For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

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Last week I attended a media luncheon for State Property’s Freeway and his young protege, Bizz a.k.a. The Prince of Jersey. The event went down at one of my favorite places to handle business, Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Times Square. HTZ’s bikini-clad waitresses, colorful alcoholic beverages and pleasant climate-control makes it one of my go-to meeting spots. Many members of the press were in the house including Angela Yee of the Shade 45 Morning Show, with her cute self. As I interviewed Bizz and Freeway my big homie Clay Dog videotaped the action.


Also included is a new mixtape by Bizz, The Countdown, hosted by DJ Lazy K. Freeway, Max B, Baretta 9 of Killarmy and Akon are just a few of the artists who make guest appearances. It won’t cost you a dime to check it out. Just click the links below…


“Realist Spittin” video. Bizz featuring Kinetic (a.k.a. Baretta 9)




Download link:

Links of interest:



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For fans of best selling authors Malcolm Gladwell (“Tipping Point”) and Chris Anderson (“The Long Tail”), what’s one to do when you find that the authors of your favorite books are at odds over the future of “free” (also the title of Anderson’s new book)? The answer- look to another best seller, Seth Godin (“Tribes”). On his new blog post, he defends Anderson’s point of view.

After reading Gladwell’s review of Free in The New Yorker, I concur that there are indeed significant costs associated with the development of the technology and the distribution behind “ideas.” The biggest argument for Gladwell’s point of view is one that I don’t believe he makes- an idea that isn’t shared with anyone else is really just an idea. However, once that idea is shared with the world, it’s intellectual property. This type of property can be immensely valuable. That’s not to say that if someone creates a business based on giving away IP, that it can’t be successful. There are plenty of services that are offering content for free: traditional TV, Internet TV (Hulu, Joost, etc.), radio (both terrestrial and online variety- Pandora and Imeem), and most online news. Beyond that, at .99 cents- music is near free (legally), RedBox is providing major motion films for one dollar- not free, but cheap in comparison to a $10.00 movie (times each family member or a date that you bring with you), plus the price for soda, popcorn, and candy. As Godin’s pointed out in a previous post- “human attention has become the most valuable commodity.”

What Malcolm says in his article is true; many of these companies have yet to find profit in their free business models. Gladwell gives Youtube as an example of a “free” content company that is not seeing a profit. Another that is barely staying above water is Pandora. However, the “idea” industry’s biggest competitors are not necessarily other legal entities- they’re pirates. These pirates are not necessarily rogue bandits lurking in the underworld. In in many cases, they’re former customers who figured out how to get it free. This has been media’s biggest motivator to give their content away before someone else does it for them illegally. They’re competing with free. So their model is to garner enough traffic from hordes coming to consume anything that’s free, and then finding someone who will pay to piggyback their own message on the back of free media’s visibility- that’s an advertising model that’s been around for a while. The problem today is that previously (before the Long Tail), most of this media was created by professionals. It’s not that trained individuals are always going to generate the best media, or even that the everyday Joe can’t create entertaining content. However, when it comes to the masses of Joe’s creating media that is now available, finding that gem is much more difficult, simply because of the volume that is now available.

Back to Godin- For years, he’s been an advocate for the concept of “The Purple Cow,” an analogy for making one’s product extraordinary. This is the saving grace of both models- free and paid. Even free products will eventually fail to garner attention since there is so much mediocre media online. However, quality content will drive traffic and can also be monetized under certain circumstances. In regards to selling media- fans will always support what they believe in. If it can stimulate, motivate, and resonate, then they’ll pay for what you’ve got- even if they can find a way to get it free. Regardless of the form of media (books, video, music, etc.), in the future, there will still be room for both free and paid content.

In a recent interview that I conducted with Darryl Jennifer (bassist for the legendary Bad Brains)- a band that has enjoyed nearly three decades of cult success, and continue to sell tickets to shows, merchandise and music (physical and digital) to their fans- I asked Jennifer if he had advice for up-and-coming entertainers. He responded, “I don’t look at we do as entertainment. If I were just an entertainer, I probably wouldn’t be around today.” He explained that his career has been a mission. This movement of spirituality and eclectic music has garnered the band three decades of success.

