Category Archives: Hip-Hop 101

This section is made up of various posts for individuals interested in multimedia entertainment careers. The information given away for free would normally cost you a considerable amount of money to find out.

#SoGoneChallenge

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So.. apparently the new “challenge” is doing a remix of Monica’s track “So Gone” from her “After the Storm” album (which by the way was originally released on my Birthday June 17th in 2003). Absolutely one of those timeless albums that if you played it today 13 years later it would still be good.

So what I’m sharing is in my opinion one of the best (if not thee best) #SoGoneChallenge attempts I’ve seen by Elwood (Elwood Music).

You can check Elwood out on Facebook & Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/Elwoodandmusic/?fref=ts

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Production Contest!

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Now taking project submissions!

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This is a new project I’m personally putting together, so any submissions for this project must fall under the guidelines of spiritually conscious and be free from sexually explicit lyrics & profanity (college radio friendly) Project submissions are open to any artist/song that meets this criteria. Send submissions to queentheprophet@gmail.com include artist name, track title, & producer name. (Hosting DJ TBA)

#HipHop101 How NOT to promote music on social media

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Social media forums have both helped and made a total disaster in the independent music community. The internet is a wonderful tool for the independent artist to be able to put their music in the hands of folks in other states & counties absolutely free.  It allows music lovers to discover music that they otherwise would know nothing about. In that respect? It’s a beautiful thing. However, as of late it’ become a very bitter sweet thing for most underground music lovers. Do you remember being in elementary school and one kid acts up and the whole class gets in trouble? That’s what it feels like on most social media forums these days when it comes to music. Unfortunately, there is an overabundance of individuals annoying the hell out of a lot of independent music professionals as well as potential listeners who are the regular social media users.

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ARE YOU ANNOYING?  Answer these questions: 

Are you a person who is auto messaging every person that accepts a friend request or gives you a follow back with your music?

Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that follow you but you have never spoken to?

Do you send your music directly to people via tweet or message that you don’t follow or have on your friends list?

Have you ever added your music to a tweet or other media message between other people who don’t know you?

Have you ever posted the link to your music in a comment or on a post that had absolutely nothing to do with music (i.e. commenting your music link on someone’s Instagram picture) ?

If you have answered YES to ANY OF THESE, you are annoying. What you are doing is not only annoying, but 99% of the people who are falling victim to your unwanted spam not only don’t click your links and more then likely never will, but you may very well find your account suspended if too many people report you as spam.

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If something was easy, everyone would do it. Just because you have access to free tools on the internet, doesn’t mean promotion is easy. Promotion is an actual skill that some people make a very decent living doing. What you are doing in the above mentioned behavior is not called promotion, it’s called spam. Real promotion costs money. It is ALWAYS more valid that another source is saying check you out then just you spamming strangers to death saying you’re the greatest alive. Can you do some yourself? Of course you can, but there are ways to do it. In the digital music world (especially on social media), it’s important for people to like you in order for them to support you. Building relationships with your following is just as important as the actual music itself. Someone who chats with you regularly may very well be inclined to check out your music. If you don’t feel that you have the kind of time to invest in your fan base because you should have been famous yesterday? Then you better put a whole bunch of money where your mouth is and hire yourself a publicist.

Feel free to share this post as needed, especially when receiving unwanted music links.  For more do-it-yourself independent music tips, check out the Hip-Hop 101 section on this blog (which is now also available via our good friends at the International Underground Rap & Hip-Hop Connexion at promote.hiphop).

 

 

 

 

#HipHop101 #Music #Promo, Do your homework BEFORE spending!

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Greetings folks… For my readers that are also Twitter followers, my infamous random Twitter rants are no surprise especially as it relates to the independent artist. There is nothing I can’t stand more then a liar and a thief. I have found throughout my time in the music industry that most people are in this business to get money and a good number of them will do it by any means necessary, even if it means misleading people (such as yourself) that don’t really have a whole lot of money, don’t know any better, are just starting out, and aren’t the kind of people that have money to lose. Most people (from my experiences) can’t afford to be full-time in music. They have jobs, families, and bills so every dime they invest in their self needs to be a good investment. I give away a lot of information for free (quite honestly you would have to hire a Manager or Publicist to give you and sometimes even then you could be learning a very expensive lesson) because I don’t want to see anyone get robbed. I remember what it was like when I first started out. Music is expensive. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when you’re involved with music (no matter what role you’re in) it’s expensive and for someone just starting out, you will spend thousands of your own money and realistically quite possibly not make a dime back. Even if you one day get signed to a major label, this will come after you’ve spent a significant amount of your own money and even then when the label is picking up the tab for your expenses, they take it back off the top with interest. However if you do it for the love and not the money? You’ll never be disappointed. With that being said, today I want to address the area of promotion especially purchasing online promotion for social media, radio spins, mix tape slots, and showcase performances.

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Realistic Expectations: 

You have got to keep an open mind and have realistic expectations. You can’t “make” people like your music. The only thing you have control over is giving it your all, having it professionally recorded, mixed, mastered, quality artwork and the rest? Is going to fall where it may. When you are purchasing promotion services, you are hiring someone to do a specific task. The best you can hope for when investing your money, is that the person you employ delivers the work you hired them to do. You can’t hire anyone to give you plays, downloads, or purchases. If you’re looking for organic (natural, not purchased “plays” or “hits”) numbers the best you can do is make sure the person you hire is doing what you paid them to do and that you are hiring the right person.

