remind him about our project. Even as busy as Aloe is now, he took the time to listen back to the album & said it would be dope if people could here our progression. He suggested that we release this album as a FREE project & gave me the idea concept of the album title & cover artwork. I am very lucky that Aloe gave me his blessing to release this project that you are about to listen now. We hope you enjoy this time capsule & this little nostalgia from our musical past. And the saying goes…the rest is history.
To everyone that’s taking the time to listen to this piece of history, as well as those who’ve been supporting me & musical endeavors from the get go, thank you very much. To my man wiz1der for helping me with the mixdowns. To my man FWMJ of RappersIKnow for the artwork. And to my brother Aloe….thank you for always being a friend & a musical comrade. Everything you’ve worked hard for, you deserved!
Rhettmatic Beat Junkies
Rest In Peace: Nestor Nirza, Jordan Cofinco, J Dilla, Roc Raida, James Brown, Dj Dusk, Rob One, Sean Price, Pumpkinhead, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Maurice White, Phife Dawg, Billy Paul, Prince, & Afeni Shakur.
A big special shout out to my fellow Visionaries brother 2Mex! Speedy recovery Alex…you got this! #GetWellSoon2Mex
Adversity in business, relationships and friendships has always been something I’ve paid attention to. I actually have quite good memories of people watching in many environments. When you’re producing events you get to interact with hundreds of people for very short periods of time for a few hours. Behavioral habits and human nature have always been interesting to me. Luckily, over time my curiosity in this matter has actually paid off by making me a good judge of character, and very rapidly. So this article comes from a near and dear place. Regularly I see friends in art, music, and various lines of business have their ups and downs, highs and lows, get taken advantage of, beaten up, broken down, ripped to shreds, chewed up and spit out. By peers, friends, enemies, frenemies, and any other variation of the sort. The internet has definitely made it easy for people to sound off when they dislike something and want to get their opinion heard (social media, yelp/google+ etc)
We all have them, we know what they are, but here’s a reminder:
“TOP DEFINITION: Hater
A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.
Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesn’t really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock someone down a notch.
Susan: You know, Kevin from accounting is doing very well. He just bought a house in a very nice part of town. Jane (hater): If he is doing so well why does he drive that ’89 Taurus?”
Now it doesn’t matter what world you are living in, what you do for a living, what you’ve done in the past or where you’re going. The one constant besides change, is having haters. You probably don’t have enough of them to be honest. I know that may sound ridiculous, but there is several theories out there proving that how many people are speaking negatively about you, can directly convert to how successful you become. A lot of this has to do with if someone is repurposing the negative energy into positive. To many who don’t take things personally, they understand this kinda bad mouthing or negative critique can be rerouted and serve positive purpose. It’s a lot like PR where someone will take a bad story, and spin it into something good, striking while the hammer is hot and all eyes are on a subject. Most of the industry leading top dogs have their critics. If you’ve ever worked in food service, you understand that you simply can’t please everybody, regardless of how much you want to.
So let’s speed this up and put it into more of a perspective, do you see ‘nobodies’ on the TMZ, Ellen or Jimmy Kimmel reading damaging blows against themselves? No. These people have reached a level of success to a point that their name is on display for the masses, which comes with a lot of positive and negative responses. In business, we’ve got online review platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google+ encouraging people to sound off on the good, bad and ugly. Which then allows for Reputation Management jobs to come in and do damage control, much like a Manager/PR to a Musician. I’ve made moves in my past that have gotten me ridiculed, in the spot light, and my name and credibility tarnished all over the internet, including being blacklisted by certain people because of them seeing such negative things about me in the headlines. Did that stop me from reaching my goals? starting my own businesses? continuing to follow passion projects and creative projects? Hell, fucking no. It just further emphasized the power of PR, it showed me that if I don’t respond and essentially ignore or let it roll off my back, that eventually it’ll subside. It made me realize that while all the attention is on me, I can do really good things that win back my audience. Luckily, I learned this life lesson at an early age and allowed it to again, teach me the benefits of having people try to create road blocks and obstacles that otherwise wouldn’t be produced, had it not been for the moves I was making. Consumer Reports, Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, Countless Music Blogs.
We’re constantly regurgitating hate spew. My only qualm is the lack of consistency in the haters. What an incredible waste of time and energy it is to just follow people achieving? Let alone the flipflopping hate where people play both sides of the fence. So here’s where the value in haters lies, outside of being motivational, sometimes they point out flaws or things you may have missed. If someone is clowning on your style, or an outfit – perhaps that ‘hate’ is actually an observation vocalized and pin pointing something you missed? Haters can also help give perspective and insight on weak points of things. I remember a guy was hating on a friend of mine’s music for years through online channels and in person. He made it a point to constantly talk shit, to the point that one time he got his jaw broken, but that’s beside the point. Some of the things this guy was saying while funny or made for satire were actually fucking valid points, imagine that? This hater was mentioning how my friends music wasn’t transparent or aligning with his character. Regardless of being portrayed through lyrical content in albums and songs, certain messages could be received or twisted to show my friend in a poor light, and make him seem to lack authenticity, not be genuine and essentially leave himself open to be called “fake”.
After I brought it up to him in a “maybe he’s right” approach, my friend broke down his past work to current and realized it was true. So, in this example his use of the negative energy, allowed for a positive change to come from something intended to destroy, but instead, allowed him to reroute or detour to greener pastures. A lot of us look at haters as envious, insecure, weak, and fearful. A lot of it stems from a lack of not being able to do the same thing deep down. That means you’re doing something they can’t, or perhaps are scared to even attempt to do. Haters, can also turn into supporters. I used to send my own personal work to people who used to talk shit, over and over til I won them over and the hate turned into love. These people are already attracted or interested in what you do at some capacity, why not challenge them and yourself, and try to convert a hater to a fan/admirer? The difference between the two is really just you going from good to great. Haters also help you gain visibility you otherwise wouldn’t get. See who’s paying attention, and instead of defending yourself or enabling the behavior, talk to some of the people who chime in on a real level and give them alternatives? Maybe they are bandwagon riders and agree in the moment, but that’s because they don’t know of anything else you’ve done or have in the bag. The only way to avoid these people is not doing anything that grabs their attention, sounds fun right? You play it safe and tread lightly on eggshells and thin ice with a cloud above you and behind your back at all times. OR you soar to new heights and make them see you, hear you, and love you. To hate on your music, your art, or your event. They have to actually invest some form of interest, time, and maybe money in order to access it. People buy tickets to Dave Chapelle’s standup so they can hate on Dave Chapelle’s standup, and heckle from the audience. Do you care about a little bump in the road, or making money and having a packed house?
So between the valuable feedback, opinions and critique. To the increased awareness and visibility of your brand (free press), to the potential monetary gain from their interest in you. To even discovering weak parts you didn’t even know existed. I say, bring on the haters. They allow you to learn and grow as an artist and as a person. Just be sure if you are going to ‘hate’ it’s for a just cause and actually valid. Even explain or break down why you are saying what you are saying to further justify and “help” the opposing person or company… That my friends, has lead to me getting paid 250/hr as a consultant, a few thousand a month as a Creative Strategist and Marketing Professional, and much more.
1. They talk a LOT
2. They’re often passionate
3. They tend to be in your market
4. They give you an open invitation to share
5. It’s WAY cheaper than advertising
6. They can make you look good
7. They might be highlighting a grievous error This list comes from an article by: Matt Cumming which lead to me creating this article you’ve read.
Hate it or love it, Don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams.
Now as usual, I know some of you have heard these ( it may have been awhile ) but I feel like the current and future generation of readers don’t get enough of this kinda content, so it’s a great opportunity to bridge the gap in this social media age. Share the wealth 🙂
(can’t find the full album of this, but a very very solid project: Grey Matter: Grey Matter)
The Beat Junkies present: Soundcheck
Broadcasting Live from Los Angeles 7-10PM PST
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Of The Month
On The Beat Junkie Radio channel
Exclusively on Dash Radio.
Download the Dash Radio App for free or listen to us on the web: www.dashradio.com.
Special Guests (2.23.16) is Tuamie & Nick Speed. Special appearance by Houseshoes, Eric Bobo (Cypress Hill), Planet Asia, Phil Da Agony, & Knxwledge
Dj Babu set
Action Bronson x Westside Gunn- Dudley Boyz
Guilty Simpson – The D
Mr. Lif – Whizdom
Black Milk -For 4ever
Nikobeats – Can U Stand The Rain
Your Old Droog – Listen
Anderson.Paak – The Season/Carry Me
D.I.T.C – Get With The Program
Jay Electronica – #TBE The Curse of Mayweather
Nikobeats – Come Around
O.G.ology – I Wanna Tell You Something
Curren$y x alchemist – Cartridge
J-dilla – The Introduction
Busta Rhymes – We Home ft L.O.N.S
Anderson.Paak – Come Down
NxWorries – Link Up
Special Guest – Tuamie
Dj Rhettmatic set
Cookbook x Evidence – Phillip Drummond
Asher Roth × Nottz – Goin Down
Nikobeats – Maybe So Maybe No
D.R.U.G.S – Untitled
Rim (of Da Villains) – Llamas
Fisher aka G Fisher – Mercenaries ft Chris Rivers
Mick Jenkins – Ps & Qs
TallBlackGuy – Ojaymoneystack
D.R.U.G.S – Wiggy Wiggy
Hezekiah – I Love Kanye
Lyric Jones – Fly Aura ft Sean Rosati
Willie Evans Jr – Creepers Anthem
The Black Ppera – Somethin Outta Nuthin
Bishop Lamont ft. Xzibit – Back Up Off Me
Mentplus – DillaCation
Lex (nyre) – Time Is Now
Nikobeats – Anniversary
Johaz – Anything ft Blu
D.R.U.G.S – I Can Make You Dance (thank you)
Villain Park – Brain Cells
Dertbeats – Days Go By
Special Guest – Nick Speed
Blackstar – You’re Welcome
Dilla – What (a capella)
Dilla – Things You Do
Dilla – Roots 93
Dilla – World Full of Sadness
Pete rock – Niggaz
X-Clan – Heed The Word Of The Brother
The Black Voices – I’ll Stop Calling You Niggas
Kareem Riggins – 30 Hours beat
The Black Voices – Funny How Things Can Change
Tall Black Guy – The Big Payback
Tonight (February 25th) is Last Thursdays With The Beat Junkies at The Pot Lobby Bar in Koreatown (Los Angeles). It’s FREE from 9pm to 1am and it’s every last Thursday of each month….Come vibe with the Junkies as they will dropping some dope tunes for you to enjoy! Shoutouts to our boy Chef Roy Choi!
Our good friend Dj Eclipse of Non-Phixion/Rap Is Outta Control just released this vintage footage of Mos Def & Talib Kweli from the Fat Beats LA 1 Year Anniversary party at the old Crush Bar in Hollywood. Eclipse worked at the flash ship in New York, while Babu, J.Rocc & Rhettmatic worked at the LA store. This footage shows the 1st time that Mos & Kweli performed in LA. This is an early manifestation of Black Star. You can see J.Rocc spinning for Mos & Kweli…this is also how J became Black Star‘s official DJ. If you look closely, you can see a young Mr. Choc, Melo-D, Dj Nu-Mark, J.Rocc, Babu, & Rhettmatic…lol. The Beat Junkies & Invisibl Skratch Piklz also performed that night. We can’t wait when Eclipse drops that footage. Until then, enjoy this piece of Hip Hop history! Shoutouts to Dj Jab, the owner of Fat Beats!
While I feel like the argument will always exist of vinyl vs digital, and preference of which you’d like for varying reasons beyond sound quality, artwork, and more… The entire market has shifted, especially in the rate of which we consume and discard music. It’s changed so drastically that by the time I finish making a mix an hour long mix with all new music, there’s another 500 brand new tracks put out. It’s almost impossible these days to stay on top of it all. For someone like me who’s a bit of a digital hoarder/collector this is a problem. I also pride myself on being “that friend” who’s always putting people up on that new new ish. That part is what I want to really focus on here.
Now we all know how Music Discovery has drastically changed over the years, but now more than ever has it been in a weird place where the quantity trumps the quality per accessibility of equipment and self publishing. I don’t wanna necessarily call it over saturation, as I don’t believe in having too much of a good thing being a problem. Especially for music lovers, creators, and performers.
Beat Junkies Record Pool 😉 Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, GooglePlay, Pandora, Mixcloud, Beatport, 22tracks and a million others.
I generally suggest using the Favorite, Like and Bookmarking features, or keeping an archive in shazam, then going to your main computer and individually purchasing each individual track that you ‘liked’ through these platforms. You automatically build a playlist with this route, as well as don’t have to waste money on the rest of the project that may not be as good as the track(s) you’re purchasing. All in all it’s just a very pragmatic and practical way of acquiring new music.
Markers and tracking is a great way to stay organized as well. I used the “like” buttons as checkpoints when digging digitally, so if I don’t go on soundcloud for a few days, I can scroll down until I see the last track I “liked” in order to see where I stopped listening, and where to pick up again.
With bandcamp, you’ve got the curated bandcamp weekly series that you can dig through – if you hear an individual song in that mix that you like, you simply click on the artist name to go to their full project the song is off of. From there you can also see if an album is released independently / self-published, or released on a label. Which gives you the option for digging deeper into their catalog or discog, alongside potentially discovering a whole world of music through a boutique label you didn’t know exists that puts out a lot of a similar sound.
You can subscribe as a fan to these acts in the same way as you can follow them. This puts you on their mailing lists so you can literally know if they do any kind of upload at any time.
All of these methods are valuable ways of keeping your finger on the pulse and your catalogs growing. I also suggest checking out 22tracks.com which is curated by 120 influential DJ’s, as well as strictlybeats.blogspot.com which has over 10,000 beat tapes dating back to posts in 2006′ when people like Ta-Ku, Kaytradamus(kaytranada), and many others were submitting music our way.
Hopefully this helps some of you discover some new music, and organize some old music, and re-evaluate how you acquire and maintain your collections. peace, til next time
Faith 47 – is an internationally-acclaimed street and studio-based artist. Following an active street art career spanning more than 15 years, her work can now be found in major cities around the world. Using a wide range of media, her approach is explorative and substrate appropriate – from found and rescued objects, to time-layered and history-textured city walls and their accretions, to studio-prepared canvas and wood. Through her work, Faith47 attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik, in order to advance the expression of personal truth. In this way, her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search.
Her first solo exhibition, Fragments of a Burnt History (2012, David Krut Gallery, Johannesburg), considered the transformation of Johannesburg into a more representative African city, exposing the harsh realities of day-to-day life and capturing the remnants of South Africa’s complex history in a personal and symbolic manner. Through the creation of an immersive environment in the gallery space, this work challenged the viewer’s detachment. Her solo exhibition, Aqua Regalia (2014, London & 2015, New York), further extends the possibilities of immersive spaces, enveloping the viewer into a sacred ‘room’ filled with collected objects and other intricacies from everyday life that – together with figurative paintings – explore the notion of the mundane as sacred, celebrating the discarded and unwanted as holy.
Vince Staples– is an American rapper from Long Beach, California. He is one-third of the group Cutthroat Boyz, alongside fellow California rappers Joey Fatts and Aston Matthews. Staples was also known as a close associate of Odd Future, in particular Mike G and Earl Sweatshirt. Staples is currently signed to Blacksmith Records, ARTium Recordings and Def Jam Recordings. He came to prominence with his appearances on albums by Odd Future members and his collaborative mixtape titled Stolen Youth, with Mac Miller, who produced the majority of the project. In October 2014, he released his debut EP Hell Can Wait, which included the singles “Hands Up” and “Blue Suede”. His debut album, Summertime ’06, was released in June of last year (2015) and has gotten critical acclaim. *He was also chosen as part of the XXL Magazine 2015 Freshman Class. It’s crazy looking back to see how far he’s come, I think it was about 2010 when him, mikeg, syd, speak, nikko gray and a few others were rocking my showcase inside the Fox Hills (now westfield) mall in Culver City. Since then I’ve done plenty of other shows, even worked Camp Flognaw/OddFutureCarnival doing merchandising and pushing Vince’s goods. Bottom line, It’s great to see the climb/growth/progress of people who are dedicated convert to success in the eyes of many.
