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#HipHop101 Mixtape Etiquette for the new artist


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted in the HipHop101 section, but what I’m going to talk about is really going to be able to help some people who listen. Although I am an artist, my first love in music has always been the business side as far as marketing, management, and promotion. One of my favorite things to do behind the scenes is organize collaborative Mixtape or Album projects which requires you to work with and organize a lot of different people that do a lot of different things. You have artists, producers, DJ’s, record labels, managers, graphic artists, bloggers, promoters, etc who can all be involved with this kind of project. It can be extremely difficult sometimes when you are dealing with so many different people and personalities but no matter how difficult it can be, I personally find that the finished project always ends up being worth it and whatever or whoever the difficulty was, you learn from it and move forward so that you can make each project better than the next.

With that being said, what I want to address is the Etiquette of Artists. I am very aware that we live in a day and age of social media and we are living in a generation of selfish people. Be that as it may, I am going to explain to you the honorable way to conduct yourself and you can choose to ignore it or pay attention. I am going to tell you the truth about somethings and it might hurt your feelings, but you will be alright if you can get out of your emotions and listen to the logic because this is after all business regardless of what you see portrayed on television or social media.


  • YOU ARE NOT FAMOUS. Unless you are cashing million dollar checks, have hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsements, have gold or platinum records, or have been recognized as one of the greats for your well seasoned and decorated music contributions? SIT DOWN. Relax. you don’t deserve to be disrespected, but you better stay humble. If you are unreasonably a jerk, nobody is going to want to work with you and eventually you will end up biting every hand that tried to help you get fed and burn down all the bridges extended to you. Unless you are an outstanding artist, producer, graphic artist, DJ, blogger, promoter, manager, and record label all in one? You will eventually need the help of other people so it’s best to conduct yourself as a professional. In my opinion I don’t understand how people can say they want music to be their full-time job so they don’t have to do anything else but they’ll behave like professionals for their job at the gas station and act like they have no manners or common sense when it comes to conducting themselves as an entrepreneur (which is technically what you are as an independent artist).
  • Value an invitation. There is a lot of work that goes into a collaborative project. Far too many times people undervalue the time and work that’s put in to a collaborative project especially if all they did was submit a song. This is no way means the creative process and recording is under valued, but the point I am trying to make is a collaborative release has many components to it and if you are invited onto a collaborative project (especially one being presented by an artist, group, or label that holds weight under their name or brand) there are a few things you can easily do that show you appreciate the opportunity of exposure and free promotion.  The LEAST you can do is share the project and support it especially if you were invited on. Even if you pay for a slot, what was the point of purchasing your exposure opportunity if you don’t even support it? If you are invited onto a project, turn in your music in a timely manner. Nobody should have to chase you down to give you an opportunity. If you want to be taken serious as an artist? Be professional. Nobody is going to keep calling, texting, inboxing, or emailing you in order to put your music on a project that’s overall cost isn’t coming out of your budget. What all of us as artists need to remember is that there are millions of us. Sometimes it’s not even natural talent that help people move forward in this very competitive business, it’s things like honoring your word, professionalism, and integrity.  For me personally? I will help a less talented artist who is a good person ten times over breaking my neck for someone who is super talented but a headache to work with.
  • Label your tracks properly.  When you are submitting a song, nine times out of ten whoever is collecting the music is slammed with emails. Make sure you do your part to cut down on the instance of error and costly mistakes. Your email should come with the MP3 of the song, Artist name, track name, and producer name. One thing that happens far too often is people do not label their tracks properly and then expect everyone to stop what they’re doing to correct spelling errors, add something or delete something. Once things like promotion is started or track lists have been designed and released it is far too time consuming and costly to make changes and frankly, unless the error was a track by a heavy hitter? Chances are you’re going to have to deal with the error and move on. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another and nobody died because of it.


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For those of you who may be very new, there is a difference between a Mixtape and Collaborative Album.  A Mixtape can be done by an individual (normally a collection of their music they are putting out for free in order to generate a buzz before an album comes out, a free project an individual releases in order to start building a fan base, a free collaborative project from a group/label/ DJ that showcases a collection of artists / producers. The key word though is FREE. The only time there is ever a charge for a Mixtape is if hard copies are pressed up then you are paying for the actual hard disk and shipping, not the actual music. Artists can be invited on by a DJ/Group/ Label or slots are sometimes available for a fee. Purchasing a slot would be something you charge to your promotional budget and you should only purchase slots on Mixtapes that target the fan base you want, and or are hosted/produced by a reputable organization/DJ/Label/Group. I say that because I can’t even count the number of times a no-name brand or group has slid in my inbox trying to sell me a Mixtape slot for hundreds of dollars. No thanks. If you are debating on purchasing a slot, google the other Mixtapes they’ve done. Combine all the numbers from all of the sites you see it posted on and decide if the slot fee is worth that investment for the level of exposure you find. ( Side note: Any slot fee over $100-$150 you should look for downloads and plays of ten thousand or more but BE CAREFUL…. some of those “downloads” aren’t organic, meaning they could have been purchased. So the best way to make sure it’s legit is see if the project comes up on multiple sites and check all of the stats before making your decision.