Budget: 

You have to have a budget for promotion. Period. Once you have established that you are taking your music seriously and have dotted all of your I’s and crossed your T’s (check the Hip Hop 101 tab on this blog for other articles that lead up to the point where you’re actually employing promoters) you need to set aside money that is specifically for putting your music out there. I don’t care if it’s $20 a week, you need to have a budget. You also need to understand that the more money you spend on good promotion, the better your results are going to be.

Publicist: 

Ideally, you’d be able to hire a Publicist. This costs thousands of continual dollars and is a regular expense or staff person to an artist that has a fan base, buzz, and music income that warrants hiring a Publicist. You can hire one for a campaign (i.e. to release a debut album or mix tape) however, this is still going to cost you thousands of dollars. Just to give you an idea, some years back for a gospel artist, I hired a reputable publicist in the gospel music community for a Myspace/ Email blast and that one service alone for 30-days was $750.00 USD. The artist this was done for was an established independent artist with an existing fan base in the gospel community and in his case the investment was well worth it because he sold a few thousand albums during the first month alone. If you are not an “established” artist / producer as of yet, spending that kind of money on a person with no credentials or existing fan base would more then likely be a huge waste of money unless of course you just hit the lotto and had the extra money to burn.

“Showcase Performances” : 

DO NOT EVER pay anyone to perform. Ever. “Artist Showcases” are a hustle. You’re paying to perform in front of other people who paid to be there. The “A & R” from so and so records that’s also allegedly in the audience? Big, huge, fat joke most of the time. If you want to know who an actual A&R is for a certain label? Look it up. It’s public information. Don’t just believe something because someone told you, CHECK. There are companies that make ALL of their money taking yours. They book venues with club owners they have existing relationships with, you pay your own expenses to get to the show, you pay for your performance time, they give you a flyer with their logo on it that says you’re performing so you can post it on Facebook and feel like a rock star, and they split your money. Open Mic nights are usually free (with the exception of a door cover charge or a small entry fee) and if you make great music and can present yourself in a professional way, most small local clubs or bars will let you host your own show there during the week for a reasonable fee. You can also find out if there are local events already going on in your community and you can inquire about performing. This works the same way with a “prize” at the end. I know several artists from different states that all found themselves “winners” and no cash prize, radio interview, or record deal ever manifested after “winning”.

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Mix Tape Slots: 

Purchasing Mix Tape Slots is a great way to get your music out into other people’s fan base. You want to make sure that the slot you’re purchasing is actually geared toward the fan base you’re trying to target. Placing your hip-hop track on a jazz mix tape would be pointless. Any mix tape opportunity that offers free slots is something you should jump on because it can’t hurt and it doesn’t cost anything, but these don’t roll around too often.

How much can a slot cost? In all honesty a slot can cost anywhere from $25- thousands depending on the DJ or who’s mix tape it is. The higher it is in the ranks of fan base, reputable brand, and DJ the more it’s going to cost. In my experiences, you can get on a decent mix tape for $50-$150 and the good and great ones are going to cost you $500 & up. You want to ALWAYS do your research. I know too many people that have been robbed out of $10, $15, $25 for “mix tape slots”. You have got to cross check who you are doing business with! Who are these people? Who is the DJ? When you google them, what comes up? Do they have an actual website or were they trying to hustle you a slot in a direct message on Twitter? What other mix tapes do they have out? What are the numbers? Can you find previous projects on more then one site? Who’s on the mix tape? If they’re telling you Hell Razah (Wu-Tang Clan/ Sunz of Man) is on it, check his time lines, is he promoting it? This is a lot of work folks, but if you don’t have money to lose, you better do your homework.

Radio Spins: 

To launch a radio campaign on major radio stations costs approximately $100,000.00 for six months, possibly more. That’s how much it was last time I checked almost four years ago. This is why the artists you see on television and hear on the radio are people with millions of sponsorship dollars behind them (and why you constantly hear that real hip-hop is not on the radio). Your local radio stations may do certain segments in order to let local people compete in contests or be played on the radio but it’s not consistently unless someone is getting paid a large sum of money. Most college radio stations will play your music for free if it’s good or they have a radio show that supports your genre. The only way to find this out is to start supporting your local college radio stations and listen to their shows and figure out who you’d need to submit music to, the web site, and if there’s possibly any upcoming events that you could participate in. Most college stations though are going to tell you that your music has to be “radio edit” meaning profanity and illegal drug reference free (check with them about guidelines). You can also buy “blog talk radio” spins and don’t sleep on blog radio because it’s on the come up and some shows have huge followings. If you check my bio information on the front page, there’s a link to when I appeared on the Nikki Rich Show awhile back. If you aren’t familiar, Nikki has made quite a large following with blog talk radio, has always offered promotional services at a reasonable price, and has moved on to bigger things (check out her Instagram @ msnikkirich and side bar, this is exactly what I was referring to about doing your research on people before hiring them to do something). Check out the show though, find out how many listeners they have, if they feature someone is that person also sharing they were featured there? All of this validates the source and although of course nothing is guaranteed, you can cut down on the instance that you may get robbed simply by doing a little research.

