Archive for September 13, 2011

Article: 100 Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists by: Stereo Williams

*Criteria: – These 100 Rap/Hip-Hop artists where chosen and ranked based on Influence, Impact, Originality, Popularity. Weighed in that order.

1. Run-D.M.C.
2. Public Enemy
3. 2Pac
4. Eric B. & Raki
5. Jay-Z
6. OutKast
7. N.W.A
8. Notorious B.I.G.
9. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
10. A Tribe Called Quest
11. Nas
12. Ice Cube
13. LL Cool J
14. De La Soul
15. Kanye West
16. Scarface
17. Big Daddy Kane
18. Dr. Dre
19. Wu-Tang Clan
20. Eminem
21. UGK
22. Boogie Down Productions
23. The Beastie Boys
24. Slick Rick
25. EPMD
26. Snoop Dogg
27. MC Lyte
28. Gang Starr
29. Afrika Bambaataa
30. Kool G Rap
31. Kurtis Blow
32. The Roots
33. E-40
34. Common
35. The Jungle Brothers
36. Whodini
37. Ghostface Killah
38. Lauryn Hill
39. Eightball & MJG
40. Goodie MOB
41. Too $hort
42. Bone Thugs N Harmony
43. Mos Def
44. Salt N Pepa
45. Busta Rhymes
46. Digital Underground
47. Lil Wayne
48. Pete Rock & CL Smooth
49. The Fugees
50. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
51. T.I.
52. Queen Latifah
53. Raekwon
54. The Cold Crush Brothers
55. Redman
56. Eazy-E
57. Talib Kweli
58. Lil Kim
59. Ludacris
60. Naughty By Nature
61. Little Brother
62. Heavy D
63. Geto Boys
64. Jean Grae
65. Cypress Hill
66. DMX
67. dead prez
68. Mobb Deep
69. Digable Planets
70. KRS-One
71. The Pharcyde
72. Missy Elliott
73. Ice-T
74. Lupe Fiasco
75. Brand Nubian
76. Ras Kass
77. Arrested Development
78. Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon
79. The Funky Four+1
80. 50 Cent
81. Eve
82. The Sugarhill Gang
83. Method Man
84. Del the Funkee Homosapien
85. Jeezy
86. Da Brat
87. Big Punisher
88. Schoolly D
89. The D.O.C.
90. X-Clan
91. Big L
92. Diddy/Puff Daddy
93. Mystikal
94. Foxy Brown
95. Kid ‘N Play
96. Souls of Mischief
97. DJ Qwik
98. Stetsasonic
99. Treacherous Three
100. MF Doom



Industry Tips & Advice: Branding Yourself as a Musician- A Checklist

If you want to make a career out of your music, you should market yourself. And in order to market yourself well, you should treat your band as a brand. I know some artists turn red reading my first two sentences- for them, music should be from the heart and people should love their music for itself.  And that it’s art and shouldn’t be sold like Avon products or vacuum cleaners. That’s fine and I completely understand their sentiments but selling your music doesn’t make it less of an art. It’s simply a must if you want a bigger audience. It’s simply a must if you want to keep doing what you’re doing. Unless, of course, you’re born with a silver spoon and you can make music while your daddy pays for everything.

Certainly, branding and promoting your band is not like selling Avon products or vacuum cleaners. Here is a list of things a band should have if you want to and make a career out of your craft.

A remarkable Logo. This is the first requirement if you’re planning to promote your band. You need this for your website, social sites, merchandise, for your stage during gigs…everything! You may start promoting yourself without it but it’s a big plus if you already have a logo. It separates you from the newbies and people will have an impression that you are a big fish.

Website Layout. Your website layout should reflect your music and your personality as a band. Try to be unique and remarkable with the fonts, copy, icons, and the overall look. Try to challenge the stereotypes of your genre without leaving it.

Fashion Statement. KISS, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson- These guys are aware that they should use their bodies to promote their music. You cannot just wear whatever you want if you want to be known for your fashion but you do not have to be over the top like Lady Gaga either. A simple accessory like a big hat can make a big difference. Read .

