Sunday, November 15, 2015

NIGGAS & PARIS

"NIGGAS & PARIS"

The Completely Ridiculous Controversy   


    Like most people, my life experiences often shape my view of the world. So before I get to it, I wanna share a quick story with you. I was in the US Navy in 1995 stationed aboard the USS Nassau, an amphibious assault ship. We stopped at various ports in the Mediterranean Sea like Naples in Italy, Haifa in Israel, and Toulon in France. It was the first time  I was away from my home state on my own and my first time leaving the country. 

   While in Toulon, France I had my first experience of racism in a country other than America. I'm from the south, so it wasn't like I've never experienced racism. But when you get it from a person with a deep French accent who barely speaks English, it hits you that it's way bigger than you ever could have imagined.

  I was in civilian clothes at some store like place, and I was struggling to figure out the currency situation at hand. Some French man wanted me to hurry up, obviously I was not moving fast enough for him. I sensed his frustration, although I don't know if he sensed mine. He was obviously upset and his English wasn't  too good. Then he said something I clearly understood:  "dumb nigger". 

  They tell you off top on the ship that when you go out into foreign countries to see the sights when you are over there while in port, you are responsible for your own actions. If you go to jail, the ship will not wait for you to get out. Long before it was a TV show, I was about to star in my own personal episode of "Locked Up Abroad" right then and there. I would like to thank my friends and shipmates that I was with that day for stopping me from going to jail in France for assault. I snapped, lunged at the guy and they held me back. It all happened really quick.  

  That was on the first of three days I spent there and I could tell you a few other obviously racist things that happened to me in France. But the point I want you to gather is I know first hand racism is a global issue. Black people being treated like second class humans, no matter what uniform we may wear, how we may talk, or where we may be from is not a figment of my imagination. That's important to the overall message of this blog, which I am about to go into now.



  A group of individuals attacked multiple targets simultaneously in Paris, France killing over 100 people. Bombs and guns were used, and it was coordinated attack not on a military institution, but on regular civilians going about their normal day. I need to be very clear about something and I'm only going to say this once. That shit was horrible and I hope whoever did it rots in whatever hell they feared while living.  Anyone who helped carry out the plan that didn't die in the attack should be killed. I don't really care what rationale or reason anyone tries to spin and justify that incident, it was cold blooded murder. 


   I don't feel the need to give a lesson about all the things America and France have done to Islamic people or people of color throughout history. This isn't about Haiti, it isn't about the colonization of Africa by the French, nor is it about how Obama has handled ISIS. None of that really has anything to do with the real issue that's bugging people. Most people don't even know history well enough to make intelligent remarks about historical events. 

  You see, this blog is about the world media, and how it influences social media. This whole fake ass "controversy" can be credited to the overall disproportionate coverage of atrocities that happen to other races juxtaposed to atrocities that happen to people of color. If you think its about anything else you are probably making a fool of yourself on either end of the argument on social media already. 

   It's like a fire was set in the woods in the middle of a drought and left to die out unsupervised. All you need is a little spark and things can quickly escalate into an all out uncontrollable wildfire. If the #PrayForParis hash tag sparked the proverbial flame, then Facebook doused it with gasoline in the form of a simple question: "Do you want to change your profile picture to show your support for the Paris victims".

That's all you need, a spark and an accelerator. BOOM!! 

  Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world, and they gassed up a firestorm among users by doing one simple thing: giving you an option. But it isn't the option itself that makes them guilty of this digital arson. It's when and why they decided to give people the option to make the change. More importantly again, it's also about when they didn't ask that same question to its users. And now you have two groups of people at each others throat, in the middle of a fire, wearing gasoline soaked clothes.

  If you have uttered the words "Fuck Paris" in the last few days either out loud or by typing it on a post or comment, let me say this: you are an idiot. If you think that what happened in Paris can be justified by some sort of twisted sense of "justice" for some shit the government of France did decades or centuries ago, again you are an idiot. If you think people shouldn't send up a prayer for the victims of any tragedy, be it Paris,  New Orleans during Katrina, a Church in South Carolina, a school in Kenya, for the last time YOU ARE A IDIOT.

   Really, who says fuck praying for someone that was just a victim of a senseless murder? Some of you assholes went completely left and made this about the actual crime that happened instead of what its all really about. And that is again, how the world media covers and treats crimes and tragedies that happen to people of color as opposed to the way they cover tragedies against others. The #PrayForParis hash tag should have been no big deal. It should have just been a way for rational people to say "damn that was messed up, I wish the victims and their family well". But no, it just couldn't be that simple.

  So, I did not change my profile picture to "show support for the victims in Paris". I'm also not one the assholes who feel like what happened over there isn't tragic, and that a prayer for the victims of the tragedy is something I should say "fuck that" too either. There is a clear and simple reason I didn't do it, and it wasn't because I didn't think it was tragic. I'm going to tell you why I didn't change my profile in a sec, but I have one more thing to clear up that is pivotal to my reason that you need to know.

