Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Real Talk Wit Raze: Ask Not What Your Emcee Can Do For You...

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I'm absolutely positive that this post will offend a good number of you.

And it SHOULD. Because that's the point.

Your "fan fare" is offensive. It's pitiful and insulting that some of you have the nerve to refer to yourselves as "supporters" of indie music. Simply put...

YOUR SUPPORT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH.

I've heard/read a more than a enough people on the inet and at shows (ironically enough) make statements similar to...

"dudes kill me talking that bullsh*t about buying dudes album to support....man look, just rocking the music is support enough...no need to cough up your doe, when u can get it, 5 finger discount, and play the same shit as if u paid for it.."

Yes, you read that right. And the scary part is, this is a far more popular way of thinking than many of you may realize. We live in an era where music has become a Disposable Art. Partially, because so many people are MAKING music and fewer people are FANS of music. And also, because everything is a few free clicks away for even a marginally internet savvy person. I mean, who WOULDN'T wanna just cop the album or songs for free when you so easily can?

But that's not my only gripe either. For the most part, I don't really mind people bootlegging major label releases because the artists don't really see much of anything off those sales anyway. My problem, is people iJacking INDIE artists and more importantly not supporting by going to SHOWS.

Most artists, whether local or touring, make the bulk of their income by creating the music you love (whether you love Wacka Flocka or The Roots or "MC _____ from your city") by performing. And while some people simply aren't into the live performance thing, "just rocking the music..." is NOT support enough.

While reposting links to songs and videos is a phenomenal way to help support a particular artist's momentum and popularity growth, it doesn't stop there. It shouldn't stop there. Ultimately, clicks, views and listens don't PAY BILLS.

Yeah, I know..."The economy is f*cked up" blah, blah....BLAH. And before someone replies, YES, I am an artist. But this isn't just about me. Nor is it just about hip hop. A lot of folks CLAIM they're supporters of certain artists I personally know, but NEVER come to shows and ALWAYS have their hands out for free copies of the next releases. Then pass them around to friends. For free. KNOWING the album is for sale on CD Baby or iTunes. Hell, they even go as far as burning MULTIPLE copies of the music. While this MAY be in good intentions, really it's disrespectful to the hours, days, months and years (sometimes) of work that artists put into making that "dope album" you're passing around. If you're not gonna buy a CD to support with $5 or $10 to show appreciation, at LEAST go to a show or two and actually PAY to get in.

At the early building levels of being an indie artist, believe it or not, EVERY dollar means something. From paying the Dj to the Venue, to the security, to the sound man and THEN hoping you have some money left over to pay for your CD getting pressed up...it's a helluva investment to make, just for a "homie" or family member to ask to be "V.I.P." or "on the list at the door".

Simply put, if you're not contributing monetarily to your artists of choice, YOU'RE NOT SUPPORTING. You may be contributing to their stock in the popularity contest aspect of the music business, but you're not contributing to them being able to get bigger and better. Which I assume is where you're hoping those popularity points will eventually get them.

My brother in law owns a semi-pro football team. Every season, while he's walking the sidelines, I KNOW in his mind he's thinkin about TICKET SALES for that week's game. Why? Because if tickets don't sell, HE has to pay the field maintenance, the announcers, the refs, etc. Its the same business model as putting together a show, but just a different type of performance.

I could go on forever about this topic and get more in depth, and gladly will if so requested. But my goal here is to hopefully solicit some self reflection from those of you this applies to. Are you REALLY a fan? Because if you ARE, you aren't showing it in a way an artist REALLY can appreciate.

Sure it's nice being told you're dope, but it's a whole 'nother thing being shown you're so dope I wanna help keep your lights on so you can continue to be and make dope ish.



R.

9 comments:

  1. I like your posts that you put up here on the Ashy Radio and look forward to making more comments here soon.

    But onto the issue at hand.
    1) as an indie artist I understand that every dollar means everything, and people should be paying for the art.

    2) i would think that the free publicity would be a good thing. all those free copies and buzz around a particular artist could land thier songs onto the right desk and just "blow up"

    3) maybe more indie artist should come together and collaborate more. ie more than one artist do a show at one location thus splitiing the cost of doing business and then perhaps with having two (or more) sets of hardcore fans more artists will actually get fans who will pay for their craft.