Cool Band Photos. All bands that aspire to become big need conceptual band photos for posters, merch, website, social networks, press kits, and a lot more. This is as important as the logo- you need this in order to start any kind of promotion. Let’s try the most basic- Facebook. Have you ever seen a facebook page without any band photos?

Creative CD Packaging. If you’re planning to release an album soon, then you better start thinking about the CD packaging. Your CD will likely be displayed in record stores, in your website, in online stores so your packaging better be impressive.

Vinyl Release. If you want to go one step higher and if you think you have fans who are willing to spend, then release a limited edition vinyl. This will make your band look more handsome.

Fun Giveaways. Give your fans cool stuff that do not cost a lot during your gigs. Some bands give their fans cards and giveaways during the holidays. Here are some to inspire you.

Blog. The best way to captivate your audience, aside from your music, is thru stories. Tell them stuff about your day and your opinions about the latest issues. Show your human side and not just the “music machine” side. It will make them like you more.

Music Videos. Your music video should have personality if you want to create a brand. Try to aim for viral success by getting extra creative. Do not just make music videos that are forgettable. There are millions of ways to make your video unique so explore. Read this article if you wanna know

Graphic Tees and Merch. If your logo is not yet that popular, go for really cool-looking graphic shirts then just put your name and a small logo somewhere. Make sure your designs match your personality and make sure they’re the kinds that your fans would love to have. Same goes with your merch and stickers.



Article: Indie Music

The most important aspect of the indie music culture is discovering bands that nobody else likes. But how’s an over-educated 32 year-old to decide between all of the weirdly named bands? Two helpful charts:



Just The Facts

  1. “Indie music” is a term most commonly associated with unsigned or minor label bands that have a folk/alt/rock/electronic sound.
  2. In addition to liking music that nobody else does, the one thing that unites the indie scene is a willingness to wear clothes nobody else would be caught dead in.
  3. The favored environment for indie music culture is festivals; however it can be found in clubs, thrift stores and Urban Outfitters.

Cracked on Indie Music

Indie music, and its surrounding culture, can introduce you to beautiful noise, give you a social life, touch your emotions, and if you are a guy…make it possible for you to court* girls that would otherwise be way out of your league. Yes…Indie music is kinda like magic in some ways….bearded magic.

*Indie slang for fuck

Fans of indie music, or “indians” as they like to be called**, are passionate about everything. They discover a life changing band three times a year, they are involved in a constant quest to individualize their look, and have to keep up with a hectic concert schedule. It’s way more work than it looks. So let’s take a deeper look at a few of the more important aspects of indie music and culture.

** not true and possibly offensive term

The first thing an indie music fan needs is a stable of bands to love. (See flowchart above for official process.) If you do not have time for the flowchart then use the shortcut method of basing your fandom purely on the band’s name (see other chart above).

Once an indie fan has established a solid stable of favorite bands, the next step is to support / experience those bands in a live setting.

Festivals and Shows

These are the lifeblood of the indie scene. Depending on the level of dedication one can expect to attend anywhere between two and 20 shows a month. These shows will typically be in old theaters, outdoors, or in small cramped clubs.

Shows are decent for what they accomplish (i.e. seeing the bands you like), but they have many downfalls. They have time schedules, they are in a confined space, the acoustics of each environment are completely different so a band’s sound can change depending on where they play, there are lines for beer and bathrooms, and the tickets are overpriced. They definitely lack the indie spirit that this scene craves. The cure for this is to attend the defining event of indie music; the music festival.

Music festivals allow fans to see anywhere between dozens and hundreds of bands spread over one or more days. They overcome all the downfalls of club shows except the lines, overpriced tickets, time schedules, acoustic problems…ummm…but did we mention that they are out-fucking-doors (usually).

and really fucking crowded…but in a good way

There are far too many festivals to list here but it is an experience that every indie fan treasures. Plus if you go to one of the really big ones that have upward of 100 bands performing, you get the feather in your cap (another reason they are called “indians”) of having a bomb to drop on your friends in the future. Because (and this cannot be stressed enough), having a friend mention a band to you and being able to respond with “seen em live” is the crowning achievement for indie music fans. To an indie, it feels like 100 orgasms covered in chocolate set to a Radiohead soundtrack. You would have to attend far too many small shows to gain the clout you get from going to one festival.

