This months feature focuses on an artist that is a Alabama/BK blend lets see how she makes that happen lets  stroll with…… OmegaB


Mistajay: What is the story and conception behind your emcee name?

OmegaB: Lol. Which one? I’m gaining aliases. I chose Omega because that was the name I was given at birth. I am constantly evolving and I felt that it was befitting for me to go back to the source. To the time where I knew nothing or perhaps I knew everything and with time forgot. Either way, I have to change my mind. Omega never got a chance to grow. I felt this was the perfect time. The B on the end just means I be…whatever…I’m here!

Mistajay: What area are you reppin?

OmegaB: Well I’m torn between two!!! Right now I’ve sought refuge in Brooklyn, NY!!! But I will always be thorough bread, cornbread fed, Southern girl from Alabama. The home of the Tide!!!

Mistajay: What is the hip hop scene like there?

OmegaB: Hmm…BK..does what BK does…create! As far as Alabama..they’re finding their way as innovators. Trap is really big down there.

Mistajay: So you say you gain inspiration from a wide range of artists like KRS-One, Sade, Erykah Badu, Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Bob Marley, and Outkast what do you take from each one of these artists and what are your other influences of your music?

OmegaB: Umm I can’t put my finger on it. I just vibe with them. They all play different parts to the people inside of me. For the most and as a whole, I take their messages and study. Learn what I can. Regurgitate it back to the masses in a form that my generation is willing to understand.

Mistajay: And what else inspires you?

OmegaB: Life in general. People specifically.

Mistajay: How do you describe your style?

OmegaB: Not sure. The jury is still out on that one! I’d say I’m a B-Girl.

Mistajay: Are you currently working on any projects?

OmegaB: Always.

Mistajay: Tell us about them

OmegaB: My official album “Declaration of IndiePendence” will drop on July 31, 2013. Check my sites for info. I will also be releasing a couple of mixtapes before 2013 is over. MK Ultra (Mind Control) will drop Sep 11, 2013 and it focuses on the darker side of me. I will attribute Soljah Slim to writing this project. And finally “Cipherella” will complete the trinity. This is a straight head bobbing, true to Hip-Hop mixtape. I have a couple of beatbox guys on here…it’s gonna be dope! Release date TBD.

Mistajay: What is your best song recorded to date and why?

OmegaB: Definitely “Babylon” from the Mixtape “MK Ultra” dropping on September 11, 2013 =)

I think it’s my best song-to date- because I wrote it from a place of universal truth…from an objective view. I was unapologetic in delivering the lyrical content. I was very aggressive on this track which is different for me. But it felt good and the people love it. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me the most. That the people take something from it.

Mistajay: When asked about your greatest moment in entertainment you always credit the performance in which you shared the stage with the legendary B.B. King. If you could share the stage with any other 3 artists or bands who are still around and touring, who would they be and why?

OmegaB: Without hesitation Erykah Badu because she’s the evolved me. According to math 2- 21/26. 19 year separation. I am Omega. Cipher complete. I just need to know where we going! Lol. Janelle Monae because she is an innovator. A true creator. I love her whole approach to the music scene. Her kind of art isn’t temporary or superficial. I digs it!! Ab Soul just because I hear him. My eyes are open and I feel that we can make movements together.

Mistajay: A lot of artists come into the game with a lot of ambition but don’t spend time learning the business side. How important to you is learning about publishing and royalties?

OmegaB: Honestly, zero to none at first. Like I said, I do it for the people so penetrating the game was not my focus but with time I’ve learned that even if you don’t know all there is to know, you do need to know about the rights to your music. It’s imperative. How do you expect to get paid?

Mistajay: Where do you see the hip hop going in 2013?

OmegaB: Death to the rappers; resurrection of Emcee’s! I’m actually predicting that it’s about to revert back to the Golden ages when instruments were played and music was actually made that pertained to what is ACTUALLY going on around us.

Mistajay: How do you see yourself fitting into that?

OmegaB: Somewhere on stage with a Mic.

Mistajay: What are your future plans?

OmegaB: Well, later on today I plan on checking out this Vegetarian restaurant called the V-Spot. In the future future…like the remainder of 2013…I plan on putting my heart out on my mixtapes for the world to share….If we’re talking space time….I would like to be one of those Emcee’s who goes down in ourstory for using fame and fortune to inform a nation.

Mistajay: Any last thoughts?

OmegaB: Nope. You took all my good ones.