Astronautica – 23-year-old Los Angeles native Edrina K. Martinez is Astronautica, one of Alpha Pup Records’ newest artists. Bringing a unique style of lush electronica and a playful sense of exploration to the label, the young producer is a fresh face to the thriving local beat scene. Learning to play guitar by ear at an early age, Astronautica soon began mixing her own samples and beats. Quickly becoming addicted to the burgeoning beat sounds of the West Coast, Astronautica is now a full-fledged member of the movement. Been lucky enough to catch her more then a few times live, and recently had her play one of my showcases – definitely a sure bet for a solid set, every time.
IllFightYou – This is IllFightYou ( Glenn, Uglyfrank, and Khris P ) I Couldn’t find a real bio or much info on them, but I’ve been listening to these guys for quite some time now and putting up homies on them after playing out their music in the whip or at shows. They did a pretty thorough interview last time they were in LA with Intuition for his program Kinda Neat ( which can be heard here http://kindaneat.net/illfightyou/ ) they also rocked LowEndTheory and a few other shows. Music speaks for itself, check it out below and more on their soundcloud.
Bibi Bourelly –
Bibi Bourelly is a Berlin-born Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter. She wrote the Rihanna song “Bitch Better Have My Money” and features on “Without You”, a track by Lil Wayne that features on his 2015 album Free Weezy Album. She also co-wrote and features on Nick Brewer’s Top-20 UK debut track “Talk to Me” and she’s featured on Usher’s single “Chains”. Bourelly is of Moroccan and Haitian descent. She was born in Berlin, her father being the guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly and her mother, the head of the art department at Berlin’s House of the World’s Cultures. She moved to America in the tenth grade to pursue a music career, first ending up in the Washington, D.C. then moving to Los Angeles. Her break came after a producer she had been working with online, Paperboy Fabe, arranged a session with Kanye West, who isolated her in a booth. The result was Rihanna’s “Higher”. She also wrote the singer’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”, which caused some controversy after Houston rapper Just Brittany claimed that Rihanna had plagiarised the song.
In April 2015 Bourelly issued her own single, “Riot”, an effort to prove to people she was “authentic”, detailing how wanted to be heard and recognised as a legitimate musician. Bourelly is also involved with quite a few other projects and artists which will soon come to light. Most recently being her features beside Usher & Nas…. I mean c’mon son haha. bright future ahead.
Step 1. Don’t be MeekMill or Stacey Dash. (joking)
These days, the internet has become one of the most instrumental, and sometimes detrimental building blocks for success. Although a big obstacle for many is learning how to navigate the landscape and figuring out the most effective methods of getting what you want, to who you want with the least amount of resistance for the lowest cost and the fastest, whew… Sounds like fun, right? At least, the ever-changing environment of what channels we use to distribute our content keeps things fresh, and requires us to be aware of new platforms to quickly adapt to for that ‘edge’ being first to: myspace>facebook>tumblr>soundcloud>twitter>bandcamp>instagram>snapchat>????? – After years of blogging, consulting, doing PR and producing events – I still have to keep my finger on the pulse of most outlets in order to know what’s best for the artists and brands that I work with and represent. That said, I’m going to share some advice below that should assist you in reaching the goals mentioned above as the title of this is how to get heard by who you want, which is synonymous w/getting what you want.
1. Ethics & Integrity – Are fundamental and part of the basics to this whole thing. Think about the impressions you leave with people, whether that be communicated via email, in person, or even on social media. Your online persona could be just your ‘way of expressing yourself’ or feel more vocal about things, but you have to remember that it’s all a reflection of you. Much like recording over someones production without asking permission from the original producer or creating a remix to something then pushing it as if it was requested just to ride the wave of the popular artist who’s original song is getting play. Common sense plays a big role in a lot of this, but if I have to explain that then I’m wasting your time and my own. Try your best to maintain artistic integrity – if an opportunity arises that doesn’t change the alignment of your direction, branding, presentation and fabric that holds your product unique. by all means – go for it. Although, on the b-side if you’ve got wavering ethics or conceptual integrity it can be seen from a mile away and that may prevent some people from connecting with you on a business or personal level alongside turning your audience away because you weren’t true to what you might do or say. ex: The hip-hop head who starts to experiment with other genres (Which is completely fine) or worse, the hypocrite who outs themselves on and off record.
2. Trim The Fat – Keep correspondence short, nobody needs your life story. From your bio to your press kit, to your messages for collaboration or even attempts to volunteer or get involved with things bigger than yourself. KISS ( keep it simple, stupid ) being short and straight-forward in correspondence and requests will make it easier for the recipients to respond quickly in a similar manner. No means no, but months or years later could mean yes. As long as you keep it short.
3. No More Parties In LA – LA and NY are meccas of culture, entertainment, fashion, music and art. People come here on a 30-day to make it plan and either burn through everything they have and go back home or they make moves strategically and do things right so they can live off of their craft almost immediately. Then there’s the 9-5’er or freelancer who supplements their income with a balance til they are doing what they love full-time. Anyway you cut it, I think another important part of getting heard by the right people ( or at least, who you want to listen ) does require the legwork of going out and networking. There are several websites that will tell you what’s going on in your city at any given moment, and each one is a gateway drug to more events, much like flyergum that ends up on your mirror/dash after a party… I’m not suggesting you street perform or start soliciting people while you barista or wait tables. On the contrary, I do tell people to create a calendar of events that they go to each month that are beneficial to what they are doing and where they are trying to go. There’s so many different groups and demographics of people to reach, and you only have so much time and money to do such. Going out on a decently consistent basis allows you to see performance spaces and other shows in which you’ll potentially be interested in performing at, gain inspiration from and again – spread your art among the masses. You can drop your music with event coordinators, promoters, venue owners, talent bookers, deejays, and other people of potential importance when you’re checking out the nightlife as well.
4. Sampling – If you’re seeking placement or licensing situations, be smart about your sample usage. Unless you have the money to pay for clearance, most of the time that amazing track of yours is going to require a lot of additional work and money to have actual use. It sucks, but it’s part of the game and a very expensive, time consuming one at that. Try to create original compositions so your work is original and has more flexibility, thus allowing you more opportunities in where it can take you. Otherwise, seek the originators of that music, request permission to repurpose their work and who knows – you may not only get their approval but several additional stems and pieces to work with. Dare I say, sometimes it works out that if they like what you put out there, you can collaborate with them on an official level because of a mutual respect or interest. There’s no better feeling then after years of trying to work with a certain someone, them finally responding to you and inviting you to meet up and build. Most of the guys and girls I’ve wanted to work with almost 10 years ago, I’ve now done shows or projects with and consider friends today.
5. Presentation & Packaging – If it looks like garbage, and smells like garbage, it might possibly be garbage, or at least that’s the place it will end up if your presentation isn’t on point. The easiest way I’ve found to clean up your presentation is working with a designer who’s actually into what you create. Someone who would be excited, and benefit from working with you and creating for you. I can’t even count on both hands and feet how many designs I’ve done for free that I call “portfolio” to make myself feel better about not being compensated for them, only to have them start hiring me when their money was right. It was all original work for artists who I believed in, and little did I know would be moving mountains several years later and remember my efforts in supporting them. This is a good reminder of how things you do in the past, can help you in the future. Working with the same people creates a good synergy, relationship and creates consistency in your branding. If everyone’s on the same page, you’ll gain some form of identity from this and it’ll benefit you tenfold as opposed to hopping around with every photographer, video guy, designer and stylist you meet. Last note on this, keep in mind what I said about trimming the fat, because this also applies to overproducing or going too-minimal with your work (whether art or music). There is a happy middle ground which you should hopefully reach.
6. Submissions – Unless it’s a very small mb file, do not attach files to emails that you’re sending out to labels, blogs, promoters and more. Nothing is worse then being on the receiving end and finding out someone just left an elephant on your doorstep that you didn’t ask for and now you’ve gotta call up a moving company, wasting time and money to move it so your important packages can arrive. Always be mindful of your recipient, this includes how many paragraphs that will be ignored inside of your email. You’ll have a higher success rate on having your hail mary passes reach the end zone if you consolidate and simplify what you’re trying to say. If the goal is to just have someone hear your music on the other end, make it as easily accessible as possible – no download links, no attachments, god forbid you have to sign-up to some new service to get to it. Just simply upload it on a platform where the person clicks once, doesn’t need to be logged in, and they end up at the file with a functional Play & Stop button with volume control and leave the rest in their hands. It’s really that easy, and if you’re not getting a response from said bloggers, editors and more – they are either too busy, not interested, or you need to change your approach.
7. Unique Approach – In a perfect world, a great idea or solid product would just fly on its own and create an abundance of wealth and opportunity for the creator of such things so they could reinvest in themselves. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world and everything requires a solid gameplan because there’s levels to this sh*t. Having a unique approach will definitely help you get what you want as this shows you’ve thought outside of the box, and managed to think differently in how you present yourself, product or service. A few years back I had 2 friends ask me to redo their resumes. I asked them what they wanted to do, why, and what makes them think they are the most suited for the job. Both answered all the questions with confidence and with enough good reasons for me to move forward. Little did they know, if I didn’t feel like it would be sensible, I would’ve told them my opinion and suggested they work with someone else out of respect for their time and my own. One resume was for a new luxurious bespoke cocktail bar opening that would be extremely difficult to get into and had practically a 12 step hiring process. The other was for one of the biggest music festivals worldwide that happens annually in SoCal. For the bartender, we sat down and analyzed all the collateral the bar had released through press and media outlets. We took a screenshot of their menu, names of their drinks, their color schemes, and the overall idea/concept that they were sharing and integrated all of this into a resume. Her resume looked exactly like their menu, and had unique accents and design elements that were deemed clever or witty, ex: instead of where the bars website, address and phone number were, it had her contact information/Website/LinkedIn. She printed this on a thicker resume cardstock similar to a diploma and delivered it to this bar. From the moment they received it, others were called into the room to check it out, surprised and excited to see the efforts put in by this potential candidate to get the job. The story gets deeper, but to summarize – she got the job for being different and unique in her approach. Against hundreds of people trying to get the same position before and after her. It was this, that paved the way for her to stand out and gain the attention of the audience ( getting heard by who you want ). While the other person I mentioned was applying to Coachella and basically had me create an entire promotional kit with backpack, shirts, stickers, flyers, a poster, lanyard and more all with personalized/flipped-Coachella branding, so instead of any of their details, it had his resume and credentials. This included a flyer with him playing every stage lol… Instead of sending it off to Goldenvoice, he actually ended up taking it with him to an interview in Hollywood, CA for an advertising agency and got hired almost on the spot. I can give a few other examples that I was involved with things like this in music/art etc but I absolutely encourage anyone to push the limit on creative application and distribution of themselves. This includes when you are producing Cassettes, Vinyls, CD’s and more.
8. Working In Reverse – This is sometimes a good process to accomplishing goals, I’ve done this a few times when assembling press kits and reworking resumes. As another example, there was an artist a few years ago that approached me about wanting to get on a festival. I looked at their guidelines for submission, who the headliners were, the openers, the region, and had to work in reverse to tear it all down to step 1 of what would give this girl the best shot at getting picked up for it. I started with the region, where she had already done many shows in the area with some of the biggest names that came into town fitting for her genre of music, so it was easy to make a list of these venues and shows she’s played, alongside the likes of who she performed with. That built value in her potentially bringing more attendees/promotion/ticket buyers to the festival due to familiarity. I continued to roll down their lists of steps required to get “on” and looked at anything else that would give her an edge when applying. When we worked through all of those, it was a matter of how we served up her introduction email, organized the rest of her content to be most fitting for the acts performing and type of festival (omitting tracks that didn’t make sense or wouldn’t be of interest, and pushing the ones that were/would be instead ). We were even so detailed to change the photos on her press kit out to show a different side and that she’s rocked stages with thousands in the crowd before instead of the smaller venue, intimate, candid shots she had there prior. The list goes on and I’m sure you get the idea, but long story short – she got booked/paid because she had the basics down, but also learned how to tailor her pitch, after deconstructing the event and making a roadmap to reach her intended destination and audience.
9. Good People Are Hard To Find. – From managers, editors, event producers, curators, bloggers, and more. When you find people who genuinely appreciate what you say, do, and the direction you’re going. Don’t fuck up by letting them vanish, and don’t push them away with an ego. Everyone is trying to be the best they can be in their field, and who knows what their long term goals are. Some people you’ll work with from the start of their career and find helping you out a decade later just based on your consistency in being dedicated to your craft and humble in your ways. Others you’ll show a little bit of promise to, they’ll spot it early on and they will ride for you til the wheels fall off opening doors along the way. It may not be fun to weather the storm over and over again, but that persistence and patience pays off most of the time if you aren’t making the same mistakes ( not to mention it helps end the cycles of factory farmed creatives with mass distributed content that’s unhealthy clickbait, fodder and fluff distracting people from actually being productive). Build your team wisely and keep it thorough.
10. Asking. – They say a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, but an open one can potentially get smacked for saying the wrong thing. Be tactful in your choice of words, especially if you don’t know who you’re talking to. I know people who blame being introverted or anti-social to their lack of success in their industry when realistically it’s a matter of them not speaking up and asking for what they want. So instead of getting the help they need or want, they’ll bitch and complain about it (which also, has the same result) until they give up entirely or fall into some mental sickness like depression. Asking questions, gets answers and people like to talk. Don’t be afraid to do some outreach and remember, what’s the worst that can happen, they say no? or there’s no answer? Note, Please & Thank You still work in whatever year it is that you’re reading this article and last but not least. Don’t be an askhole, you’ll never get what you want if you continually ask for advice and then do the opposite, people notice and they remember. Asking is better then assuming, and that it’s better to ask for forgiveness then permission thing is definitely bullshit. That means you ‘assumed” the outcome of your question, and decided to do something because you weren’t strong enough to pose your request properly enough to get the results you desired, that shit is wack. Learn how to communicate better and you’ll see that most things aren’t as difficult as you think. Lastly, don’t name drop unless that person will vouch for you, it’s not going to give you any points if you’re lying, and if someone like myself decides to do a verification text. “xyz says he knows you, and you’ve worked together, is he cool? ” and the results come back negative, you just blacklisted yourself with 2 people at once…
So that about covers it, I hope you learned something new or found some tips within that will help you reach your goals in whatever it is that you’re aspiring to be or do.