I’m sure by now you are a little irritated at the lack of follow up on the earlier statement about indie music leading to comingling with hot girls….

Cute Indie Girls with Ugly Indie Guys

When at indie shows and festivals one thing you will be struck by is the looks discrepancy within many of the couples. It is not at all uncommon to see cute girls sporting tight clothes and pixie hairstyles holding hands with what looks like a homeless man. The motivation for these girls to couple with such visually unappealing guys can vary from wanting to piss off their parents, all the way to really wanting to piss off their parents.

But the lesson guys everywhere need to take from this is: If you rank anywhere from ugly to average on the looks scale…grow a damn beard, hit the thrift store, get some glasses, find some bands to like and some shows to go to (see charts above)….then buckle up and enjoy the cute indie girl ride. Here are some convincing visuals:

beard + glasses + retro suit

All these two require of you is that you have shoulders

Just wow.

No more evidence should be needed.



Real Talk: Immortal Technique Drops More Gems

Article: Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy: How Fox Mocks Hip Hop By TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Watch what you’re watchin’, Fox keeps feedin’ us toxins. Stop sleepin’, start thinking outside of the box” -”Sly Fox” By Nas

My favorite part of the classic flick , “Scarface” is when Tony Montana disses a room full of snobby, rich, hypocrites by telling them that they need bad guys like him to make them look good. So, it is with the strange relationship between Hip Hop and Fox News.

Fox News needs rappers to serve as the poster children for everything that is wrong in America, even though they endorse policies that oppress every ‘hood in America, creating the very social conditions that they claim to be against.

Unfortunately, while most Hip Hop fans are listening to radio stations that are feeding them a steady diet of Weezy, Drake and Rick Ross, the folks over at Fox News Radio have been doing a segment called “The Hip Hop Week in Review.” Each week, Fox host, John Gibson delivers a highly offensive run down of the latest rap news to his mostly conservative white male audience.


This is right in line with the standard method of operation of a network that has had a hate/hate relationship with Hip Hop for a decade.

The beef between Fox News and Hip Hop goes back as far as 2002, when self-appointed morality crusader and overnight Hip Hop expert, Bill O’reilly threatened to boycott Pepsi over their use of Ludacris as their spokesman. This was followed in 2003, with a show where Big Bad Bill chastised Cam’ron and Dame Dash over the objectionable lyrics in their songs. The vibrations from that show are still being felt, today, as the Cam’ron catch phrase “U Mad?” gained headlines, last week, for being used as a racial slur.

While some of Fox’s airtime has been used to point the finger at dirty words, the lion’s share of the venom has been spewed at those who dare to speak out on political issues. Fox’s Sean Hannity has taken shots at rappers from KRS to Common, while O’Reilly recently debated Lupe Fiasco, where he arrogantly, said that Lupe’s constituents weren’t “exactly a bunch of political science Ph.D’s” (translation: ya’ll iz stoopid) and also, felt the need to explain to Lupe what “fallacious” meant.

Although some may argue that Fox News’s attack on Hip Hop is, in some cases, warranted the “Hip Hop Week In Review” is on some next level stuff as it is a throwback to the minstrel shows of the 19th century when white performers would put on black-face to mimic black behavior. According to historian Lerone Bennett Jr in his book “Forced into Glory” even “Honest” Abe Lincoln enjoyed minstrel shows, as they were “conceived in cupidity and dedicated to the proposition that all Negroes were created unequal, frozen for all time in timeless Jim Crow archetypes of shuffling, mindless buffoons.” It seems that the Right Wing gets a special kick out of mimicking Hip Hop as conservative big wig and Fox News regular ,Karl Rove, (MC Rove) once tried to rock the mic at a 2007 Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner.

