Firing back at scandalous promoters

August 29, 2008

THE PROBLEM DIAGNOSED

Let me make something perfectly clear:  I have NEVER in my life paid to perform on stage, have my music played on the radio, or be featured on anyone’s project.  Yes, most things cost money in this business.  Whether it’s studio equipment/time, production, guest vocals, videos, photo shoots, graphic design, club fees for your own events, CDs, t-shirts, or promotion, you need to pay for a lot of stuff before you can expect to see any returns.  It can be hard for new artists who come out of pocket on a consistent basis to understand where the line must be drawn.  Unfortunately, this combined with scumbags looking to take advantage of the oversaturated market (when it comes to artists these days, there is much more supply than demand) leads to many well meaning people getting ripped off.

For any confused artists out there, let’s make the distinction right now.  When it’s your own project, you should be paying for whatever’s necessary to complete it.  When it’s someone else’s project, you should be paid for your contribution.  It’s acceptable to do free work for someone when you see fit, especially when you’re hungry and looking to make a name for yourself, but remember that food costs money too.  Eating should be a pretty high priority when you’re hungry.  In any case, you should never give anyone money to perform at HIS show or appear on HER album.  This means if a promoter asks you to “sell tickets” in order to perform at his “showcase,” you should respond with a clear and forceful, “Fuck you, pay me.”  If you’re asked to pay to get your music on a mixtape or compilation album that will be “sent to radio” and “heard by major label A&Rs,” you should respond with a clear and forceful, “Fuck you, pay me.”  Why?  Because the fact that these cocksuckers are getting away with it is a major contributing factor to the music industry being in the toilet.  One can argue this is a side effect of the industry already being in the toilet, but the fact remains that this is nowhere we want to be.

In radio, the practice of paying for play is known as payola.  It has been outlawed because it creates an environment where only those able and willing to give obscene amounts of money to the stations are heard.  Unfortunately, there are loopholes within the radio world and stations are able to get away with it using backhanded methods I won’t get into here.  Outside the radio world, there’s no regulation whatsoever and it runs even more rampant.  Back in June, I wrote a blog pleading with artists to show themselves some self-respect, and I am echoing that sentiment today.  We need to not only dismiss these wack “promoters” for attempting to pull the stunt, but straight up pull their card and expose their sorry asses.  Pause.

THE SOLUTION IN ACTION

Recently, I received an email about including “Dreams Come True” on an upcoming promotional mixtape distributed by the marketing company Triple F Unlimited.  Upon inquiring for more information, I received a lengthy reply listing off the terms of the agreement, including a declaration that they would not pay out any royalties to artists, with this gem buried deep in the fine print:

Once your music is selected you will only have 5 days to make your contribution to the project! Each entertainer will be asked to pay $150 to defray the cost of the project, once his/her music has been selected for the CD! We encourage everybody to use PAYPAL, because it’s the fastest and safest. That way there will never be any shipping delays.

This is simply incredible.  Their definition of the artist’s “contribution to the project” is not the music he/she created and licensed to them, but the money said artist will have to pay them to be on the project.  Let’s be serious here.  How does this dude say that to people with a straight face?  Scratch that.  How does this dude say that to people and not get punched in the mouth?  Since this all happened through email, all I could offer was a written jab.  Here was my response on behalf of the group:

No doubt, we’re interested in submitting our single for this very important release.  We waive the right to receive any royalties for our appearance on this compilation, and grant Triple F Unlimited and all its subsidiaries the unlimited right to distribute, market, and promote our music and likenesses freely as they see fit.  Please be aware that there is a $150 processing fee that is collected ONLY after our song has been selected for this mixtape.  This fee is to be paid to us within 5 days of our song being selected.  We ask that you utilize our Paypal account to make this fast and easy one time payment.  We do not stand to profit from this payment, as it is simply to defray the asshole tax associated with pay to play scammers.
 
Thank you, and we look forward to a prosperous business relationship!

The Fam

BATTLE OVER.


We’re all going to hell

August 27, 2008

Here’s a comment a Christian preacher left on The Fam’s MySpace page a while ago.  Apparently our lyrics suggest that we’re destined for the lake of fire (which, as he was so courteous to clarify, indeed means Hell).

I accepted your friend request but now I must drop you because your content is crude and wicked. The Apostle Paul said that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God and John the Apostle says that unbelievers stand condemned and they will have their part in the lake of fire (Hell).