Mistajay: Where can fans follow you and get your music?

OmegaB: You can find me…Cipherella…Soljah Slim…the certified dope dealer, liberator, mind healer, gangsta Queen, futuristic being spreading Peace, Light, & Music at:

I’m on instagram too I’m not sure but I’m thinking it’s @IamOmegaB


Mistajay is doing a monthly interview feature the underground experience on the blog and would like to interview you for this new post please contact to publicize any new projects that you have coming up thanks for your time. Donate or pay $50 dollar interview fee below!!


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My Thoughts on the The Zimmerman Verdict

After the verdict this weekend I have heard many insensitive comments including the same ol’ same ol’ “get over it”. We don’t need to get over it we need to deal with it, deal with these racial issues in real substantive way, real discussions that means there will be some cussing some anger but it is well past time that people discuss the racial history of this country in diverse groups and in a brutally honest way. The unequal access to education and the unequally in the justice system that brought the feelings of this weekend to the surface. Because the reality is these feelings have been under the surface since the last highly publicized unjust verdict which was almost 21 years ago. The Rodney King verdict didn’t set the stage for this but was just a conformation of what went on before the height in the civil rights movement and during and sadly after. To sum my thoughts up on this whole thing is we keep hearing about how America is supposed to be a melting pot that has not fully come to fruition until we deal with each other in real way and realize that we as one nation can not make it without one another………………..


photo My Thoughts on the The Zimmerman Verdict

Please sign the Petition to get Justice for the Martin Family!!!!


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Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.


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This month’s feature is with someone who is ready to prove when it comes to Hip-Hop he is definitely first in flight Rain……


Mistajay: What area are you reppin? RAIN: Fayetteville, North Carolina

Mistajay: What are your influences of your music? And what inspires you? RAIN: My musical influences ranges from 2Pac all the way to Willie Hutch. I have a very wide range of musical influences. I am inspired by my drive to reach greatness. I don’t feel like I have reached my peak musically. Knowing that somewhere deep down I have classic material inside that can be released with practice and dedication keeps me inspired.

Mistajay: How do you describe your style? RAIN: Vivid. Very real and cinematic.

Mistajay: What is your best song recorded to date and why? RAIN: I have no clue. Its changes all the time. I really love “Lady in a Red Dress” from American Dreamin 2.

Mistajay: If you could share the stage with any 3 artists or bands who are still around and touring, who would they be and why? RAIN: Stevie Wonder, The Roots and Lauryn Hill.

Mistajay: Where do you see the hip hop going in 2011? How do you see yourself fitting into that? What do you think the future of Fayetteville and NC Hip Hop is? RAIN: Hip Hop is so strange. It evolved so fast and extremely frequently. I’m not sure where it is going, I just hope I am around to enjoy the ride. Hopefully I will become a main figure in the culture. If I am there, Fayetteville will be there also.

Mistajay: Your Bio states that you are to release your first retail project through First in Flight/Hoopla/Universal there where reported rumours that you have been flying back and forth to LA and possibly in talks with Aftermath is there anything you would want to break here or clear up? RAIN: Time will tell. We will soon see how everything plays out.

Mistajay: 9th wonder recently had a write up about Hip Hop in NC and one of the main points where that the competition was outside the state and not within basically saying that we need to support are own as artists and develop your brand what are your thoughts about this as well as your own advice for indy artists and fans alike? RAIN: I don’t want to comment on the 9th Wonder statement because I didn’t see that for myself but I do feel like there is competition everywhere including inside of NC. Never sleep on anyone. You never know what they are cooking up. My advice is to stay focus, be original and give it all you have.

Mistajay: What are your future plans? RAIN: Releasing more music and introducing new talent.

Mistajay: Any last thoughts? RAIN: Thank you! First In Flight for life. Live free or die!

Mistajay: Where can fans follow you and get your music?

Mistajay is doing a monthly interview feature the underground experience on the blog and would like to interview you for this new post please contact to publicize any new projects that you have coming up thanks for your time. Donate or pay $50 dollar interview fee below!!


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Give to a good cause!!

Watoto is a response to the cry of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Africa, whose lives have been ravaged by war and disease.

Founded by Senior Pastors Gary and Marilyn Skinner, Watoto is birthed through Watoto Church (formerly KPC), a thriving local church in Kampala, Uganda. We exist to raise the next generation of Ugandan leaders, by pursuing excellence in academic and practical skills, integrity in conduct and moral values, so each child becomes a responsible Christian and a productive citizen of Uganda.