A Collaborative Album is actually for sale. Normally a collab album will have one producer and feature many artists on their beats, or put out by a label/group and showcasing their artists and producers. On this kind of album purchase you can expect all original tracks.

I hope some if not all of this was helpful or enlightening. One more helpful tip until the next time… if you are an artist and consider the music industry your ideal profession? Do some research about the “business” you say you’re in. There’s a lot of “artists” that don’t even own the name they’re making beats or recording songs with, and there’s a lot of producers selling beats they don’t technically own although they made them.

That’s all for now! Be blessed –



Now taking project submissions!

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 include artist name, track title, & producer name. (Hosting DJ TBA)

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


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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.



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!



#New Music by @sicnis “Love me with my clothes on”


Be sure to check out the new single from Sicnis “Love me with my clothes on” which is now available for purchase! 

I’d like to take a quick second just to thank her personally for all of her love & support that she and her partner in crime DJ Megastress have shown me via the Euro Invasion show on Wu-World Radio. Keep up the great work Sis, this single is refreshing! Wingz Up


Don’t miss her show @Euro_Invasion with my @DJMEGASTRESS on @WuWorldRadio1 4pm US (EST) 9pm UK every Wednesday


#WuWeds#wesupport #RealHipHop #RealTalent #RealMusic – from #UK 2 #USA 2 #WORLDWIDE !! #Artists#Producers #Entrepreneurs
#GetInTouchWidUs #FireIsTheOnlyPreRequisite
#WUworldwide #DJ #Coalition


Setbacks & Set-ups by @queentheprophet


It’s been a minuet since I’ve blogged one of my infamous rants but honestly it’s because believe it or not, I go through things too family. Behind the glitz, tweets, mix tapes, albums, interviews, blogs, music, shows and all of that (which honestly profits you nothing at the end of the day if your mind isn’t in tact), I too am a real person that has real struggles just like everyone else. I think one of the hardest things that we can all relate to is when things don’t go according to the way we plan them, especially when you put time, work, effort into a plan or you feel like you’ve finally come to a place in your life where you have a sense of comfort, schedule, or control and then the whole entire thing gets knocked out of whack. This is something that when you get taken for an unplanned roller coaster ride in life (i.e. a natural disaster, loosing a job, death in the family, etc.) it tends to feel like you are alone and it’s only happening to you. The truth is, it’s not. Every single one of us has had or will have these times or moments in life where it feels like  nothing’s happening at all or on the flip side, it’s all happening at once.


One of the most important things to remember is that when these things happen? It’s a part of life. If things didn’t change, you would become complacent and you wouldn’t grow. Many of the wisdom’s you’ve accumulated in your own life are from what? Experience. We in our own human nature are selfish beings instinctively. Most of the time our first reaction to a crisis isn’t a celebration. How many times at the moment you hit a crisis you immediately were grateful? How many times have you looked back after a crisis was over and been grateful? Learning how to navigate life and see the wisdom and beauty in situations often requires us to die to our natural selfishness and step outside the situation and ourselves in order to see what’s actually happening.


We are entitled to nothing. The truth of the matter is, you are not born with a guarantee that you will have any certain kind of life or luxury. Things like your health or your home can honestly be here one day and gone the next and somebody always, always, always has it worse then you do. We say that, but we don’t really get that because it’s very easy to forget that there are people in this world RIGHT NOW displaced from their homes, never had a home, don’t have anything to eat or don’t have any idea where their next meal is coming from, or are freezing to death sleeping under a bridge. Not one of us is guaranteed or entitled to anything simply because you had it, used to have it, want it, feel it belongs to you, or whatever else. Every single breath you take, moment you spend in good health or your right mind is a reason to be thankful. These are often the times people like to blame everything on God. Sometimes the very thing you’re angry at God for is the very thing He has a plan to flip in a 360, all in your favor but you’d first stop have to complaining to find it.

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We have got to start changing the way we think. Everything you feed yourself (this includes the garbage you allow into your soul via your eyes on television, social media, the radio, etc) is going to shape and pre-determine the mindset that you’re going to have and the approach you’re going to take in a situation. It may look like a set-back, but nine times out of ten it’s a set-up for something far greater and better then you could have ever imagined. If you continue to feed yourself the ratchet buffet the world offers you then you’ll likely always be the egotistical whining baby in the corner blaming your entire life and whatever series of unfortunate events that have unfolded on everyone and everything else. I’m not saying bad things don’t happen, and I’m not saying uncontrollable tragedies don’t happen either. What I am saying is we can absolutely choose to allow those things to destroy us or we can use them to help ourselves and help others.