                


  Let's keep shit 100, when it comes to social media, your profile pic is important. It doesn't matter what your reason is for being on any social media platform, the profile picture is most often going to relay something you care deeply about. It can be your kids, it can be your business, it can be your current school, or favorite sports team. But that simple little square image really matters to people. Lets not kid ourselves, because if it didn't matter, these last few days of ridiculous back and forth about the Facebook option wouldn't be an issue at all. We treat our social media account password like its our ATM code for a reason.

  So let me say this to all of you: I just didn't care about it ENOUGH to change my personal profile picture. My profile picture has always been an image of something that is important to me ever since I started using social media. Like most people, if it changes in anyway, it's either a business decision, a significant event, or I just simply got tired of it and wanted to switch it. If it's the latter, whatever it is switched to still falls up under one of the aforementioned categories of importance.

  Lets put it all in perspective. I did change my profile picture to me wearing a hood at the height of the Trayvon Martin case. That was because I cared deeply about that issue. That issue was important enough to me that I didn't need Facebooks help to let the world know I was pissed about what happened to that kid and I cared a lot about it. I changed that image on my own. It was also trendy to be honest, but the issue was something that I connected with personally far deeper than what happened in Paris. 

  You see where I'm going yet? The reason so many black people are up in arms about other black people who changed their profile pics is more about the fact that Facebook gave you the option to do so. But Facebook did not come up with a catchy quick way to show support for the the countless black victims of police brutality. They did not come up with a catchy way to let you show support for the students murdered in that college in Kenya a few months ago. They did not come up with a way to show support for the innocent people slaughtered in a church in South Carolina. Many of you black folks have your anger misguided and targeted all wrong this time. You are lashing out other people because they showed support for those victims in Paris, but really its simply not them that's eating at you.

   Does this mean that the ones who did change their profile pic are on some sort of higher moral ground than those that didn't? HELL NO is my answer to that. If we exclude the people who all of the sudden changed their pic in "support" because it was simply controversial and to make some sort of "Its my page I can do what I want" statement, it really wasn't that many people at first. Look, if you REALLY cared that much, I have no problem with that. Some people are compassionate like that. But frankly I actually know some of you people in real life, a fact people sometimes forget about when dealing with the digital world. Some of you really don't care that much about your own damn family, let alone some people you never met halfway around the world. It was just something you did because it was trendy. So well, fuck your profile pic if that's you.

  Loss of life for no good reason is tragic no matter what. But I'm not about to sit here and tell you some bullshit lie and act like I care about what happened to those people in Paris more than I cared about Eric Gardner. Truth is I care more about one than I do the other. And I'm perfectly comfortable with admitting that to the world and I'm unapologetic about it. Sometimes all the obvious bias that is shown in media coverage and by large cooperate platforms like Facebook for other races can make black folks lash out at the wrong thing. This is an example of one of those times, but the underlying anger is still warranted.  

  In closing, I will give you the blunt Ebonics laden truth. Niggas is mad about that hash tag and those profile pics because they sick of the whole damn world always caring about bad shit happening to other people but not really giving a fuck when bad shit happens to them. So, niggas is like "FUCK PARIS" because once again the whole world seemingly feels their pain, but when we say #blacklivesmatter some of you muthafuckas say shit like #alllivesmatter instead of simply saying your absolutely right. The media is the main culprit and it's bad enough that white America and most of the world tend to follow suite, but you got some black people who do this as well. Then the biggest social media platform on the planet lined right up and did the same thing.

  We all pick and choose what we care about, it's human nature. But fake caring about something just because you have been told that it's important and you should is just as bad as not caring about some of the really bad shit that goes on in the world. I don't fake anything. I cared that people died in Paris, I just didn't care enough about the issue to take any action other than thinking to myself, "damn that's fucked up". I'm not mad if you felt a deeper connection to the issue. Don't be mad because I didn't.

BLIZM

  




Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Recording Academy & Grammy Voting Explained





In this VLog BLIZM, Program Director of K-100 Radio, explains the process of becoming a member of The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, aka the people who vote on the Grammy Awards. Still the most prestigious award in music, the Grammy Awards are often criticized by many in the Urban Music industry for not getting the award right, especially in the Rap and R&B genres. BLIZM addresses the issue of the lack of minority and Urban music professional members in the Recording Academy and also breaks down how the voting ballot is structured.

https://youtu.be/rnfKsQYsCXg

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

#JusticeOrElse : An Open Discussion Live on K-100 Radio





Listen as BLIZM hosts this live interactive talk segment on K-100 Radio. The subject is the Million Man March 20 Year Anniversary and Louis Farrakhan's speech at the rally. Live callers give their accounts of the rally if they attended, and their feelings on the ‪#‎Justiceorelse‬ hashtag and movement. 
https://youtu.be/aBnUwVzmWmU

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

K-100 RADIO'S BLIZM FEATURED ON THE BIG HOMIE SHOW

CHECK ME BLIZM, THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF K-100 RADIO ON "THE BIG HOMIE SHOW" WITH VIC XL & HOMEBWOI ON RIDING DURTY RADIO

This is a dope podcast. We of course keep it all the way 100 about a myriad of things, the music industry and more. #salute to these guys..tell Combat Jack they COMING

http://soundcloud.com/ridindurtyradio/the-big-homie-show-hip-hop-feat-blizm-of-k100-radio

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"THE WORST FANS EVER"


  I love a lot of things that I will pay my hard earned money for. These days to be honest, it seems that hard earned money goes to more things my kids love actually. But anyway, in general if I want something I enjoy, I buy it. We are not talking necessities like food and clothing, although my meal doesn’t have to be shrimp, nor my shoes Nike, but they often are. We pay for the things we need and the things we want if we have the money. Unless of course, it happens to be a song we like. In that case, people don’t want to pay for shit!