Sir Anderson – Just stumbled across this guy the other day per a friends mention on the internet and low and behold, I dug his stuff and like magic – he’s now featured here. Maybe next time I mention him I’ll have a lot more to say because I’ll actually have met him 🙂 check out David’s work below:
He’s on the right path with his mixed media work and I feel like it’ll only get better and better, so continue to check his page out and show some support (not to mention, his work at the moment is pretty reasonable)https://www.facebook.com/artofsiranderson
Doc Illingsworth – I’ve listened to this guy for years and always really dug his versatile sounds and constant interest in kinda bringing something different to the table. I feel like Detroit takes hip-hop seriously and you can hear it infused into most of the creations from that city. Illingsworth I used to feature on StrictlyBeats and also pass his music along to friends who may have no heard of detroit cydi, him and ErikL. I want to say since 2006′ I’ve seen him reach new heights and recently saw him kill it out here at Low End Theory, alongside several other platforms that have given him some positive light. Humble cat, deserves what he gets and I hope he continues to push the ante with a quality sound that’s undeniable. Hopefully someday he can find that “illonthehunt instrumental’ for me 🙂
Linafornia – I have a big heart when it comes to seeing people go from tragedy to triumph and Linafornia is definitely someone whom I feel can give you that story. In Los Angeles, she’s quietly made waves in the scene that she’s supported mutually for years on nights and weekends. I feel like I’ve physically been to the same events with her at least 100x now and she’s always shown love to anyone and everyone who reciprocates and deserves it. I don’t wanna get into her car accident and story or too deep into detail in regards to how amazing this girl is but I do want you to know she’s a real one and you can hear it in her music, which realistically only started surfacing in the past year or so. In a short period of time she’s garnered attention from our Bananas crew to Beat Cinema, Low End Theory, RUN and more. Great sample selections, unique change-ups, cut points, loops and mixture of lo-fi and high-end sounds to make you zone out, as I’ve done when having the pleasure of catching a set, or rapping on it. Her debut album “YUNG” comes out Jan 22nd, 2015, keep your eyes peeled and follow her through social media.
Zack Sekoff – Started listening to this guy back when he lived in LA (he may be back now), next thing I knew he disappeared to go to school on the east coast, and I had a CD of his that I played until I couldn’t anymore… Heard about him through the grapevine of the beat scene, and our LA underground community, he was also close to peers like Speak, Westside Ty/Beeper King, and many others. This dudes musicianship is nuts and one can only assume he’s continued to progress and impress. He’s been quiet for quite some time now but steadily working under the radar to produce big sounds that boast his talents across many styles and formats. Zack’s won plenty of competitions, worked with the likes of Thundercat, Austin Peralta, KCRW’s Anthony Valadez, and a slew of others. His diversity is endless and I think without sounding like a total fanboy I should just let you decide for yourself.
He’s got a new album coming out soon, I highly suggest following him on Soundcloud & Twitter. Remnants of a Winter Sun” out 1/15
Bryson Tiller – Bryson Djuan was born on January 2, 1993, in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother died when he was four years old. He has three siblings. Tiller started receiving massive internet attention from music industry insiders with his breakout single “Don’t”, which he originally released on his SoundCloud page. Early co-signs from record producer Timbaland and Canadian rapper/singer Drake led to major label attention for Tiller, with him eventually choosing to sign a creative partnership with RCA Records. Announced on August 25, 2015 : T R A P S O U L debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200. Talking about his musical style, Tiller said, “It’s just trap and hip hop-influenced R&B, the perfect marriage between hip hop and R&B.” Tiller has cited American singer Omarion as his biggest influence. Other influences include R. Kelly, The-Dream, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and Drake. Critics have compared Tiller’s style to Jeremih, Drake, Ty Dolla Sign and Tory Lanez. Keep an eye on him, because his promise continues to show through his consistency. I mean fuck… he’s already reached over 30 million plays on more then 3 of his songs/videos, not bad at 22 years old. Here’s a few great joints:
That’s All 🙂
-SPIV / Eric Spivak
Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions directly via:
It only took 20 years for this Hip Hop homecoming marathon to come together, and on December 4th 2015, I am pleased to say we were there with bells on. My friend Judy Blum and I were geared up for 7 hours of non-stop Hip Hop. To clarify, the Rhymesayers 20th tour included 29 acts crammed into 7 hours of play-time, all whilst surrounded by where ya from Hip Hop fans packed into the Target Center Arena in downtown Minneapolis.
The Players: (Alphabetically listed)
Abstract Rude, Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, Battlecats, BK One, Blueprint, Boom Bap Project, Brother Ali, deM atlaS, Dilated Peoples, DJ Abilities, Evidence, Felt, Freeway, Grayskul, Grieves, Hail Mary Mallon, I Self Devine, Jake One, K-Salaam, Los Nativos, Micranots, Mr. Dibbs, Musab, P.O.S, Prof, Soul Position, The Uncluded, and Toki Wright
Unlike the last time we met to hit this town, the stars were somehow aligned perfectly. The aura was right, spirits were high, there was no curve balls, no drama, nothing but a diverse selection of Hip Hop acts and 8 dollar beers, and other than that insane expense denting the wallet, nothing could go wrong in this situation.
This time we were there to work, and having fun would only be the unavoidable byproduct of our “job” of documenting and recording this once in a lifetime event.
So that’s what we did; we worked. Photo after photo, with beer breaks only when we got thirsty. We took it all in, soaked it up like a sponge and now it’s time to wring it out.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and we somehow got a thousand pictures, so it’s apparent this post is better without a thousand words. For the universal love of eye candy and in the interest of keeping it short and sweet, this topic will be limited to the money shots (no porno) and verbiage will be nothing more than the essential need-to-know captions.
The surprising and invigorating entrance of Los Nativos
The crowd hushing poetic acapella opening of deM atlaS prior to his first beat drop.
Grieves owning the crowd.
I Self Devine’s shine time…
Prof blowing up the spot rockin his ugly Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer socks.
A calm yet commanding Aesop Rock as 1/2 of the Uncluded
After a brief Rock\Hip Hop hybrid set, Mr. Dibbs reaches out to connect with his people.
DJ Abilities blistering fast cuts and his touching tribute to the legendary spitter Eyedea.
Blueprint’s short solo before being joined by RJD2…
when Soul Position formed like Voltron…
Finally, Dilated Peoples rears up, announcing that they “are back!” What could this mean? New album coming?
DJ Babu tearing up the ones and twos through the haze…
…in perfect form, seemingly undaunted by the lack of any kind of cable management system.
Murs and Ant for Felt… Like all of the good acts it seemed way too short.
Towering master of ceremonies Brother Ali blew away the audience with a little help from his B-Boys and B-Girls.
^Here’s a short gif of that in action.
Judy Blum was as giddy as a schoolgirl to see Slug of Atmosphere…
Apparently the feeling was mutual. Slug was thrilled to see Judy in the press pit.
“I own the Camaro and the mobile home, so where the fuck you gonna go?”
At midnight, Slug was still at the top of his game, rousing the once fatigued crowd into a second-wind frenzy.
End of the night: rchecka (L) and Judy Blum (R) in the press pit.
7 hours in, still professional as ever, still working hard to get the shots, but admittedly we were hammering the beers at this point. I maintain that since we worked so hard we deserved it. And hey, when it’s hammer time, it’s selfie time…
On a personal tip, I gotta say this is the hard part of the story… Picking out pics for this was difficult, and a lot of deserving artists never got photographed or mentioned, but it’s hardest of all to sum up a night with this many unforgettable highlights. Needless to say I am truly honored to have the opportunity to do so.
My only complaint about the entire homecoming is some well deserving incredible sets were cut short due to justifiable but regrettable time constraints. Well, there’s that complaint and the fact that a epic event like this will never happen again in my lifetime. Which brings me to my obligatory recommendation; if you get the opportunity to catch any of the artists that graced this tour, you need to find a way to make it happen.
…As luck has it, TONIGHT is your chance to do just that… The Dilated Peoples along with other special guests are playing tonight at The House Of Blues in Anahiem, CA. For more information check out our recent blog post.
The Beat Junkies present: Soundcheck Broadcasting Live from Los Angeles 7-10PM PST
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Of The Month
On The Beat Junkie Radio channel
Exclusively on Dash Radio.
Download the Dash Radio App for free or listen to us on the web: www.dashradio.com.
Tonight’s guests (11.10.15) is Big Twins(Infamous Mobb)
Kehinde Wiley – Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist, Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley, engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men found throughout the world.
By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, history, wealth and prestige to the subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, the subjects and stylistic references for his paintings are juxtaposed inversions of each other, forcing ambiguity and provocative perplexity to pervade his imagery.
Wiley’s larger than life figures disturb and interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality as it pertains to the view of black and brown young men.
Initially, Wiley’s portraits were based on photographs taken of young men found on the streets of Harlem. As his practice grew, his eye led him toward an international view, including models found in urban landscapes throughout the world – such as Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro, among others – accumulating to a vast body of work called, “The World Stage.”
The models, dressed in their everyday clothing most of which are based on the notion of far-reaching Western ideals of style, are asked to assume poses found in paintings or sculptures representative of the history of their surroundings. This juxtaposition of the “old” inherited by the “new” – who often have no visual inheritance of which to speak – immediately provides a discourse that is at once visceral and cerebral in scope.
Without shying away from the complicated socio-political histories relevant to the world, Wiley’s figurative paintings and sculptures “quote historical sources and position young black men within the field of power.” His heroic paintings evoke a modern style instilling a unique and contemporary manner, awakening complex issues that many would prefer remain mute.
Kelela – is an American singer and songwriter. Her 2013 debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me, earned praise from music critics and contemporaries such as Solange Knowles and Björk, and was listed in various publication’s year-end lists. Seeking to make the mixtape sound like a remix album, Kelela added her own vocals over instrumental tracks by DJs from Fade to Mind and Night Slugs.
A first-generation Ethiopian American, Kelela was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland and graduated from Magruder High School in 2001. She has been based in Los Angeles since 2010. After transferring from Montgomery College to American University, Kelela began singing jazz standards at cafés.In 2008, she joined an indie band called Dizzy Spells and tried to sing progressive metal after meeting Tosin Abasi, whom she later dated.
Having moved to Los Angeles, Kelela connected with Teengirl Fantasy and contributed to the group’s 2013 album Tracer on the song “EFX”, which led her to meet Prince William from the label Fade to Mind.He introduced her to the sound of the record label and its sister imprint from London, Night Slugs, which Spin has described as “one of the most distinctive sounds in U.K. dance music, a mutable hybrid of grime, house, electro, R&B, techno, hip hop, and dubstep.”In May 2013, she appeared on Kingdom’s “Bank Head”, and five months later released her mixtape Cut 4 Me for free. Harriet Gisbone of The Guardian has described the album as “an experiment for the production team, the first time the production crew had used vocals on their club tracks.” In March 2014, Kelela was featured in Bok Bok’s song “Melba’s Call” for his new EP.
On March 3, 2015, Kelela announced the forthcoming release of her Hallucinogen EP with a video for the project lead track “The Message”, produced by Arca (who’s also produced for FKA Twigs).
Elaquent – Canadian-based producer Elaquent is certainly no rookie in the thriving beat scene. Known for his smooth, soulful style; his off-kilter, neck-break beats; and his obsession with Batman and Sega Genesis, Elaquent is finally beginning to reach his full potential. Elaquent, or “eQ” as he is also known by, has been making his mark on the independent beat scene in a big way over the last few years, with a large discography of well received instrumental albums. Since the ninth grade, eQ has been mastering his production techniques, creating a sound uncommon to the crop of other local producers. Citing J Dilla and DJ Premier as some of his earliest influences, eQ has become much of a fan favorite among beat afficionados in Toronto. After a string of successful releases, including “The Scenic Route” , “Green Apples and Oranges”, and most recently, “Good Karma”, eQ has taken his show on the road, armed with his trusty SP-404sx loaded full of beats. Having toured all around the United States and many parts of Europe, eQ shows no signs of slowing down. Signed to HW&W Recordings (based out of Los Angeles), the prolific producer is already planning a number of albums, live shows and collaborations. Needless to say, Elaquent is on the come-up. Video Interview with the man himself:
For more on Elaquent, you can check out his Social Media pages, bandcamp/soundcloud or website: elaquent.com
Mick Jenkins – On January 13, Mick released his first mixtape, The Mickstape. In August 2012, he Released his second mixtape entitled The Pursuit of HappyNess: The Story of Mickalascage.Listed producers include After The Smoke, Swisha House, Chris Calor, Quincy Banks, Chuck Inglish, Vanilla, and Dijon.
In the Fall of 2012, Mick returned to Chicago and began attending YCA (Young Chicago Authors) a youth center where his first a cappella verse caught the attention of local artist and leader of Chicago’s Pivot Gang collective, Saba. Shortly after, the two collaborated on Heaux for Saba’s 2012 mixtape GETCOMFORTable. Jenkins is a member of a hip-hop group called Free Nation. Other members include Prop, J-Stock, Burman, and Maine The Saint. Free Nation promotes creative thought without accepting narrow views imposed by the powers that be. This group believes that when you find a way to combat the status quo, you are free.
In April 2013, Mick released a mixtape entitled Trees and Truths. It quickly became a local favorite, buoyed by acid jazz-influenced production, biblical allegory and lacerating lyricism. The project was by far his most lyrical body of work and caught the attention of Chicago’s incipient gatekeepers. A few months after its release, a collaboration with Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa came in the form of a single entitled Crossroads, which received attention and praise.
2014 – July 2015: The Water[s] & Tours
In July 2014, Mick received significant attention after the release of his single/visual Martyrs, which juxtaposed harsh societal truths with a catchy hook. The thought-provoking single held various underlying messages and subtle notions. Martyrs has led people such as Timbaland, among others, to reach out and praise Jenkins for his musical talent and intricate lyricism. Mick continues to find creative ways to convey his message and on August 12 released his project The Water[s] which has garnered national attention. Centered on the idea of comparing water to life’s truths, The Water[s] serves as Jenkins’ breakout project and has received much critical acclaim. Shortly after releasing the project, Jenkins announced he would be touring during the fall on the 2014 Smoker’s Club World Wide Roller’s Tour along with Method Man, Redman, B-Real, Trademark da Skydiver, and Berner. He had his first official tour in February 2015 with Kirk Knight,Noname Gypsy and Saba Pivot. He was on tour with Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry for Phase 1 of their World Domination Tour.
On July 20, 2015, Mick Jenkins announced an EP titled Waves, which was released on August 21, 2015.Mick Jenkins began streaming his new project in full via NPR’s First Listen on August 13, 2015. Wave[s] is the follow up to Jenkins’ critically acclaimed 2014 mixtape, The Water[s]. For Wave[s], Mick continues to keep the collaborators confined to those within his inner circle. The project features the likes of Sean Deaux, Saba, and TheMind. Mick will also be North American tour with French producer STWO from the end of August through the beginning of October.
Teeko – While Teeko’s notoriety over the last decade may come from his superhuman Turntablist repertoire — DMC, ITF and Guitar Center champion, co- creator of the Vestax Controller One, recording for Mark Ronson, D’Angelo and others, his creative prowess naturally extends to his work as a keyboardist, writer and producer. He has also received accolades by the world-renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston, receiving the Milestones Innovative Producer’s Award. Teeko has also been recognized by the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, being the first DJ/Turntablist invited to perform. In recent years, he has teamed up with acclaimed fellow bay area producer B.Bravo to form the modern bass/funk outfit, Starship Connection. Hitting festivals across the country bringing new elements of live performance in the electronic music scene. His recent culmination of skills on synths, turntables and production have taken his live sets to new hights including several exciting collaborations with Dj Craze, Salva, Dj A-trak, Ruckazoid and more. All in all, the man is at one with his art, no matter what his device his sound continues to take exciting new shapes while effortlessly blowing minds and breaking necks.
“Teeko is a constant innovator, one of the rare DJs who pushes boundaries of what turntables can do musically.”
– DJ A-trak
(Fools Gold / Duck Sauce)
The Watts Riot MC & Diamond Lane representative Bad Lucc connects with our very own Rhettmatic to whip up a new mixtape, Beat Junkie Style, called “Inhale/Exhale” to promote Bad Lucc’s upcoming project “Breathe” with producer AMP On The Beats of 9th Wonder’s Soul Council crew. It’s 40 minutes of straight West Coast G-Sh*t, Raw Raps, & Boombastic Beats. Features appearances/production by Talib Kweli, Crooked I, Jay Rock, Frank Nitt, Problem, AMP, Khrysis, Eric G, & of course Rhettmatic. “Breathe” EP drops next Tuesday, November 10th on Diamond Lane/Jamla. Pre-order on ITunes.