    Just some observations.
    ....ARoC

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  2. be careful of what you say because you could lose fans like this and this is why:
    here's my POV - you get the kind of support you work for. if you're still stuck in milwaukee rockin trashy bars prayin for a club to let you do a live show then you are at the peak of your fan game. hell, if all your shows are here in wisconsin then you are at the top of your fan game.
    i've watched interviews from famous artists (actual artists with real record deals on MTV & BET) say that you should start worrying when they DON'T steal your music. that's when you're no longer relevant.
    i'm a supporter of indie music and have bought my fair share of cd's THAT I DON'T EVEN LISTEN TO! i got a stack of them just sittin here collecting dust. but i whole heartedly agree with you about not bootleggin their sh*t. that just seems ultra disrespectful. it's like stealing from a bum - which is what i consider most indie artists from milwaukee - the bums of the industry, singing, rappin and dancin with their hands out lookin for a hand out.
    all levels of support should be appreciated and as a bum of the industry you should at least tilt your hat in appreciation and say thank you.
    the problem is that supporters are not getting what they are hoping and paying for from artists. if the dream of a supporter is for their idol to make it big then all artists thus far have failed us all. we keep supporting but we still keep bumpin in to your street teams in grocery store parking lots. time to sh*t or get off the pot! if supporters knew it was possible for milwaukee artists to make it then the support would increase 10 fold! until then... what you see is what you get!
    thanks and good luck with everything!

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  3. i agree with the previous statement about what "real artist" say ... " that you should start worrying when they DON'T steal your music. that's when you're no longer relevant. " but most of those artists all started out (mostly) as indie as well. so the idea that you can make it is out there and that is why the indie artists believe that they can make with more fans.

    the problem being who decides who the fan is? the artist? in this case he wants ppl to come out to the shows and physically show him support, plus by attending the shows it helps the artist gain valuable info as to how large his fan base really is. you know did his cousin come out or that one dude who got the bootleg come out?

    now if it the fan decides then maybe spending their hard earned money on ACTUALLY buying the album is enough. just some thoughts

    ....ARoC

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  4. @ARoC - I knew the harsh rhetoric of this post would rub some harshly, but I tossed caution to the wind because nobody talks or discusses soft spoken ideals. I in no way mean to discredit or be non-appreciative of the non-monetary forms of support. BUT, having seen for YEARS artists just as, if not more talented and deserved of major label deals, as the artists on those labels, its disheartening. After reading direct quotes like the one citin in this article, its disheartening. I could quit making music TODAY and 3yrs down the road, I assure you I will have the same stance.

    @Anonymous - First off, I appreciate your feedback. And yes, I'm fully aware of the potential backlash this post could garner. But, that's the beauty and ugly of me being ME. Having said that, I think calling Milwaukee artists "the bums of the industry" is pretty disrespectful and foolish. Does that same take apply to the other millions of artists across the nation doing the same thing in hopes of "blowing up"? Or how about the millions of people that appear on American Idol? You're also missing an important part of this. There's a difference between an artist "praying for a club to let (you) do a live show" and an artist that professionally books venues and does out of market shows on their own dime in support of their own career. So, yes the prior COULD be called a "bum", but misconstruing (sp) the two is downright criminal. No one of the latter is asking for a hand out, as those artists are putting the work in to improve their own art and EARN the support & adoration of fans & all around lovers of music. If you don't dig someone's music, by all means DON'T support. Nobody is obligated to. But if you enjoy an artists music enough to play it at a party, pass it around or even just in ur leisure because it puts you in a desirable mood, by all means, is that not worth a small $5 or $10 "thanx" to that artist?

    Damn, don't y'all LOVE anonymity?

    R.

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  5. actually calling milwaukee artists "bums of the industry" is almost exactly on point according to the article you just wrote. i agree with you that there are some that don't deserve the title but as a fan of your postings on here and facebook, it would be criminal for you NOT to agree with me seeing how you trash milwaukee artists AND their game regularly.
    if all you meant to do was put the burners to indie artist bootleggers and ultra fans with too many excuses then i think you should say that, but this is almost directed toward everyone that mite of had an appreciation for an indie artist!
    you also have to realize it's a little difficult for some ppl to pay to come see the guy they regularly have drinks with or the chick he sees at work passin out free copies anyway (i know exceptions to the rules)...
    anyhow, the same take does NOT apply to other artists that have made it, because they made it. they gave their indie fans what they paid for and that's the ability to say "i knew him when he was underground." i guess that was more of a stab at milwaukee than milwaukee artists because elsewhere they get up and get out and get somethin. here, you'll run into that same guy that was rockin the mic at jj chicken and fish or jimmy johns (no offense to anyone that likes or frequents these 2 establishments. i chose them at random cause it sounded funny) but i meant what i said! extremely few artists get famous from milwaukee and the rest are stuck and in denial!

