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Don’t gain the world and lose your soul

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Now more then ever folks are abandoning what they know, sellin out, switching sides in hot purist fueled by the love of money (which btw the LOVE of money is the root of all evil ) Some are even giving up all together. But in the midst? The people of God are rising up because they realize that time is running out. We are living in a time where everyone has access to the truth and belief in that truth is a personal choice as it has been since the beginning. You are either going to whole heartedly serve the truth and all it’s components (your walk, your talk, your speech, your actions) or continue to find yourself in a deeper state of confusion swaying whichever way the wind blows you or whatever emotion some social media post exposed you to. Except this time, the confusion is so deep, you don’t even realize you’re confused. Confusion has permission to enter through every door that isn’t aligned. When you entertain things that go directly against what you know to be true of God you allow your human reasoning to start justifying your speech, thoughts, actions and behavior instead of the Holy Spirit and incase you haven’t really met Him, He normally veto’s most of the things you’re comfortable doing. The word of God says “My people perish for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) and the truth is? Most people have no idea the bible refers to being controlling as witchcraft, reading your horoscope is considered practicing witchcraft, practicing any of the new age beliefs (guided meditation, tarot cards, ) not only is sinning against God but you unknowingly have handed over legal access to the devil himself. Most people don’t even know that there is a system, an order in all kingdoms. If you have never spent any time learning the in’s and out’s of the system then you my friend are sitting in the middle of a war with no weaponry. My job is not to argue with anyone who knows Christ already or who has already made their decision. My job is to extend the invitation to those who’ve never met Him, remind those of you who have been given a platform (regardless of it’s size) have the responsibility of whatever you say or don’t say, and how you live on and off that platform you will be held accountable for it, and to issue a warning that the King of Kings is coming soon, get it together. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

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#WednesdayWisdom Are you prepared?

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Are you prepared or are you a bang & fizzle? A bang & fizzle person is someone who has a million ideas, starts with a bang but ends with a fizzle. They never really see anything through to the end and eventually just have a million ideas that have all started with a bang but all ended with a fizzle. I’ve done it myself especially when I was a brand new entrepreneur. I have learned through my years of experience (both successes and failures) that a lot of the time the reason for the fizzle is unpreparedness.

This doesn’t relate to only business though, often times we are not even prepared for the things we desire or are praying for. Sometimes we even can find ourselves frustrated when we have an idea or vision that we feel in our heart is the right thing to do or something God gave us but then it doesn’t quite fall into place like we expect or as quickly as we thought it would. We can’t receive new blessings with an old mindset. People pray for a spouse without making any preparation to actually be a spouse . People want to start a business but never actually sit down and write a business plan. People want to go back to school but never figure out how they’re going to re-arrange their schedule to fit in time for class and homework. People think they’re ready for a promotion but lack the ability to control their own emotions which directly impacts your ability to lead anything. So many people want to break into the music game but never research how much of their own money they’ll have to invest in order to generate a buzz. There’s a whole lot of folks praying for the winning power ball numbers and think all of their problems in life will be solved with millions of dollars but they can’t even wisely manage a tax refund. The list goes on and on.

If you ever sit down with a successful person and ask them how they became so successful, the first thing they’ll normally tell you is about is all the time they were unsuccessful. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s or envy what someone else has because you have no idea what they went through or sacrificed to get there. If you believe in the vision you have, take the time to prepare for it properly. Do your research, date yourself, learn how to budget, and do whatever else is necessary to help you be in the best position to receive what you’re asking for or working towards.

When you find yourself in a dry place

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Experiencing a drought in your life isn’t always the devil. Sometimes God allows you to be cut off from what you have become dependent upon as your supply (job, relationships, people), so you can rely on the supplier and be aligned to receive what’s already scheduled to be released to you, but exactly at the moment and point of time He has already pre-scheduled. God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. He has ways of teaching us valuable lessons in unusual ways. I can honestly say having a lot of money didn’t form my character, being broke did. I value honest friends because I’ve been betrayed. I appreciate genuine affection because I’ve been abused. Having a weekly paycheck didn’t teach me to walk by faith, loosing my job did. Ya’ll don’t hear me tho *shrug* 

Are they talking about you?

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You have to REALLY (and I mean REALLY) not care what people say about you. Listen, you could make the best apple pie in the world and there is ALWAYS going to be someone, somewhere that hates apple pie. With that being said, people throw shade. Why? It makes them feel better about themselves.Sinful human nature caters to “better than, less than” people feel better about themselves when they have something or someone else to talk about. When you’re a mature, emotionally self-controlled person you realize that most often times people will accuse the very thing that’s in their own heart. If they’re corrupt, they accuse others of being corrupt, if they’re fake, they accuse other people of being fake, If they would shove millions in their own pockets if they ran a mega ministry, that’s exactly what they accuse others of, If they could never picture themselves with someone, they accuse the intention of the person who is. etc. They talked about ‪#‎Jesus‬ and sold Him out for 30 pieces of silver, we’re not that special that we’re going to be exempt, SO GET USED TO IT. The good news is, they don’t bother talking about you unless you’re making an impact or they perceive you as some sort of threat. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and google any person you think has significance.

