JULY 2008 Volume 2 Issue 1
YES... THE DJ IS DEAD! DJs Corner
By K. Cannick
So I’m sure you’ve all heard the comment Jermaine Dupri made about the DJ being dead and the heated response he got from Greg Street. Well, at the risk of being politically incorrect “The DJ is in fact Dead.” Now before any DJs start blogging about me… We’re gonna throw politics out the window because this isn’t about taking sides. Forget whatever issues Greg and JD may have with each other and let’s look at the facts. DJs have always been the gate keepers of hip hop. They determine what’s hot and what’s not. Whether it’s on mixtapes or in the club, they separate the wack from the crack and keep the people moving. If it wasn’t for DJs
no one would be discussing the state of hip hop because there wouldn’t be a state of hip hop. With that being said, DJs have whored themselves out just as much as everyone else in the industry. Now if you’re a DJ and you’re offended by this statement, consider the following. If a woman has sex with you because of the way you make her feel it’s called making love, but if she does that exact same thing because you gave her $50 it’s just called being a whore. Now by that same logic if a DJ is spinning a record because he’s getting paid to do so and not because of how he actually feels about that record… what else can you call it?
What role does a Manager play? It has been my experience that many aspiring artists seek and even secure management without being able to answer that question. More often than not, artists form their belief of what a Manager does or should do based on the many misconceptions out there. Before we discuss what a Manager is, let’s explore what they are not. Managers are not booking agents. This is perhaps the biggest misconception amongst developing artists. Many artists think that Managers books shows for them. That is the job of a booking agent or promoter. While Managers work with those individuals, they can only schedule shows if there
It’s a lot of people that call themselves DJs even though they are not on their job. Let’s keep it real. Anybody can put in a CD and press play. So what separates the DJ from somebody that just plays music? Here is a brief list of what I feel defines a DJ.
1. DJs do more than press play. Whether its scratching, blending, chopping, screwing, or whatever a DJ adds to the records they spin in a way that connects them with their audience. Too many people call themselves DJ’s and have never touched a set of turntables. Now with all the new technology and programs like Serato, I can’t Continued on page 5
By J. Johnson
is a demand from people that are willing to pay to hear you perform.
most artists will never reach that point, we can clearly see who’s really at risk for losing money.
Managers are not thieves- or at least I hope yours isn’t! We’ve all heard of stories of superstar artists getting swindled by their Managers. However, what artists fail to realize is that they have to be actually making money before a Manager can even try to rip you off. Sadly, most aspiring artists will never generate enough revenue from their music to even interest a Manager in ripping them off. In reality, Managers front the cost for almost everything in hopes that the artist(s) will reach the point to whereas the Manager can recoup the money he or she has invested. Given the facts that
Now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, let’s discussed what a Manager is. Having a Manager is comparable to working with a coach. After all, an artist and Manager should work as a team and no important decision should be made without consulting the other. A Manager should know the overall goals for his or her artist and help them reach it. Similar to how every step a runner takes gets them closer to the finish line, every performance, collaboration, and endorsement an artist does should get them closer to Continued on Pag 5
Ft. Knox & Big Tah of Stong Arm Management. (Willie Joe & Mojo Swagger)
HUSTLE OR KILL YA SELF Written by Haziq Ali Why ““Hustle or Kill Ya Self ?” some will ask. Fair question, and here’’s the fair answer- ‘cause that’s the ANTHEM!! I truly believe that if you’re not on this planet providing products and/ or service to your fellow man; if you’re one of the many artists, entrepreneurs, or even employees- who walk around feeling like the world owes you something because you’re so great- you’re dying slow anyway. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, the feeling of entitlement is a sure path to homelessness, divorce, and/or all-around unhappiness- I guarantee it. I guarantee that if you don’t seek to become valuable in some way to the people you value- you WILL end up a loser in your own personal hell. And hey, if that’s the life path you’re choosing for yourself, you might as well… “BUT”, you say, “I HAVE (product) cd’s, beats, and raps out the ass, and I cant GIVE em awaymuch less SELL ‘em”…… Well, yeah- I get it, and we see it all the time- that, my friend, is where we come in. I promise that this column will be jam-packed each month with tips and strategy that you can use to go out and IMMEDIATELY boost your income (Just add Hustle!!). Enough with the foreplay tho…. Hustlin’’ is usually a nickname for sales of some sort and as we all know, sales is the number one talent needed to amass great wealth (please don’t confuse this with ‘trappin’ since crack & dope sells itself. In fact I think drug-
dealing and its fast, easy money ruin most for REAL hustlin’ where u may find yourself havin to sell ice to the Eskimo). What is the first thing everyone sales everyday? Themselves! Have you ever walked in a restaurant, or a store and had someone blow your vibe enough that you just walked out? This salesperson was so bad, they couldn’t even close a sale the customer himself (you) wanted to make!! Amazing but true. You first sell yourself to the customer
Why? If in your field, its always better to stand out, do you?