   Today I will address the cheapskates that think it is okay to love something so much that you can’t fathom life without it, yet won’t pay the price to enjoy it. Before I offer these people up to the music Gods for sacrifice, I must first make it clear how horrible life would be without music. This won’t be hard, all you have to do is imagine every movie, most TV shows, music websites, sporting events, commercials, clubs, and iPod in the world just up and disappeared. While you ponder that nightmare, allow me to get on with my point.


   Music has become so devalued at this point in general because it has become easier to create and steal. Once an item can be created for less cost, and effectively mass produced at a high rate that is normal. All genres of music have had to adapt to the digital age and how it affects sales, marketing and more. But the difference in HIP HOP music is that not only do you have to deal with change in technology, you have to deal with the mindset of a target audience that has more than likely been trained from birth to “get it for the low”.

   Now you see where I’m going with this don’t you? Yes that’s right, I will say it real simple so it does not go over your head: HIP HOP "FANS" DON’T WANNA PAY FOR MUSIC. It had to be said people, don’t shoot the messenger. We created a billion dollar industry out of an art form, raised it up from the streets and turned it into the number one genre of music. We did that because when it popped off, we loved it so much. As fans, we had to have it like those new pair of sneakers. We would come up on some money, hit the mall to hit the record store and to cop our latest jam along with those new J's. Those were the days of old.

   But, as it goes in the hood with our people, no matter how much we love something, cash rules everything. We love to claim Black Lives Matter and we slaughter each other over money and streets we don't own. But, I will digress on that point for now. But as it stands, the less you spend the better and music is no exception. We praise and idolize our favorite music artist like we do our favorite athlete, but we don’t treat their talent with the same level of respect. We know we can’t jump like Jordan, or run a 4 second 40 yard dash, but for some reason, a lot of people think they can be a rapper.

   Let me be clear and frank: as of late the music that has been in the forefront of HIP HOP specifically and on FM radio, I can’t say that I blame people for not wanting to buy a lot of it. Seriously, I thought one of the new “hot” songs on the radio today was a spoof when I heard it. But, even if a song is wack, for the ones who actually do LIKE it, that still won’t make them PAY FOR IT. The psyche of the average urban music fan is “I’m trying to get it for free or cheap”. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, or buying food stamps at half price to double their groceries.

   Far be it from me to tell people how to spend their money, but this blog is about what a real fan is. Country music artist don’t have this issue as much, neither does pop, rock, jazz and so forth. There is a different mindset in general of the FAN of those genres, a higher level of respect for it as an art form. I won’t act like they don’t have piracy issues like any other form of digital music, but it’s far less. Their CD’s are just as easy to jack and steal online, but urban music is pirated at 20 times the rate of their music.


   It’s the target audience, the CONSUMER that is different. An urban music fan can LOVE an artist, and they may even support them by attending a show at the local club. But paying store prices for the album, or .99 cent to download the single? Um…NO, they will get it from the flea market. Sad truth of it all, in Hip Hop especially we sensationalize and give props to illegal activity. Our target audience is a group of people who make heroes out of dope boys, strippers and gang leaders. So to honestly expect those same people not to steal your product is on the verge of INSANITY.

   This goes deeper then skin color of course. It really is an economical issue at the end of the day. Urban music fans tend to be young, broke or a combination of the two. At the very least they may come from a low income family or background. This does not mean that they are "bad people". It just means there is a mindset that comes along with those economic conditions that makes you tend to care less about respecting music as an art, let alone piracy laws. Fueling the flames of this rationale is the fact so many Hip Hop artist give their music away online, or allow a DJ to openly pirate their music. To them this is some form of sick promotional game that is required to build up their “fan” base. Sounds crazy when I say it like that huh?

   So, before I go I just want to say that personally I appreciate every true fan and supporter of Hip Hop. It’s not many but we have take what we can get. But as a fan and supporter, I HOPE that you would BUY an artists product if you can afford it. Every urban music artist has some way you can hear thier music for free that they authorize and promote like streaming sites and such. And much like those favorite shoes you saved up and bought, save up and buy the MUSIC you love too. I know I’m talking real crazy now huh? I thought you said you were a FAN though?
DO BETTER!

-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio)



Monday, July 20, 2015

"THE CHOICE IS YOURS"


  Choice is a luxury that was said to be afforded to mankind by whomever you believe created us in this universe. Almost any person, religion, country, and race would agree that choice is pretty much the essence of determining if one is free. Freedom some say is not really free and almost always comes at a cost. Then if choice is indeed the essence of freedom, well then having the chance to choose must inevitably be associated with a cost also. I know, you like I thought this was hip hop blog, not philosophy class, but well I had to set this all up for the point.