Aggressive Faith

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Faith is an action word, it’s supposed to be aggressive not passive. People of faith shouldn’t be quietly sitting in the corner twiddling their thumbs, hanging on till Jesus comes. If God gave you a dream and a vision, your role in that is to do whatever is reasonably within your power to do and He will do the rest. God gives us all gifts and talents but your testimony isn’t going to sound like “well God gave me this idea, I sat on it for as long as I could and one day it magically jumped off the table, came to life and the end”. Sometimes we’re sitting around crying about our situation or finances and the answer you’re seeking He already gave us but because it’s not currently convenient or what we feel like hearing, we just waste time. God NEVER promised this walk would be convenient, but He did say He shall supply all your needs, He wants you to live abundantly, lack no good thing, etc. so get up, get aggressive in your faith and do the possible. God will do the impossible.
Philippians 4:19

John 10: 10

Psalm 84:11

Psalm 34:10

Matthew 19:26

 

 

#Life Lessons: Self Examination

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Think about it….
You are as fake as who you listen to & surround yourself with.
You are as shallow as the things you seek after in the order of their priority.
You are as phony as how aligned the words you speak match the life you live.
If we are mature enough to handle the reality of the answers, you may find that you’re not as bad off as you may sometimes feel that you are or you may discover a need to hit the reset button.

#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

Danger of the “Comfort Zone” by @queentheprophet

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What is the “comfort zone”? The comfort zone is a place that is comfortable. It’s a place that you are familiar with and feel at ease when you’re there. Your home is a comfort zone (for most people), as it should be. Your home should be a place of rest, refuge, a place where you are able to let your guard down and feel safe. In your home, you know where your things are (unless you have kids of course because they move everything), and at the end of a long work day it is the place you are glad to return to, kick off your shoes and relax. Most people after a period of time feel a certain level of comfort at their job. They get to know the routine, their co-workers, the daily workload, they learn to budget their salary, and after awhile enter into a place of comfort.The comfort zone is not always a bad thing. It is absolutely important that children feel safe with their families and in their homes. Most of the time, people aren’t even aware of their comfort zone until they’re taken out of it.

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There’s only two ways a person is taken out of their comfort zone, either by choice (which is actually only a very small percentage of people) or by force (which means circumstances in which the person had no control over). The comfort zone can become a dangerous place sometimes because comfort can lead to complacency, complacency makes you ineffective and nine times out of ten a person who is complacent is miserable, bored, and unfulfilled. When people feel unfulfilled, we have a bad habit of looking outwards to solve the problem instead of inwards, and that? Gets a whole lot of folks in trouble. A very wise woman once said to me, “God gave each one of us a gift capable of making money.” So if we all have a gift or something we enjoy and do really well, why are so many people stuck in jobs they hate? Why don’t people do that “thing” they always wanted to do? Believe it or not, most people are scared to death to try anything that forces them to come out of their comfort zone.

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Every single one of my greatest accomplishments has come beyond my normal comfort zone. Just so we’re clear, I can tell you that in order for me to become a person comfortable trying new things I had to first be a person that had to have faith that every, single time the rug was pulled out from under me or life threw me a curve ball that I wasn’t prepared for that God was in control and He would make a way. Believe me, I’m not the picture of perfection when it comes to that either, I can be stubborn, rebellious, and just plain old not even remotely wanting to deal with certain things. I learned everything the hard way. I did not magically wake up one day and even become a person that “has faith”, my faith was made. There was a point in my life where I was making other people a ton of money for their businesses, but all the ideas, practices, organization, and work behind the scenes was me. For a period of time I worked a full-time job and helped other people organize and set up businesses and in a few cases I was actually running multiple businesses at once (while I was holding down a full-time and part-time job) and not one of them was mine. I used every excuse in the book just like most people. I didn’t have enough money (the truth is you will never have “enough” money”), I didn’t have the time, etc. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I remember 2-weeks after I resigned from my job of ten-years to help a friend with a business full-time we ended up having a falling out. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of the impending doom that came with that as well as all of the mental hell I put myself through beating myself up for leaving my job in the first place.  It wasn’t until the rug was pulled out from under me (in more ways then one) that I really learned what I was made of. Think about it….

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Think back over situations that have happened in your own life. Where did you find your strength? What things caused you to grow or advance? Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean be stupid either. It doesn’t mean quit your job, pitch a tent on the green with a lemonade stand. If you want something out of your life that you’ve never had, you have got to do something you’ve never done. How will you know if you don’t try? Are you comfortable with the thought that you will one day (God willing) grow old and reflect on all of the things you could have, should have, or wanted to try? If you continue to do the same things over and over again, don’t expect different results. This isn’t just about stepping out of your comfort zone in business, this is about stepping out of your comfort zone in your faith, in love, in life, in everything. Is it always going to work out the way you pictured it? Probably not just to keep it all real. It may very well end up like none of your plans, but in the long run it may very well be the best thing that ever happened to you too.

