May 31, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 29, 2009
May 26, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 19, 2009
May 18, 2009
May 12, 2009
SHOUTS TO SHA MONEY FOR PUTTING THIS GREAT EVENT TOGETHER!!!
THE ONE STOP SHOP WAS A SOLD OUT EVENT!!!! A LOT OF HUNGRY PRODUCERS IN THE BUILDING!!!
SHOUTS TO BILLBOARD WHO WON THE BEAT BATTLE!!! HE TOOK HOME THAT MIKO KEYBOARD (RETAILED AT $5000)
THE AFTERPARTY AT CLUB PHX WAS ROCKING!!! 9TH WONDER WAS ON THE 1s AND 2s
SWAY WAS THE MODERATOR FOR THE LEGEND FILLED PRODUCER PANEL
THE BIG HOMIE RZA WAS IN THE BUILDING DROPPING JEWELS!!!
9TH WONDER AND THE BIG HOMIE PETE ROCK
NOTTZ HAD EVERYONE LAUGHING!!!
DRUMMA BOY, DON CANNON, AND BUCKSHOT!!!!
HI-TEK WAS IN THE BUILDING!!!
THIS IS ALL OF THE CDs THAT I TOOK HOME...HOPEFULLY I HEAR SOME GOOD BEATS ON A FEW OF THESE
May 7, 2009
One of the biggest misunderstandings of the music industry is the difference between a producer and a beat maker. People automatically assume that if they start tapping on a drum machine or playing some keys that they're considered a producer. That is incorrect. I feel like a lot of self-proclaimed "Producers" are not producers at all. They are either beatmakers or musicians. I've worked with all three and so I
am well equipped to write this blog.
A beat maker simply makes beats. One might say well isn't that producing??? No, it is not. If I never played basketball a day in my life and I pick up a ball and start to shoot, can I call myself a basketball player or am I learning how to play basketball? I feel like a beat maker is in the process of learning how to produce. Making a beat and then telling someone to rap or sing on it, is not producing at all. And that's what a lot of aspiring producers are doing now. They make tracks and get people to rap or sing on them with no instructions or direction. That's not producing. That's making a beat and giving it to someone to do what they want on it. There is nothing wrong with being a beat maker because there are some good ones out there. The only problem is that a beat maker is only as good as the material that is layed on his/her tracks. So if you make a good beat and Lil' Spank spits some GARBAGE over the track, then you're considered garbage because you called yourself a "PRODUCER."
So what is a PRODUCER then? A producer's job is to create, shape and mold a piece of music into their vision for the artist's album. A producer also might control the recording sessions, coach and guide the musicians, and mix the records. His job is to oversee the record and make sure he agrees with every component of the song. A producer is responsible for the song as a whole, not just the beat. He picks and chooses who is going to write, rap, or sing on his track. He picks and chooses the musicians he will get to play certain instruments live. He has a vision for every track that he makes. He is able to bring out the best and only expect the best material on his track. He understands that if the material is not good then he is held responsible. If Tyler Perry allows his actors and actresses to deliver terrible acting performances and the movie gets bad ratings, he gets the blame for it because he is usually the producer of the movie, as well as the director, actor, and writer. So it's no different with a music producer, if the song is no good, then YOU are to blame.
Then there are the musicians who THINK they are producers. A musician is simply someone who is good at playing a certain instrument or two. Producers that don't necessarily play instruments hire musicians to play specific notes and sounds to build a track. Most musicians learned how to play at a young age by playing in a band or in a church. But just because you know how to play an instrument, it does NOT make you a producer.
As I stated previously, I've worked with beat makers, producers, and musicians. Most talented beat makers usually go under the tutelage of a good producer until they learn how to produce records. A beat makers regimen is firing up his drum machine and playing with sounds until he feels like he made a good beat and so on and so forth. A producer has a clear understanding of what he is going to create. He might go through old samples, or get a musician to play certain keys, bass, or guitar. They know what type of vibe they are about to create and they understand their strong points and hire people to do what they are not so great at doing. The musicians I've worked with are similar to beat makers. If they are a piano player, their drum kits and patterns are usually horrible. So the difference between a producer and a beat maker is the producer is able to take what the beat maker or musician creates and make it a whole lot better because they have a clearer vision.