2. B.O.M.B. (Produced by AMPontheBeat of the Soul Council)
3. Watch Your Mouth (Produced by E.Jones of the Soul Council)
4. Legends Of The Awesome feat. Kxng Crooked aka Crooked I (Produced by League Of Starz)
5. So Cool feat. Ab Liva (Produced by Chase N. Cashe)
6. War Ready feat. Problem (Khrysis of the Soul Council)
7. Give It To Ya (Remix – Circa 2008) – Frank Nitt x Rhettmatic feat. Serious & Bad Lucc (Produced by Dj Rhettmatic)
8. Hollywood In 73 (Produced by Macado)
9. Humiliate (Produced by AMPontheBeat of the Soul Council)
10. Pay Ya Dues feat. Talib Kweli & Problem (Produced by Eric G of the Soul Council)
11. Hands Down (Produced by Macado)
12. Where U From (From Dj Crazy Toones’ mixtape “It’s A CT Experience”) (Produced by THX)
13. The Best feat. Mykestro (Produced by THX)
14. Western Union – Dubb Union (Bad Lucc, Damani, & Soopafly) (Produced by Soopafly)
15. Get Em feat. Jay Rock (Produced by Macado)
16. Breathe (Exclusive) (Produced by Dj Rhettmatic)
17. Ski Mask Way feat. Rapsody (Produced by AMPontheBeat of the Soul Council)
Are We There Yet? shortcuts for success in the internet era
These days the internet has definitely thrown a monkey wrench into the way artists rise, fall and survive. You can have a great video or song and dance go viral at any time and in less then 24hrs garner millions of views. You could get remixed by a well known and established artist athen get picked up to their label/signed overnight. You could even have music placed in a 30second commercial or picked up for the theme song of a online tv show and get offers from licensing companies and residuals for the life of the show.
It’s really crazy to see the wave of advancement, adapation and transformation the entire music industry has gone through over just the past decade, it’s pretty incredible to say the least. The rise & fall of tidal, applemusic, soundcloud, bandcamp, tunecore, and the hundreds of other sites out there are really reshaping the music world.
In business and people, this idea goes hand in hand, you need to have the basics in order to proceed to the intermediate and advanced areas of whatever you’re aiming to do. Walking before you run, not putting the cart infront of the horse or biting off more then you can chew. In music, I’d say the basics are having your Name and the meaning behind it, secondly your logo and branding, third would be your bio/story fourth would be your online presence and last would be an overall branded package.
Having these things will give you a solid foundation, and from it will innately bring structure, which would be followed by your own leadership ( unless of course, you’re at the point where you need management, representation, an agent, etc ) | which by no means, am I suggesting those last things (mgmt/agent etc being a requirement)
So that was:
1. NAME / reason for it
2. LOGO / colors/theme (there’s a reason corporate standards come in with big companies using the same colors on everything they do)
3. BIO / background – we’ve all got stories, highs and lows, and this is a brief look at you.
4. Social Media / this is just getting your accounts in order and making sure they have matching names, so you are found the same way across any network, much like a website that is ‘responsive’ and visible in the same manner, across any device (phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, etc)
5. #EXCLUSIVE HASHTAG / this will help you archive as you go, and it will let people also take a peek into how far you’ve come, where you’re going, and how relevant or recent certain posts or articles are. This is your online signature if you will.
6. WEBSITE / websites are very important because they are like a brick & mortar store, except visible from anywhere in the world, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 a days a year. This is the sign outside of your store, this is the wallpaper inside your store, this is the music in your store, this is the merch in your store. This is literally a store hahah. It should have all the things listed prior to this point, some content of your best video/photo representation, and then a contact page.
7. Electronic Press Kit – This is everything on your website, wrapped into one comprehensive package, while an EPK is great for sending out to blogs, PR people, magazines, talent bookers and more. The point would be to get it down to “onesheet’ therefore it can also be printed on a nice cardstock and physically mailed to more valuable potential clients and partners. It should be easily downloadable on the website into a PDF file type. This is an easy way to get looked at as being a serious artist / professional because you’ve got all of your other ducks in a row. It’s much more appealing to a label, manager, agent, or booker to scoop someone who has it all together with the stuff mentioned above, as opposed to having to do a ‘development’ situation which requires someone else to produce all of these things for you.
8. BUSINESS CARDS – I’m pretty good with organizing business cards based on what field of work they are in, and transfering the information to my phone and spreadsheets to make sure I can keep in contact. While some people think cards are dated, I probably get asked for 5 per week in my outings here in Los Angeles. This is just another opportunity for you to extend yourself to others. Less expensive and faster then printing the epk to hand out to everyone like a resume, and cheap enough that you can leave them with check presenters when you pay bills, drop them into tip jars, let a few go at once, etc etc.
That’s all the “busy work” that are prerequsites in my opinion for you to become successful in the music world. Now sure not everyone needed or had these things to make it, but it definitely separates who’s ready to get to the next level and who isn’t, alongside who has their shit together, to put it bluntly. The DIY route is also not the best suggestion for this, get all of this stuff professionally done in collaboration with someone you trust who does high quality work, otherwise you’ll end up redoing everything in 6 months and wasting time/money. Buy once, buy right.
Finally, so like it, love it or hate it – those are the breaks and above are some of the best ways I can suggest for you to streamline your own success. The music is equally important, to the image you portray. This isn’t difficult stuff to do, and not too expensive, so why not?
As the saying goes “Remember that it takes 13 hours to build a Toyota and 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce.” The idea being that if you want to achieve big goals and accomplish your dreams, you’ve gotta significantly invest in yourself.
That said, I’m now offering web & graphic design services and branding packages to all of you… ( kidding, kind of 🙂
This Thursday (October 29th) is Nightline at The Pot Lobby Bar inside The Line Hotel in Koreatown (Los Angeles). This month’s residents Dj Melo-D & D-Styles along with their special guest, Dj Bella Fiasco doing an opening set. It’s FREE from 9pm to 1am….Come vibe with the Junkies as they will dropping some dope tunes for you to enjoy! Shoutouts to our boy Chef Roy Choi!
Peep out the Behind The Scenes pics of our Beat Junkie Radio show, Soundcheck by our very own Dj Babu & photographer Maricel Sison. This particular photo gallery is from our Episode 16 last Tuesday (9.13.15) with the crew only: Babu, J.Rocc, Melo-D, Mr. Choc, & Rhettmatic. http://djbabuforeal.vsco.co/journal/soundcheck-ep-16
The Beat Junkies present: Soundcheck
Broadcasting Live from Los Angeles 7-10PM
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Of The Month
On The Beat Junkie Radio channel
Exclusively on Dash Radio.
Download the Dash Radio App for free or listen to us on the web: www.dashradio.com.
Special Guests: Dj Khalil (Self Scientific), Breakbeat Lou, & Jamall Bufford
Dj Rhettmatic Set 1:
Maticulous – Black Hoodie Rap ft Lil Fame
Mac Miller – Pet Sounds ft Sean price
Dj Soko – Land Mine ft Rasheed Chappell
Guilty Simpson – Detroit’s Son
Talib Kweli – Pay Ya Dues ft Problem & Bad Lucc
White Boiz – Learn Tho
Dave East – Forbes List ft Nas
Guilty Simpson – Power Outage ft Spacek
Killa Kali x Dirtydiggs – Kal Hancock
Magnif – The Last prod. by j-dilla
MED/Blu/Madlib – The Stroll ft AMG
Nikobeats – The Picture
Lyric Jones –
Special Guest – Jamall Bufford
Authentic Mic League – Got Em Sayin ft Invincible
Buff1 – House Of Horrors
Jamall Bufford – Living Room Flo
The Black Opera – Sleep Tight
Buff1- Classic Rap
Crown Royale – Get It Up
Buff1 – Beat The Speakers Up
Buff1- Real Appeal
Buff1 x Kensaye – Memories
Crown Royale – Stratasphere (Exclusive)
Dj Rhettmatic Set 2:
Black Milk – Budds
Mentplus – DillaCation
Pete Rock – My my Baby
Gangrene – Hot Pillow
White Boiz – Suffering Suckatashe
QNC – Demo
Pete Rock – Make Me Feel Like
Dj Soko – Kyle Reese ft Guilty Simpson
Pete Rock – You Know Dat
Special guest – Dj Khalil
Self Scientific – Good Evening LA
Self Scientific – State Of A Man
Aloe Blacc – The Man
Nas – What It Is (Esco let’s go)
Evidence – All Said & Done
Jay-Z – I Made It
50 Cent – I’ll Still Kill ft Akon
Self Scientific – Car Culture feat Mitchy Slick
Eminem – Talkin’ 2 Myself ft Kobe
Special Guest: Breakbeat Lou with a special appearance by Peanut Butter Wolf
Dj Babu Set
Sean Price – Soul Perfect
Big Boi & Phantogram – Fell In The Sun
Your Old Droog – Listen
DOOMSTARKS – Lively Hood
Capone-n-Norega – Pizza
Jay Electronica – Holiday
All of these albums bring me to a special place and time, and definitely got fair play and several spin cycles til they were rinsed. If you’re familiar and have listened to these before, I’m sure you’ll feel some kind of way, and if you haven’t, I hope you thoroughly enjoy some of these great projects.
The Beat Junkies present: Soundcheck
Broadcasting Live from Los Angeles 7-10PM
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Of The Month
On The Beat Junkie Radio channel
Exclusively on Dash Radio.
Download the Dash Radio App for free or listen to us on the web: www.dashradio.com.
Special Guests: Focus…, Sempervirens (Opio x Free The Robots), Madchild
Dj Rhettmatic set Guilty Simpson – Beautiful Death Hus Kingpin & SmooVth – Playoffs Apollo Brown – Detonate feat. M.O.P PRhyme – Courtesy (Marco Polo remix) Sean Price – Planet Apes Gangrene – Sheet Music ft. Sean P x Havoc Black Milk – Lows Maticulous – Black Hoodie Rap ft. M.O.P Pete Rock – Gonna Love You Black Milk – Mary Jane Candy Beat Guilty Simpson – Power Outrage ft Spacek Pac Div – Roll The Dice Skyzoo – Suicide Doors Illa J – Never Left Black Milk – Over
Special Guest – Focus…
Focus…Medley Mix by Rhettmatic Focus… – A/dw (analog/digital world) Marsha Ambrosius -Tears Terrance Martin feat. Focus – Watch U sleep 50 Cent – My Crown Busta Rhymes – If You Don’t Know Know You Know SchoolBoyQ – Light Years Ahead ft Kendrick Lamar Dr. DRE feat. Cold 187 & Xzibit – Loose Cannons Focus… – sPACEtIME Dr. DRE – One Shot One Kill ft Snoop Dogg & Jon Connor Chino XL – Watch Closer The Game – Where I’m From Dr. DRE – Issues ft Ice Cube & Anderson.Paak Slaughterhouse – Lyrical Murderers Kam – I Don’t Think So Dr. DRE – Deep Water ft Kendrick Lamar & Anderson.Paak
Rhettmatic Mix #2 Nameless – Don’t Hurt Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – Resurrection Morning Guilty Simpson – Blunts In The Air Gangrene – Gluttony ft Your Old Droog & Fashawn Pete Rock – BBjones ??? ??? First Division – This Iz The Time Pete Rock – On & On
Special Guest: Opio x Free The Robots
Opio x Free The Robots Medley Mix by Rhettmatic
Dj Babu set Badbadnotgood x Ghostface killah- six degrees ft Danny Brown ???? Missing tracks Gangrene – noon chuckas Statik Selectah – Now ft Capone n Noreaga ??? Missing tracks
Special Guest: Madchild Madchild – Devils & Angels Madchild – Triple Threat ft Slaine Madchild – Painful Skies
This past weekend, was the second annual Low End Theory Festival and it was phenomenal. To catch you up to speed, I’ll start with what LET is.
Low End Theory is a magical place where deejays, producers, emcees, vocalists, musicians and beat junkies of all walks unite on a weekly basis. It’s an institution in Los Angeles, and some follow it religiously enough to call it their church.
Whether it’s the fact that the place is 18 and up, or maybe the booming Pure Filth Soundsystem being tuned to make your bones rattle and ovaries twerk, perhaps it’s the countless who’s who that randomly show up (such as Thom Yorke, Prince, and Erykah Badu to name a few).
October marks 9 Years of Low End Theorywhich is brought to you by Daddy Kev ( founder of Alpha Pup Records ) DJ D-Styles, DJ Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, and Hosted by Nocando. All adding their own special sauce to the mix, you can catch a wide-variety of performers on 1 of 2 stages any given Wednesday in Boyle Heights at The Airliner.
The reason I titled this entry “Lock Yourself In A Room Doing 5 Beats A Day For 3 Summers” wasn’t because I think that this such sound advice from Mr. West, but rather just a reminder of someone being dedicated to a craft, regardless of how many shapes it takes. The majority of this lineup I’ve been following for years and have really witnessed the growth in their sound through various releases and I as well as many others have been lucky enough to interact with many of them through Low End Theory, Beat Cinema, and other platforms that focus on this genre of music. It’s really cool to see guys who started in their basement play center stage in front of thousands before the likes of people like Flying Lotus & Thundercat. A lot of these guys used to actually go to events with boxes of cd’s and just hand them out freely with hand-drawn/cut/photographed packaging, just cd-r’s and cassettes hoping they’d somehow reach someone who somewhat cared enough to follow up and actually purchase or support them further in their journey… It used to be a very DIY effort, coming from a genuine and pure place that was much deeper than youtube views and soundcloud plays. I think the process really created some very humble and modest artists because of the patience involved in really getting heard by “the right people”. That same mentality was getting people shine on stages like Low End Theory along with many others, and in-turn picked up for mini tours and festival opening slots, as well as traveling opportunities.
To me, this festival was like a holiday for all the people who’ve waited in line week after week only to hit the door and the place being at capacity while their favorite artist performed inside. It was a special treat that was mutually beneficial for the performing acts, the attendees and supporters, as well as the format/genre/sound as a whole. It brought together a ton of amazing people, visuals and sounds that I don’t think you’d catch anywhere else in the city, and best of all is it was an organic showcase. All of these acts have performed prior on the weekly Low End stage and never for a moment did it feel like some corporate backed function where they slap stickers all over the Lamborghini, thus maintaining the integrity of the event. From Jhené Aiko, Dom Kennedy, Earl Sweatshirt, Childish Gambino, and even Shia Labeouf there was no lack of star power in the house and I feel like people left satisfied with a longing for more… That being said, check out http://www.alphapuprecords.com/ explore some of the acts that were on the lineup further through Soundcloud & Bandcamp. Support what you love and drop by Low End on a Wednesday to see what it’s all about. Shout out to Kev and everyone who made the event happen, all the performers who got to express themselves – I truly can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year. Below is a full recap, end of the show clip with FlyLo and a photo from Nocando from the indoor stage.
Low End Theory 9 Year Anniversary
The 2nd annual Low End Theory Festival, occurred August 8, 2015 at the Shrine Expo Hall and Grounds, Los Angeles, CA. Performers included Flying Lotus, Earl Sweatshirt, Thundercat, Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Teebs, Jonwayne, Ras G, Mono/Poly, Samiyam, Dibiase, Alix Perez & EPROM, Milo, Open Mike Eagle, Mndsgn, Free the Robots, Great Dane, House Shoes, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Astronautica, Sister Crayon, Cazal Organism and Elusive. LET residents Daddy Kev, Nobody, the Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles and Nocando also performed. Low End Theory Festival 2015 was presented by Goldenvoice, and sponsored by Roland in conjunction with 808 Day.