I pray that all 3 of you would pray to God the father and ask Him to forgive you of your sins on the basis of your belief in Jesus Christ who loves you and gave his life for you on the cross. Turn away from your sin and turn to the LORD and be saved.

God loves you and does not desire that you perish (2 peter 3:9).

There is always a market for Christian rap music and its benefits are life and life more abundant!

Okay.  The irony is that Hell is actually an underlying theme on the Fam album, and we speak about temptation and the evil we see manifested in the world.  On “Inferno,” I talk about coming from Hell (metaphorically, for those of you who take everything so literally) and using the fire burning inside of me as inspiration.  Obviously, he hasn’t heard the album and is basing his judgment off one or two songs he heard on MySpace.  Nevermind the fact that all three of us are proactive citizens involved with charity efforts, raising awareness about pertinent issues, and registering people to vote.  We’re going to Hell because we rap about getting head from our homegirls.  I guess Satan doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Are these lyrics really so damning?

Artist:   The Fam
Album:  Family Business
Song:   Homegirls (Remix)

[EJ]
Ey, Pi! Let’s call your homegirls
Have Timid call his homegirls
I’ll call my homegirls
We’ll see if they homegirls wanna be our homegirls
Na’mean? It’s the remix!

[Hook] (x2) w/ EJ adlibs
Yo I’m trapped in my own mind, caught up in my own world
No wifey, I’m gettin’ head from my homegirls (uh!)
Tr-trapped in my own mind, caught up in my own world
No wifey, I’m gettin’ head from my homegirls (yeah!)

[EJ]
(They not gonna like you) Shiiit, I can’t blame ’em
Ma, I can’t be your man, I’m a little too famous
Nah I don’t want your number, I don’t care what your name is
I’m just like that scarecrow — gimme some brain, bitch
A bit outrageous but you seen who I came with
The Fam, goddamn, are we speaking the same language?
Look here little cutie, I came for a little booty
No Louie, no Gucci, bitch you’re just a groupie
I ain’t met The Fugees or rapped with Q-Unique
But I’m the star of the show, go ask them if they knew me
You might get a movie or a seat in the Jacuzzi
I ain’t R. Kelly, so don’t expect the room key
The game’s more counterfeit than three dollar bills
Here’s the deal, for a small fee of three dollar bills
You can audition to be my homegirl and see how it feels
We can have a barbecue, I’ll keep my meat on your grill

Hook (x2) w/ Pizon adlibs

[Pizon]
She told me she loved me when we got back to the car
At the back of the car
Told the bitch “peace” and hopped back in the car
But nobody told her to stay at the back of the car
Fucked around and hit the bitch in the back with the car
While I was backin’ the car
Damn! I think I broke her back with the car
Oh shit! Now I got a dead bitch at the back of the car
So I took a bodybag out the back of the car
Put the body in the bag, the bag back in the car
I fled the scene but then ran back for the car
That’s when I heard sirens coming from the back of the car
Police telling me to back off the car (get back from the car!)
What? The cadaver started crawling out the back of the car?
I looked at the officer, we screamed “Bitch get back in the car!”
Yeah, you guessed right
I gave it to her mouth and by the next night, she was…

Hook (x2) w/ Timid adlibs

[Timid]
Yo, forget gettin’ brain, I want genius IQ
How am I degrading you if it’s what you like to do?
I make it easy for you:  Velcro in the belt loop
NBA style with the breakaway sweatsuit
Neck stiff? I got you — ill skills with Shiatsu
Don’t change the subject, you’ve got no excuse to cop to
No TMJ so that jaw needs to be stretched
And you better be aware of that dental like DDS
Shhh, let it happen, don’t ruin the moment
Nah, for real: shut up all that yappin’ and blow it
It’s a special time between a man and his homegirl
Where he sits back and zones out in his own world
Thinking Timid don’t like that? You must be deluded
Why do you girls think I make that Head Nod Music?
Oh, and it’s rude if I offer you a drink and you pass
What’s that funny taste you ask? Superglue on the shaft

Hook (x2)

No wifey, I’m gettin’ head from my homegirls (Yeah!)

If that isn’t a Christian rap song, I don’t know what is.


Pizon at Fish Eye, Brooklyn 9/24

August 23, 2008

Come party with Pizon and other celebrity guests at the all new and plush Fish Eye Bar, Lounge, & Grill in Brooklyn.  Free admission!


