The New Danger
I need some theme music first…
I got into the industry through Bad Boy Records. One of my mans was security for Puff and was able to get me a job as part of Bad Boy street team. After a year I ended up in the promotions department. This involved mixtapes, dj’s, parties, radio etc. Anything that could get the music vital exposure, I helped with.
The security would hire unsigned rappers to write material, with no royalties included, and split it two ways. As far as I know, he was the first person in the industry to do this. He hit the big time when a Def Jam A&R asked him to get writers for several tracks on a female rappers debut album. I wrote the hook on 2 records. The venture was a success, until these managers stopped paying him. He couldn’t threaten them because they now had legal teams. Big corporation VS small medium enterprise…he never stood a chance, though he did manage to settle outside of court.
Anyway,this opened my eyes. In the music world they call this management, in the banking world they call it brokering. I saw that some managers are nothing more than middle men,who just happen to know the right people. It inspired me to do the same. I would go round Harlem looking for talent, and paying them a one off fee, exclusive of royalties, to write records. They always got paid, even if the rappers tried not to pay me I would pay the writers. Today I mainly deal with producers and writers in selling songs to majors.
I saw how payola and SoundScamming worked while I was at Sony/Columbia Urban Promotions Department. I saw and heard your favorite rappers get cussed out with racial slurs by white execs…black this..n*gger that.
I get at least 2 e-mails a month from lawyers attempting to intimidate me on behalf of *insert clueless major label here*. It’s frustrating because I started this blog to talk about ghostwriting but legal shit keeps preventing me from doing so. Gag orders FTL (no homo).
As I climbed up the proverbial ladder of the music industry, I saw that many A&R’s didn’t and still don’t know shit. You have to look at it from this perspective. Many A&R’s are from middle class, suburban backgrounds, who went to college and Majored in Marketing, Communications etc. Many of them don’t have a fucking clue about hip hop culture or hip hop music. They just know how to make you buy shit. They know how to spend your budget up by going on cruise ships with their wife. This is an industry where white collar crime is widespread.
Realistically, A&R’s should be hip hop fans. Who knows what the people want better than a hip hop fan? Loud Records had some of the best A&R’s in Hip Hop, mainly because they knew what the fans wanted.
The main issue I have with the structure of the music industry is that Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in the highest levels of the music industry. It’s damn near whitewashed. The main shot callers are fucking dinosaurs, b.These dinosaurs are old fashioned, prejudiced motherfuckers. I’ve seen this first hand when I worked under Sony/Columbia. The main consensus is that they don’t want Blacks and Hispanics to have any type of leverage in the industry. The fancy term for this is institutional racism.
But on the other hand, the artists who work for the dinosaurs are just as bad. Many lack loyalty, some are egotistical and greedy, this is why I only deal with producers now. Rappers are too quick to throw themselves at any slave deal offered to them. The dinosaurs know that these artists tend to come from deprived backgrounds and have very little knowledge of contracts, therefore they don’t bother to get a good attorney to represent them. This has been going on since the 1920’s when black musicians would get exploited by white managers and executives. (I’m not playing the race card here, just stating facts.)
Yes, the music industry has made a lot of Black and Hispanic people wealthy, but where the fuck are we in the boardroom? So what if LA Reid is the highest ranking black exec..what the fuck does that even mean, seriously? There is a glass ceiling we still can’t breakthrough and contrary to popular belief, we are not in control. It’s one of the great myths of hip hop, like the myth that only white teenagers buy music. Pure propaganda.
Wu-Tang Records, Rawkus Records, No Limit Records, and Roc-A-Fella (until 1996) were all big independent players in hip hop.
Michael Jackson, Jobete, James Brown, Sam Cooke were all major publishing players.
They were not owned by the Big Four until the last 5-10 years. It’s a sad state of affairs right now, but we need to take back a certain element of control from the majors.
Forgive me for typing in caps but, THE MAJOR LABELS CANT SURVIVE WITHOUT BLACK MUSIC. YOU AND YOUR PUBLISHING HOLD THE POWER. Check the charts, check your record collections. Country music is a lucrative genre industry too, but it doesn’t cater to the wide variety of people that Hip Hop or R’n’B does.