5 Artists You Should Know, will be turning the spotlight on five select artists that you should probably check out and support, if you don’t already. While the internet has definitely bridged the gap for aspiring talent to reach new heights and larger audiences faster than ever before. It’s also created a bit of a great divide and surplus problem in regards to the quantity of projects not matching the quality expectations that we were once accustomed to. While I won’t say that it’s all bad, It’s definitely thrown the music industry into a whirlwind and really requires more finesse and strategy than ever to really push your way to the top. That being said, the goal of this section isn’t necessarily to give you deep interviews that talk about your favorite rappers prior charges, drug habits, or executive producers who squandered away their royalties. Rather the focus and goal here is to provide a platform of discovery, exploration, and hopefully put you up on some talented individuals you’ve missed in the streets and on the web.
( Artist )
I remember years ago when I was producing functions for the Downtown Los Angeles Artwalk and I came across this amazing woman’s work. I spent a few hours in a gallery that showed her stuff in hopes of the opportunity to physically meet her and personally thank her, exchange contacts and keep it moving… Unfortunately, It never happened and I found myself drunk from the open bar watching others also admiring her work in a similar manner. So when I got home, I decided to look her up and see if I could find out more about her process, how long she’s been doing it, and where I can catch more of her work. While she’s got an online store located here: http://mimiyoon.bigcartel.com/products you can see a lot of her work, and progress shots at https://instagram.com/mimiyoon/
Nocando / Jimmy The Lock / Burnout
( Emcee )
Nocando is a diverse and versatile Los Angeles veteran who’s carried the torch for emcees of all walks. Between hosting the institution that is Low End Theory, and having countless ciphers outside of the blowed/kaos, his accomplishments span far and wide in the Battle Rap Circuit, to also being an independent artist producing original material. He even started his own label ( Hellfyre Club ) on Daddy Kev’s Alpha Pup Records. Countless times has he risen to the occasion to really showcase what it means to be a powerhouse musician that withstands the test of time. He’s really learned how to adapt with the market/landscape of music and remain relevant all while also being a father, and modest leader to many. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine the rapper I met years ago in NY during Jumpoff, then again out on the Slauson line to reach the levels he has… It’s really been great to witness his growth, and I look forward to seeing/hearing what’s next. Below is a sampling of some of my favorites of his discog – You can also support him on social media, soundcloud, bandcamp and itunes, or catch him at Low End Theory every Wed.
Dumbfoundead / DFD / Parker
( Emcee )
Dumbfoundead is another inspirational story who I’ve had the pleasure of working / rapping with in the past and seeing rise from the bottom to reach new heights and surpass expectations against all odds. From the Rap Battle world to the Music side of things, to even having his own channel that’d spotlight budding talent and give them another platform to be heard (Knocksteady). Dumb has really gone through a great transformation and an amazing amount of growth as an artist, selling out shows all over and really throwing down for Korean Artists everywhere. He’s another shining example of hard work paying off in a big way. It’s funny because I remember years ago at this graffiti shop called 33third when I was in town for a short trip, I was in a mc battle with him that was hosted / judged by Pharaohe Monch & Percee P… Even at this time, you could tell he had a great amount of support from his peers (project blowed) and a passion for the game. With witty wordplay, funny punchlines, and a solid delivery he took home the prize. Since then he’s made huge leaps working with a lot of your favorite artists, producers, dj’s and more in shows worldwide, and created ample collaborations and efforts to bring up other artists. Anyways, I’ve posted a few tracks below for you to familiarize yourself with this talented individual that you should know about if you don’t already. Again, you can support him on social media, soundcloud, bandcamp and itunes, or catch him at his Spam & Eggs events in KTOWN.
Open Mike Eagle
( Emcee )
Open Mike Eagle is a unique subject to analyze. His work varies from satirical dark humor to subtle subliminal honesty, smoothly delivered over interesting production choices and sometimes accompanied by his friends that range from Aesop Rock to Blockhead to Hannibal Buress. From being a teacher, to a father, to a radio/podcast host and most importantly a class act. Mike has managed to really mess around with a variety of sounds in his process and progress, and now I think has really kind of carved out a lane of his own. From the same school of rap that Nocando & Dumbfoundead came from (Project Blowed) he’s definitely proven his worth reaching audiences of all types in several different mediums and platforms, alongside continues to break boundaries and reinvent himself through his output. I remember this guy coming to the blowed with a cardbox box of cd’s to sell that he pressed him himself and each time the content, production, and overall product just got better and better. You could tell he was appreciative of every single person who believed in him enough to support his art. These days with the disconnect of digital purchasing, I feel like it’s should be a necessity for artists to continue to create physical copies and connect with their fans in this grass-root approach. Mike is definitely a phenomenal artist and making moves faster then we can keep up. So catch him if you can via Social Media, check out some of his podcasts, live shows, music and more.
—- Ele ( DJ / Producer )
Always with an open mind, Ele has been influenced by a multitude of sounds. Even though she goes back and forth between mixing platforms, she spent her first 10 years DJing strictly vinyl – seamlessly blending mostly deep house, hip hop and drum n bass. In 2009, Ele started dabbling in production and within a couple years released various singles like her Down 4 U remix, which earned her the spotlight as a producer. In 2013, she released her first official EP “Noir”, which got her featured on several known music blogs such as URB Magazine and Giant Step. Her EP also featured artist such as, Abjo (Soulection) & M31RK (RMG). She currently holds a residency at “Culture” every 3rd Wednesdays along with Abjo (Soulection) & JR Jarris, at North Park’s AC Lounge. You can also find her every 1st Thursdays at her 2nd residency along with Andre Power (Soulection) & Sufficient Sounds at the popular Art in the Park monthly – which fuses music and art. Ele continues to spend most of her time in production and has also teamed up with Half Bad Society, a Brooklyn based music collective. Keep an eye out for more of her work and collaborations! Be sure to dig her up on social media and check out her individual projects, I really cosign this woman and I’m happy to share her production any chance I get.
These days, it seems like being an artist just isn’t enough. The whole new basket of responsibilities that comes along with the internet / digital territory has left people with so much more to worry about besides what matters most ( the music ). Below I list 10 steps to get you from studio to stage, and stage to stadium.
1. Branding – Personal Identity is a VERY important piece of your entire career. A logo, Specific Colors, A Certain Style, Maybe a signature intro, outro or action that you are known for and remembered by. Branding is by far one of the most effective methods of getting you off the ground. People need to be able to identify with you, and quickly. If you are starting to brand yourself, you should be using a logo that’s clean, clear, and easily read. The same goes with color choices. If your branding is too much like other people or companies, it can get lost or easily mistaken as theirs. If your branding is too unique, it could end up being difficult to read and may leave breaks communication. Branding is important when people are trying to discover you, as well as support you. I commonly make the analogy to wrestler’s of the 80’s/90s’ when mentioning individual branding. They are perfect examples of wearing it all on their sleeves, and being “in character” at all times. Make something memorable, be unforgettable.
2. Promotional Collateral – Materials like merchandise, promotional cards, pins, stickers, and other things that help spread awareness of you are very important. Once again, if they are unique or stylish enough they can be utilized as a conversation piece. Whether you sell them or give them away, the biggest goal here is to have things to leave behind for them to remember you by. If you have materials that create an emotional connection with the audience – you’ll receive even better results/response from it. It’s also a nice touch to send someone a cd and include a “bonus item” that they weren’t expecting. When doing artist management and development, I normally start off people with 10,000 “promotional cards” that have their logo on one side, contact info on the other, and tell them to leave them anywhere and everywhere that may have potential traffic that can send them to hear and interact with your product.
3. Open Mics / Being Active – Whether you want to stay in your basement or bedroom making music or you want to go party every night. As you know, most of this business is based around who you know, connections and communication are key for staying on people’s radar and getting opportunities. If you make music that fits a specific demographic, look at where those people are in abundance, and spend your time there. Create consistency in going to specific outings and you’ll end up meeting other people who also frequent the places, this also allows you to easily weave in and out of conversations. If you can actually participate in the activities at these said venues, even better! This game is very much out of sight, out of mind and this forces you to interact with others who could be potential customers or collaborators.
4. Collaboration vs Competition – Teamwork makes the dream work right? Sometimes a collaboration can yield an amazing response and is often used as a way to ‘kickstart’ careers or bring someone up with you. If you are unknown, but work with a producer, dj, or other artists that are more known, it can help you cross-pollenate and really expose you to different demographics. The best types of partnerships are the ones that make sense and have a bit of synergy already. Having people who are already more established co-sign or vouch for your talents by joining you on different parts of a record, is a great look and addition to your artist resume/press kit.
5. Professionalism – Sadly this one still somehow manages to be elusive and forgotten. This is pretty simple. Arrive on time to all meetings and appointments, remember there is a time and place for everything. When people ask what you do, answer in confidence. Nobody likes a “trying” anything, don’t be an aspiring Blank, you are either all in, or not in at all. When interacting with promoters/event coordinators, other talent performing, the venue staff, and beyond. It’s extremely valuable to make connections with all of these people because you never know who’s listening and watching, let alone where they are connected beyond the current show. When someone is on point and organized with all of their cords and equipment, they generally get offered more gigs because they are reliable and easy to build with. Even when sending emails to bloggers, and filling out festival forms. Use proper english, good etiquette, don’t get too cocky or arrogant, and maybe even offer to help if you’re just going to be waiting around otherwise. A little effort goes a long way.
6. Save Money – Having access to a decent bankroll can definitely help you climb faster, especially when you can pay different publicists, editors and more types of people or services that help you push your product/brand out to the masses on a larger scale. NEVER pay to play, if the show requires something like this, simply don’t do it. You will end up wasting your time and money performing in front of people that were guilt tripped or forced into a room together, only to see 1 person, and that in itself leaves people standing around disengaged with the show or gone with the wind as soon as the first breeze swings through. When you can pay for better production, guest drops or features, dj cuts, mixing, mastering, mailers, booking venues, and more. You want to stretch your dollars as much as you can and only utilize what you need. Some people save up and book themselves onto their own tour. With sites like Airbnb and Googlemaps this is becoming an easier and easier task. If you decide to tour, you can save money in a variety of ways by pre-planning and seeking deposits prior to arrival of each location. Once you see a larger demand in certain cities, you can utilize your funds to go back as well as aim to target specific areas of the city with a concentrated marketing plan.
7. Packaging / Presentation – Presentation is a key to success. This can boil down to album artwork, your cases, vinyl sleeves, designs, colors, fonts, even the wrap/packaging. If you have unique packaging, that comes as a real thoughtful piece. People take notice, and they remember it, and your art then becomes a collectable or limited piece that correlates with you. Think about unique methods of delivering your content to the masses, or specific and more important VIP’s.
8. Distribution – Once you have a physical or digital product, how are you going to get it out there? Distro is generally provided by labels, PR companies, some creative agencies and large digital/physical retailers. Unless you are phenomenal, let’s face it – you will have to put in work to move units. Finding a good distributor is kinda like buying a new car. You know it’s going to cost you quite a bit, but that cost is negated by what you gain from it, and how far it can take you. A good product with great distribution, can really catch on like wildfire and end up all over the world very rapidly via internet. Bad distribution can leave you with a surplus of product and nobody who wants to buy it or share/sell it. Before joining a label or signing a contract for releasing an album, definitely do your research on what options are the most feasible for you. I generally suggest aligning your type of music, with the brands or labels that best promote to that audience. You want to stay in your lane, but don’t be afraid to step a little beyond and ask questions, because a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.
9. Manager / Agent – While not always required, still important – normally a good manager will give you the focus and direction to make good business decisions and help you become a more well-rounded performer. An Agent can help you get booked for more gigs, as their career is built around relationships that require talent. They are literally a middle man, take care of them and they take care of you. Represent them poorly, and you could potentially have the reverse effects of what you want. Some of the best managers really make or break an artists career. You can be shaped and molded into an even more influential powerhouse with the right support backing you. If you are at a point in your career where you may be getting less offers, and few requests to be involved – it may be a good time to look at these types of people to see what they can do for you.
10. Perform / Practice – You’d probably be surprised to know what percentage of professional musicians do not practice once they get their big break. This causes them to eventually fall off or forget the basics that were at one time in place to create consistency in their careers. I understand this stuff may be a no-brainer, but you can never have “enough” practice in a specific craft. We are also creatures of habit and bad habits die hard. Never performing and never practicing equals the jogger who just got the cast off his leg, only to break it again. Normally what you put in is what you get out, and this is one of those cases where if you take it seriously, you should be able to get the most out of your shows, instead of trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.
“You can market ‘til you are blue in the face – hire the best PR or radio motion company in the world – but unless you have what people want you have nothing. No matter whether you’re recording your 4th studio album or your first, you’re always a work-in-progress of becoming your best yet, and quite frankly, you can never dig too deep or work too hard on your music.
Here’s some addtl information from Cari Cole –(Celebrity vocal coach, artist development expert, and new music business mentor)
101 Things Every Musician Needs to Know in 2015:
1. Practice your craft every day. That’s the only way you’ll exceed expectations (yours
2. Sing every day, it takes an unbelievable amount of practice to be great. Don’t let
anyone tell you otherwise – ever.
3. Train your voice. A pro vocal coach will make you sound 100x better and much faster
than you could on your own.
4. Think ridiculously positive, you’re going to need every single ounce.
5. Train your brain to beat the odds, not succumb.
6. Expect success and don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t happen overnight. It never
7. Create powerful mantras that help you regain your strength, i.e., “I am brave”, “I am
8. Have boatloads of patience. You’ll need every milligram.
9. Prioritize. Musicians are not wired for business naturally and are easily overwhelmed
by the lengthy to do list. Every Sunday, sit down and prioritize the top 3 things on your list for
the week ahead.
10. Don’t fight your musician nature. You are supposed to be highly sensitive, ridiculously
creative, and super anxious. It’s part of what it takes to be a “creative”. So you can stop
beating yourself up now :).
11. Don’t be permanently knocked down by rejection. If you’re doing your job right, you will
be rejected, many, many, many times. It’s a sign you’re on to something (unless you’re not.
Sometimes it’s because you’re just not there yet #itsalongjourneyworthtaking).
12. Take more risks with your art. Great artistry often steps outside the norm or is inventive.
13. Stop comparing. Comparisons distract you from your own path.
14. Perform as often as you can. Put in your 10,000 hours. Nothing less will put you
on the front lines.
15. Don’t skimp with your musicianship. It shows.
16. Make the best music on the planet and don’t stop until you have it. Period.
17. Make the music you want to hear. Stop trying to please everyone else, and please
yourself first – it’s infectious.
18. You can market ‘til you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t have what people want ~
you have nothing. #backtothedrawingboard.
19. Create your music masterpiece. First and foremost you are an artist – not a marketer.
Music comes first.
20. Write songs that tell your truth but hit universal truths at the same time. When you
write from your truth, it becomes an instant branding tool.
21. Don’t cave in to rhymes. That means focus on content first and rhyming second.
22. Don’t leave filler lyrics in your songs. Every word of your lyric is precious
real estate, choose words carefully – use synonym finders to be more innovative.
23. Study songwriting, don’t take stabs. Songwriting is like golf, you suck most
of the time until you don’t.
24. Write melodies that fit your voice and how it wants to move. Nothing is less
compelling than an under developed or over-reaching melody that makes a
singer sound worse or less than they are.
25. Write songs that fit you as as an artist, not just good songs – there’s a difference.
If you don’t know what I mean, check out the links below.