“Dreams Come True” a radio priority for national DJs

August 21, 2008

Sirius satellite radio DJs The Wonder Twinz have named “Dreams Come True” a radio priority for this week.

Adds  //  ASN  //  Road to success f/ AZ  //  Soul on a Beat Ent.
Top 20  // The Fam //  Dreams Come True  //  La Scala Ent.
Top 10  //  Lady X  //  I’m Bad  //  Bar-Red Ent. Group
Top 10  //  Precise  //  Making Music  //  Get It Right Ent.
Top 5  //  B.A.M.  //  My City  //  the war machine
#1  //  Kelli Glover  //  The Get Away  //  Over da Top Ent.

Medium rotation:
Blam //  Flash Iron  //  Ramsay Records/Blamnation
Audbol //  First Time  //  EZ Love Records
Tap Waterz  //  No Friend Of Mine  //  4 Wheelz Records

The Wonder Twinz’ national radio show can be heard on Sirius’ Hot Jamz (ch. 50) every Saturday from 6 PM to midnight EST, and every Sunday from 8 PM to midnight EST.  They are also syndicated on FM radio in 30 different cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Tallahassee, Philadelphia, and Columbus.

Click here to see a complete listing.


“Dreams Come True” enters the charts in PA

August 18, 2008


TOP 50 DANCE/URBAN PLAY LIST

BG Promotions (Pennsylvania)

TC / LC / ARTIST / TITLE / LABEL
 

1 / 2 / LIL WAYNE / A MILLI / UNIVERSAL
2 / NE / LIL WAYNE feat. T-PAIN / GOT MONEY / UNIVERSAL
3 / 1 / CHRIS BROWN / FOREVER / JIVE
4 / NE / YUNG BERG feat. CASHA / THE BUSINESS / KOCH
5 / 3 / THREE 6 MAFIA feat. PROJECT PAT / LOLLI LOLLI / COLUMBIA
6 / 8 / V.I.C. / WOBBLE / COLLIPARK/WB
7 / 9 / BUN B. feat. RICK ROSS / YOU’RE EVERYTHING / RAP A LOT
8 / NE / T-PAIN feat. LIL WAYNE / CAN’T BELIEVE IT / JIVE
9 / 20 / HOSTYLZ feat. YUNG JOC / LOOKIN’ BOY / JIVE
10 / 4 / LLOYD / GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD / UNVERSAL
11 / 5 / SOULJA BOY feat. ARAB / YAHHH / COLLIPARK
12 / 6 / LIL WAYNE / LOLLIPOP / UNIVERSAL
13 / 7 / NELLY feat. ASHANTI & AKON / BODY ON ME / UNIVERSAL
14 / 16 / B.O.N.E.Z. / MILK IT / N.A.M.
15 / 17 / MERCEE feat. KILLEBREW / LEMME HOLLA AT YA / BURN UNIT
16 / 18 / FRED THE GODSON / GET’EM FRED / T.B.M ENT.
17 / 19 / JEAN / CARIBBEAN GIRL / SONY/BMG
18 / NE / ASHANTI / GOOD GOOD / UNIVERSAL
19 / NE / NINA SKY feat. RICK ROSS / CURTAIN CALL / J RECORDS
20 / NE / R. KELLY / SKIN / JIVE
21 / NE / E-40 feat. AKON / WAKE IT UP / WB
22 / NE / AL FAMEGA feat. T.I. / UH HUH / CAPITOL
23 / NE / AVANT / WHEN IT HURTS / CAPITOL
24 / NE / NELLY feat. CIARA / STEPPED ON MY J’Z / UNIVERSAL
25 / 30 / JESSI MALAY feat. DJ FELLI FELL / CINEMATIC / WB
26 / 31 / MAINO / HI HATER / ATLANTIC
27 / 32 / KAYO & COOP feat. JUVENILE / BUTTA / ROK EARTH
28 / 33 / GHOSTWRIDAH feat. BARACK OBAMA / DYIN’ TO SURVIVE / NORTHSTAR/BLACK
29 / 10 / HEAVY VEE / I DON’T NEED A HOOK / DOUBLE M/RAZOR
30 / 11 / ABN / WHO’S THE MAN / RAP A LOT
31 / 13 / PLIES feat. NEYO / BUST IT BABY PT.2 / ATLANTIC
32 / 14 / BIRDMAN / I RUN THIS / UNIVERSAL
33 / 34 / K.A.R. feat. DJ KHALED / THEY HATE ME MAN / KOCH
34 / 35 / LAZE & ROYAL / LIKE A PISTOL / WB
35 / 36 / SLO V & RETRO / MIAMI STRIPPER / 205 MUSIC
36 / 47 / GYPTIAN / WHERE’S MY BABY (REGGAE) / VP
37 / 48 / TRIAD / GUTTA CHICK / JIVE
38 / 49 / DOONEY “DA PRIEST” / PULL YOUR PANTS UP / MALACO
39 / 50 / NIKKOLE / E-XOTIC (REGGAE) / X-OTIC SE ENT.
40 / 23 / USHER / MOVING MOUNTAINS / LA FACE
41 / 25 / K LETHAL / DA SYSTEM / AMATHUS
42 / 26 / C GIZZLE & G MACK / STACK MY CHIPS / DOUBLE M/KOCH
43 / 29 / TONE BLACQ / MISTAKES / BIG SHOT/N.W.M.P.
44 / NE / STREET RUNNAZ CLICK / GET LOW / RUTHLESS
45 / NE / SHIRE / USED TO LOV HER / SRC
46 / NE / CLAP COGNAC / U KNOW ITTTT / UNIVERSAL
47 / NE / TOPIC feat. TREY SONGZ / I GOT TO GET IT / UNIVERSAL
48 / NE / THE FAM feat. JACOB / DREAMS COME TRUE / LA SCALA/HEAD NOD
49 / NE / SHAWTY PUTT feat. TOO SHORT / DAT BABY / RAZOR & TIE
50 / NE / O SO KRISPIE / SLUMBER PARTY / BLISS ENT.