 And the point my good readers, is that we often choose bullshit in many aspects of our lives. More specifically, when it comes to radio and urban music, we choose to solicit and support bullshit. Even worse, after people choose the bullshit, they often complain about the very bullshit they choose to endure, when they indeed have the freedom to choose otherwise. Can you tell where I am going with this? Of course you can, so let me cut to the chase.

  I’m done complaining and criticizing terrestrial FM Radio as we know it for the content its airs. I can no longer blame any on air personality, program director or any entity at any station for what they play. I had this epiphany as I was riding in my car one day about 2 years ago, and all three of the major FM radio stations for urban music in the area were literally ALL PLAYING THE SAME SONG. I clicked the internet radio app on my phone, plugged in my auxiliary cable so I can hear it through my car speaker and never looked back.



  It was then that I realized I have had the choice all this time to not listen to those stations, but somehow their enormous presence made me feel like I didn’t. For some reason I gave them a power over me that I could have easily severed years ago. I don’t know why I felt like I had to listen to them, as if I had no choice when I clearly did like millions of others. Even though I live in this high tech age, when it came to radio, a technology that has been around over a hundred years, I just stuck with the status quo. Yet, I pretty much hate all the commercials, same songs and censorship associated with the platform. It’s like going to a restaurant and giving up my seat to a white guy in 2013 just because he asked for it. The sheer ridiculousness of it made me feel stupid.

  Why did I make all those Facebook post about Radio, and how it sucks? What was the point really? We all know that the “programming” of radio in its inception had sinister plots behind it for various propaganda campaigns. It was so powerful because it was the only option, but now we have choices. Why would someone still choose to listen now if they don’t really like it? The bottom line is, if you don’t like FM Radio you can simply choose another form of radio. I can’t stress the word SIMPLY enough. It used to be that other options were not as accessible before, but that is just not the case now.

   I don’t want to downplay the power of the corporations behind the platform, but in the end bullshit radio is as powerful as the people make it. The more I hear people complain about it, the more confused I get as to why it’s still around. Just like cable phased out analog signals and the mp3 is bringing about the end of the CD, I firmly believe internet radio will ultimately put down the media juggernaut that is FM radio. They of course will adapt, they have already by starting online versions of their platforms. But just as NBC, CBS, and ABC had a strangle hold on TV, soon Clear Channel and Radio One owned stations will have share the listeners far more to the internet radio stations, They are the new radio version of what would be FX, AMC, USA or TNT. They are the OPTIONS.  XM or satellite radio would be the proverbial HBO, SHOWTIME, CINEMAX version in this little comparison since they are great, but not free and come with subscriptions.



  I do need to point out why the music industry professionals give so much credence to the format: MONEY. They all have a financial stake in making sure FM reigns supreme as the most important radio format. All the backroom payola deals, the fact that entities like Neilson BDS don’t really count internet radio spins (NO THEY DON’T, LOOK IT UP) are just a few reasons why. They don’t care for any format that the big wigs can’t control. So they downplay it as not "REAL" radio. But once you listen to a good internet radio station, you realize they have been feeding you bullshit. You have been drinking their Kool-Aid too long.

  I am here to tell you to take the red pill. Choose something else if you don’t like what you hear on another platform. Many online stations have commercial free music. Some have great and funny on air personalities. Some have contest, celebrity guest, great news spots, sports highlights and more. You have a choice now to what kind of radio you listen to. If you choose to listen to bullshit radio, then it’s not bullshit radios fault, it’s your own. You can no longer complain about FM and their programming. To do so now would be like crying about being broke but not wanting a job, pretty ridiculous. We choose what we listen to. This is not the 50’s, you don’t have to listen to the same 20 songs all day. Not even in your car.

-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio)



"AFTER RAP"



  For most aspiring Hip Hop artist, becoming a “rap star” and performing on the some esteemed award show will simply never happen. It’s not because they won’t work hard, or they are not talented. It’s simply a question of numbers: there are millions of aspiring artist, but only a few slots for super stars. This means that you should go into your grind knowing full well that it is a far greater chance that dream will never happen then it becoming reality. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is simply the reality of the facts and numbers.

   With that being said, I often run into artists with grandiose expectations of breaking into the music industry.  To tell you the truth, getting into the music business and being successful at something other than being a rap star is not only easier with better odds, most of the time its more profitable. I would never discourage any artists from going hard and trying to accomplish whatever they feel they can attain. Whether it’s getting to the level Jay-Z is on or even getting a huge Indie buzz and striking a jackpot slot on a great tour. If your dreams and passion for stardom can withstand all the hurdles you will no doubt face on that path, by all means get out there and grind!


   Let's say you make all the moves you can make, rock hella shows, press up all the CDs, and network with all the right people, . Let's say you do everything you physically can, and it just doesn’t pop off, then what? I used to have that tunnel vision I see in many young indie artists. It was either make it to the top of the rap charts or die trying. I didn’t have a backup plan.  I mean, why would you need one when you are the best MC you ever heard right? You’ve got the streets on lock, right? You’re grinding out here and you’re doing shows so it’s just GOT to work, right? Well, if it was that simple everyone would get on.