    -a bum-

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  6. All in all the trend in Milwaukee, at least on the "backpack" side of things, overall attendance at shows has been going down while media coverage of the music itself has been going up. The idea of Milwaukee hip-hop being less than quality is out the door in the minds of those who run the AV Club, Shepherd Express, OnMilwaukee.com, and Journal Sentinel. This is further supported by Radio Milwaukee continually placing new Milwaukee hip-hop into rotation, though in moderation...and WMSE continuing to allow Tuesday night to have hip-hop for well over a decade now. V100 is playing more local hip-hop with their "Heat from the Streets" and KISS FM...a station that never allows local music on the air...always puts several local hip-hop songs into their Kiss Idol/Icon contest each year. So, the press gets it...the media gets it...but the fans, don't get it yet. There is a depth of quality coming out today in Milwaukee hip-hop and it continues to grow year by year. External eyes and ears are catching on with blogs beginning to embrace more Milwaukee hip-hop then they previously had and there are several artists that are building up some buzz beyond their locale. However, local fans, are always going to be behind when it comes to support because everything is in their backyard and thus, it doesn't seem or look or sound special. When all is said and done and this period of Milwaukee hip-hop has passed, 5 or 10 years down the road, those who are willing to go back and think about it rationally, they will realize that what Milwaukee has going on right now - both in the club scene and in the backpack scene - is something really special. And $5 to $10 is NOT too much to ask for something a person likes...whether that be for an album or for a show.

    The greater issue is what Raze brought up about everybody being an artist and not a fan. This is what the real problem is. Rap, because of it's competitive nature, doesn't allow for Rapper X to honestly admit to liking Rapper Y unless Rapper Y is part of their crew, etc. If it's not crew, Rapper X is said to be "dick-ridding" Rapper Y. This is all immature and dumb...and is the unravelling of it all. If everybody is rapping about being better than everybody else, than nobody can support or be a fan...and most rappers do believe that they are better than everybody else, and that's just dumb. There are 10's of thousands of rappers out there and you are the best? Put your dick back in your pants because their's no need to measure...somebody is bound to be bigger.

    Bottom line, rappers...you aren't the best, it's ok to like other rappers music that aren't in your camp, and somebody will always have a bigger dick than you.

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  7. i couldn't agree more with what the last anonymous said! very well put and very well said!!!

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  8. I love the hard truth n I wouldnt want it any other way, that being said I see no point in hiding or distorting anything about myself. Im a white kid that likes to rhyme, I have a slight lysp n have lived in many differnt places..tho never in a hood. Sure some of the places were shitty but I know I havent had it as rough as some others.

    That being said, im also still getting my feet wet n tryin to learn everything I can from vets to be a better mc. So far my experience has been to go fuck myself. Ive never run my mouth to anyone, ive bought mixtapes n cds n gone to shows, n always show respect. Which fine whatever, but I dont understand the thinking behind this behavior.

    As for the supporting, financially..everyones got a diff situation some can afford more than others..so sometimes some people cant afford to buy a cd or w.e, thats fine but why are you lookn to get into shows for free? Ik that isnt always the case but it urks me that people dont have the decent-ness to help out with $5 or $10 but the minute you blow up they got their hands out..again ik that isnt everyone

    also id say 80% of rappers are all the same "im the best, I shoot people n sell drugs, pop bottles" all that recycled shit..which maybe thats why some people arnt willin to help me out n work with me n what not..you gota believe in yourself or the nxt man wont..but there comes a point..idk, im just ramblin I guess.

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  9. <3 "somebody will always have a bigger dick than you"!!! P.S. I have seen the error of my ways & I am going to go & buy an album from all the local artists I am a fan of TODAY!
    ~SPRiNG~

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