Playlist (bi-weekly) To: All Servicing Record Companies, WUSL (Power 99) 98.9 FM (BDS), WPHI (100.3 The Beat) 100.3 FM (BDS), WIRED 96.5 FM (BDS), URBAN COALITION/NETWORK, WMGH (Power 105) 105.5 FM (Media base), WXAC/WLVR 91.3 FM (College), and URBAN TIP, Record Pool Charts.com, CMJ, and e.pro


Preview of Fam mixtape, new video

August 16, 2008

Here’s a preview of The Fam’s upcoming Family Affair mixtape, scheduled to release next month (not to be confused with the Family Business album, coming later in the year). This is Timid showing y’all who the real Mr. Carter is.

(download mp3)

Also, here’s Timid’s video for “Let Freedom Ring” (remixed by Domingo) off his solo album No Time for the Jibba Jabba, which is in stores now.  When Timid first showed me this, he expressed concerns about the references to the Bush administration possibly dating the video in today’s political climate.  I told him, “Yeah, but you can fix that by putting just one word on the screen at the end.”  Can you guess which word I’m talking about?  Watch and see.


(watch high quality)


I need to trust my instincts…

August 16, 2008

I hate to describe myself as “psychic” because that immediately casts doubt in people’s minds.  You won’t find me reading palms and telling fortunes.  I’ve always thought of myself as being somewhat clairvoyant, though.  For example, I can usually tell what song’s on the radio before I turn it on (then again, that may not be saying much given the amount of songs they play on the radio — one in six chance, right?).  In broader terms, random words frequently pop into my head that I’ll hear someone say a few seconds later.  When I’m watching TV, the answer to a game show question will just come to me.  Many times it’s something I never learned in my life.  Sometimes it’ll be a word I never heard of, and sometimes it’ll be the wrong answer — but the same wrong answer the contestant rings in with moments later.  I predicted that Mayweather would win a split decision over De La Hoya, and I knew the Giants would beat the Patriots by a field goal.  One time while taking a college class, I was focusing hard on my need to get on the mic as soon as I left campus when I heard the professor say:  “I can’t find my… microphone.  I mean keys.  I can’t find my keys.  Why’d I say microphone?”  You could chalk these up as coincidences if they happened once in a while, but this is a regular occurrance for me.  Last week, I took an online psychic test — just for kicks — where they tell you they’re going to show you a picture of one of five things, and you have to figure out what it’s going to be.  I got 20 out of 24 of them right.

Truthfully, I don’t believe that I have any magical powers that other people don’t.  I’m just an extremely focused and clear-headed person, and I do believe that enables me to use more of my brainpower than most people do.  In school, I never had to study for a test.  I have a near photographic memory, and can recite full songs back to you word for word after hearing them once.  My mind is sharp, and my thoughts are very strong.  Basically, if there was a such thing as the opposite of ADD, I’d have that.  Whether or not that alone gives me any extrasensory perception is undeterminable, but my experience is that it does.