they’re STILL thinking that- it’’s a problem
2]Speaking Ability- Practice, practice, practice. Stop talking like you chewin’ on a Black & Mild. Write a sales pitch, and practice that. Few skills will serve u as well- esp. as an artist! (What the hell, go head and invest in some mints- )
5]Product/Audience KnowledgeMight sound simple but you can’’t be convincing if you don’t know your product. It also helps incredibly when you know exactly who you’re selling to. How well you know each determines how much of a genius- or an idiot you appear to be…
or you will sell nothing at all… but how do you sell yourself? What can you do about being a better salesperson today, right now, after u put down this paper? I’’ll tell you…
spond to enthusiasm. Go in knowing that if u think u can, or u think u cant- you’’re absolutely right!
THC’s 10 Steps to selling Anything to Anyone... Anywhere 1] Image- No one likes a loser. How do u look? Honestly? Do you look like the 5th member of D4L who AIN’T getting a check?
Your Ad Here for Just $50
3] Your Attitude- really does determine your altitude. People re-
4] Rapport- the connection, the bond you form, the common ground you find with the prospect. How warm a vibe do u create? Can u make a potential customer smile? We all know when u 1st meet, the prospect is usually thinkin’’ ”Who the hell are you and why should I care?”, that’’s normal. If you walk away and
6] Preparedness- This what you’re
doing right now, for instance, by reading this… Preparation builds confidence when you’ve done it- or destroys it when u haven’t. Have you ever heard that most don’’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan? 7] Creativity- How do you make certain you stand out from your competition? How do you follow up w/contacts in a way that doesn’t just beg for the sale? Continued on page 5
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UNBLOCKING WRITER’S BLOCK
How many times have you been stuck, discouraged and frustrated thinking you may never write another good song or beat? Well I have some good news for you. There is no such thing as ‘writers block’. If you are a writer, the way to get out of the notion you have writers block is by writing each day. The first thing in the morning, write for 10 minutes, 3 journal pages or 1 Word document/text file. The goal is to get past all of the clutter in your mind until you get to the ‘meat’ of what you’re really thinking and feeling. Another option is to brainstorm on the things that have been moving you. Whether its personal circumstances, things in the world or what your friends are going through. Use the things around you to create a theme, let that be your song title and then you’ll find yourself with no more writers block. Another option is to build a song thesis. For example, In the back of my mind I have been ‘working’ on a new album. This is a work
in progress while in the middle of other projects. This thesis is both music and lyrical. I’m making decisions and jotting notes down while in the middle of ‘life’ about lyrical themes, song ideas and what I would like to express musically. If you feel uninspired with making beats, it’s even simpler than songwriting. Just pick a song that is inspiring you right now, anything that you find yourself listening to a lot, and come up with your own version of it. Technically challenge yourself with emulating a portion of the track. If it’s the drums, instrumentation, arrangement or even a particular sound you like, just start with whatever is inspiring you the most. Afterwards, new ideas will come and you’ll be off to a new direction in no time. Another option is to use a different piece of software, sound module or just experiment with an altogether different music production method. Even try writing a song that is a different style. With beat making, try not to limit
Written by E.d Unger yourself no matter how bizarre or abnormal your creative approach is. Just get the ideas out. This is half the battle. 8 bar loops are always inspiring and help me get out ruts. When I’m emotionally moved or inspired to work on music, I’ll load up my templates, create an 8 bar loop of drums, 2 bass lines and 3-5 melodies. I’ll mute them and play different parts to make sure they all work together. Afterwards, I’ll stop and save it, make another beat or just go on my way. This method can be similar to writing every morning. By making an 8 bar loop everyday it gets you to your creativity without getting bogged down by the technical aspects. Once you are feeling good, creative and your thoughts are positive, you can then finish the 8 bar loops you created by getting into the arrangement process. Remember, feelings follow your thoughts so if you’re feeling writers block, chances are you have been thinking you have been blocked for a longer time than you have consciously known.