Social Media Promotions: 

This isn’t rocket science folks, as I have mentioned above you have got to do your homework on people. I can’t tell you how may “Twitter promoters” I’ve seen that claim celebrities use their promotion services yet there is absolutely no evidence anywhere on the internet that they do. I’m going to use Hell Razah as an example again because it’s not a secret I’m affiliated with his movement and work for his label. If Razah has a new song and I promote the new song, Razah shares the promotion I’ve done so that his fans know that the promotion I am sending out is real. This is public information and can be cross checked on both of our social media accounts. When people “appear” to have millions of followers, etc. you have to check their time lines. People can purchase followers, re-tweets, plays, etc. You have to be very careful because there are individuals that sell these purchased services and loop people into their time lines only to hood wink them with a few robot followers and they’re basically taking your money to share your music with fake follows. Look at when people’s accounts were established, how old is it? How long have they been selling promotion? I sell promotion, occasionally. I say occasionally because I won’t send just anything through my time line for a few bucks. I value my fans and supporters and they click my links because I don’t give them garbage. I know in this respect not everybody agrees with me but they can keep their $100. I am a person that poured a lot into my brand and name and a few hundred dollars to me isn’t worth discrediting myself. There are good reputable people out there that sell real social media promotion, but you have got to do your research. Face Book and Twitter now both offer “boosting” for posts. I haven’t found it to be hugely effective, but it’s reasonably priced and at least you’re purchasing the service or boost from the site directly.

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Manners:

Lastly, I want to mention manners. If someone takes the time to blog you, or share your music? Don’t forget to also promote the article or at least return the music sharing with a thank you or a shout-out. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect people. You don’t have to be the best emcee, producer, or DJ in the world but in the digital age where everyone can just reach out and touch anyone on social media, the only fool-proof way to gain a following and real supporters is to be respectful and remain humble. Too many times people forget (mainly because of the trash they’re brainwashed with on the radio) that manners, honor, integrity, and respect will get you places money can’t buy.

If you found something in this article helpful for you or someone else, don’t forget to share it! Best wishes in all your endeavors!

QTP

#HipHop Living #Legend Spotlight @KurtisBlow1

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The Kurtis Blow is one of those names in hip-hop that when it’s mentioned, everyone just sort of pauses in homage. Even the 80’s babies know the name even if they can’t pin point exactly why they know it. So for those who are unfamiliar (especially new comers in hip-hop), class is in session.

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“In 1979, Kurtis Blow signed a deal with Mercury Records, making him the first rapper signed by a major label. His album Christmas Rappin’ sold more than 400,000 copies. His follow-up album, The Breaks, went gold. He went on to release 10 albums over the next 11 years and also produced albums. Blow became an ordained minister in 2009 and founded Hip Hop Ministry.” (http://www.biography.com/people/kurtis-blow-5444) How many times have you said or heard someone say,”these are the breaks” or “those are the breaks” and they almost always do it with a shoulder shimmy and a tune? How many of you instantly think of Nas when someone mentions the song title “If I ruled the world”? Now you’ll know exactly where they came from if you didn’t before.

Rapper and producer Kurtis Walker on August 9, 1959, in Harlem, New York. Blow got his first practice as a DJ in grade school, mingling with guests at his mother’s parties to take their music requests. By the time he was 13, he had a fake ID and was sneaking into New York City clubs to hear DJs spin their tracks.

In 1975, Kurtis Blow enrolled in Harlem’s High School of Music and Art, but was kicked out for selling marijuana. He transferred to another high school, where he was soon caught selling the psychedelic drug PCP. Recognizing Blow’s intelligence, the dean gave Blow the chance to test for his General Equivalency Degree as an alternative to expulsion. Blow passed, and went on to study at New York’s City College.

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While still a high school student, Blow had begun spinning his own tracks under the name Kool DJ Kurt. By the end of the 1970s, like many other New York DJs, he had become disenchanted with the boring sameness of the music coming out of the clubs. “Everything merged into one colorless sea of sound,” he recalled. “We, the deejays, had to do something to make our shows a little bit different … a little unique.” That unique new thing was rap. Blow started mixing his own rhymes with the beats on his turntable. “Pretty soon rap became an accepted thing, almost expected in fact,” Blow said, “and those clubs who had rappin’ deejays started to pick up.”

In 1979, Blow signed a deal with Mercury Records, making him the first rapper signed by a major label. His album Christmas Rappin’ sold more than 400,000 copies. His follow-up album, The Breaks, went gold, led by its iconic title track: “Brakes on a bus, brakes on a car, breaks to make you a superstar.”

Blow was soon officially a superstar as well. He went on to release 10 albums over the next 11 years. This included 1985’s America, featuring the song “If I Ruled the World.” The song cracked the Top 5 on the Billboard charts on first release, and returned (in sample form) a decade later when Nas’s version debuted at No. 1. Blow also produced albums for artists like The Fat Boys, Run-D.M.C., Russell Simmons and Wyclef Jean. His influence on hip-hop was so profound that rapper Run of the seminal trio Run-D.M.C. initially called himself the “Son of Kurtis Blow” when just starting his career.

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As his rap career progressed, Blow—a devout Christian—made a commitment to himself to keep his lyrics family-friendly. “I’ve recorded over two hundred songs and I have never used a profanity and I always thought that was just me trying to have some dignity, some integrity,” Blow said. “I knew that in order for this thing [hip-hop] to last and spread all around the world, it had to be wholesome, it had to be something that families could listen to, something people could play for their kid, something you could sing in church and I can sing all my songs in church.” Blow’s songs include “Magic Words,” a track recorded with a children’s rap group about the importance of saying “please” and “thank you.”

Kurtis Blow’s faith eventually led him to a new career, when he found himself reading the Bible and unable to put the book away. “I got to the last book in the Bible, Revelations, and it’s sort of like a prophecy. And I said I’d better get my act together before all this stuff starts to happen.” Blow became an ordained minister in 2009 and founded Hip Hop Ministry, a movement that incorporates rap into worship.