   Why should all the connections, all the time and knowledge you have attained about the industry just go to waste because you can’t be a “star”? What about all the OTHER things in the industry you could be doing? Let’s say you do make it and you are the lucky rap lottery winner and gain some measurable amount of success as an artist on a NATIONAL level. How long can you really RAP? How many artists fall off after ONE single or project? You don’t have to go back to the block or a 9 to 5 just because being a RAPPER didn’t work or has run its course. What will you do AFTER RAP is the question you should ALWAYS ask yourself?

   But, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can see for yourself the numerous examples in the industry that indicates what you do after or in conjunction with your role as an artist will determine your longevity in the music business. Frankly, more often than not, you won’t even make a lot of money until you get to this point. It’s not just me talking, it’s the Queen Latifiah’s LL Cool J’s, Flavor Flav’s, Ice Cube’s, Dr Dre’s, and so on that you can refer to for proof. Being a rapper now is more about becoming a brand to be able to sell something else to make money. You can love it all you want, but try getting paid a lot of money off just your music, and those odds we discussed before get chopped into even smaller bits.

   You may know this already, but knowing and preparing for a scenario are two different things. Taking courses on music business, marketing, TV & Film production, broadcasting, these are just a few backup lanes that you can start to prep for NOW while you hit the studio and rock your shows.  If you are not the school type, that still is no excuse to only focus on just being an artist alone. Having a wide skill set on various things in a given industry is always more powerful than being good at just one thing in that industry.



   This blog is not about making you lose focus. Someone will read this and think that it’s in some way admitting you aren’t good enough to make it to the top. Actually it’s quite the contrary, it’s meant to help you understand that if you make it to the top as a rapper, you can take full advantage of that stardom by creating other lanes in which you can keep money flowing to your pockets long after your hot chart topping single has become a part of a karaoke machines play list. What you plan on doing AFTER your rap career is just as important as what you are doing now in pursuit of it.

   There are a lot of occupations in the music industry that may bring you even more satisfaction then you could have ever imagined a Grammy could. The same people you always wanted to work with, you may not do a collaboration on a song with them as an artist, but interviewing them on your own show, starring with them in a film,  partying with them for the release of your new clothing line, all of those could be just as sweet. So, do NOT I repeat do NOT stop going hard for the top. You want to be the next Drake, Kendrick, Meek by all means give it your absolute best shot. But I am willing to bet that even as I type this, those guys are ten steps ahead of me working on all kinds of deals and projects that have nothing to do with being an artist. If they aren’t then their respective managers should be fired immediately.
   What will you do AFTER RAP?

-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio) 

P.S. I never thought I would be doing radio or blogging when I was making albums and rocking shows. I still cringe a bit when people refer to me as "media" But here I am, and believe me; I’m a LOT more powerful then I have ever been! And some of the same people who ignored me as an artist are now hanging on to my every move. I'm just passing the game along. 



A Talk With Core DJ's Tony Neal

Live from the Core DJ's Retreat in Atlanta 2015


Check out this quick interview with Tony Neal, head of the Core DJ's at their event held in Atlanta. We talked about the retreat, and some music industry matters you should listen to.
Subscribe to the K-100 Radio YouTube Page! Click the link below!

"COLLABORATION IS KEY"

  

  
  Some of my favorite Hip Hop songs of all time are actually not by one single artist. I’m a huge fan of collaborations and features on songs. As much as I can like any one artist, I’m almost always guaranteed to like the collaboration an artist did with another artist I also like far more than their stand-alone single. That single will make them famous, but when they drop that dope remix featuring one or two more hot MCs it almost always turns out better. In Hip Hop the collaboration is often the key to success.

  I could name example after example of this from past to present, but then naming individual songs like that, I’m bound to leave out some. Then I’ll get all kinds of “how you forget that or this” comments. So instead of naming songs I will focus this blog on why collaborations are so important, especially to INDIE artists. There really is no value to put on what could happen when you work with another artist and make a great song. It could literally be the game changer that propels you to stardom, if that’s what you seek.

  Consider first the glaringly obvious reason that all indie artist should collaborate with other artist as much as possible: growing your fan base. It’s so simple yet so effective that for the life of me I can’t see why this isn’t a goal of every person that makes music. But then again, when I thought about why I don’t see much of it in the underground, the answer to that was obvious: EGOS. The same egos that make artists who don’t have a fan base think they are doing ME a favor by letting ME interview THEM on my platform for FREE. That is why we don’t do many interviews on our platform.



  The collaboration is probably the cheapest and easiest way an artist can literally double their fan base with one song. To put it plainly, if you do a really dope collaboration with another artist, common sense tells you that their fan base can easily become a part of yours. How many times in Hip Hop have we seen this happen? I wonder how many new Texas fans Jay-Z got from “Big Pimpin” with UGK? Sure he was already known, but UGK in Texas, well that’s like Jay-Z in New York. In turn, how many people in New York all of the sudden realized UGK was dope from that same song?