INGREDIENTS FOR A GOOD LOGO Written by Katie Marcus When you are ready to create your business logo, you need to take your time to make sure your logo reflects your business’s personality and that it’s memorable. This logo will go on all your marketing materials, from brochures to custom business cards. Read on for the three most important ingredients you need to create a memorable and appealing logo. One-of-a-kind This might seem silly to point out, but there are a lot of copycat logos out there. You could have a copycat logo without even realizing it! You need to do some comparative research before you start designing your logo to avoid being a copycat. Check out your competitors’ logos, as well as other local businesses that you don’t compete with. You want to stand out from your competitors, and you also don’t want to resemble another business in your community or your product and business could be mistaken for the other business. The next time you go to the store, look at many brand logos for the same kind of product – which ones stand out to you? Many of them will no doubt look similar to others. Take note of the quality that makes the one stand out from the others and try to incorporate that quality in your logo. Usefulness over creativity It’s great if you can come up with a colorful, beautiful logo, but will that logo be beautiful in all your marketing materials? Can it be blown up for a billboard
Unblocking Writers Block contd from pg 4 If you’re feeling blocked, simplify and separate the beat making, mixing, engineering aspects of your creativity. After the 8 bar loops are done and inspiration has returned, then work on the arrangement, mixing, engineering and finishing the song. If you would like more information on this topic, contact me at http://www. computerproducer.com/ contact.html
Ed Unger www.computerproducer.com www.gotchanoddin.com www.bluesoundstudios.com www.ungerrose.com
Yes... The DJ is DEAD!! contd from pg 1 realistically say you have to be spinning vinyl to qualify as a real DJ but if you’re putting your mixes together iTunes… You’re not a DJ!
(does it have scalability)? Will it only look good on color business cards? What if you need to print some marketing materials in black and white? Your logo should convey your business’s personality no matter what context and what color it’s in – from envelopes to brochures to your Web site. Simple design Some of the greatest logos are the most simple. Think Target or McDonalds. Neither the bull’seye nor the golden arches are complicated. They’re simple, yet powerful. People can remember these logos easier – there aren’t any complex shapes and they aren’t “busy” with too many lines, shapes and colors. Their simple design is why they work so well. Appealing logos like these also have one core message – nothing else is competing for logo space. It’s easy to add a lot of unnecessary design elements just because you can and you want your logo to be interesting, but you run the risk of confusing people with too many design elements. That’s definitely something you don’t want associated with your logo and company – confusion. In addition to one core message, your logo should be in one or two easy-to-read fonts. Logos with one message, one font, one color and/or one image are the most appealing.
2) DJ’s don’t charge for spins I’m not going to say it’s wrong to take money for playing a song but once you do that, you’re not a DJ anymore. You’re a record promoter. DJs get paid to spin because they already know what to play and how to connect with the people through the records. If you’re willing to play anything because somebody pays you’re going against principal. 3) DJs Break Records Now it’s a lot of DJs that claim they’re breaking records but they’re not. Being the first person to play a new joint from Usher doesn’t qualify as breaking a record. You can’t break a record that has a promotional budget behind it because it was already broke when they handed it to you. In order to break a record you have to go out on a limb. There has to be a level of uncertainty. I’ll never knock another man’s hustle. So, if you want to play it safe and only spin proven records from
Written by D. Edwards
I’ve heard so many artist talk about they spit reality rap that it’s become somewhat of a cliché to me but when I sat down to interview Mr. Innocent for the first time in a long time the term reality rap resonated with me. This East St. Louis native now residing in Bowling Green, Kentucky has been building a strong buzz in the streets with a simple formula… honesty. His entire album and entertainment company is built around a reality that many brothas face every day, “Rap or Hustle”. As he explains it, the word “rap” is a metaphor for life and “hustle” is a metaphor for death. Not just a physical death but also the spiritual death that comes along with incarceration, a fact that he can testify to as a second time parolee. In his music he plays out the internal struggle that he faces along with many independent rap artists. As Mr. Innocent he sees music as a primary means of escaping his situation while his alter ego, Pacman, sees music as a long term goal that doesn’t offer solutions to their short term problems. In the words of Pacman, “Yeah… rapping’s cool but it aint paying the bills and these kids still gotta eat!”
artist like himself. His strategy for success is just being himself. No Gimmicks. Looking for longevity, he believes that time will always reveal the true nature of a person. He adds, “Hip hop aint dead, the old heads just on their last leg.”