My top 3 producers are Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and Jermaine Dupri. None is better than the other to me because they all do what they do differently. In my opinion, Dr. Dre is the best hip hop producer, Timbaland is the best R&B/Pop producer, and Jermaine Dupri is the best all around Producer/Writer.
FYI: Some of my favorite producers are Kanye West, No ID, Swizz Beats, The Neptunes, Diddy, DJ Toomp, DJ Premier, Marley Marl and a host of other old school and up and comings.
May 5, 2009
The music business is all about relationships. Allow me to explain why it's so hard to catch a break in this business. Having undeniable material and talent is only half of the uphill battle of getting a major placement. The other half is building good relationships with OFFICIAL people. There are so many imposters in this business and it's no different than the streets. It's a hustle! So just like the streets you are going to come across a lot of FRAUD and MIDDLEMEN that will attempt to swindle you into believing they will make you successful.
Once you've PERFECTED YOUR CRAFT, the next step is to do your homework on who is who. As a producer or a writer, you have to surround yourself with a good team. Your main focus should be to make tracks or write songs and your manager's job should be to get it to the right artists or A&Rs.
Like I stated in part 1, remember that you are competing against industry vets and hungry and upcoming producers and writers like yourself. Some of the upcoming producers and writers might not be as talented as you or have better material, but they might have a better team of managers and that is why they are able to catch a break.
Also, understand that most of the industry veteran execs and managers came up together. I'm part of the new generation. I'm still on the road to becoming a future mogul. So all of the producers and writers that I deal with now, I will make sure to look out for in the future. But, at the end of the day, they have to deliver. My job and reputation are on the line and I refuse to do any favors that will cost me my job. It's the same with the veteran execs now. They have their own team or "Go To Men/Women" that they work with and there is nothing wrong with that as long as those people constantly deliver. I used to be the "MAD MANAGER" wondering why all the execs would run to the household names. Now being in those shoes, I realize that the household names or veteran producers/writers know how to give you exactly what you are looking for. Where as the new and upcoming producers/writers are still learning how to do that and may take longer to deliver.
It's all about relationships. It's six degrees of separation. It's a small industry of execs, but there's a plethora of talent. When playing basketball, I thought I was the man because I was the best in my neighborhood. It wasn't until I went away to basketball camp that I realized how good I needed to be to make it to Division 1 basketball. There's a whole world of talent out there and that's what I think you guys need to realize. Shooting for a placement for a major artist with no idea of the sound or direction of the album is like trying to hit the bullseye on a dart board from 30 feet away in the dark.
I started out managing new producers and writers. I wasn't affiliated with anybody with a household name. I went to every music conference and I would be one of the guys to rush the panelists once the panel was over. But as my understanding of the music biz grew I realized that I needed to be patient. I was Gung-Ho. I swore I had the hottest material, but honestly as I look back now, it was just mediocre. I didn't have an A&R ear as a manager. I was just submitting whatever my clients created. Some days I sent in up to 15 beats at a time, 10 different songs with no specific project in mind. As my understanding grew, I came to realize that I had to affiliate myself with nothing but GREATNESS and that's how I got my start as an A&R.
I was ambitious and anxious but I realized I needed to be patient. Instead of me trying to rush the panelists I realized that's it's always better to be introduced to someone by a CREDIBLE person. I had to learn music industry etiquette. So as I built good relationships with artists and A&Rs, my job became easier and more opportunities presented itself.