You might be asking what this has to do with anything.

Well, at about 2 in the morning on Thursday I got very stressed out.  I’ve been mixing the Fam album for weeks.  As some of you know, mixing an album is a quite the daunting task — especially when you’re a perfectionist.  On top of that, we’re still in the middle of pushing the “Dreams Come True” single and I’m at the helm of that whole operation:  dealing directly with DJs, writers, record pools, radio stations, etc.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and while most of these people are a pleasure to deal with, a select few actually make me long for a “normal” job.  Since the weeks to come would only be more hectic, I decided it was best to step away from everything for a few days while I had the chance.  So I jumped in the car and drove to northern Virginia, where I checked into my favorite Comfort Inn.  I brought the Fam mixes on my MP3 player, which would allow me to leisurely go through them away from all the madness in New York.

Arriving at about 6 AM, I grabbed some breakfast at the hotel.  When I looked outside through the window, I saw a yellow napkin hanging from my one of car’s headlights.  I’m sure most people would think nothing of it, but it seemed pretty strange to me.  It almost looked like a warning flag.  When I went out to remove it, I noticed that it wasn’t jammed in — it was loosely dangling from my headlight, as if someone gently placed it there.  For some reason, I thought my father was trying to tell me something.  But if this was some kind of sign, what did it mean?  I was getting anxious, and went up to the room where I found the Bible in the drawer.  Suddenly, it hit me:  the meaning of the sign was in the Bible.  I said out loud, “The sign will be on this page” and turned to the page that felt right.  Then I put my finger on a paragraph in the middle of the page and told myself this sentence would tell me the sign.  When I actually read the sentence in question, I really freaked out.

It said (and I paraphrase):  “The sign is that the king must not enter the city.”

I still didn’t know what that meant, but the fact that I was asking what “the sign” was and the first sentence I read began with “The sign is…” seriously messed with my head.  My jaw literally dropped.  I assumed that I was the king (I sure as hell hoped I wasn’t the city).  At first I was thinking metaphorically, like maybe it meant I should have second thoughts about doing something I was planning to do.  Then I jokingly said to myself, “Well, whatever this means, I better not go into DC this trip.”  I even told some people that and they agreed.

Fast forward to last night.

One of my boys was hanging out with some friends in Maryland and invited me out.  After the gathering, he asked if I wanted to hit up Adams Morgan, and I said I was down.  That’s a section of DC.  While in his car on the way there, I realized that I would indeed be “entering the city” and started thinking maybe I shouldn’t, before convincing myself not to let silly superstitions interfere with my life.  After hitting up a few bars and clubs, we walked back to his car to find that his phone and GPS were missing.  The glove box was also open.  Someone had broken into his car while we we gone.  He told me to call his phone, and I thought, “Yeah, right… Like whoever stole it’s really gonna pick up.”  He picked up.  My boy asked if he had his phone, and the guy calmly said, “Yes.”  I couldn’t believe it.  He asked if he also had his GPS, and he laughed and asked, “What else are you missing?”  My boy asked him where he was, and he said, “I’m at the McDonalds in Adams Morgan.”  He said for $50 he’d give the stuff back.

My friend wanted to confront the thief, and I advised him that it might be more trouble than it was worth.  Apparently, his phone had his “whole life” in it, including social security numbers of family members, bank accounts, all his appointments, and business contacts, so he was determined to retrieve it.  I had to have his back, so I said, “All right… let’s go get your stuff back.”  When we got to McDonalds, the thief didn’t pick up the phone.  My boy flagged down a police officer on the street, and he essentially told him there was nothing they could do.  Eventually, he just reported it missing and will have to cancel the phone service now.  The guy finally picked up when we tried calling again later, and he said he was already gone and that was that.

When it was all said and done, I was mad at myself for ignoring the prophecy.  Realizing it was my boy who actually suffered the most misfortune by entering the city and remembering he came from Ghana, I said to him, “You don’t happen to be a king in Ghana, do you?”

“No,” he replied.  I was thinking how stupid I must be for taking the passage that literally.  Here I was so caught up in this supposed ESP nonsense that I was actually thinking my friend could have been royalty because of a random sentence I read in the Bible.  He was carjacked; that’s all there is to it.  Don’t get carried away, Pi.

Then he continued, without the slightest hint of sarcasm:  “But I am a prince.  Why?”