  That example is on a HUGE scale but the effects are the same at every level. People from each region, each city all the way down to each hood already have their picks of who is the shit. It just seems so much easier to work with who they think is the shit already, as opposed to trying to convince them that YOU are better then who they already like. Unless you really have some sort of personal beef with another artist, it would behoove you as an indie to try and find out who is hot where and try to hit the studio with them. But a lot of Indie artist won’t do this. Because they probably on that “my clique is all I need” train of thought. Good luck to you and you’re probably wack ass clique.

  Bottom line, unless you and your “crew” is on some Wu-Tang shit, (and when was the last time that happened since the Wu-Tang) you need to collaborate with other “crews” and artist. I didn’t tell you to go hang out with them and pop bottles with them in the club. Problem with a lot of you so called artists is that you take “keeping it street” too damn far and it hinders your business. Working with another artist to grow your fan base has nothing to do with if you like that side of town, or if you used to trap with them back when you had dope boy ambitions. Truth is, you don’t even have to like their style of music that much for a collaboration to work. The good thing about collaborating is having those different styles on one song. Those are the hardest to pull off, but when they are put together right, it can be a game changer.

  At this point in the blog I’m really glad I didn’t get all off into naming dope collaborative efforts like the Red & Meth project or “Money Aint A Thang”, “Roza Parks”, “Scenario”, “Two Of Amerikas Most Wanted”, “I DO” and so on. I would have been here all damn day! I just wanted to reiterate how IMPORTANT it is for all artists to collaborate with other artist. I can’t even begin to fathom the list of Hip Hop and R&B artist collaborations that changed the careers of so many. That list itself would probably trump the rap collaborations list now that I think about it. Hooking up with a dope R&B artist is beyond important for both parties on every level, just multiply everything I’ve said so far times one hundred on that note.


  So, hopefully after you read this blog some of you Indies will stop acting like you a damn star already and reach out to another artist you clearly see is dope, has a movement, and is willing to work with you. This blog is already long, but a few rules of the road to consider when reaching out to another artist:

1) If neither of you are getting paid shows, shut the f**k up about getting paid to collaborate!

2) Whoever reaches out needs to provide the facility and time to record the song!

3) Both parties need to feel comfortable on the track, so picking a good track is key, it may not be ya homeboy who does all your beats, you may have to actually spend money on a track for once!

4) Handle your business, make sure all publishing and mechanical situations are discussed and paperwork is signed off top. Make sure it’s clear who owns what on the work.

5) If it’s your song, you are technically the main one who should have the promotional budget in place, but hopefully if its hot the other party involved will and should give it a push too, that’s kind of the point right?

  OK so I’m off this one, now go hit like on that song that other guy did that you know is hot that a lot of people already like. Go re-tweet that one joint by that one artists you can see making a song together with. Show them a little support, contact them and then try to make their fans, your fans too!

-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio)




"SOUNDS GREAT, LOOKS HORRIBLE"




 Image, that annoying addition to the overall branding of an artist that always seems to get in the way of what the artist loves to do, make music. To add insult to injury, it is actually in some cases MORE important than the music a recording artist makes in determining a successful career. What a slap in the face, right? I mean you sit in the studio countless hours working on perfecting something that SOUNDS great, only to be told by some talking head the "look" needs work. Well, I'm that talking head in this lil' blog.

   See lately I've been pegged by a few people to come out and be a judge or panelist at various open mics, showcases and music events. I guess having a radio broadcast makes me a person who's opinion matters all of the sudden (who knew). So when asked to do this deed I am often giving a "score sheet" of some sort to go by when judging the talent on display. Almost every time I do this, there are multiple categories in which each act is judged, and only ONE is for the SONG itself. The rest are about what the act looks like. Which makes me focus on what I see not hear.

   Doesn't matter if the category says "Performance", "Star Quality", "Stage Presence", "Crowd Participation" or whatever term used what I see visually matters. This is the nature of the music business. You can sell something that looks good easier then something that sounds good very often. What an artist shows you visually, be it in the form of a good video, good performance, good photos, good wardrobe/styling, all of this can make or break you before the actual music is considered. That sickens me to say, but I would be doing a great disservice not to inform you of this fact.




   Let me be very clear though, you do want to have good music first and foremost. That is the first step yes, but it isn't the only step. But the thing is if you really love music, have natural talent and grind, that isn't as hard to accomplish nowadays as it once was. Pro Tools killed the need for a huge studio, and the Internet made the big labels and FM radio's power and control over getting music to consumers less necessary. But there is no short cut for making your stage performance or other visual aspects any easier then it was 20 years ago (with the exception of Youtube as it pertains to getting videos to an audience). You have to work on the image as much as the music, and sometimes that can garner a greater success then even your BEST song.

   So I recently judged an event where my TOP 3 favorite acts personally from a MUSIC standpoint didn't come close to winning. How can this be? Well for one I wasn't the only judge, and even if I was two of those 3 great songs I heard still wouldn't have made me put those acts at the top of the score list. As nice as their songs were, it was the the performance and image of the other artists competing that did them in. Because as I stated before, the SONG was only 1/4 of the score card.