May 2, 2009
The rat race is the ruthless, competitive struggle for success in the music business. Let me start off by saying that this blog entry isn't to discourage aspiring songwriters and producers, but more so to motivate you to write and produce to your highest potential. This blog is intended to paint a vivid picture so you understand what you're up against. I'm not happy with the creativity and sound of music right now so instead of complaining about it, I'd rather share my knowledge in hopes that it will reach the right people. I want the people on the outside trying to get in to understand how great their music will have to be to play a part in this industry.
I remember one day, my varsity basketball coach had a guy come speak to us at practice. He passed out a piece of paper with statistics on how many high school basketball players in the United States that actually make it to the NBA. To sum the sheet up, there were hundreds of thousands high school and college basketball players and only about 60 actually get drafted into the NBA per year. The percentage rate was .00042%. Now I could have taken that information and given up on chasing my dreams to join the NBA that day, but instead I chose to work harder because I knew what I was going against.
Music is no different. There are a lot of songwriters and producers working on the same projects. The reality of it all is that a very small percentage of them will ever actually become successful. I think a lot of aspiring writers and producers are misinformed and forget the history of music. This concept of "song shopping" is all new. There wasn't a "Who's Looking List" back in the day. There was one producer and an artist or group who collectively created an album. It wasn't about let's go get a beat from Quincy or Berry. It was, let's give Quincy this project. In rap there was the DJ and the rapper. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, DJ Premier and Guru (Gangstarr), and Eric B and Rakim. So this " song shopping "concept is something new that executives are starting to impose and unfortunately its not working anymore. There is a reason why Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys outsell their peers everytime. They have a consistent sound as well as one MAIN producer over their project. Miley Cyrus isn't running around saying "I need a single, who has one?". Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus has EXECUTIVE PRODUCED every single project.
I'm playing both sides now. I'm still shopping records for the producers and writers signed to Jermaine Dupris' publishing company (Dieniahmar/EMI) and I'm also doing some A&R consulting at Atlantic Records. As an A&R, I seem to be encountering the same problems with producers and writers. They are submitting material based on what the artist has done already rather than where the artist is trying to go with his/her upcoming album. This is called submitting records BLINDLY. They don't have a clue of the direction of the album, they are just assuming rather than finding out. So they'll purchase a "Who's Looking" List and it'll say something like "Looking for an Uptempo." I'm sorry guys but that is not enough information. You guys have to find out the direction/sound of the album and then build a track/song that fits the sound and storyline of the album. It's easier said than done. You have hundreds of people calling the labels everyday because they bought the A&R Registry and it lists every label and A&Rs contact information. Do you think an A&R wants to sit there and take calls from strangers all day long and tell them the directions of the project he is involved in??
The solution is "Get your alliances right". First, get to know who's who in the business. I attended every music conference there was in order to learn the execs' faces and positions. Find a manager who has a good reputation of doing good business. Perfect your craft!!!! Remember that you are competing against industry vets like Rodney Jerkins, Bryan Michael Cox, Jermaine Dupri, Timberland, Neptunes, Polow Da Don, No ID, Johnta Austin, Ne-yo, Tricky and Dream, Sean Garrett, etc., as well as new and hungry aspiring producers and writers like yourself. So if your material isn't up to par, why are you getting frustrated that the A&R didn't accept a record you wrote for Toni Braxton??? Ne-yo probably wrote a bigger/better ballad than you did!!!!
I'll write a part 2 to this because it's gets deeper than that. I'll get into song deals and relationships next.
IF YOU TAKE THIS INFORMATION AND GET DISCOURAGED THEN YOU'RE A "CUP IS HALF EMPTY" TYPE OF PERSON AND THIS BUSINESS ISN'T FOR YOU. THIS IS A CUT-THROAT COMPETITIVE BUSINESS AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE THICK SKIN AND PATIENCE, YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE.
THESE DUDES ARE NEXT UP!!! I FUCKS WIT DOW JONES AND HEN...THEY ARE ON FIRE RIGHT NOW WITH "MY PRESIDENT IS BLACK" AND "EVERY GIRL"