Besides recording, producing and hosting radio shows, Blow speaks out on behalf of a variety of causes. He coordinated the recording of the song “King Holiday” in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. He also campaigns against racism and drug use. He will always be credited as one of the biggest influences on rap music. “Rappin’ is totally ours—nothing can take it away,” Blow said in 1980, when rap was still in its infancy. “It’s kinda what we are giving to ourselves.” Kurtis Blow. (2015). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 09:12, Aug 10, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/kurtis-blow-5444.

Discography Info: http://www.discogs.com/artist/13151-Kurtis-Blow

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Be sure to check out & support his latest project, “Hip Hop Church, Volume 3” now available on iTunes!

#HipHop101 Don’t be deceived, #Digital #Distribution

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Now although the information I post under this category is really information you would have to pay for (by hiring a management or development person or paying for it in the way you spend all of your money before you learn it), I can’t stand to see people be stupid. I’m probably going to upset a few folks with this post because in the event aspiring recording artists actually read this, they may stop wasting money.

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First, let’s break a few things down. Major record labels are your Def Jam, Sony, Atlantic, Etc. Independent labels are smaller versions of majors, independently owned/ operated and they actually turn a profit. An “indie label” is NOT a company that you and a few friends started and didn’t even follow through with the proper business end to make it an actual business. I’m explaining this because a lot of UNDERGROUND artists refer to themselves as indies. The word indie actually refers to a professional recording artist that is signed to an independent label. The misunderstanding of terms causes things like ten thousand people thinking their You Tube videos are going to be taken down because the article said “artists signed to independent labels” and they were referring to mainstream independent artists (i.e. Tech N9ne, Frank Ocean) not underground artists.  Like with any career, it’s important that you know what you’re talking about for your own good and it’s extremely insulting to the folks who actually know what they’re doing. It’s like me showing up at the hospital to preform surgery because I can cut good with a butter knife.

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“The Record Deal”- Please. This hardly happens at all since the game turned digital. NOBODY is “signing” any artist for a significant amount of money unless that artist is already making the kind of money that is worthy of that investment, The deal that some of you would be willing to sell your first born for tomorrow isn’t even what you think it is. A standard major label contract is 80/20 or 70/30. Meaning you get 20% or 30% the label gets the rest because they put up the money for your videos, hotel rooms, studio time, clothes, shows, rented cars, etc. They OWN YOU with these contracts. They own your stage name, social media, and dictate your sound, style, lyrics, and to top it all off if you refuse? They “shelf” you. That means they own you as the artist and they wait out your contract and you release no music until you fulfill what they are requiring or whoever you are as an artist is silent until that contract is over. Good luck being a new artist and not having anything in rotation for five years. The only time an artist can be the wealthy that most people dream about is when that person invests their money in other things or has major sponsors like Pepsi.

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We could go in deeper but today I want to pull the curtains back on specifically the “Digital Distribution Deal”. In case you didn’t know ( and you SHOULD KNOW if you consider yourself an artist), the digital world is very underground /indie artist friendly. For under $200 you can get your music copy written, and distributed to all of the major electronic stores like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, iHeartRadio, etc. There are plenty of sites (Tune Core, CD Baby, Band Camp) you can get your music out for very little money. What good does that do you? Absolutely nothing if you don’t have a fan base or to buy your music and a budget for promotion period point blank, end of story. Making music is not cheap and being successful in music costs lots of money. The digital world may make it look easy, but if it was? Don’t you think everybody would be driving around in a Mercedes?

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There are different levels to the “Digital distribution Deal”. In most cases, you end up paying a record label to use their distribution account. They have the same exact “digital distribution” that you can get yourself. Most companies that offer this have an actual record label attached to it and you are paying to use their digital name. Meaning, I am a Hell Razah Music, Inc. artist. We could make Hell Razah Music Digital, charge you $1000 for our distribution through Hell Razah Music Digital (watch the word play, it looks the same but being signed to “digital” indicates you are not an actual label artist) and you are paying for our name so you can tell people you’re signed to Hell Razah Music Digital and whatever weight the name carries is what you’re paying for and we may even throw in logo use so you can deceive who is willing to be fooled that your deal is more then using our Tune Core account. Then, we also collect a percentage of your music sales as well as count the numbers of whatever units you moved towards our overall units moved for the year, then we as the actual label look much better to our investors because of the total number of units we moved. If we offered this deal to 50 people, we make $50k and if each person sells 100 units, we can add 5k units moved to our overall numbers as a label. Let that sink in and some of you may have to read it twice. Most “digital deals” are exactly this, a hustle and you my dear are the one being hustled because it’s cheaper to pay the fee and hope you are also buying  buzz and fan base then to spend thousands of your own money the right way.

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This is not all digital distributors just the majority. Most of these digital distributors do not offer any promotion or anything else with the “deal”. Some may actually include some type of promotion and that is an important thing you need to find out (NEVER sign anything without an Entertainment Attorney present, and yes that costs money too). In some cases you would be better off spending that thousand on your own digital distribution account and pouring the rest of the money into promotion. If you’ve ever seen a label and scratched your head when you saw their “artists” this is probably why. Just because someone has signed a digital distribution deal, does not in anyway, shape, or form mean they are “signed” to a label in the traditional sense you’re used to and a good deal of them? ARE PAYING TO WEAR THE LOGO.