26. Develop your signature sound, one that is instantly recognizable and undeniable.
27. Write songs that are hard won. Stuff that was cathartic for you.
28. Fall in love with why you are different.
29. Write music that offers people something more.
30. Be relevant. Make music that makes sense to the musical climate. You can
be vintage but don’t bury yourself in an era without having some modernizing
31. Follow music trends but don’t copy them. By the time you release yours it will
32. Put your ear to the ground. What’s happening in rehearsal rooms and on the
street is the next wave – not what’s on the radio. That’s already gone…
33. Stand out, don’t fit in. Don’t be a copycat.
34. Become a master of your craft. Your competition is.
35. Make broadcast quality music. Nothing less.
36. Work with top notch producers and that doesn’t always mean top dollar. Their
work speaks for itself.
37. Only work with producers who produce the kind of music you can imagine for
yourself and nothing less.
38. Want amazing off-the-hook kick ass vocals on your next record? Work with a vocal
arranger (links below).
39. Don’t devalue your music with a crappy brand that hurts not helps. Elevate yours.
40. Send out a regular monthly newsletter. That means the same day, same time every
month. Consistent marketing builds trust.
41. Have an email opt-in in exchange for something incredibly awesome that your fans
will want and please don’t use the phrase “free music.” Come up with a compelling title
for your giveaway (maybe the title of your songs).
42. Hire a VA (Virtual Assistant). And if you don’t know what that is or why you need one,
check out the links below.
43. Engage with your fans – find out who they are and talk to them. They will love you.
44. Go way out of your way for your fans. Fans are who support your career and pay you.
45. Nurture your dreams, they need your constant watering or they wither and die.
46. Have BIG dreams. Don’t be afraid to dream big, big dreams create momentum.
47. Don’t overlook the details, they’ll nip you in the bud every time.
48. Things take way longer than you think, so plan for that and plan way ahead.
49. Always use strategy. Never ever do anything in the music business without a strategy
behind you. Careers are created, orchestrated and manufactured. You want to build on
every last move.
50. Plan out your year. Start with your goal and reverse engineer.
51. Don’t release your whole album at once. It’s a waste of marketing potential. Use each
video or song release as an opportunity to shout out and grow your list.
52. Find where you fit and then chart a course to make it happen.
53. Grow a pair of balls, women included. You’ll really need them.
54. Don’t ask permission… just do it.
55. Don’t change with the flavor of the moment, stay on your course and it will pay off when
the pendulum swings back your way.
56. Give graciously, people applaud generous natures.
57. Be outrageously bold and true.
58. Speak your truth, it’s what people really want from you – the rawer the better.
59. Share in other peoples success, it will attract more to you.
60. Praise others publicly, you’ll win instant friends (and possibly real ones and not just cyber
61. Stop chasing big names in the business. Find the people that resonate with you and rise up
62. Research anyone you meet and everyone you want to meet in the industry down to their
picture so you can recognize them when you meet them.
63. Shout out about people who help you. It’s really, really, really good karma and will come
back tenfold (it’s a small world.)
64. Share your knowledge, don’t be stingy. You could change someone’s life.
65. Share your successes small and tall. Sometimes the smaller stuff makes a bigger difference.
66. Work with people smarter than you (that includes everyone on your team.)
67. Be generous with praise and short on criticism.
68. Learn the difference between good and great, criticism and discernment.
69. Elevate your brand. Have a killer pic and image that visually nails the sound of your music.
Your music isn’t enough to speak for you – it’s a visual world.
70. Make your website an experience for your fans.
71. Be a trendsetter, not a follower.
72. Pay attention to marketing trends.
73. White is in, black is out. Lose the white type over black backgrounds. Follow the leaders
74. Don’t use basic marketing tactics that you learn from online marketers, music marketing
is a little more fickle than that. While there are similarities, music marketing follows slightly
different rules ;)). Study the right stuff ~ check out the links below.
75. Name your fans and have a #hashtag page title on your site just for them.
76. Stop thinking there is a one-size-fits-all plan for success in music. There isn’t.
77. There are many artist paths, knowing yours is a key to helping your carve your unique
78. Find your next destination and then plan the route.
79. You don’t need a manager. Not until you are making at least $50K a year from your music.
Build your career first. Everyone else does. Except Justin Bieber and he doesn’t count.
80. Work with people who believe in great music and who will tell you the truth, even when
it’s hard to hear.
81. Not every music industry person is created equal. Don’t give the same weight to what
82. Filter advice, but listen to everything worthy.
83. Stay clear of negative people, they’re not good for you, no matter how important they are.
84. If there are holes in your artistry or business acumen, get the highest level of help you
can find. Not doing so will gravely keep you from your success.
85. Know how the music industry works. As Mary J. Blige says “the music industry is no
place for people that don’t know things.”
86. Keep your head up – high, even when you don’t feel like it.
87. Don’t be pretentious, or name drop. It’s compensating for your lack of faith in yourself.
Develop more self-esteem. You can do it.
88. Practice being exactly where you are for one week (not projecting into the future) and see
89. Don’t push the river. The river can’t be pushed and there is a reason it’s flowing at the
pace it is.
90. Read the subtext. It’s not what’s being said, it’s how it’s being said that matters.
91. Don’t put your faith in people, put your faith in yourself.
92. Develop a stronger relationship with yourself. It’s the only one you really have.
93. Forgive easily. Everyone is doing the best they can given who they are.
94. Have big goals but low expectations.
95. Honor your impulsive nature (it helps you move forward), but never make hasty decisions
that you’ll pay for later.
96. Don’t release music just because you have a deadline or you’ll release stuff that is under
par. But always operate under deadlines, just move them back without a second thought.
Music first over everything else.
97. Don’t worry if you’ve promised a release date you’ve missed, things always take way longer
than you think. Just quickly apologize and talk about the improvements /progress/ journey!
98. Follow every artist you can find that you believe in and then shout out about them. This
creates a rich community of support when you need it. And don’t fool yourself, you’ll need it.
99. Don’t vie for attention or adoration from others. Give it to yourself. You’ll stand way taller
and shine brighter.
100. Believe in yourself more than your mother, family or friends do or did.
101. Always fight hard for your music and don’t make anyone wrong in the process.
If any of that speaks to you – it’s what I teach and preach.
The Beat Junkies present: Soundcheck
Broadcasting Live from Los Angeles 7-10PM
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Of The Month
On The Beat Junkie Radio channel
Exclusively on Dash Radio.
Download the Dash Radio App for free or listen to us on the web: www.dashradio.com.
Soundcheck Ep. 11 (7.22.15) w/ Gangrene, Koreatown Oddity, Dj Jayceeoh, & Warren G
Dj Rhettmatic set:
Black Milk – Mary Jane
Pete Rock – Gonna Love You
Skyzoo – See A Key
Statik Selectah – Another Level feat Rapsody
R.A.W – (Right Amount of Wrong) Yes You Can
Pac Div – Roll The Dice
Donmonique feat. Danny Brown – The Low
Finale – Just Due
Ghostface Killah x Adrian Younge – Resurrection Morning feat Raekwon
Black Milk – Over instr
Nikobeats – Wednesday feat Fly Anakin & Henny Lo
Special Guest Koreatown Oddity
Koreatown Oddity MPC set
Ras G x Koreatown Oddity – Ice Fetish
Koreatown Oddity – Film Roll Splices & The Deleted Scenes Koreatown Oddity – Invisible Force
Ras G x Koreatown Oddity- Cold Titty Mama 3
Koreatown Oddity – Live and Direct
Dj Babu set:
Meek Mill – Classic feat Swizz Beats
Madchild – Devils and Angels
Cormega – No Filter feat Roc Marciano
Special Guest: Dj Jayceeoh
Dj Jayceeoh set:
Jayceeoh feat Redman – Turn Me Up Some
Redman – Time 4 Sum Aktion
LL Cool J feat. Method Man & Redman – 4,3,2,1
Redman – Gilla House
Busta Rhymes – What Up
Dj Jayceeoh & Redman – Y’all Already Know (Exclusive)
Rhettmatic set 2:
Khrysis – King Kong
Pete Rock – BBjones
Blu – Thriller
Large Professor – Industry remix 2 feat Inspectah Deck
Special Guest: Warren G with Mike Slice (Freestyle)
213 (Warren G & Snoop Dogg) – 213 Demo
Bad Lucc – Hands Down
Mentplus – All My Friends
Hus Kingpin – Shooting Gods feat Killer Ben
Pete Rock – On & On
Slum village – Expressive
Black Milk – ???
Ghostface Killah – Get The Money feat Vince Staples
Special Guest: Gangrene + Dj Romes
Gangrene Medley Mix:
Gangrene – Not High Enough
Gangrene – Drink Up feat Roc Marciano
Gangrene – Chain Swinging
Gangrene – All Bad
Gangrene – Dump Truck feat Prodigy
Gangrene – Vodka & Ayahuasca
Gangrene – Play It Cool
Gangrene – Driving Gloves feat Action Bronson
Gangrene – Away Too Long (prod.by Madlib) (Exclusive)
From years of running Strictly Beats ( a benchmark in Instrumental Hip-Hip / Beat Tape sites ) and also trying to merge another popular blog that I was a part of HHB ( hip-hop bootleggers ) I’ve been digging music for years online and off. Some of my favorite artists have faded away, while others have stood the test of time and found ways of navigating through the changing music environment. I feel like these 5 albums were really amazing pieces of work that would’ve gone a lot further had the internet been more like it is now. From content to production, delivery and cadence, and the emcees/producers/dj’s involved. These projects definitely had a fair share of quality control and all deserve a second life / resurface. Check them out in their entirety, and tell a friend…
1. Stories About Nothing : Intuition – Los Angeles, CA
2. Stick Figures : Prolyphic & Robust – Chicago & Rhode Island
( Unfortunately I can’t find a full album link but you can purchase it at the link below )
The Beat Junkies would like to welcome the Texas Scratch League to the Beat Junkie Radio family. This Saturday (July 18th) & every 3rd Saturdays from 5-7pm PST/7-9pm CST, the Texas Scratch League will air their own show called “Viberoom”. Listen to some of the best Djs/Turntablist get down coming from the Lone Star State. Make sure to download the Dash Radio FREE app on ITunes or Google Play to listen to the show or go to www.dashradio.com and click on the “Beat Junkie Radio” channel to tune in!
Speaking of Soundcheck…..here’s the official audio from our show this past Tuesday.
The Beat Junkies present: Soundcheck Broadcasting Live from Los Angeles 7-10PM
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Of The Month
On The Beat Junkie Radio channel
Exclusively on Dash Radio.
Download the Dash Radio App for free or listen to us on the web: www.dashradio.com.
Moss – Boombastic feat Slum Village
Prhyme – Courtesy (Marco Polo remix)
Bishop Lamont – Mutiny feat. Rich Kidd
Papoose – The Plug
The Black Opera – Sacred Cow
Pete Rock – 90s Class Act
Your Old Droog – Senseless Killin II
Skyzoo – See A Key feat Jadakiss
Heresy – Da Call Out
Pete Rock – Gonna Love You
Special Guest Immortal Technique
Immortal Technique – Industrial Revolution
Chino XL – Arm Yourself feat Immortal Technique & Sick Jacken
Immortal Technique – Positive Balance feat Big Zoo
Immortal Technique -The 3rd World
Immortal Technique – Rebel Armz
Pharoahe Monch – W.A.R feat Immortal Technique
Immortal Technique – Point Of No Return
Immortal Technique – Parole (Evil Genius Remix)
Immortal Technique – Dance With The Devil
Immortal Technique – Lick Shots feat Crooked I & Chino XL
Immortal Technique – Top Of The Food Chain
Dj Babu set
Ghostface Killah – Get The Money
Bilal – Love Over Money feat. Kendrick Lamar
Slum Village – Love Is feat Bilal & Illa J
Czarface – Kaboom feat MF DOOM
Bishop Neru – Somebody Waits
Special Guest Anderson .Paak
Jon Wayne – Green light ft Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak – Milk n Honey
Anderson .Paak – Piece On The Glovebox
Anderson .Paak – King Dave
Anderson .Paak – P.Y.P (play your part)
Anderson .Paak – Boom Bap
Anderson .Paak – Celibate
Dj Premier x BMB Spacekid- til its done ft Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak – Maps
Anderson .Paak – Get Em Up
Knx x Anderson .Paak – Suede
Dj Babu set 2
Statik Selecta – Top Tier feat Sean P
Pac Div – Roll The Dice
Cormega – No Filter feat Roc Marci
Ghostface Killah – Return Of The Savage feat Raekwon
If you didn’t know, our very own Dj Babu the Dilated Junkie is a professional amateur photographer. If you follow his IG profile, you know what to expect. The man behind “Instababs” also has a tumblr page. Check out some of his Behind The Scene pictures from our Soundcheck radio show this past Tuesday (7.7.15) with additional pictures from Maricel Sison
In my 10 years of working at various capacities in and around this industry, I never once took into consideration how difficult, complicated and overwhelming things must be for aspiring talent that lacks proper guidance to “make it” as they say… We all know the internet has provided several articles, tutorials and resources for people to independently help themselves become as aware and knowledgeable as possible. With the addition of social media and platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, it’s become even easier for you to project yourself to the masses and correspond with potential investors to your brand (fans). My question is, what happens when you get offline? Like, ok great! You’ve been featured all over the world and your mixes, songs and videos have thousands of plays, you’ve got a little blog traction and managed to open for a few established acts that you can namedrop into your bio, but what’s next? I feel like several talented people hit this peak and then unfortunately start questioning what they are doing or drag their feet. This is when we start to look at other options like Agents, Managers, PR/Publicists and Peers for help.
*Now I must really like you guys, because I’ve decided to put together this basic visual aid to illustrate what happens at this moment.
Alright, so that was quick and painless right? Now I’m not saying all artists follow this pattern, but through the ones I’ve mentored, managed, and coached from the sidelines and on the field. I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was a very real and common thing,
so congrats, you’re not alone.
Here’s my tips on how to land more bookings, more often (and help improve your overall self)
Be Transparent. In all interactions. any communication. I know I don’t have to tell you how far integrity, modesty and honesty go but I’m going to anyways. You don’t know how many times people have asked me to manage them bragging about working with this person, or that label, or performing on xyz stage while I smile and nod. Then get home, reach for my phone, shoot a text out and see if what you said is true. – Technology is a blessing and a curse, it’s your choice on whether you want it to work with you or against you. One of the easiest ways to avoid it malfunctioning or not working out in your favor is keeping it 100.
Friendliness – I understand you may not like Joe Blow’s music, or think Kristi Kokane and The Kirkland Krew are trash, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude or disrespectful. In an industry where all you have is your word, use yours wisely and for good. It costs nothing to be nice, and there isn’t a gun to your head to support said act, but you could have one at your head if you decide to speak up and degrade someone else’s efforts. Social Media may sometimes encourage bad behavior, but you can use it to showcase your personality and really leverage friendships and new connections, just by being positive.
Organization – Having your EPK (electronic press kit) in order will surely help you get more placement and better gigs. Business Cards & Websites are synonymous with this as well. For me to take someone seriously, I need to know they’ve invested in themselves before they are trying to ask for money from me. No Joke, I spend a quarter of the year re-producing these for people who went on craigslist or through a friend and got a price hookup, but an abomination of work. Make sure you put your best foot forward on all fronts. Collecting Emails and Numbers then dissecting them when you get home, into an excel spreadsheet is a great way to work on your organization and launch concentrated marketing efforts. This also goes for making a list of Radio Stations, Blogs, Magazines, and other areas that you want to reach utilizing their submission addresses & emails.