The goal is to rescue 10,000 children in Uganda by 2023 and the vision is to replicate the Watoto model all across Africa through fostering alliances and partnerships between Christian leaders in Africa and the developed world.

At Watoto, we believe that the Church is the solution to every community problem and that GOD has called us to establish justice and righteousness in our world. The church is, therefore, central to all we do.

Watoto is a holistic care programme that was initiated as a response to the overwhelming number of orphaned and vulnerable children and women in Uganda. It is positioned to rescue an individual, raise each one as a leader in their chosen sphere of life so that they in turn will rebuild their nation. The model involves physical care, medical intervention including HIV/AIDS treatment, education - formal and vocational, counselling and emotional well being as well as moral and spiritual discipleship.

check it out!!


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The Ever-Changing Rap Music Business By, Industry Veteran Wendy Day (

The Ever-Changing Rap Music Business
By, Industry Veteran Wendy Day (

2009 marked the end of a decade and there were many changes that occurred in the music business.

When Don Diva called and asked me to write about the changes I’ve seen over the last 10 years, I started writing this before I even got off the phone. It’s easy to write about something you live and are passionate about. In fact, it almost wrote itself. I’ve been in the music industry for almost 20 years now (March 2010 marks the beginning of my 19th year) and there are very few people left who started back when I did or who’ve been in it as long as I have. I chalk that up to the continual changes and to insanity—ya gotta be a little nuts to stay in this industry any length of time. Especially the folks like me who do this for the love, and not solely for the money!

Since The Dawn Of Hip Hop

Before I talk about the changes over the past decade, there are two changes that have occurred over the past two decades that I need to mention first: the music and the industry people. The music went from being an art form in the 80s and 90s, to being a business. When Hip Hop began in the late 70s and early 80s in the Bronx, it was art. Artists made music to express themselves, tell stories, and entertain fans. And although artists today also do the same thing, the motivation has changed drastically. Artists rarely make music today solely to entertain fans, express themselves, or tell stories. Almost all well-known artists try to make music that is marketable, fits a radio format, and will sell to the masses thereby bringing revenue and income to the artist. It went from being an artform to big business. Many years ago Chuck D said “Rap is the CNN of the Ghetto.” Today, it’s the new dope game—everyone is trying to hit a lick and make a quick buck in the music industry, it seems.

This change in the music (from art to commerce) also brought about a change in the people working in the music industry. The industry originally went from people outside of the artists’ community pimping them to people inside their community pimping them. At one time, the folks coming into the music industry to work were people who loved the musical art form, lived it, and wanted to be surrounded by it. Qualified workers were attracted into the fray. This changed in the 90s, bringing in people who saw the music industry as a “come up.” It became an industry with a low barrier to entry (meaning you didn’t need any special training or knowledge to work in the music industry) and where anyone could believably proclaim themselves a specialist or authority within any area of the industry (marketing, promotions, etc). Access replaced aptitude. It went from being fun to being the cut throat, over crowded, greed driven business that it is today.

Spreading The Wealth

In the 90s, I watched (and helped) the music industry shift from being centered in NY to giving access to many other areas of the country (L.A., the Bay Area, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, Atlanta, etc). The music went from being lyrically motivated (artists used to HAVE to have, and prove, their skills) to being motivated by sales (measurement of success was whether an artist could sell Platinum as opposed to lyrical skill). It became a multi-billion dollar business by its height in the early 2000s.

That geographic change also changed the discovery of artists and distribution of music from national through the Major Labels, to regional through independent labels. This is when Rap-A-Lot, Cash Money Records, No Limit Records, Swisha House, etc, sprung up and began to make money and gain fame. Even in NY and L.A., the major labels began to sign production companies like Bad Boy and Death Row to focus on urban music. As long as they brought in more money than they spent, and let the Majors continue to own all the masters, it was all good. Even when wars broke out.

Change Gon’ Come

And then things began to change in the past decade, and the change happened pretty quickly. The internet came along, increased in popularity, and by the height of rap music sales, the labels were complaining about all of the free downloading and swapping of the music through outside web based companies like Limewire, Kaaza, and Napster. This also affected software companies and the film industry, but not like it impacted the music industry since what was being “stolen” was only 3 or 4 minutes in length per song…by the millions. As bandwidth got wider in the internet world, the problem increased due to the ease of downloading. Instead of labels embracing downloading and figuring out how to monetize it, they fought it. Unsuccessfully. Fans were happy to take songs for free because it was common knowledge that their favorite artists weren’t being properly compensated for it anyway.