What’s good people! Its been another good month for the company. First things first gotta thank all our loyal readers and congratulate all the artists that received a placement on Volume 3 of the “On The Grind Mixtape. Everyone be on the lookout for the 3rd quarter issue of the Makin’ It Magazine as we will officially be in 104 Markets across North America. If you wanna get your spot in it make sure you hit up our ad sales department to schedule an interview or reserve your space today. We also have something real BIG coming up in September so make sure you stay posted. If you got any questions about the industry that you would like to see answered in an upcoming issue email them in to editor@MakinItMag.com
While everybody has been shouting hip hop is dead and criticizing artists, the DJ has gotten off easy. You can blame artists all day long for the decline of hip hop but there have always been wack rappers. It was the DJs position to serve as quality control; finding the hottest records and bringing them to the people. Unfortunately there is shortage on real DJs. DJs that stand on principal and
won’t play bull sh!t records just because there’s a check in it for them. Being a DJ means more than throwing two letters in front of your name. You can’t claim to be the back bone of hip hop and not take any responsibility for its decline. I challenge every DJ from Drama to Don Don to stand up and restore balance to the game. I can’t tell you to stop doing what makes you money but I ask you to find one independent artist that you like (one that you are not vested in) and go hard with their record. Show us what it really means to break a record. Restore some of the art back to hip hop because as long anyone will do anything for a dollar the duffel bag will always get more spins than the back pack. Management contd from pg 1 reaching their goals. As with a coach, a Manager’s job is to handle the business side which allows their artist to focus on playing their music.
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“To make it in the game now, all you need is a dance beat, a sing along hook and to rap REAL slow,” Innocent comments, “but if they like some of these n@&%#s... they gone love me!” Speaking on how gimmicky the rap game has gotten Innocent sees a wide opening for an
established artists, while charging independents to get played that’s your choice. If you want to only put established records on your mixtapes and charge independents for a slot or to host theirs, that’s your choice. If you choose to spend your time putting together hot playlists instead hot mixtapes that’s your choice. Those are all legitimate business moves and you have the right to make money off of a platform that you’ve established. But when the RIAA shows up in town snatching sh!t of the shelves don’t hide behind being a DJ because you gave that up long ago.
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While it is possible to handle both the business and creative side of making music, having initially started pursuing a career in music as an artist myself, I can tell you that the two don’t mix very well. Having to toggle back and forth between being creative and technical is what makes it so difficult. Music, or should I say good music, is made while an artist is in a creative and imaginative mood. On the other hand, when it comes to handling business there’s nothing creative about making sure everything is in place and imagined numbers are the last thing you want to see on paper- you want realistic ones. While artists such as Jay-Z and 50 Cent are revered as good businessmen, you can bet your American Gangster CD and last two quarters that they have a team of business people that handle the hands-on aspect of making those business deals happen. We’ve only scratch the surface of understanding
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artist management. For more information on artist management, feel free to view the blog section of my MySpace page: www. MySpace.com/PhillysNycest. Mr. Innocent contd from Above After years with Street Made Entertainment, Mr. Innocent is hard at work on his first solo effort. With production from Woodford street beats, 40 Pro, J-ro and Lo Lo Luciano, he’s very confident that he’s got a hood classic on his hands. As a one man army, he’s in the trenches hitting the streets hard everyday. He’s distributed over 5,000 copies of his single, hand to hand, just over the past few months. Now more focused than ever, he fills his next, most important move is to build a strong team to get behind this movement. Mr. Innocent is looking to connect with DJ’s, Producers, Managers and anybody in the Marketing or Promotions fields. For more info please contact him at (270)
282-3470 or myspace.com/ MrInnocent1 Hustle or Kill Ya Self contd from pg 2 8] Reputation- Your credibility, street or otherwise, says a lot about you. The way your rep precedes you can definitely open doorsor close them! 9] Swaggger- How you put all the elements together to form your package! Do you exude confidence, or do u move around like a nerd? Do you come off like you really belong in prison, and just ain’t been caught yet? If so, it could be hurtin your sales a little… 10] Desire to Help- Last because it’s the most important of them all!! This goes back to the opening statement doesn’t it? We’’re all on this big ball of dirt to serve mankind. Your desire to truly help others shines through all the other BS U may not be as sharp with. Does your desire-tohelp side outweigh your greedy side?
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Action Point: Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in each category to see how “great” you REALLY are. Score of 90 - 100 means you’re pretty damn good- and probably getting better every day…And remember: even with (giving yourself) perfect 10’s in ALL these categories, you still aint entitled to nothing… 79-89: you’re climbin the ladder 60-78: You aint the hustler u think u are 40-59: Your sales- and your success level- suck- but least u know now- get busy! 0-39: Kill ya self! Everyday I’m Hustlin, Haziq Ali Send all feedback, comments & questions to Haziq@DontBeAstarvingArtist.com
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