People get behind movements. This is something that Seth Godin addresses in his book Tribes. Much media today is free because there’s so much of it, but most of it fails to move its audience. Regarding Anderson’s argument, “free” is not a definitive answer. We can find evidence of paid media working in a variety of places, including the mosh pits at shows for the aforementioned 50+ year old punk rockers. In actuality, an answer to the debate is even closer than a grungy club. Each of these authors continue to sell physical books, ebooks, and digital audio books to their followers. Like Jennifer, their fans wouldn’t think of not supporting the movements they’ve created. -I. Vasquetelle

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Almost immediately after Michael Jackson’s death his image was positioned on the top of iTunes. His titles then began to repopulate the top spots on the Billboard charts. To most, this wasn’t much of a surprise- after all, he’s the King of Pop. It’s pretty obvious that Michael’s name will forever have a place on the top of most things pop music related. The world fell in love with him as a child, and our fascination never waned. Is it unknown if popular music will ever see a spectacular talent that will dominate the world’s imagination to the extent that Michael did. Regardless, for today’s aspiring music stars seeking longevity, there are significant lessons to learn from Michael’s career.

On and off stage, Michael was not only an icon, but the world’s greatest entertainer. His music and career will be revisited forever. The music industry is full of performers whose careers won’t span more than a few years, never mind decades. Even if they’re successful at breaking through all of the noise, their music will quickly fade. If you are a performer, you should study Michael’s career, and take extra focus on the “Thriller” album. The purpose is obviously not to imitate, but to recognize greatness and challenge yourself by asking some tough questions: 1. Am I truly talented? 2. What can I do to improve myself? 3. Am I bringing something new to the table? 4. Am I working with the right people 5. Lastly, am I the best in my world?

By answering these questions honestly, and then following through, you might have a shot at longevity. Your goal doesn’t have to be reaching the status of King of Pop- that slot has been filled. It is doubtful that any performer to come in the future will sell 750 million records. However, maybe you can be a king or queen in your space. Today, more than ever, music needs original kings and queens, and less imitators. Individuals that accomplish this, regardless of the genre or even the size of their audience, will break through the noise and have a shot at longevity.

All hail Michael the Great! -I. Vasquetelle

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Is Hip-Hop Dead? If yes, explain. If no, explain:

Hip hop has is more alive than it has ever been since its birth around 1974 (peace to DJ Kool Herc), yet there are dimensions of hip hop that are more extinct than a brontosaurus. Some true old schoolers talk about hip hop before it was even recorded on wax, and that era is ancient history that not even I experienced. But for me, who’s been a hip hop human being since 1982, the aspects of it that I loved and lived that are dead and gone include things like recording albums on side A and side B of a 90 minute cassette. It’s getting excited when I found 120 minute length cassettes. I called them “time capsules”, and they still are to me (because I still have all of my tapes). Getting hip hop music off a radio station transmission that you fidget and scramble to receive on your ghetto blaster at some ungodly hour of the night is also a long-gone thing. But it still feels kinda hip hop to download now (even though people take music so much more for granted when everything they want is literally at their fingertips, with a search engine or bit torrent. When you had to hunt and strive and dig in the crates to discover great hip hop music, you appreciated it so much more, and sharing it with friends created a much deeper sense of community. Some styles of rapping have died and never come back (for better and for worse). Even break dancing was dead for a lot of the 90′s, but strangely, television (and the explosion of the new millennium rap music video) had a lot to do with bringing break dancing back. DJing died for a few years in that decade as well, until the DMC’s and such came around, and the word “turntablism” was invented. Some things in hip hop are dead and gone forevermore, and some of them have died and been attempted to be resurrected by new jacks, hipsters, suburban white kids, big businesses and whoever else is vaguely interested in expressing something in life “the hip hop way”.