The internet also leveled the playing field. At one time, the only way to “get on” in the music industry was through a major label based in NY or Los Angeles. They were the gate keepers who allowed access to the industry because they controlled the distribution and the radio promotion, so either an artist had to make a connection with a label employee to get a deal or they had to sell a large amount of their own CDs regionally and attract a record deal from a Major label (or a successful middleman label or production company that already had access like Bad Boy, Death Row, DTP, Grand Hustle, etc).

The Playing Field Is Leveled

The internet allowed any artist the opportunity to upload their music to a website or social networking site and reach their fanbase and consumers directly without going through a Major Label’s distribution system. This was especially attractive to many artists without any funding opportunities. With an influx of artists coming into the marketplace, there was an even larger absence of how the industry worked or how to market and promote music successfully. It seemed easy and was treated as such. In reaction, up cropped unsavory people ready to prey on that ignorance, and lack of proper funds—the “get a deal” websites, the marketing and promotion websites, the Ning social networking websites for “members only,” the A&R evaluation websites, the producer websites that help you sell your beats, the consultants, etc.

This past decade has allowed many artists to flex their entrepreneurial skills and become their own independent record label, uploading mixed CDs, EPs, and singles to the web and building a buzz. Hundreds of thousands of websites, MySpace pages, and eblast companies sprang up to give these new artists access to the fans. Ancillary companies sprang up everywhere to help market, promote, distribute, and educate artists about the new frontier—the internet. People with no experience and no track record were jumping into the fray because they had computer knowledge or ability to reach artists through the internet. Internet sites were hiring people on the fringes of the music business because they needed authorities on urban music but couldn’t tell who was who.

People who believe they have talent or who think it’s easy to succeed have come into the marketplace in droves. The mindset that music is free began to prevail—not only free to own through downloading, but free to market and promote. Poorly financed “record labels” began to spring up and sign artists to “deals” because they felt they could make money digitally without spending any money (or spend limited money). The focus became to look for one hit that could make them millionaires overnight. Artists signed to those companies in droves hearing affiliations with major labels like Universal and Asylum, for example. Some folks took songs to radio to land deals (for a fat fee whether the deal came or not). There was a rebirth of “one hit wonders,” especially coming out of Texas. The legitimate labels began avoiding Texas artists for fear that they’d only get one hit wonders, thereby hurting all artists in that region.

The Splintering Effect

The internet also leveled the playing field with the industry. No longer were the key players behind the scenes people with a track record of success, people with trained skills, or people that the industry chose to “let in.” Through the internet, anyone with a healthy email list or some blogging skills could post their ideas and opinions online and attract followers to their opinions. The music industry went from a gatekeeper basis (an inner circle of a few choosing who to let into their circle) to a popularity basis (whomever had the largest following on the internet became accepted in the industry). An entire blogging culture sprung up, and gossips like Sandra Rose, Nicole Bitchie, and Media Takeout, and urban news sites like AllHipHop, HipHopDX, and SOHH took the places of importance of XXL, Vibe, and Source magazines because they could spread information quickly. Sensationalism also found a place in Hip Hop with sites like World Starr Hip Hop and Vlad TV, and artists soon learned that if they do scandalous stuff on video, they will get millions of views within days. Fame began to rule the music industry as artists vyed for reality shows thinking it was the next get rich scheme, only sharing too much information with fans and pushing them away in disgust.

Until the blogging sites and websites popped up, fans had to wait til the next month to get news, new music, reviews, and gossip–and only in printed form. In today’s instant internet culture, we can almost find out that Keiysha Cole is pregnant the day she conceives the child, or we can hear the latest Young Buck/G-Unit dis the second Buck finishes recording. Also, the magazines were based in NY for the most part, as were the staffs, so the bulk of coverage seemed to center around NY artists and lifestyle. The internet opened the coverage up to the world, so now the artists and topics covered are more international and chosen by whomever controls the websites—so information is no longer based solely in NY. The sales now reflect that shift.