   See where I'm going with this? So, note to all rap acts: IF THE SHOW ISN'T YOUR OWN PERSONAL SHOW WHERE YOU ARE A HEADLINER,  OR AN OPENING ACT FOR A HEADLINER, YOU DON'T NEED 20 OTHER PEOPLE WITH YOU ON STAGE FOR ANY REASON! If you are at an OPEN MIC, or showcase, where the performance is being JUDGED, this makes NO SENSE. You're not doing a concert, KEEP THE RANDOM HOMIE OFF THE STAGE JUST STANDING THERE FOR NO REASON! That is not adding to your performance!



   Sure a great HYPE MAN can mean all the world, ask Chuck D. & Busta Ryhmes who had two of the best ever. But a few chics standing in the background not even dancing and ya homeboy just looking high and shit on stage is NOT good for your overall stage performance! Just trust me on this one. I'm telling you what EVERY OTHER JUDGE SAYS WHEN I'M SITTING RIGHT THERE WITH THEM! It's always just way too many people on stage with most of these indie acts we see and for no good reason we can figure out.

   Some of the GREAT artist can rock a stage with just a mic and themselves because they have a rabid fan base and GREAT songs. Jay-Z just did this yet again at the opening of his new stadium in Brooklyn. But that is JAY-Freakin-Z! When and IF you get that big, you wont need anything but the mic, and even then the STAGE will probably be worth MILLIONS to give you the VISUAL you need like they do at major award shows. Until then, what you WEAR, what and who you bring on stage with you REALLY MATTERS and may be the reason someone tunes you out, or votes for you to win a competition. I'm not an expert on stage presence, style or choreography, I'm the lab rat who wishes none of that shit really mattered. But once I sat in that Judges seat, I realized even I had been foolish in the past thinking that way.

   So, make great sounding music, but have an great visual performance and look as well. Choreographed steps, a lil routine in the break down, adds to the performance. Who ever is on the stage needs to belong there and be apart of the show! Doesn't matter if he ya homie, if he look like he just rolled out of bed, let him watch the drinks and have the blunt ready when you come off stage! What good is a female in a short skirt if she isn't dancing IN SYNC WITH YOUR SONG on stage? Nothing worse then giving a low score to a great artist with a good song that SOUNDS GOOD, but the performance or visual LOOKS HORRIBLE!

  -BLIZM (Program Director K-100 RADIO )      
                
(P.S. THIS APPLIES TO WHAT YOUR CDs & MERCH LOOKS LIKE TOO...BUT THAT IS A WHOLE TOPIC IN ITSELF)





YOUR PLAYLIST CAN'T REPLACE ME

  


  One major part of being in my position is finding music to air on the broadcast. That task in itself is one of the most tedious yet somehow fulfilling parts of the job. Picking a few songs out of the literally thousands of songs that are constantly promoted, submitted, serviced and posted daily for radio, even in controlled environments, is daunting. But combing through them all is the easy part. The hard part is making someone else believe that you picked the right songs.

  Enter the D.J. and what exactly it means to be a “record breaker”. For years the model for being a D.J. was as exclusive as it was trusted. But then a few of them began to put money before quality, the digital revolution ensued and well, now being a D.J. is not as revered as it once was. It’s not that a D.J. or any record breaker shouldn’t be respected for their craft and what they do, if they are good at it. But what made the D.J.’s and record breakers different from everyone else that loved music? It was the fact they could get music you couldn’t get. But the internet made instant access to new music from even the most obscure artist, especially in urban music, happen at the click of a mouse.

  A D.J. or radio broadcast plays music that they think is good (supposedly) and the consumer/listener is left to decide based on what they hear if they agree or not. But outside of mixing and matching beats, scratching and cutting records together in a club or at a party, the D.J. is selecting songs from a playlist of music they picked personally. What makes this different from a playlist in your iPod, or you own Sound Cloud or Spotify playlist?  Why exactly do you need a D.J. or any other record breaker? Why even listen to radio, be it FM, XM or Internet if you can easily get to the new music just like the people whose job it is to break records?



  The answer is, IT IS THEIR JOB TO BREAK NEW MUSIC AND RECORDS, NOT YOURS! The reason is simple yet very seemingly complex to comprehend in the era of digital music. Here is the issue: as a consumer you only THINK you have the latest and best new music that’s being released most of the time. You think because you follow Drake on twitter and Beyonce on Instagram, that you are getting access to all the music they have. You only THINK a D.J. just plays music from a playlist that you could easily comprise yourself off of Pirate Bay. You only THINK that you can get all the music that a radio station plays for free.

 The fact is, nothing could be farther from the truth. There is this thing called TIME, and there’s only so much of it available in a single day. Consumers only have limited time and access to new releases and they DON’T get every song the same time as record breakers. And even if they did have that access, they wouldn’t have the TIME to sift through all the selections.