Be blessed –




#Read #Interview w @seek2learn36 “Your Voice Radio” show pd by @msnikkirich


QTP: Please introduce yourself to the readers and let them know who you are, where you’re from and what it is that you’re doing currently as well as a little background information.
Hello everyone. Thank you for this opportunity to connect with you and introduce myself.

My name is Servetta McDowell, also known as Twitter’s: Seek2Learn36. V Promo Media is my company.
VPM is a Universal Marketing, Promotions and Networking company where Your Vision for your brand is the blueprint.
Our team consults and mentors with respect to your Vision for individuals, businesses, entertainers, visual artists, and authors who are positively passionate and ready to put in the work with a mentality to succeed.

I am originally from Western North Carolina. I have been in the corporate world for many years. Through growing and learning within the corporate world, I became very aware of what gave me Joy. Real joy within my job functions.

Helping people learn, grow and teach are my passions. It is very important to me to encourage and support others. My motto “Be a Blessing and Be Blessed’. From these strong feelings and the joy I feel from applying them into my daily life… my vision… V Promo Media was born.

QTP: Can you tell us about your upcoming show? (How it got started, when will it launch, who’s involved)
Yes!!! V Promo Media is so excited and happy to announce that we are networking partners with Nikki Rich through
“The Nikki Rich Show Live” Network.

“Your Voice Radio”… Your Voice, Your Vision and Your Journey. The show is produced by Nikki Rich, @MsNikkiRich.
I honestly feel very blessed to network with The Nikki Rich Show. It’s an opportunity. It’s hard work and dedication, supports teamwork, and provides a place that is in line with my goals and vision to “Be a Blessing and Be Blessed”. Thank you Nikki, fellow new hosts, team members and supporters. I appreciate it. Tune in and join us.

V Promo Media Your Voice Radio:
(On-Air) Wednesday nights at 5:15 pm PST / 8:15 EST
@NikkiRichShowLA /

Call In and Listen: 323.580.5749
Hosted by: Servetta Mcowell (@Seek2Learn36)
Produced by: Nikki Rich (@MsNikkiRich)

QTP: Has blog radio always been something you’ve wanted to do or is this a brand new venture entirely?
Blog radio is a new venture for me. I am very excited and love to learn and explore new things. When I noticed the the opportunity on Twitter that Nikki Rich tweeted, it instantly just felt right and I knew it was a great fit for the direction that I wanted to take my brand.

With my background in doing training presentations for businesses to help client and provider relations. My position was created to help both the provider and the client to work together and prosper helped me with selecting this opportunity.

Mainly it new the opportunity would challenge me which would expand on so many levels. To me, is a good thing.

QTP: What kind of show will it be? Who will be the guests and what will be the topics?
V Promo Media Your Voice Radio Show” is a voice promotions media platform is a positive and supportive radio spotlight feature that expands brand awareness, inspires the guests and inspires the audience to keep moving forward on their journey to success with their vision, goals…physically and spiritually.

“Be a Blessing and Be Blessed” translates into: Helping others through support, marketing, promotions, mentoring and networking… giving back as I have received on my journey to move forward.

QTP: Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
Find your passion in life…what you love doing. Create your joy. Always keep learning and growing.
No matter who we are or were we are at on our personal journey… there is always something we can learn.

Always believe in yourself. Never give up on “you”. Find ways to connect with people that lift you higher and support you. In turn, do the same for those people. Keep Moving Forward….internally meaning spiritually within your mind, thoughts and peace. As well as, physically with your actions towards your Vision and goals. It’s a balance. One step at a time moving forward is better than taking no steps at all. Brightest joy to all of us. Thank you.

QTP: How can people contact you or get more information?

Twitter: @Seek2Learn36
IG: Seek2Learn36
Guest Feature inquires:

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Listen to @ghettogovt 1st Lady @queentheprophet Hip-Hop Stock Exchange Radio @hhse_radio


If you missed the show….  on 7/10/13 I was a guest on the Hip-Hop Stock Exchange Radio.

We discussed the industry and things all indie artists should know. Check it out!

@hhse_radio show from 7/10/13 with artitst manager @battlegrowndent @QueenTheProphet


HELL RAZAH MUSIC, INC. @Razah_Rubiez @queentheprophet @scriptureggo LIVE 7/27 with @DJYELLO BLISFM./ALLWEGOT



Wu-Tang Clan Affiliate Hell Razah along with his Hell Razah Music, Inc. “Ghetto Govt Officialz” roster Queentheprophet, Scripture, & Automatik Greatness will join DJ YELLO live from the DMV Saturday, July 27th 4 p.m. EST

Make sure you tune in to BLIS.FM/ALLWEGOT

hell raz