The downside of this easy access is that the bloggers are not trained in journalistic skills or ethics/integrity, nor are they backed by large corporations with legal departments that reel in the inaccurate content. These folks can pretty much say whatever comes to mind no matter who it affects. They also don’t have access to the bigger, more famous artists, so they write mostly about the newer and local artists, thereby splintering (and scattering) the coverage even further. They feed off of each other regurgitating the same information overloading viewers—the rush to be first outweighs the need to be accurate. The popularity of Blogs and Websites also changed the overall point of view in general from News to Opinion. So an industry that once had less than a hundred artists in circulation, now has thousands with everyone giving their own opinion about them. This is far too many for fans to absorb so they tend to tune out most of the superfluous information.

This same scattered approach also affected promotions and marketing. Gone were the days of people accessing music through one or two local radio stations, a handful of TV stations or video shows, and a few magazines. Now to advertise and promote, artists and labels have to reach potential consumers wherever they’re getting their news, information, and relaxation—and these fans could be playing video games, surfing any one of millions of sites on the internet, listening to terrestrial radio, satellite radio, or internet radio, etc. The ways to reach potential fans has become too fragmented, and therefore too expensive, to use for marketing and promotions purposes. Magazines began to shut down because they couldn’t afford the lost advertising dollars. TV shows switched to reality TV format because they were cheaper to film and had a “trainwreck” quality of viewership, as their viewer base (and therefore advertising income) reduced. The most scandalous and extreme seems to attract the most attention (see “Balloon Boy” for proof of this). The downside of this need for extreme measures to attract attention is that it often makes the urban music industry feel like the WWE.

Cash Rules

As recording equipment became cheaper and more widely available to the masses, the amount of rappers, singers, and producers increased. This over saturated the marketplace with music. Anyone could now make music inexpensively and upload it onto the internet. The quality of the music began to decline. The industry went from thousands of potential artists to hundreds of thousands of potential artists (as evidenced by the number of rap MySpace pages). As the necessity to be lyrically skilled disappeared, anyone could call themselves a rapper. The ability to develop a buzz switched from skill to funding. Anyone with an investor could promote themselves alongside successful artists. Where lyrical skill once made an artist stand out, now image and adlibs were the stand out features for many rappers.

Cash became king in the past decade—people began to buy their way into the industry both on the artist side and the label side. It became a joke amongst industry people how those without money had talent, and those with money had no talent. More and more unsavory people were coming into the music business with the intention of getting a share of that money, and the old adage “a fool and his money are soon parted” became the norm in this industry. With this new influx of people, it was hard to tell who was real and who wasn’t, so the instances of people getting jerked out of money soared and continue to soar today.

Anyone spending money at a club or spending money on wrapped vehicles and flyers became a target for folks trying to get a check from them. I watched D Boys give industry folks $125,000 in a duffle bag to guarantee record deals that never materialized. I watched a shady Atlanta radio promoter take $45,000 in cash and not secure one radio spin for an indie label. An indie label had a bunch of DJs on “payroll” for years to play records that never came out. A consultant set up a label and helped them spend over a million dollars to sell less than 1,000 CDs with no distributor in sight. A small distributor allegedly put mixed CDs by well known DJs into Best Buy and forgot to pay them til they got sued by the DJs and the Major Labels—and it appears Best Buy still sells those CDs despite the cease and desist letters while the indie retail stores selling legitimate mixed CDs got shut down by the Feds. Gotta love this past decade!!

Today, anyone can walk into any industry event and pass out business cards saying they are a manager, or a promoter, or even that they own a record label, and they will be treated almost the same as Chris Lighty (a real manager), Alex Gidewon (a real promoter), or Jason Geter (a real label owner)—three people with extremely long, proven track records of success. Anyone with good game can bullshit and get over easily in this industry, and most do. And rather than starting a business based on seeing a need and filling it, most people band wagon jump. When they see someone doing something, they take that same idea and run with it. Anyone with internet access can be a Blogger or own an Urban Website. Anyone with a $200 iFlip can run a website or DVD Magazine. Anyone with an email list can have an eBlast service, and anyone with access to a free Bridge line can offer conference calls. Anyone with access to a handful of DJs can start a DJ Crew. Anyone with access to a venue can set up an industry seminar or conference. Truth is, anyone who can see someone else doing anything can jack their idea and replicate it, and there seems to be no downside or consequence for this action. On a positive note, anyone with access to any of these things, who is willing to put in the time and hard work and build something real, can easily stand out in this industry. Whether or not they can make money from it is the question…

Greed Took Over

With major labels desperate for revenue, and desperate to have things go back to the way they were (an impossible dream), they cut expenses by firing key staff members or squeezing out staff with track records of success and experience, replacing them with new people who were willing to work for less money. As money became harder to find, and as the labels were downsizing (meaning salaries decreased while workload increased), many enterprising label employees began to make money on the side by signing artists willing to give them a kickback or a percentage of their careers. This changed the artists getting signed from a talent basis to a financial incentive basis. This meant that the artists coming into the labels’ pipelines were there only if they were willing to take less money, do a shady side deal, or sign a 360 Deal with the label. Talent no longer mattered. The attitude amongst labels was that artists are a dime a dozen and if one artist won’t agree to this, some other artist certainly will. And they did.