But to me, it has been extremely alive since the first moment it touched me, (word to Grandmaster Flash and the Message, and LL Cool J and Run-DMC), and I live and define my universe through it. It never died for a moment. Not when Tupac or Biggie or Big L or Eazy-E or Big Pun died (though those were eternally tragic moments that I remember vividly to this day… among other great artists who have been reborn), and not when Nas said “hip hop was dead”. He was just trying to force new thoughts out of everyone. And he did.
Hip hop devours itself constantly, and recreates itself in new ways with every new person, neighborhood, city, country and continent that creates hip hop.
(The past of) Hip hop is dead like Nas said, but also, (the future of) Hip hop lives like KRS-One said. Hip hop forever, like Wu-Tang.

What is your vision of Hip Hop’s future?

Hip hop would be (and soon -will- be) the new religion and new form of governing for the ghetto and places on earth that would be open to taking the divine art form they are already keeping the tradition of, and connecting their concepts to the place they hold their church and their politicians. I trust Rakim and Nas and KRS-One more than I trust Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty and the people behind Barack Obama (I got my eye on him cause the government is #4080 to say the least, but god bless the brother for inspiring the world to change their minds). In a perfect world, hip hop would be the best way to solve conflict. Countries should have b-boy/b-girl battles, not wars. Art and music should be the way to challenge an opponent. And the music should be seen as sacred as prayers. The more holy the lyrics and beat are, the more worshipped it will be. Lauryn Hill was loved like a Goddess when “Miseducation” was out. And Nas was worshipped like a God when “Illmatic” dropped. Cause he IS a God. Everyone is X amount God and X amount Devil. Music is the best way to capture each element of our essence, and hip hop’s best people have paved the path to walk towards Heaven on earth through this subculture made of soul and rhythm and funk and jazz and rock and all the dimensions of sound and technology to come before it, and into it now. Hip hop culture is the future of life. It won’t stop expanding around the world until the world either blows itself up, or it bows down to the divinity of hip hop.

Do you listen to other forms of music outside of Hip Hop, if yes WHAT?

I love all music that my ears think is good, in every genre that exists. To be honest, if I had to listen to only one musician for the rest of my life, it would be either Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder. But it meant the world to me for Nas’s very first single to be based on Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” sample (peace to Large Professor). If I had to listen to only one MC for the rest of my life, it would be Nasty Nasir Olu Dara Jones.

Who were your artistic/musical influences growing up?

My mom played lots of Teddy Pendergrass, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Whitney Houston (that first album is immaculate), Sade, James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic, lots of dancehall reggae, Motown, Jazz, and some rock and roll. My big brother also won Best Break dancer in Edmonton in 1982 at a contest at Sports World roller-rink, and I idolized him eternally for that. So I loved music and dancing at a very early age, and never stopped.

What is your music background?

I may be misinterpreting this, but both my parents are Jamaican, and my father is still there, working on his music. We have the same dreams. My background is based on a musical foundation, and I’ve only gotten deeper into it as the days have played their songs in the key of my life.

How do you describe your music to people?

It changes from person to person. Sometimes I compare it to pieces of my influences and heroes (RZA and all of the Wu-Tang Clan, El-Producto and Bigg Jus of Company Flow, Del the Funky Homosapien, Saafir the Saucy Nomad, Freestyle Fellowship, Cannibal Ox, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Andre 3000, and of course… Nas), or sometimes I use descriptions that other people have used: “he sounds like Busta Rhymes mixed with DMX!” or “you’re a mix of De La Soul and Digable Planets”… once I was told I sounded like “Pharoahe Monch from Outer Space”, and that warmed my heart. Sometimes, I just say “it’s hip hop soul music”. Or sometimes I say “its modern day poetry”. Sometimes, I just spit a verse, because sometimes I have no idea how to describe what I do to some people.

What image do you think your music conveys?

I often say its “spiritual, political, sexual, mental, physical, mystical” music. That’s the image I want to convey. Never the same song twice, never the same thought twice, never the same style twice. I hope I give off the vibe that it’s loving and edutaining music. I want to give off the impression of gaining intelligence, having fun, feeling sexy, and enjoying life to the fullest. I also want to fuck your head up.

