For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

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Regardless of your taste, if you’re a fan or practitioner of building awareness, then you should appreciate the trade of skilled rap promoters. Cash Money Records set the precedent in current rap music for how to build awareness from the ground up. They proved that when this is done properly, the foundation is set to secure fans’ passion for the brand for years.

There’s so much written and discussed about online marketing today, however, there’s something to be said about taking it to the people, the old way, face to face aka real social networking. During my conversation with the owners of Cash Money Records, when they were just starting to get known nationally- before Lil Wayne’s household name status- they told me one of their marketing strategies. This assisted them in connecting with their initial audience in a significant way. It seemed so obvious at the time, but I wonder how strange and against the grain their information is in today’s social-media crazed environment, with its saturated haze of blog posts, text messages, and 140 character riffs. [click to continue…]

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Are You Hip Hop?

April 30, 2011

You can’t be Hip Hop by wearing diamonds in your mouth. Hip Hop won’t be found in a Bently or an Aston Martin. Wearing brand names like Coogi, Roca Wear, LRG, or Sean Jean won’t make you anymore a part of Hip Hop than rocking gear from LL Cool J’s subdued family-oriented clothing line, which is exclusively available at Sears. Lingo, slang, swagger, jewelry, playing violent video games or even DJ Hero, won’t make you anymore Hip Hop than spitting game (rapping) will make you legit. It’s ironic that today’s so called “Hip Hop heads” rely on corporate entities to tell them what to buy, how to act, and what to do to be Hip Hop. Most don’t understand this, but they’re taking cues from corporate suits who sit in conference rooms and strategize in midtown Manhattan boardrooms on how to have you dress, what you should drive, eat, and listen to in order to be Hip Hop. In reality, Hip Hop isn’t something you can buy into with a credit card. Regardless of what rap videos, marketers, or even your hip friends tell you, those things are not and will never be Hip Hop.

So, what is Hip Hop?

I’ll let the Dondi White tell you. You’ll notice he never even says the words (Hip Hop), but he was a living, breathing, example of what that is. He wasn’t a rapper, a DJ, a trendsetter, or a mogul, but he was indeed Hip Hop.

-Vasquetelle

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Damon Evans, CEO of 101 Distribution. Photo credit Jody Domingue

After working for an established distributor that was purchased by EMI, Damon Evans decided it was time to launch his own distribution company. In 1998, he founded 101 Distribution to provide traditional music distribution services to independent labels. This included the facilitation of titles to both independent and major retail outlets. Today, what makes 101 Distribution distinct in an environment of a growing list of music distributors that offer mostly digital delivery, is that they provide their clients much more. During the last several years Evans’ company has added a slew of options, including digital distribution, to their robust repertoire of services. The company touts itself as “North America’s only independently owned, full-service music and film distributor.” In this interview, Evans provides a great amount of insight regarding how his company assists labels, artists, and independent filmmakers compete in the new and evolving music and film industries.

When did you enter into the digital side of the music industry?

Damon: We started selling digital files on our own site probably in 2003, and truth be told, we really didn’t get aggressive about setting up direct accounts with the iTunes, Napsters and Amazons of the world until probably ’05. Up until that point we had used different aggregators and tried to build different relationships to understand how that business worked and what was involved with it. And once we figured it out, our catalog kind of allowed us to make some direct connections. With iTunes being in the US in particular, the largest digital download storefront, it kind of afforded us the opportunity to take time to develop relationships with new up-and-comers, new concepts and it ultimately led in to us developing our own platform that we use exclusively now.

In regards to the artists, labels or filmmakers that are distributing through 101, are those deals exclusive?

Damon: Everything is non-exclusive. For example, we have a lot of artists who may have a project set up with a Tunecore or they have a CD listed with a CD Baby for example. But because so many of these other service providers specialize on one or just a few aspects, there’s a lot of gaps that we end up filling for artists that are selling to other companies. So an artist may come to us and maybe they have their digital set up and are pleased with the company they are working with and they just need us for mobile. We can carve out all the others aspects and just focus on mobile. Maybe an artist just wants some additional support when it comes to mail order or merchandising. We can carve off the digital and physical retail, and just focus on whatever items that artist is missing. [click to continue…]

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What can I say about VEight that hasn’t been said already. This gifted individual is from another dimension. Check out this enigmatic vid:

posted by C37

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