This greed spread into every area. Producers became a dime a dozen and were asked to give up a share of their ownership in the publishing in exchange for placements. Some management companies, like Roc Nation, made it a prerequisite to be placed on one of their artist’s albums that the producer has to give up a percentage of their publishing for the placement—even producers with Platinum hits under their belts. The albums have become about who benefits financially instead of making the best music possible.

Many of the labels only use producers that they have on staff to produce albums because they want a bigger ownership financially. For example, Young Jeezy albums (my favorite artist) have a plethora of CTE owned producers on each album so that CTE can collect the lion’s share of the publishing and income. The radio singles seem to be well known established independent producers, but the album filler seems to be mostly CTE staff producers. This is the new music business model and neither CTE nor Roc Nation are the only companies taking a bigger share of the pie as the price for doing business with them—they are actually the norm. Could this possibly be why sales are so low in the rap music industry? Is the music suffering from this need for ownership instead of using the best music possible? After all, it’s a business today, not an artform. The industry is run on a need for ownership and money (greed) instead of displaying the best talent. Capitalism at its finest….

In the middle of this decade, the Major labels changed the recording contracts that it offered artists. The standard deals went from artists getting a 12% to 15% share of the pie after they paid everything back out of their small share, to “360 Deals.” These oppressive deals take a percentage of everything that the artist earns while signed to the label. In 2005, I stopped doing deals with labels because the deals became so oppressive for artists. I’ve even seen Atlantic Records refuse to work an already signed artist until he agreed to convert his contract to a 360 Deal—a worse deal for him, even though his leverage and popularity had increased in the marketplace. His lawyer advised him to do so, as well.

Once used to a healthy profit margin that afforded grand lifestyles for those at the top of the food chain, the major labels became disgruntled as sales dropped while they missed the boat on less profitable digital sales. Taking on the role of dinosaurs fighting for survival, they tried everything from stopping the new digital revolution, to fighting it, to suing it, to band wagon jumping too late. Nothing worked for them. And they still haven’t learned from their mistakes—they still continue to fight the ways the consumers want to receive their music, even though they are willing to pay for it.

So to justify their continuing existence, the labels decided to take an even larger share of the pie from the ONLY aspect of the equation that they controlled—the artist (or the “content” provided for digital download). Back in the day, labels took roughly 88% of the pie while giving the artists 12% of the money AFTER the artist paid back everything spent on them from that 12% share. In exchange for giving up the lion’s share of the sales, the labels always told the artists that they’d make 100% of the touring. Any show money, was the artist’s to keep! Not today!!!

When the shit hit the fan financially for the labels, they decided to tap into the show money, and all other streams of income for the artists, as well. After all, if your profit margin is made smaller, you need to eat more of everyone’s income to keep the fat cats at the top, and the stock holders, happy. Most 360 Deals share in endorsement income (15% to 30% depending on the artist), performance income (10% to 30% depending on the artist), merchandising income (20% to 50%) and Film/TV money (15% to 40%), and as has always been the norm: 50% of the publishing income (ownership in the actual music and lyrics).

How do labels justify taking an even BIGGER share of the pie from artists? They complain that they are doing all of the developing, investing, marketing, and promoting. Their argument is that they believe in the artist when the artist has nothing, and they feel that assuming the lion’s share of the risk should result in sharing in a lion’s share of the profit. If the label is developing and building the artist to a level of super stardom, they feel they have the right to share in a percentage of everything that super stardom affords the artist. So if they drive the artist platinum, they feel they should get a piece of the tour that came from the fame the label helped the artist build, and a piece of the endorsement deal or film income that came from the fame that the label helped build. I guess I could see this argument better, if I actually agreed that the labels did their jobs well of building artists. No 360 Deal to date, has resulted in an artist becoming a SuperStar.