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The average person would have no idea that the logo above isn’t actually Def Jam. Def Jam Digital actually partnered with Tune Core for awhile a few years back, made Def Jam Island Digital and a few lucky folks got to pretend they were signed to Def Jam and made a few bucks. I’m familiar with this because a former mainstream artist tried to “help me” a few years back and told me that all I had to do was add Def Jam Island Digital to Battlegrownd Entertainment and I would be able to charge people for distribution. Too bad I’m not a person who robs people, I probably could have made a nice chunk of change 😉

#HipHop101 How much of my own money will I spend on making music?

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I’m so sick of folks out here acting absolutely crazy. I want to explain a very simple principle to you. First ask yourself this,

If you played little league…. Are you now a professional baseball player?

If you drew pictures in Art class….. Are you now a professional artist?

Should everyone that can carve a turkey be a surgeon?

Fam… just because the world has made it easy for you to make music, doesn’t make it your profession. It’s actually VERY disrespectful to those in the game that have suffered and clawed their way through being broke and all kinds of other things you have NO IDEA that await you in the music industry. Making music is a beautiful thing. I think everyone should experience its joy. It is OKAY for it to be a hobby. Too many people aren’t honest with themselves. Honestly Fam, let’s keep it real. There is music links circulated all over the net of some music that’s terrible. It’s not even recorded properly and it just wastes space in cyber space.

I don’t know who has been lying to you, but I’m going to tell you the TRUTH about what kind of money goes into funding your own music career. Incase you didn’t know, you will spend THOUSANDS of dollars on it and possibly NEVER make any back. You will give away music for the first few projects. Those projects will cost you money. Promoting those projects properly (which means you hire someone to promote you) cost money. The more you want it exposed, the more money it costs. If you don’t promote your project, you will not build a fan base. If you don’t have a fan base, who’s going to buy your music? If you buy downloads and followers… what happens when you put a song on iTunes? If you have 100k fake followers and can’t sell 2 Singles for $1… why on earth are you wasting time & money? There are THOUSANDS of other emcees JUST AS GOOD IF NOT BETTER then you. I’m not trying to be mean, this is REALITY. You should know exactly how big the mountain is.

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SOME OF THE WORST THINGS PEOPLE DO EVERYDAY:

Tweet strangers (people you don’t even follow) your links directly. They don’t click on it. You’re wasting time.

Tweet your music to famous people hoping they click it and love it. Let me know who get signed that way when you find out.

You are the only person promoting yourself. If you don’t invest in you, why would a label?

If you are still doing illegal things and your MXTP cover is your product, who is going to sign a law suit waiting to happen?

DISRESPECT THE DJ If you don’t know how important the DJ is? You are banned from making anymore music. It shows you researched NOTHING.

Get on social media and DISRESPECT the people that created the music of the game you’re trying to get into. NOBODY invests an artist who is disrespectful, immature, & unprofessional. You know why? THERE’S A MILLION MORE OUT THERE.

Not have help. There are a few (not many) folks in the music industry (myself included) that will not take your for a ride and rob you and actually give you what you pay for. What I’m telling you FOR FREE would cost you THOUSANDS of dollars to HOPEFULLY one day learn it from a Management or Development person.

Get mad when people don’t like your music. If this is you? You are banned from hip-hop. NOBODY likes everything. How dare you ask people to listen and when they tell you the truth, you get mad? You need to pay attention. Why? Because this is your BASELINE OF FEEDBACK. If 100 people listen to your song and anything over 80 say they didn’t like it? You need to seriously re-consider doing music or the kind of music you’re doing or accept that your fan base is going to be smaller then you anticipated.

Waste your money.

Not know what kind of rapper you are.

Hobby Rapper

Freestyle Rapper

Battle Rapper

MXTP KING

Feature Rapper

Indie Artist

Label Artist

Let me expound here a little bit… When asked “who is your fan base?” EVERYBODY is not an acceptable answer. Everybody would include kindergarten, middle school, high school, and senior citizens all in the same group.. In the words of Sneak Vandel,  “FALSE”. We’re going to get into this in depth in another article but it’s something you need to think about. I also want to give you a reality check about “getting signed”. In the words of Gryndhousz, “You have a better chance winning the lottery.” and that is 100% true. The days of getting signed to a major record label for a 50k advance and all that are long gone unless you are an artist ALREADY making money and numbers on your own that warrant such a deal. These days labels sign known artists or very young artists, they get a 100 page contract and lose all sense of ownership and identity to themselves as an artist. Make no mistake, anyone raking in the dough on the level you aspire for? Most of what you see come across in costume, dress, sound, etc is entirely dictated by the label that own’s the artist. We’ll visit that in depth in a future post.

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Fam, this information would normally be contained in a development or management session. I am spilling FOR FREE what I use to eat & pay my bills with because in all honesty, I don’t want you stupid. If I know the way, it’s my job to share it. I don’t depend on any of you to buy services here, hit my blog, or buy our music. I depend on God. What most people don’t understand is that giving things away can get you credit at a bank you’ll never owe it back to. #ProphetTweet LOL Okay, back to business. Let’s start with something basic… Your first MixTape.

You want to drop your 1st MXTP

Studio Time: $35-$250 p/h depending upon where you go. You get what you pay for in most cases unless you happen to personally know somebody. If you don’t know the studio ask to hear some of their work!