  Let’s be clear, record breakers, the people who run music outlets and DJs do this EVERYDAY if they are worth their salt in this industry. Your personal playlist probably pales in comparison to the amount of music even a mediocre D.J. has available, and even less than that of a good radio broadcast. Consumers have  to live their daily life. They can't dedicate hours a day searching for the new music or the latest trending artists. And exactly how do you guess that those songs and artists began trending in the first place?

ipod

  D.J.’s, and professional music outlets such as radio and a few reputable blog sites infect their individual audiences with the music first. I’m all for personalized playlist and selections of music. Even as a Program Director, sometimes I want to hear what I want to hear. It may be it my 2Pac mix, my favorite new artist album or whatever. But even I still need other sources to catch some of the music that slips by me. I’m on the email lists of pretty much every “major” label and music promotions’ company in the world, and some of it still gets by me. 

  Just like anything else in life, you should defer to the professionals sometime. So when you want to hear music that you don’t already own, you should check out your preferred radio station, D.J. mixshow/mixtape or reputable music source. They will have music you have never heard, and if they are good they will have music you will want to own. That is their purpose. That is why everyone isn’t a D.J. and everyone doesn’t work in radio either. Don’t think your personal playlist can replace them. You are only fooling yourself and missing out on some great music more than likely.

-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio) 



"NEED A PLUG, GET IN LINE"




 It really doesn’t matter what industry you decide to make a career out of, in most of them who you know will indeed get you further then what you know. The ladder to success in any field has to be climbed, and those steps are made of hard work, relationships and experience. But in the entertainment industry, there are some steps that are guarded by keepers of the circle. The circle is small and almost impenetrable unless you have a source. You need what we call in this game a “plug”.

  For the slang impaired, the “plug” is also known as “the link”, “the hook up” or in short the person that can “put you in the game”. It’s a person or clique that is in prime position to really help boost your career to the next level.  But what you must understand about the “plug” is that they were not always the “plug”. Some of them got that spot with YEARS of hard work; some got it because of another “plug” that came before them that owed them a favor.

  Really doesn’t matter how they got to be the “plug”, the point is you need them to “plug” you into their network and circle. Well, see the thing with that is, before they ever became the “plug”, they already know who they plan on plugging in before they ever became that damn plug! Follow me here because its sounds more complicated than it really is. To make sense of it stop for a moment and think, really think, about if you became the plug yourself right now, who would YOU plug in? Don’t lie to yourself about this, because doing so will only make you miss the whole point of this blog. The answer is more than likely your immediate crew and people who supported you up to the point you are at now.

  Well, the next obvious question is, why the hell would you expect anything different from them? Why would someone in the position they are in, plug in a person they really don’t know or owe anything too? Did you trap with the plug? Did you and the plug grow up in the same hood playing football in the street and PlayStation at their crib? Did you and the plug do some prison time together? Did you and the plug do ANYTHING of significance before they became the damn plug? Because if the answer is NO, then you will NOT, I repeat NOT get plugged in before anyone they know who HAS! You just won’t and you can’t blame them.

plug

  You can be the best MC, have the best tracks, sing better then Whitney and throw the best parties. It simply doesn’t trump the fact that the people who may not be as talented as you have HISTORY with the plug. It took me moving to this city, Atlanta, to really understand the severity of what I’m telling you. I remember being in a room full of people, all Atlanta natives, chopping it up about who knows who. I remember them telling me “you make some good ass music shawty, but you know my patna (fill in the blank) got some hot shit too”. I won’t give my opinion of what the music sounded like, but it doesn’t even matter. Because their “patna dem” was from around the way, I knew who they was gone show love to the minute they played it.

  This is something that you can dislike all you want, but it something that you more than likely will run into as you climb this proverbial ladder to success in the music industry. Now there are people whose actual job title is supposed to be finding the BEST talent. But even when they are in that position officially, be it an A&R, DJ, Program Director or whatever, they are still human. They are still inclined by nature to look out for their people as we say, even if it’s obvious that their people don’t have half the talent as a person that is right in front of them. There is a line, a line that is hard to skip, unless you are just simply lucky or have enough money to PAY and break to the front of the line.

  We often try to exclude this simple fact of human nature and “hood code of conduct” when we are artist. We like to really believe that we will get the look based off of our talent and grind, when really more often than not the “plug” could care less. They don’t know you like that. This is something that you have to account for in Urban Music, because there are quite a few plugs that operate like this. They may call it “being a real nigga” or “staying true to the game” or any term you can think of that equates loyalty over talent. Bottom line, the plug will plug their people before they plug anyone else 99% of the time. The ONLY way to offset this is to have something so good to offer the “plug”, they can’t ignore the benefits of plugging you in (benefits is code for MAKE THEM A LOT OF MONEY).



  This blog entry is not to discourage you from stepping to the plug. Sometimes a plug’s next pay check is literally hinging on the success of their next move. They may indeed opt to go with an unknown over their folks. They may say to hell with it, and be all the names that they will eventually be called by their people for not plugging them over you. They may actually plug the person who deserves it based on talent and grind. It does go down like that now and then it just happens a lot less than the other way around. So don’t go around bad mouthing the plug for doing something that you would probably do yourself.

-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio)
P.S. (One way you can make the “plug” want to plug you in to their circle is to make your own lane and become a “plug” yourself. K-100 Radio has taught me that. )