40 Is NOT The New 30

A major shift this past decade has been in demographics. The age of the fans has changed. They’ve grown up into other types of music than rap. Urban music is no longer the mainstream center that it once was. It got old and uncool. Hell, the bulk of our rap stars are older than 30 years old!! Jay Z and Puffy turned 40 this year. And even though their lyrics say that 40 is the new 30 (LOL), that’s the age of the average rap fan’s Dad! Who wants to follow a star that looks like somebody’s Dad!? We don’t have new younger Rap Stars replacing the older Rappers yet other than Soulja Boy. While sales have proven there still is a market for Jay Z, it’s not what it once was. We need a new crop of rap stars that are able to deliver what the mass audience wants….whatever that is. The folks controlling the music industry are all as old as the rappers. When I came into this industry at 30 years old, I was often the oldest person in sight. Today, the industry is made up of folks 30+. How can someone so far away from teenagers in age know what a teenager wants to buy? They are still the bulk of the music buying public. And the folks running most of the labels are my age or older! No wonder the music industry is so out of sync with the youth.

So, while sales have declined in urban music, the artists have been treated worse than ever. They’ve been asked to give up a larger share of their already limited income, and the labels rationalize this by the fact that there are more artists than ever to choose from. Talent doesn’t enter into the business decisions as it once did, or as it should. The music has suffered because it has been created to fit established radio formats (which are bought and paid for through payola) rather than made to be creative and artistic. Artists are controlled through money and financial incentives, and are quickly replaced when they don’t conform. Greed has taken over the industry and artists’ mindsets (most, not all), and drives the current urban music industry. The barrier for entry has been lowered and allows anyone with access and a business card a way in to make his or her share of the pie—usually without delivering what was promised. This industry is very shady and the majority of people can not, or do not, deliver what they promise. And it’s aging quickly.

Yet all in all, it is a fame based industry where glamour seems to reign supreme. People continue to want in and are willing to do anything to get in. It’s an industry that is built on smoke and mirrors and hype and sells dreams for profit. And the truth is, I can’t imagine doing anything else in the world than being right here in the middle of it all, trying to do what’s right and make sense of it.

In the past decade, overall, I’ve seen things grow exponentially worse even though the access has opened and the playing field has been leveled with the internet. I believe the key to on-going success in this music business economy is two-fold: 1) We need to get rid of the old guard—fire everyone who has played a part in getting us to this point, and start over. Everyone! We need to set the standard of doing good and fair business with a consequence for those who get excessively greedy or who jerk people. Those of us in positions of power for years are too set in our ways and remember the days of huge income too readily and we need to be replaced by folks with no expectations and who are willing to embrace the future no matter what it brings. And 2) we need to bring it back to the music and deliver what the fans want, how they want to access it, and what they are willing to pay for. With the internet it’s even easier to tap into research and development of the music and deliver what is needed and wanted. If it’s a customer based business, we need to treat it as such. The artists need to be talented and compensated fairly for what they bring to the table. Lil Wayne, Taylor Swift, and Susan Boyle have proven in 2009 that people will buy what they want to buy—by the millions. In the next decade, let’s give them what they want, shall we? Before the music completely dies.


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Why Wack Artists Get Deals! from makin’ it mag….

Every month I find myself in a barbershop, record store, or club parking lot listening to artists claiming that record labels will sign just about anybody these days. I hear them complain about radio stations not playing their songs. I hear them talk about the lack of opportunities for artists with real talent to get heard. I’ve listened to many different versions of these same complaints for over five years as an artist, a manager, a studio owner, and a consultant. These complaints were the exact reason that I put together “The Beat Game: $5000 Rap Contest.” My whole purpose was to provide a level playing field where artists could showcase their talent and get some much needed exposure regardless of where they came from. The funny thing is, when I mention the contest to those same artists, half of them turn their nose up because they feel they are too good to be participating in such a contest while the other half will ask for more information. I’ll talk to them and explain the details but once I tell them there is a $35 entry fee all but a few will loose complete interest. I’ve had artists tell me everything from “I don’t pay to rap…” to “You should be paying us to participate…” I laugh it off because these are the same artists that sit around complaining about their situation, which brings me to the title of this article, “Why wack artist get deals!”