15 Song MXTP: You should record a minimum of 25 songs to choose from. You should never just throw something together.

25 songs x $40 per hr for each song to record

25 songs x $40 per hr for each song mixed (bare minimum it’s more when it’s done 100% professionally)

If you want your tracks Mastered, it’s going to cost an additional $25 -$100 per song

Features: Well this depends on what kind of splash you’re trying to make on the scene. Let’s say the fan base you’re aiming for is Little Wayne’s fan base because for whatever reason he is your hip-hop hero. You should be aiming for those kind of sound features. Get Wayne out of your mind though unless you have a million dollar budget for this project because a 16-bar verse from him is going to cost you well over 50K. Your feature cost depends on the caliber of the artist. There are some you can get for $500-$1000 but nine times out of ten you have to know somebody that knows them to get that price, so plan on $1000 at least for each feature. If you’re having a well known underground artist feature, they may not charge you for the verse if they like the project but they will definitely charge you for their studio time which would roughly be $100.

Production: On a MXTP if you are using other people’s beats (aka “industry beats” beat from a song on the radio) this won’t cost you anything. If you have a friend or team member that makes them you’re still fine, but if want original music and don’t have anyone around that makes beats? You can tack on anywhere from $100 (for something decent)- 5k per beat depending on what kind you want & the caliber of the producer. So multiply 15 songs x $100 per beat and that’s another $1,500 on the bill.

Artwork: Decent underground artwork $30 -$100

Duplication: If you want hard CD’s, you’re looking at $250 off the rip (CD & Case) depending on how many you want and they are expensive. Sometimes 50 CD’s are $200.

Promotion: Typically, folks who make hard CD’s skip this step and just pass out CD’s which of course only reaches where YOU DO. Artists that are hip to social media should hire people to promote there.

If your MXTP is hosted by a DJ, add $100-$5, 000 depending on the status of the DJ

If you do an indie video, add $300-$500

Also add what you afforded for the song’s promotion again because the video also needs promotion.

Add in promotion costs for however long you plan to promote this project.

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You will do all this for FREE music. This music you are GIVING away. You have to build a fan base. Nobody is going to buy your music unless they know you or they just rock with you like that. Honestly, if you put out a song on iTunes today, how many people do you know for a fact would buy your single for $1? Count them times .70 (iTunes sells your track for $1 but you only make .70 off each single). That’s how much you’d make with no fans. It costs $10 to load it to iTunes so subtract that from that number. It costs roughly $100 to copywrite & publish the track so subtract another $100. Whatever you’re left with is what you’d make right now selling a piece of music with no fan base. Is your number positive or negative? You will more then likely do this kind of project at LEAST 2-3 times before you should even try to sell anything. Fam, if you are not willing to commit to that? You won’t make it. Some of us have lost EVERYTHING over our music. My team? In the words of @kinggeorge427 “We starved together, we’re going to eat together.” Anyone of the greats in hip-hop, went through most if not all of everything I mentioned. If you’re not prepared for battle, don’t try to be a soldier. We’re only hiring warriors in hip-hop for the next 5-10 years. But if you’re ready? Welcome to #OPERATIONREVOLUTION

If you are in need of organizing, help with your project, or are interested in pricing for this kind of service, click the Queen the Prophet BIO at the top of this page and submit the inquiry form. Please allow up to 72-hours for response due to the high amount of inquiries received.

This has been a @queentheprophet public service announcement.

#HIPHOP101

#HipHop101 for New Artists: Releasing Your Music

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Once you come out? You stay out.

When you’re a well established artist (with an established fan base) your fans will find your stuff as soon as it’s out and listen to it. This takes YEARS to build and the reality is it may or may not ever happen. Who are fans? The people (not your few friends that know you and tell you everything you do is good) that don’t know you at all and they genuinely like the music. My recommendations to any new artist would be to start by drop singles only until you can regularly pull 500 legit plays on a song. Once you’ve done this a few times and you see that your numbers are growing and consistent, then drop a whole project. During the time you’re dropping and promoting singles, you should be recording and STACKING music. If you prematurely drop a full project and you have no real audience, who’s going to download it? *crickets* …… Then all of the time & money that went into the project is basically wasted.

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Generally speaking, you should have something in rotation every season (i.e. if you just started yesterday, that is one song per season). Full projects like Albums or MXTPS should be promoted HEAVY for the first 6 months and still promoted for the remaining 6 months of the year.What happens is to an artist the music is old to you, so you’re bored. This is exactly why artists need assistance in Management and Marketing. The music is not old if people haven’t heard it. Everything should be planned and timed. Each release should have it’s own momentum or build up. For example, if you’re releasing a single that is just as important as a whole project. A whole project should ideally have a promo flyer, commercial, you release the first single, 2-weeks later drop a second single, 2-weeks later drop the entire project. Then the whole project should be the focus of promotion for an entire year. What happens most time like I said, artists get bored. The worst thing you can do to yourself as an artist is record, release, record, release, record, release what you’re doing at that point is your not putting the proper promotion time behind your release (video, single, project). What happens when you don’t put the proper promotion time behind a project? Wasted time and money. This is where you will see an artist with 20 songs on Sound Cloud and nothing has over a few hundred plays … if that. One of the worst ideas you can have is buying plays, likes, and views. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT REAL. Although most people do it to “give the impression or appearance” that there song is better than it is, it profits you absolutely nothing but “feeling” like a rockstar for five minuets. If your music sucks? It sucks. Not everyone that can use a band aid or knows CPR is qualified to be a surgeon now are they? It is in your best interest if you are SERIOUS about your music is get a legit feel for how it does. Otherwise you’re going to basically just keep wasting money. You’re not fooling Jay-Z, Diddy or anyone else you tweet your You Tube video to with 10k purchased views.