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Life can cause us to be hesitant when it comes to certain things, especially when we’ve had situations or experiences that have shaped our reality. Reality is a subjective term, meaning it’s personal to us. Our reality is not like anyone else’s. Our personal “reality” is shaped and molded by our life experiences. That’s not necessarily a bad thing until we begin to allow it to rob us of our life. Angers, hurts, pains, frustrations and disappointments have the ability to mold us into a bitter, negative, shameful, unfulfilled life if we allow it to. LIFE is right on the outside of your comfort zone.

Sign the #petition #Justice4Trayvon STOP the “celeb death match”

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My question is, is THIS what we have become? Are we truly living in a day and age where mindless entertainment and the almighty dollar have blinded us as a people to the point that we allow things like this to happen? I don’t think I have words to express my disgust. George Zimmerman is an un-convicted murderer. He factually shot & killed an unarmed child. Trayvon Martin is dead. Although in the courts, Mr. Zimmerman was not found guilty of murder, he still shot Trayvon, Trayvon is dead. Months later, Mr. Zimmerman was actually arrested and found guilty of beating up his girlfriend. I’m not going to paint the picture of his character, he has done that. I’m not judging him, God will do that. This man is not a celebrity, he shot and killed a kid. He just wasn’t found guilty of murder, but he did in fact shoot Trayvon and Trayvon is dead.

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To put Zimmerman in a “Celebrity Death Match” costs money. The entertainment world doesn’t like to waste money, they like to make it. Believe you me, the only reason this has come up is because they KNOW there is a market for it. If they were convinced the consumers would be outraged and boycott this episode, it wouldn’t be happening. Basically, they think you’re stupid and if you watch or support it? You are in fact stupid. After the fight then what? All people will remember is that DMX beat him up and it will take away from the fact the reason he was in the line up to fight was because he shot an unarmed child not to mention, he’s gonna get PAID.

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I urge you to not be who the media thinks they’ve melted your brain enough to be and that is a generation of people that will watch or support this attempt to cash in on the death of a child. The petition below to stop the match from happening was started by Ms. Janet Dickerson who decided to take action instead of bashing Damon Feldman (Celebrity Death Match) on social media.

https://www.change.org/petitions/damon-feldman-stop-the-george-zimmerman-celebrity-boxing-match

More information : http://newsone.com/2865191/change-org-petition-george-zimmerman-dmx-celebrity-boxing-match/

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INDIE ARTISTS – Spend wisely COMMON UNDERGROUND MUSIC SCHEMES

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Most of us have said or heard, “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense”. Same is true when you’re spending your money. Most people don’t like to waste money. Most people can’t afford to get robbed.

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When you are an independent artist, you get robbed all the time. As much as we try to avoid this, people lose money all the time because there are people who will do or say anything just to make a few dollars. Here’s the SAD TRUTH…. these plots don’t impact the people who could recover from loosing $25 easily (not that ANYONE deserves to get robbed). These blood suckers take it from YOU. The struggling artist with a dream, scraping up your last to put your music out. They are aware of this. That’s why you are their target. You’re more likley to get mad and then just go away.

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Some of the most common schemes in the underground music community:

  • Mix tape Slots- There’s no MXTP. You pay pal a stranger $10-$25 and they BANK on you not ever suing them. Why would you? It’ll cost you more to track them down and take them to court. (Do this to 4 people X $25 you made $100)
  • Promotion- Their followers, views, etc aren’t real. They’re bought. Then you pay $50  for tweets to fake people.
  • The “Showcase”- Unless you personally know what the A & R reps at each record label look like (and you should, it’s on the internet most of the time) stop spending your money. You are paying to perform in front of other rappers  in the same boat as you. If you don’t bring a crowd, your crowd is other rappers. 9 x out of 10 there is no prize, nobody gets the prize, and the “Showcase”  is someone who worked at a radio station, has hook-ups at local clubs, and  then charges you to perform in front of other people that paid to perform.
  • “Tours”- The state to state tours. You again are paying to perform in front of other artists that paid to be there. Who do you know that was signed from a tour or a showcase? Seriously.
  • “Verbal Contract” Anything done verbally is dangerous. Yes you can go to court  with it, but you better have good supporting evidence (phone records, emails, receipts). Everything should be in writing. Keep a paper trail.

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Don’t be stupid. Do your homework before you pay people to do something.

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A real business person values their reputation and will provide you with an invoice detailing what you’re paying for. Nobody can promise you the moon, you can invest $10k into music promotion and if the music is bad, it is what it is and is the luck of the draw just like it is for everyone else. The best that you can hope for & do for yourself on a limited budget is find people who will give you what you pay for.

Be wise.

QTP