Put some Bass in your voice –Confidence, not cockiness, when introducing yourself to others at events will go a long way, throw in some humor and you’re in! If you are at an event, whether performing or not, chances are the people who produced it are also in attendance. Now keeping in mind there is a time and place for everything. I don’t necessarily suggest going out of your way to bother these people ( I am one of these people ) but if you do happen to cross paths with them. Say a quick hello, introduce yourself quickly, and depending on the vibe, either keep it moving or pay them a compliment. First impressions go along way, and set the tone for any future correspondence. Small talk isn’t required, and what you say “can” hurt you, so use some tact. Depending on your approach, you should’ve opened the door for yourself to at least see each other again, briefly and have a slightly longer conversation, until eventually your rapport is at a point that you can share your music. Who knows, you may even get requested for your EPK. You can be proud and accomplished without being arrogant or conceited, much like a vegan or crossfitter can be a vegan or crossfitter, without telling anyone they’re vegan or do crossfit.
Support by attending!– Another great way to get the attention of the players in the scene is being active. Seven years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t know much of anyone or anything with an exception to people I’ve met in the past when they were on the east coast (NY) or the south (ATX) for specific events (Jumpoff/SXSW/etc). Now I’m happy and lucky enough to say that I’m known throughout several scenes and circles and get warm greetings, because of my consistent support and interactions. By frequenting events that fit a demographic you’re interested in, you’ll open several doors because generally the attendees are interested in the same things as you. The best part is, not all of them are there promoting themselves, and several potential fans are listening and watching you move. This is where that whole first impressions are lasting thing comes into play. If you connect with others in social environments and keep it cordial, you’d be surprised how far that goes and where it translates into your income. If you do the opposite keep in mind that those who you talk to, can talk too. If you go to an event consistently enough, you get to meet the residents and coordinators casually, which opens the doors of opportunity if you get along. Two things I DO NOT suggest is, attempting to get booked for events you haven’t attended more than a few times, and DO NOT become a pushy overbearing salesperson. Nothing is worse then the guy who interrupts the conversation or cipher to push his latest frisbee. Again, use tact (and common sense) because you never know who is watching.
Think Outside Of The Box – I dropped a mix on 200 cd’s a few months back and gave them to L.A. Uber & Lyft Drivers. This mix + my cards got my website traffic boosted by 1200 people, I made 17 new connections on social media, and my soundcloud had a few addtl thousand plays on the week. When I worked for Viacom/MTV Networks in NY at 1515 Broadway – I used to sneak into the library and mail room and stick my event flyers & cd’s into everyone’s cubby. When I was in high school I dropped my poetry and a mixtape into the women’s locker room 3 vent slots on valentine’s day and made a lot of people happy 🙂 – These are just examples of the lengths in which I’ve personally gone to reach a broader demographic. Sure the internet is great between Reddit, Buzzfeed, Social Media, and all the other outlets. Although if you want to make a real splash where you’re the small fish in a big pond, you’ve gotta be creative. Find unique methods of packaging and delivering your content to people. Think about who you want to reach, and where they will be. I used to always be amazed by all the luxury vehicles Los Angeles had floating in the streets daily, to the point that I started asking anyone in a 80k+ vehicle what they did for a living? The result? some blew me off, some told me, and some followed up with “Why do you ask” and took what I had to offer ( a business card, resume, and cd ) and managed to connect me with some top industry professionals. I urge people to never be afraid of the unknown, and just weight “what’s the worst that can happen” before acting to yield best results. As long as your promotion and marketing attempts are not disruptive or destructive, I definitely co-sign pushing the ante on distribution tactics. *Note:This does not include tagging the side of the 10 freeway with your soundcloud link.
Professionalism – I can’t count on all my fingers and toes how many times people have shown up late, complained about irrelevant bullshit, gotten too tipsy/turnt before their set, or too faded on the patio when they should’ve been setting up. If you want to be treated like a professional, act like one. Show up early, make yourself useful, show that you’re invested in the show and it’s not just a quick snatch & grab of some promoters cash by promoting the event to the best of your abilities. ( Trust me, social media has definitely made this task a no-brainer for you ) – If you are granted a few guestlist slots, don’t abuse them by showing up at the door every 5 minutes giving my doorgirl lip about letting a broke homie in. If they spent the time/money to get to your event, they’ve got the financial means to support you. Not to mention, let’s be honest – the doorgirl may throw you the fuck out. Please bring all required music on a USB/Phone/CD and have a backup, unless you like performing acapella or over other people’s instrumentals. Do not hastle promoters or coordinators for drink tickets, we understand you can’t survive on water all night, and need to get your booze to boost your buzz and confidence levels. Be supportive. I can’t stress this enough, I’m not talking emotional support, or child support. Applaud other acts, watch your time, don’t infringe on others by going over your designated slot, and don’t be a dick. Make it easy for us to pay you and book you again. I’ve noticed the talent that gets booked the most, tend to have their shit together (being organized) and arrive on time, perform on time, say thank you, abide by the house rules, are responsive by text/email, and can send me an invoice via venmo, square, paypal, etc. if they aren’t paid the night of. As in any career, being a professional will take you far and doesn’t go unnoticed. Act like you know.
DIY – Do it yourself, alright so you are determined to get on. You don’t do “Pay To Play” showcases (never do p2p showcases), you’ve hit the Open Mics on a weekly basis for a few months now. You’ve gone to nearby cities to try to get a feel for a different crowd. You’ve done everything I’ve said above before, and then some… At this point, I’d suggest trying to throw your own event. Now event production and coordinating is *NOT* for everybody, and *NOT* to be taken lightly. I cannot emphasize enough how much we don’t need more poorly put together functions that hang on by a thread and waste people’s time and money. I’m also not saying that if nobody will book you, then you book yourself. What I am saying is, if you have established a bit of a name for yourself, you can draw a decent 15-50 person paying crowd, and you’ve made a few connections through the events you’ve supported. Maybe it’s in your best interest to produce your own function. Find a venue, work out a deal, run it by a few friends to make sure it’s a solid one, book yourself to perform and a few supplemental acts that make sense for your sound or theme of the night. I know when doing talent booking and artist management/development with people who have no names. I was able to build names for them by producing a series that featured them as residents or near-headliners. You can do this for yourself without too much difficulty, but I really only suggest taking this route once you’ve reached the minimum requirements mentioned above, and already do everything else listed within this post. I’d hate to hear you followed a beat junkies blog posting from some guy named spiv and got evicted because you put your rent on the line and had a poorly designed flyer and a weak lineup with no gas.
Be Yourself. – Most of this stuff above is self-explanatory, or one would think. Unfortunately, I see these tools of the trade get tangled up and forgotten very rapidly, especially when one gets a little shine. At the end of the day, people will book you based on who you are. If they aren’t booking you, it doesn’t mean nobody likes you, it means you’ve got room for improvement. Never stop practicing and progressing to be the best you, that you can be. If you’re not seeing the results in what you’re doing, change what you’re doing, or how you’re doing it, until you see the response you want to receive. The Los Angeles and New York markets for music are savage, and the fakes, jakes, and snakes get weeded out quickly. You have to learn before you earn, and always keep a guard up. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No party or event is worth losing sleep over. Overcompensating for accomplishments you don’t have yet, is unnecessary and you are only as good as your word, so keep that shit golden. None of the things mentioned in this article prevent you from being yourself, and at the end of the day, the real ones get the work.
Maybe in the next Artist Essential piece on The Beat Junkies site, I’ll we can break down the differences between expectations and duties of Agents, Managers and Publicists.
I’ll leave you with this last nugget of advice. At the end of the day, It’s all about how you serve it up.
If you have the worst food in the world and it looks amazing — People will give it a shot. If you have the best food in the world, and it looks like shit — People won’t touch it.
Swap out food with Events, Music, Art, Film, Photos, etc and the lesson is the same. Presentation, Connection, and Communication are Keys To Success. Don’t do anything rushed or forced, don’t put out half-assed looking event flyers or album artwork. Spend a little extra time and money on things you value most, so others can recognize that when they feel, see, and hear the product you are delivering, especially when that product is yourself.
Hope this helps you land more bookings, as it has for a handful of others whom I see living off of their craft. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
On the first Wednesday of each month, we’ll be turning the spotlight on five select artists that you should probably know, if you don’t already. While the internet has definitely bridged the gap for aspiring talent to reach new heights and larger audiences faster than ever before. It’s also created a bit of a surplus problem in regards to the quantity of projects not matching the quality expectations that we were once accustomed to. While I won’t say that it’s all bad, It’s definitely thrown the music industry into a whirlwind and really requires more finesse and strategy than ever to really push your way to the top. That being said, the goal of this section isn’t necessarily to give you deep interviews that talk about your favorite rappers prior charges, drug habits, or executive producers who squandered away their royalties. The goal here is to focus on discovery, exploration, and hopefully to put you up on some talented individuals you’ve missed in the streets and on the web.
( Artist )
Bisco Smith, is an artist steadily in search of his own personal truth and most raw expression. His aim is to blend his experiences in life with the energy in the moment and create work that moves, questions, and inspires. His work is a blend of graffiti deconstruction, graphic design, and fine art that captures the untamed energy and uncharted environments of street style and expresses a sense of duality, spontaneity, and movement. He is currently living and working in Venice, CA with New York and Miami on the sides. Currently looking for a wall near you.
( Emcee )
Aaron Cohen is an artist from Seattle, Washington. After graduating high school, Cohen moved to New York and began his music career. Known for his laid back flow and dark yet catchy hooks, Cohen’s lyrics interweave cynical observations of the world and himself. Cohen has previously released mixtapes via Mishka Records as well as Decon/Mass Appeal. Cohen’s music utilizes a wide range of production styles, but tends to lean towards more ambient sounds as displayed on Cohen’s newest release “Home Less.” Cohen has toured in Europe and the United States. He is working on a new untitled EP for release later this year. Cohen is a member of New York City based collective “Inner City Kids.”
Notable collaborations: Flume, Ryan Hemsworth, A$AP Ty Beats, Tommy Kruise.
A couple weeks ago, a TV station in France called OFIVE TV had some crazy technical difficulty and ended up playing one of his music videos on repeat for four days straight. Obviously, it generated a lot of buzz out there. Here’s the video that got stuck on repeat:
( Emcee )
LA based rapper, Henry Canyons, transcends your typical boundaries of hip-hop identity. The self-described Brooklinite-French-Jew took to music at a young age; from his training as a jazz saxophonist to his teenage years spent in Brooklyn ciphers, his melodic style and bilingual lyrical integrity reflect a diverse musical background. After graduating college, Canyons moved to LA intent on following his passion for the art form. Since then Henry has steadily worked at his craft, putting out several different projects. “the Brooklyn-turned-LA native stays within a lane equal parts humor and quality hip-hop, generating impeccably delivered lyrics.” Emerging as a new artist on the scene, Paul Thompson of Passion of the Weiss assures listeners that, “Fortunately, the man at the mic has your attention. Canyons casts himself as the young Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can—alternately reckless and over-thinking, but with enough inimitable cool to pull it off.” Below is a link to his latest project that features smooth jazzy, boom bap-centric and introspective sounds guaranteed to leave listeners wanting more.
Zackey Force Funk ( Producer/Singer/DJ ) Zackey Force Funk was born into this wild world in Tucson, AZ in 1974. In and out of prison since the age of 17, ZFF began producing on pirated software his brother gave to him once he had given up a life crime to focus on writing tunes and raising his family.
First discovered by Kutmah back in the golden era of Myspace, Zackey’s signature “Force Funk Sound” swiftly grabbed the attention of a number of formidable producers. Collaborations followed shortly after with the likes of Salva, Lazer Sword, Lorn, Baron Zen, Daedelus and B. Bravo, as well as forming the group Demon Queen with Tobacco. As these tunes were scattered across various labels, finding their homes on their respective collaborator’s projects, ZFF continued to hone his style, delving deeper into the psychedelic future funk realm of which he has created for himself. The fruits of his discipline all add up to his forthcoming debut LP entitled ‘Money Green Viper”, to be released in July of 2014 on LA based collective Hit+Run.
When Zackey Force Funk isn’t robbing banks with baseball bats he’s rocking late night discotheques with soul songs for the armageddon.
Below is a link to his album on Hit+Run called Money Green Viper, which was also released on a limited edition emerald green skin vinyl by his crew.
NiceGuyxVinny ( Producer / DJ ) Vinny is one of those silent but deadly artists’ with extreme versatility in his production. You can tell he thinks about every sequence, sound and sample incorporated into his tracks and isn’t afraid to do something different. These days when the market is flooded with so many repetitive sounds, it’s very refreshing to have guys like this creating more of an abstract mood music to take you through your week. He’s based out of Long Beach, and also part of the Soulection crew, occasionally you can catch him live in a beat or dj set spreading more of the good vibes throughout dance floors across your city. Modest. Creative. Solid.
Below is what he had to say about his instrumental project titled “Vista” which is also embedded below and available for Name Your Price. Pick it up and support him if you get a chance to. ” Dedicated to & inspired by the people in my life. Each track is named after someone who I feel has made a huge impact on my life & the way I see the world. I got sounds that reminded me of them (favorite songs,movie scenes,etc.) and made tracks from those samples after I would spend time with them..talk to them..or even just think of them. I tried to put whatever emotion I had from those moments into song form. During the time I was making this project I had a lot of things going on with my life..working on these songs helped me get my mind off everything. It was great because I didn’t have to leave my own room to go to another place,all I had to do was close my eyes and listen. It was a fun idea that turned into a whole project that helped me more than I thought it was. I’m happy to share it with you. Much love to anyone who supports my music & all I wish for is to inspire some minds…”
To all our Beat Junkie fans & supporters, we have a new design from our t-shirt line. It’s the “Wild Pitch Junkies” in honor of the classic independent Hip Hop label Wild Pitch. You can purchase the shirts at our website NOW: http://www.beatjunkies.com/shop/
The Beat Junkies present: Soundcheck
Broadcasting Live from Los Angeles 7-10PM Every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Of The Month On The Beat Junkie Radio channel
Exclusively on Dash Radio.
Download the Dash Radio App for free or listen to us on the web: www.dashradio.com.
Soundcheck Ep. 6 (5.12.15) with Ras G
Dj Rhettmatic set
Agallah – Rolling Ttoned feat Ras Kass
Planet Asia x Dirtydiggs – Loogies feat. Godfather Pt. 3
Sean Price – S.E.A.N
Bad Lucc – Buck Buck Buck feat. Problem
Marvelous Mag – I’m from Brooklyn feat Skyzoo & Brenton Magestik Legend – Just Enough For The City (prod by 14KT) Theory Hazit – Honorable Mention
Clear Soul Forces- Gamma Ray
Jonwayne – Minerals & Gems
Nikobeats – I Can’t do That To Me
Nikobeats – Wednesday feat Fly Anakin & Henny Lo
Hus Kingpin & SmooVth feat. Killer Ben – Shooting Gods
Bad Lucc – Hands Down
Miliano – Cocaina
Planet Asia x Dirtydiggs – Love, Hell or Right
Frank Nitt – Classic
Blame One – Disturbed remix feat Sean P & Fashawn
Oddisee – Belong To The World
Guest: Ras G
(Ras G Medley)
Ras G – “Sun Behind The Clouds
Ras G – G Iz Us
Ras G – Hear U
Ras G – Fly Away
Ras G and The Afrikan Space Program – Jackie
Ras G – Polo Jackets & Dashiki
Ras G – Come Down (2 Earth)
Ras G and The Afrikan Space Program – Breakfast Blunts
Ras G and The Afrikan Space Program- Ourtrilliantend
Ras G – Alkebulan
Ras G – Bruce Leroy Glow feat Koreatown Oddity
Ras G Live SP-404 set
D-Styles – Felonious Funk Remix
Vince Staples – Blue Suede
Dexter – Gimme No More
Jay Electronica – Exhibit A
Flako – Rehuscope J
ay Electronica – Dear Moleskin
Omid – Electric City (remix)
Snka – No Groove No Shoes
Stagga – Buff Gyal Riddim
Tall Black Guy – I Wanna Play Sumthing For You
Johnny Moog – Crack Pu$$aay
Kutmah & Tehbis – Griots
Mophono – The Edge Slip On Beat remix
Dexter- The Simpson Flip
Co.Fee – Bourgeois
Mos Def – Auditorium feat Slick Rick
Eric B & Rakim – Microphone Fiend
Nas- Get Down
Scratch 22 – Medicine Man
22 – KenLo Craqnuques (orange)
Alter – Calle Primera
BIGFOOT – ???