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Speaking of money…. your music is going to cost you thousands of dollars and there is a 90% chance you will NOT make back what you spent and a 100% you’ll end up broke (some of us more then once depends how many years in the game you hang on) before you make one cent. An artist being talented or a song being good has very little to do with the Artist’s success. To quote a very good friend, GRYNDHOUSZ (Indie Artist with over 70k sold) “You are not a singer or a rapper. You just sing or rap until you can feed your family off of it”.  BEFORE YOU RELEASE ANYTHING, you should have a plan and budget for promotion. It is a waste of time and money to release a project and have no money saved to promote it. Each project (single, video, MXTP, etc) should have a strategy for release & promotion. This includes researching the best yet most cost effective way to get your music out and in as many places as possible. The general public thinks that you can just “get your music on the radio”…. sure you can, if you have $80-100K to launch a Clear Channel campaign for 6-months. (If you’re not sure what Clear Channel is, it proves you really didn’t research the career field you say you’re in). Any artist you hear on a main stream radio station has spent six figures to get there. I’ve had people say to me “Well when a label signs me, they’ll pay for that.” Again, this proves how little you’ve researched. No record label in the world is going to invest that kind of money into someone who is not already an established money maker you have a better chance of winning the lotto.

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It always makes me laugh when a brand new artist starts charging for versus. First of all,  WHO ARE YOU? Seriously, who are you? There is nothing wrong with asking to cover your studio time. Honestly you shouldn’t even THINK about charging anybody anything until there’s a reason (i.e. you’re pulling thousands of LEGIT views, plays, etc. ) LOTS of artists prematurely TRY to start charging just because they’re tired of spending all of their money and not getting rich and famous fast enough, which of course realistically probably won’t happen at all. When it comes to money and your music, the best piece of advice I can give you is do it for the love. If you do it for the love, you’ll never be disappointed. 

What I have just shared with you for FREE, would have taken you years and cost you thousands to learn, if you ever ended up learning it at all. Take heed, Be Wise, You’re Welcome.

INDIE ARTISTS: This is a must read, trust me! It will save you time & money http://www.thegryndhousz.com/10-indie-commandments

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Battlegrownd Entertainment via Queentheprophet.com is running the following social media promo specials for the Summer (Sale ends 8/31/14) :

BANNER SPOT: Have your business, book, service, album, or mix tape in the banner spot on Queentheprophet.com for 7-days $25 

The Banner is seen by all site visitors. This blog is promoted daily, so you inherit the free promotion/ exposure. 

BLOG FEATURE:  Have your business, book, service, album, or mix tape featured $15 

Your blog feature will be hosted on the site and seen by all site visitors. Your feature will be promoted/shared on Queentheprophet’s other social media links (Twitter & Facebook) for 7 days with no additional cost. Your blog feature stays active for the life of the blog article, free promotion ends in 7-days. 

To maximize your feature & exposure, when you see the link to your article have your team or hire a team to circulate your article via social media. You can add the Banner Spot to your feature for $15.

 INTERVIEW: Customized Interview $25 

Your interview will be hosted on the site and seen by all site visitors. Your interview will be promoted/shared on Queentheprophet’s other social media links (Twitter & Facebook) for 7 days with no additional cost. The link to the interview stays active for the life of the blog article, free promotion ends in 7-days. To maximize your feature & exposure, when you see the link to your article have your team or hire a team to circulate your article via social media. You can add the Banner Spot to your feature for $15.

BANNER SPOT, FEATURE, & INTERVIEW $50 

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Battlegrownd Entertainment via Queentheprophet.com is running the following services to indie & underground artists for the Summer (Sale ends 8/31/14) :

Consultation/ STRATEGIC PLAN- $65

Regular price for consultation is $100 per hour. For the next few weeks, I will customize strategic plans for new /indie artists that cannot afford official Artist Management. Basically, $65 will buy you free consultation from an experienced Artist Manager/ Developer and a detailed written plan (course of action) customized for you personally and instructions on how to do it all yourself. The consultation will include a 60-minuet phone assessment at no charge. Who would benefit from this? An indie artist that cannot afford formal management, wants to release a project and has no idea how to do it or where to begin. If you feel you would like more support afterwards, add 1.5 hours of Artist Development and pay $100 for the entire package.

New Business Start-up Consultation/ Strategic Plan – $65 

Social Media Music Promotion- Contact for details, packages start at $25  and Up 

Digital Promotion Consultation/Strategic Plan- $40 

Digital Promotion Consultation will customize a digital promotion package as well as a directory of where to purchase the services at little or no cost to meet any budget.

Legal Services Consultation- 1-hour $40 

If you are a new artist and have no idea where to begin with the legal aspect of music? This is for you. We will address name registration, trade marks, copy writing, and basic music law.

ALL INQUIRIES SHOULD BE EMAILED TO: queentheprophet@gmail.com PLEASE BE SURE TO INDICATE WHICH SERVICE YOU ARE INQUIRING ABOUT.

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HELL RAZAH presents : GHETTO GOVT USA (Under Seraphim Authority), Volume 3

***DISCOUNTED MXTP SLOT RATE ONLY AVAILABLE VIA QUEENTHEPROPHET.COM*** Non-GGO slots are $100 MENTION this ad on Queentheprophet.com slot is $75

email GGOMXTPS@gmail.com YOU MUST MENTION THIS AD IN YOUR EMAIL.  NEXT MXTP SUBMISSION DEADLINE:  OCTOBER 31st

The Digital Music World 4 Indie Artists, Part 1 by @queentheprophet

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The Digital Music World 4 Indie Artists, Part 1 by @queentheprophet

Welcome to the Matrix.