What’s your outlook on the record industry today?

The record industry doesn’t exist like it used to in the “please listen to my demo” days. THANK GOD! Those power-mad bastards ran this shit into the ground. But at the same time, the competition bar has been raised so high that there are a million MySpace pages to wade through to hear a few great MCs who deserve to be paid attention to for their whole career. The power has never been more in the hands of the independent artist, but the responsibility of knowing your business, and your strengths and weaknesses matters more than ever. The artist development that the best labels did is not there for the indie artist, making their music on ProTools, producing beats on either an MPC or Reason or Cubase (or Fruity Loops, ha), pressing up their CD-R and designing their album cover and assembling their product at home. Labels are still the right way to go for a scant few artists, but the rest are better off learning how to market and promote themselves, make some videos, merchandise, and find out how to get a booking agent and manager to make them a mini-conglomerate. It’s a good time to be an unsigned musician. Drake just made world history. I plan to next.

What inspires you to do what you do?

Necessity and destiny. My mind cannot conceive a reality where I’m not doing this. That thought literally cannot be processed or contemplated by my mind. I don’t know who I would be or where I would be if I didn’t do music. I know if I had the same heart as I do now, it would feel like HELL ON EARTH. Music is heaven for me.

What project or projects are you currently working on? When will they be released?

There’s a few ideas floating around my body that I have yet to give birth to, but here’s a few, including some collaboration projects that are coming soon:
Supreme Being Unit – In Space, No One Can Hear You Rhyme
Micill Shazaam Write and Mindbender – Obeah
Mindbender Supreme – Fearkiller / No More Mr. Fucking Nice Guy Vol. 3: Rude Awakening / Psychic Soundwave Sanctuary / Mindbender Futurama / and more…

If you had an opportunity to collaborate with ANY artist or artists (dead or alive) in ANY genre of music/art, who would you choose? And why?

Because he was the closest thing I can think of as an artist on the level of a God. His voice is the most angelic thing I will ever hear. His songwriting is some of the most immaculate, delicate, excellent executed and perfect sound I will ever hear in this lifetime. His honesty, kindness, and generosity is beyond that of a Saint. And his unparalleled legacy will stand for all time to teach all future generations on earth the levels of divine artistry, compassion, and dedication to music and melody and dance that we can all dream to reach one day. I always loved Michael Jackson, and even talked to another hardcore MJ fan/friend of mine about trying to go see the “This Is It” show in London, England. Now that he’s not with us, I’m studying his examples and seeing how phenomenal of a human being he was, in every dimension of art and life. I saw Janet Jackson, and she was amazing for real. But if I got a chance to see Michael Jackson perform, I would be happy beyond the ability to express in words. I’d just have to sing it, like: SHAMON!

If there was any other, it would be Stevland Hardaway Judkins aka Stevie Wonder. I’ve seen Stevie Wonder twice, and they were some of the most holy moments I have ever known in my life. I wasn’t hearing music; I was hearing magic in the air. I highly recommend you see him one fine day in your lovely life. It will do you a world of wonder, no pun intended.

And that’s it. Those musicians are the human and musical equivalent of the highest love in heaven to me.

Mindbender loves you all.

Please check out Mindbender Supreme @:

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Daylle Deanna Schwartz is the author of ten books. Her music titles are among the most respected and recommended for the independent music artist who is working on building a career. Her classic book, “Start and Run Your Own Record Label” has been revised and is going to be released as a third edition this February.

Besides being an acclaimed author, Daylle is also a sought after speaker and music business expert. She has given presentations throughout the country, and has also appeared on television and radio programs nationally. Daylle started her career in the ‘80s as a schoolteacher, recording artist, and entrepreneur. This March she is re-releasing her first rap record, “Girls Can Do.” She’s also shooting a music video to accompany the digital release of that song.

The 3rd edition of “Start and Run Your Own Record Label” is a highly recommended resource for anyone who is aspiring to be successful within the music industry. The book will be available in bookstores, as well as popular bookselling sites such as For more information about this incredible writer visit Daylle’s website.

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