Monday, July 20, 2015
"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.
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. )