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We now live in a digital day & age for almost everything and music is no different. For the serious independent artist, changing with the times is a must. You can still press up copies of your MXTP and pass them out of the trunk of your car, but that only reaches as far as you do. There are a few things any new artist should be aware of BEFORE releasing music into the digital world.

  1. Research- #1 Mistake. Most people think because the digital tools available are easy to use, that’s it and they’re all set. WRONG. Most people who claim to be an artist have done absolutely no research what-so-ever on the industry they’re trying to get into. 90% of the music industry is business and has little to do with the actual music. If you don’t know anything about the business end, you’re going to be wasting your money. One of the first things I ask any new artist that approaches me for assistance is “do you own your name, is it registered?” if the answer is no or they don’t know what I’m talking about, it proves they have researched absolutely nothing. Music costs money. THOUSANDS of dollars that you may not ever get back. If you are not ready to take that chance, music isn’t for you. If you are not willing to invest in yourself and your career, why will anyone else?

 

  1. Fan Base- In the music world? NOBODY CARES. Social Media has made it very easy to reach out and touch people, so you and your music mean nothing to most people. You need a fan base. If music is sold digitally, you need a digital fan base. I was successful for 2 reasons. God and I spent 3 years building relationships DAILY  on social media before releasing any music. The people supported Queen the Prophet as a PERSON so they supported me as an artist. There was no magic. I spent 3 years talking, networking, building relationships with whom would one day be my audience. In order to be successful moving digital units, getting real downloads, likes, plays, etc. the people have to like you. I also did a LOT of work for free. If someone had no money and needed my help, I’d work out other ways they could pay me. I helped people even when it was aggravating. Giving free artist development advice, re-tweeting, posting a flyer, doing a free blog feature, etc. I did this for 3 years and it landed me into a position that I now get paid from it… even funnier, I still help people for free because they help me. Promotion cost money. Most people who promote for me? Do it free or a fraction of the cost in exchange for my assistance. I will tell you what IS NOT promotion. Tweeting your music or tagging people who never speak to you, talk to you, follow you, etc. IS ANNOYING. It actually is one of the rudest things you can do on social media and will 9 x out of 10 get you blocked, reported as spam, or have your account suspended if enough people report you and then you’ll have to make new accounts and start all over again. You should never send something directly to someone unless they know you.

 

In relation to Fan Base, you have got to get someone on your team that KNOWS what you should and should not be spending money on at each point and time in your career (this is one of my specialties).

 

“The Show Case” – Translation: You will pay a fee of normally $100 or more to appear at your own expense at a club the guy running the “showcase” has a deal with and you will rap a 7-minute set in front of other rappers who also paid to be there. 2 people make money here. The showcase person and club owner. If you want to do shows, open mic nights are free. Don’t let the so & so who’s the A & R on the flyer fool you. GOOGLE the person on the flyer who’s the A & R, 9 times out of 10 it’s not the person on the flyer.

 

“MXTP SLOTS” – Slots on reputable MXTPS cost anywhere from $100-thousands depending on who’s it is. Before paying for a MXTP slot, investigate. The main thing about getting on a MXTP is the FAN BASE. You’re basically paying to expose yourself to the MXTP creator’s fan base.

 

“Buying followers, downloads, & views”- Yes, buying these can make you appear bigger then you are to anyone who is not hip to the fact you can buy these. However, there is software & programs available that help companies determine if the views and downloads are real. I personally wouldn’t pay to find out if they’re real because the proof is in the pudding. If you buy 10k Dat Piff downloads but release a song on iTunes …. Catch my drift? You can’t turn purchased likes or downloads into actual dollars.

 

Now before you do ANY of that….. Who is your fan base? Do you even know? It’s not everybody. Who is your target audience? What kind of people are you going to network with? What age are your listeners? Is the age group you targeted known for purchasing the kind of music you make? If so, how much do they buy? Are they the main consumer in that genre bracket?

 

 

I’m not done but I’m going to stop .

What I just spilled out for you, FOR FREE is a lot of the information I’m often hired to provide. It’s a jungle out here family. A very, very expensive jungle filled with lots of snakes. Best thing to do honestly, is get with someone who actually knows what they’re doing if you’re serious.

Be blessed-

Q

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#OPERATIONREVOLUTION is the Battlegrownd vision God first, unite the
underground artists, producers, DJs, etc from the “most violent cities”
around the globe, change the game, spread the wealth.

*Battlegrowd Entertainment specializes in the following areas:*
•Professional & INDIE Recording Artist Management
•INDIE ARTIST Promo Packages (starting at $25)
•BOOT CAMP Training for INDIE Artists (courses start at $25)
•Professional Artist Review
•Professional Entertainment Management
•Strategic Planning (production, development, promotion, release)
•Production
•Artist Development
•Transition
•Consulting
•Indie Promotions (including major social networking sites)
•Ghost Writing Services / Lyrical Enhancement
>>NEW!<< International Electronic Distribution

All of Battlegrownd Entertainment services are offered on an *hourly basis
for new Indie artists*. We know that funding your own music career without
an investor is difficult. We offer our services on an hourly basis so
upcoming artists only have to purchase the assistance they need. There are
no contracts, or percentages that will ever be owed to Battlegrownd
Entertainment later down the road. If you only need assistance with an hour
of management supervision a month or a strategic plan that takes our staff
2-hours, that’s all you pay for. Ever.

 

Serious Inquiries: battlegrowndent@gmail.com