Frank-n-Dank – Where’s The Party At
Notorious Big – Juicy instr
Masta Killa – The Return Of The Masta Kill
Action Bronson – Terry
J-Live – I Am A Man
Pete Rock- One, Two A Few More
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Scarface
Pharoahe Monch – Rapid Eye Movement feat Black Thought Large Pro – Opulence
Sean Price – Kurt Rambis
Axel F – All Day instr
Raekwon – 1-2 1-2 feat Snoop Dogg
Madvillain- America’s Most Blunted
Styles P – True & Living
Greg Nice – DWYCK (Beat Junkies Dubplate)
Lord Finesse – Fat For The 90s (demo)
De La Soul – God It feat Nas
Boca 45 – Dig Eat Beats Repeat
Pete Rock – Clean Getaway feat Uncle Murda
Gangrene – Play It Cool feat Earl Sweatshirt
Jonwayne – Green Light feat Anderson Paak
Ka – Iron Age feat Roc Marciano
Dilated Peoples – Directors
Statik Selektah – Thrill Is Gone feat Styles P & Talib Kweli
Black Milk – Cold Day
Action Bronson – Falconry feat Mayhem Lauren & Big Body Bes Action Bronson – Warlord Leather feat Earl Sweatshirt
The Funky President just posted up the new episode of his radio show “Adventures In Stereo”, every Sunday nights from 10pm-12am PST on KPFK 90.7FM. This past Sunday (5.10.15), J.Rocc brought in his fellow Beat Junkie & Dynamic Duo partner Rhettmatic to do a special set, being it was his birthday that night. Peep the goodness as they play everything that they think is dope….As J.Rocc would say, “We are not here to play classics, we’re here to make them….”
We are back with another installment of our “Watch The Sound” video series. This time, we decided to do a little something different & spotlight some talented individuals outside of The Beat Junkies. This particular episode features the DMC World Supremacy Champion IFTW (Image From The Wood) For more info on IFTW, follow him on IG and Twitter at @djiftw. For all things Beat Junkies, visit us at www.beatjunkies.com
Soundcheck Ep. 5 w/ Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge, Denaun Porter, & Marvwon (4.28.15)
Alchemist – Warlord feat Action Bronson & Earl Sweatshirt
Mobb Deep – Taking You Off Here
Freddie Gibbs – Harold’s (inst)
Ghostface Killah – Love Don’t Live Here No More
Axel F – Searchin (inst)
Jon Wayne – Minerals & Gems
J Dilla – Beat 12
Planet Asia – Love Hell or Night
Pusha T – Lunch Money
Brand Nubian – Punk Step Up To Get Beatdown (Beat Junkie Dubplate)
De La Soul – God It feat Nas
Styles P – True & Living
Supa Dave West – 14 instr
Jay Dee – Beat 12
Nikobeats – U Can’t Do That To Me
Tall Black Guy -The Big Payback
Guests: Denaun aka Mr. Porter + Marvwon
50 Cent – P.I.M.P.
Pharoahe Monch – When The Gun Draws feat Mr. Porter
Denaun Porter – Gods laugh
Guilty Simpson – Get Bitches
50 Cent – Stunt 101
Denaun Porter & Marvwon Live Set
Onyx – Last Days (insert)
Action Bronson – Baby Blue feat Chance The Rapper
D.R.U.G.S – Nintendo pt.1
Dj Rhettmatic Set (Ali Shaheed/Adrian Younge Medley Mix)
Ghostface killah – Revenge Is Sweet
PRhyme – PRhyme
Adrian Younge presents The Delfonics – Stand Up
Bambu – Galvanter ft Rhettmatic
Adrian Younge presents The Delfonics –
Enemies (needs dubplate) Dj Rhettmatic – Louie Vutton Wallets feat. J57 & Koncept
PRhyme – Courtesy Adrian Younge – Sirens Jay Z – Picasso Baby D’angelo – Brown sugar Ali Shaheed – Panic Scritti Politti – Tinseltown To The The Boogiedown feat Mos Def (Ali Shaheed Muhammad remix) ATCQ – Jazz (We’ve Got It) Ali Shaheed – Lord Can I Have This Mercy feat. Chip Fu ATCQ – Scenario demo
Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Young Interview
D’angelo – Lady (Live on The Chris Rock Show)
Michael Jackson – History (The Ummah Radio Mix)
KRS-One – We In There (Ali Shaheed Muhammad remix)
Adrian Younge presents Souls Of Mischief – Meeting Of The Minds (inst)
Prhyme feat. Dwele – You Should Know
Adrian Younge presents The Delfonics – Love’s Melody
1st Mix – Dj Babu:
Earl Sweatshirt – Huey
Ludacris – Charge It To The Rap Game
Fashawn – Higher
Action Bronson – Falconry
Jay Electronica – Road To Perdition
Rapper Big Pooh – How I Move
ALC x Prodigy – Curb Ya Dog
Slum village – Push It Along feat Phife Dawg
Joey Bada$$ – Paper Trail$
Kendrick Lamar – Momma (prod. by Knxwledge)
Mix by Knxwledge
2nd Mix – Rhettmatic
Knx x Anderson Paak – Suede
Nikobeats – So Fine
14KT – Adrenaline
Jake One – John Cena Theme
Dert – Derty
Dilated Peoples – Opinions May Vary feat Gangrene
Action Bronson – Terry
Supa Dave West – Dave Beats (inst)
MC Eiht – Shut Em Down feat The Outlawz
Killer Ben x Killa Kali – Thug Kings
Prodigy x Big Twins – Champions (remix)
Consequences – Tuck Your Release
Nottz – Everybody Knows Your Name
Brown Bag Allstars – Rhett Committed Murder
De La Soul – Get Away
Supa Dave West – Dave Beats 14
Dam Funk Interview & Live In Studio Funk Set
Rhettmatic 2nd Mix
Dam Funk & Steve Arrington – Tap That
Bohannon – The Beat (part 2)
Melissa Morgan – Fools Paradise
Charme – George Porgy
D-Train – Trying To Get Over
First Touch – All Because Of You
3rd Mix by J Rocc
Bernard Wright – Just Chillin Out
Yancey Boys – Slippin
Yasiin Bey – Yasiin x Dilla Sunshine
Oh No – Pure Imagination
Axel F – Omega feat Blu
Dirtydiggs – Henchmen feat Killa Kali
Run The Jewels – Job Well Done
Nas – The World Is Yours (Bukas Rollbrett remix)
Quakers – RIP feat. Guilty Simpson
Lootpack – Frenz vs Endz
Chanes – INF
Kan Zulu – Sixteen (BDP – Stop The Violence)
Knx – Let It Shine
Prhyme – U Looz
Jay Electronica – We Made It feat Jay Z
If you have been following what we’ve been doing, you know that we started our very own Radio Station channel at Dash Radio….Beat Junkie Radio! We also have our very own show called Soundcheck, that we do live every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month from 7-10PM. We launched our first show on February 10th with special guests Dilated Peoples, MED, & LMNO.
This past Tuesday, March 10th, we did our 2nd show with special guests Elzhi & Tuxedo aka Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One. We posted up this week’s show on our soundcloud page. Now you’re wondering “What about the 1st episode?”. We’ll post that up soon but we wanted to flip it & post up the 2nd episode first. Enjoy the show & make sure you tune in to Beat Junkie Radio, exclusively on Dash.
Mix: Dj D-Styles
1. Grand Master Flash & The Furious 5 – The Message (Tall Black Guy remix)
2. Love Again Instrumental – Run The Jewels
3. Danny Brown- blunt after blunt
4. Eprom – Empires
5. Love Again inst. – unknown artist
6. E-40 – Art Of Storytellin
7. Captain Murphy feat Viktor Vaughn (DOOM) x Earl Sweatshirts x ThunderCat – Between villains
8. Royal Flush feat Sean Price – Beasting
9. Dizz1 – Frazzled
10. Jon Wayne – Mean Muggin
11. Stagga – The Motoskillz
12. Stagga – Stagga Sound Killer
13. Gas Lamp Killer – Flange Face
14. Adrian Younge – Turn Down The Sound
15. Rapsody – Godzilla
Guest Interview: Elzhi
16. Elzhi – February (prod by 14KT)
17. Jake One ft. Elzhi & Royce da 5’9 – Glow
18. Elzhi – Boomerang Slang (prod by Houseshoes)
19. Dabrye – Game Over feat Jay Dee (Instr)
20. Step Brothers – Step Masters
21. Freestyle Fellowship – This Write Here
22. Jay Dee – Hoard Inst.
Second Hour: Mix: J.Rocc – Notorious B.I.G. Tribute Mix
1. Notorious B.I.G. – Queen Bitch
2. Notorious B.I.G. – Players Anthem demo
3. Biggie Freestyle 2 (Bucktown beat)
4. Notorious B.I.G. feat Sadat X – Come On
5. Red Hot Lover Tone – 4 my peeps feat Notorious B.I.G. & Organized Konfusion
6. Pudge The Fat Bastard feat Notorious B.I.G. – Think Big
7. Notorious B.I.G. – Who Shot Ya
8. Heavy D & The Boys feat Notorious B.I.G. – A Buncha Niggas
9. Eddie F & The Untouchables – Let’s Get It on feat Heavy D, 2pac x Notorious B.I.G. x Grand Puba
10. Notorious B.I.G. – The Ugliest
11. Notorious B.I.G. – Real Niggaz Do Real Things
12. Notorious B.I.G. – Freestyle (Black Superman)
13. De La Soul – Rock Ko.Kane inst.
Guest Interview: Tuxedo (Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One)
14. Tuxedo – Do It
15. Tuxedo – Number One
16. Tuxedo – Watch The Dance
17. Tuxedo – R U Ready
18. Tuxedo – So Good Inst
19. Slum Village – slum village
20. PRHYME – U Looz
3rd Hour Mix: Dj Rhettmatic
1. Slum village – Scheming feat Jay dee x Posdnuos x Phife Dawg
2. Oddisee x Phonte – Requiem
3. eMC – Triple Threat
4. Frank Nitt – Slipping (prod. by J.Rocc)
5. Jay Electronica – Road To Perdition
6. yU & nottz – Homicide
7. Ab Soul – 47 Bars
8. Ras Kass x Apollo Brown – PNT
9. D.R.U.G.S – Dark jr (Inst)
10. Your Old Droog – Sonic Youth (prod. by Marco Polo)
11. Oddisee – Word To Wise
12. Kissing The Curb – Jake One ft. Busta Rhymes x Bishop Lamont
13. Now On – Catapults
14. 14KT – W.C.E.F feat MED x Kokane
15. 14KT – RockABye Baby
16. eMC – Charly Murphie
17. Joey Bada$$ – Paper Trail$ (prod. by Dj Premier)
18. Saga – City Streets feat Roc Marciano
19. Your Old Droog – Homicide
20. Gangrene feat. Earl Sweatshirts – Play it cool
21. Red Bills – The Black Opera
22. Snoop Dogg – Cadillacs (prod. by Madlib)
23. The Joint Chiefs (Frank Nitt & Rhettmatic) – The Nitty Show
24. Fashawn feat. Busta Rhymes – Out The Trunk
25. Crown Royale (Buff1 x Rhettmatic) – The Chosen Few ft. MED, Fashawn, & Tres Styles
26. Axel F – Superman
27. Talib Kweli x Madlib ft. Strong Arm Steady – The Function
28. The Visionaries feat. Rakaa & Brother J – Need To Learn
28. Gangrene – All Bad
29. Gangrene – Take Drugs
30. Gangrene – Vodka & Ayahuasca
It’s been a while since we did a “Watch The Sound” video but we’re back with another episode. This new video features our very own Dj Shortkut, as he reflips a classic Mantronix record. This is a beat juggling/scratch routine that Short rarely does…..if you’re able to catch him on some of his live shows doing this, you’re lucky. Now we’re able to bring it to you. Enjoy!
Our very own Rhettmatic & the mighty Cypress Hill‘s own Eric Bobo, make up the group, The Cypress Junkies. Sometime last year, they were asked to perform a set at the 1st ever Low End Theory Festival at The Echo/Echoplex, along with Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Nosaj Thing, Jon Wayne, Ras G, & many more, along with the LET crew (Daddy Kev, Gaslamp Killer, Nocando, Nobody, & our own D-Styles).
The Cypress Junkies just recently released the live audio of their performance set from the Low End Theory Festival for you to listen to. Shoutouts to the whole LET crew…..
What’s up folks….hope y’all had a good Halloween weekend.
I’m back with another installment of Mixtape Mondays…..we did a press release that we’re going to have our own channel on Dj Skee’s new Dash Radio app that has been already in effect the last 2 months (go to www.dashradio.com to hear what’s going on or you can download the DashRadio app for your IPhone & Android) in November. We won’t announce the official launch of the Beat Junkie Radio Channel unti we are truly ready to launch it….be on the look out.
For the meantime, in honor of our upcoming relaunching of Beat Junkie Radio, here is an old episode from our Ustream show that we used to broadcast from J.Rocc’s crib and sometimes our old Beat Junkies recording studio, back in 2009….this is different from our 1993/94 96.7FM KWIZ show. This particular mix is the audio portion of episode 9. If you want to watch the old episodes, you can go to www.ustream.tv/channel/beat-junkie-radio
It’s a 2 hour mix broken up into 2 parts, with J & myself playing anything we want at that time on some “don’t give a f*ck” steeze. The vibe might remind you on some Friday Night Flavas/Wake Up Show/Stretch & Bobbito Show steelo……enjoy!
We like to wish a big Happy Birthday to the guy who practically started the Beat Junkies. Yes, today is J.Rocc‘s birthday! If it wasn’t for J’s dream to always wanting his own crew & giving us a bunch of “Green Lantern” rings from his old Comic Book job for us to rep, who knows what we would be doing right now, and you wouldn’t be reading this from our website….LOL!!
If you see the Funky President, make sure you wish him a Happy Birthday….and maybe get him some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & an Arizona Green Tea. Happy Birthday J!
Our very own D-Styles & Shortkut along with the legendary Q-Bert performed as the Invisibl Skratch Piklz at Day 1 of the Redbull Thre3style World Finals in Azerbaijan. Congratulations to the 1st heat winner, Carlos Atendido of the Phillippines, who now advances to the final round this week.
From the Redbull site:
“The first night of competition heats kicked off Tuesday at the historic Baku Jazz Centre, with performances by the week’s host DJ Flipout, 2010 Thre3style champ, DJ Karve of Paris, and a rare set by the world famous Invisible Skratch Piklz from California.”
Our very own DJ Babu sits with @247HH to remember a wild story while on the tour with Gang Starr and Rage Against The Machine. Find out why you don’t mess with DJ Premier. Dilated Peoples‘ “Directors Of Photography” on Rhymesayers Entertainment is out now!!! S/O to Jellow of 247HH