This is actually a very simple question to answer. I’m not insinuating that you can’t be talented and make it in the industry but the truth of the matter is less talented artists work harder while artists that are more talent tend to think they can get away with doing less. An artist that is less talented has something to prove and will go the extra mile to prove it. Less talented artists may find it harder to get others to believe in their dreams so they will often be forced to take on more responsibility, often being their on manager, promoting their own shows, selling their own cd’s, and pretty much being a one man movement. On the other side of the fence is an artists that is much more talented but he is surrounded by people that see him as a meal ticket. They constantly inflate his ego with praise fooling him into a false sense of security as if he has already made it. At this point the artist tends to think that his talent alone justifies his position and that he should not have to perform the menial tasks of passing out flyers, selling CD’s, working with other artists, etc. So these artists get so consumed in this false image that they have created in their head that they miss out on all the opportunities that the less talented artists jump at.

Go to any open mic and you will see exactly what I’m talking about. You will watch a room full of nobodies pretending to be some bodies. Let me just point out that I am not knocking independent artists; this is meant as a wake up call. Too often I watch artists sit around open mics and showcases just waiting for their turn to perform. They tend to post up in the back like their shit doesn’t stink not networking, not clapping for other artists, and not even paying attention. But the reality of the situation is you’re at a damn open mic! You just paid to perform like the rest of these artists. You got to the club and signed a sheet of paper to get on stage. Didn’t nobody call you down to the club to perform. There were no radio commercials for you and there is not a dressing room in back with your name on it. You are just another artist trying to make it. But the irony is, at that same open mics I will see less talented artist clap for everyone that performs even if only in hopes of having the favor returned. I watch as they float around the club passing out their CD’s and talking to anyone who will listen. They are hungry and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it. It reminds me of the old Hertz  Rental Car campaign “When you’re number 2 you try harder.” This is not to say that these artists aren’t good but they understand that they are not where they want to be so they will do whatever it takes to get there unlike their counterparts that feel they are god’s gift to the industry and expect everything to be handed to them.

To be perfectly clear, I am not saying that you have to suck to make it in the industry. I am simply stating that success doesn’t come overnight. It has to be worked for. This article is about staying humble. A lot of great artists never realize their potential for success due to their lack of work ethic. Too often artists get so wrapped up in their own hype that they start believing that they’re too good to shovel the shit. They think that passing out flyers, selling their own CD’s, participating in contests and performing at open mics is beneath them; but when you don’t have a promotional budget to employ people to do these things or people booking you for shows…. Guess what… It isn’t! There are artists with deals that still hit open mics trying to build a buzz on records so that the label will give them a release date. There are producers with platinum plaques still worried about getting placements and here you are sitting in the back of the Peacock acting Hollywood while you waiting for your name to be called off a list to perform. “Nigga quit bitchin’ and get on yo job!”

This is just a public service announcement for all those bitter ass rappers, singers, DJs, producers, managers, and models that always complain about someone “less talented” getting the opportunities they feel they deserve. Quit waiting for opportunities and start creating them.


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Even More Myspace love

We continue to get love from myspace thanks to all our supporters……here’s a sample:



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Must be dedication

Current mood: happy Must be dedication blessed
Category: Music

Yesterday November 21, 2009 is the day that is realized that my level of  focus is different than a lot of people. I went to the Radio One Raleigh music Conference after working a night shift which meant at the end on of a day of  forums/panels, networking and touching bases with people old and new I had been up 24 hours. I think that there more people interested in modeling and actual radio jobs at the event then artist but i think over all it was a good experience……Most other artists may not have thought so… it kills me when artists (local rappers especially) think that they are going to go to any conference event and automatically get signed. My thought is that even if nothing major comes of this I put the label and The Empire’s music in front of the right people which has a cummulative effect people keep seeing your face and understanding your serious and you continue to do what you need to do the right door will open.



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20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a concrete barrier erected by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) (East Germany) that completely encircled the city of West Berlin, separating it from East Germany, including East Berlin. The Wall included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defenses.

The separate and much longer inner German Border (the IGB) demarcated the border between East and West Germany. Both borders came to symbolize the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc.

Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans had avoided Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and escaped into West Germany, many over the border between East and West Berlin. During its existence from 1961 to 1989, the Wall stopped almost all such emigration and separated the GDR from West Berlin for more than a quarter of a century.[1] After its erection, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with estimates of the resulting death toll varying between around 100 and 200.

During a revolutionary wave sweeping across the Eastern Bloc, the East German government announced on November 9, 1989, after several weeks of civil unrest, that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans climbed onto and crossed the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, parts of the wall were chipped away by a euphoric public and by souvenir hunters; industrial equipment was later used to remove almost all of the rest. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990.


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