Now in 2011, enter John Gibson aka “the Hip Hop Al Jolson” and his cohorts as they give Ebonics- laden, faux rap lingo entertainment reports, every week. On a recent episode they told Soulja Boy “clean up yo mouth” and stick to “supermanin’ the ho’s.” What is most offensive about the show is that Gibson calls it a “public service announcement” because “your children are listening to ‘those’ people.”

He’s not that far off the mark with that one. According to “The American Directory of Certified Uncle Toms” by the Council on Black Internal Affairs, although most Hip Hop artists are Black males “rap’s primary audience is white and male, lives in the suburbs, comfortably distant from the musical mayhem their dollars demand.” So, while the children may be fans of Soulja Boy, their parents will be the first to call 911 if he ever walked down the street in one of their neighborhoods.

There is also, another major reason why a no-nonsense network that specializes in news would take a special interest in Hip Hop.

Everything is political, especially when it comes to Rupert Murdoch’s network. And the people who watch Fox News aren’t the hosts of Freestyle Friday on “106 and Park,” these people determine the social, political and economic direction of America. Which cities get the schools and which ones get the prisons; who goes to college and who goes to jail is determined by those who get their chuckle on every week at the expense of our art form.

Don’t get it twisted. These people aren’t laughing “with us,” they are laughing “at us.” They are not just laughing at the foolishness exhibited by some Hip Hop artists but more so, they are laughing at the fact that we are not using the art form to challenge the false propaganda that they spread on a daily basis.

If Hip Hop wants to shut the folks at Fox up, the answer is simple. Stop giving them show material by doing stupid stuff and start challenging them on the racist, imperialistic, war mongering, blood sucking policies that they advocate.

Only then can we tell them what Scarface said “say goodnight to the bad guy.”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott represents the Militant Mind Militia. He can be reached at militantmindmilitia@gmail.com or website http://www.militantmindmilitia.com



Article: Hip hop star Nas to publish his autobiography in 2012

Hip hop star Nas to publish his autobiography in 2012

Photo: PA Photos

Nas is set to publish his autobiography, entitled It Ain’t Hard To Tell, next year.

Written with music journalist Touré, It Ain’t Hard to Tell will be released by Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books in autumn 2012, reports the Guardian. According to Touré’s Twitter, the book has been 15 years in the making. He wrote:

This is hip-hop history… I’ve been talking to Nas about writing his autobiography for 15 years … We’ll tell his life and deconstruct some songs.

Touré also revealed that the book will not be a ‘memoir’ and will talk about all of Nas’ life. He wrote: “A memoir is about a certain period in your life. An autobiography is about your whole life.”

Rap Radar reports that the book will cover Nas’s falling out with Jay-Z, his marriage to Kelis and his relationship with the mother of Nas’ first child, Carmen Bryan. Bryan published her own tell-all book five years ago.



Article: Killer Mike Speaks On Jay-Z Influence On HipHop

Killer Mike is a rapper who isn’t afraid to show love to another MC. He’s publicly stated time and time again that his all-time favorite group are his one-time mentors OutKast and when it comes to rap solist, the Atlanta vets says Jay-Z is at the top of his list. On the tenth anniversary of one of Jay’s all-time classic releases, The Blueprint, Mike looks back on the era and what the Jiggaman meant to the game at that time. —Shaheem Reid

“Everybody that knows me, knows that my favorite rapper in terms of who I feel that has pushed the culture is Jay-,” he told XXL. “Truthfully he’s my favorite rapper. I just think Jay is an incredible human being. And when I say Jay-Z, I have to qualify that I’m talking about the franchise for Roc-A-Fella. I like the new Jay-Z, he’s dope. But I was inspired by the crew called Roc-A-Fella.”

I grew up in a generation that crack had decimated and we had been taught to distrust and use and abuse each other,” he continued. “What Roc-A-Fella—the few short years it was in existence—did, was allow young black men to see it differently. What two guys from Harlem and a guy from Brooklyn could do. First of all, just that; bring two boroughs together. Then going to get a crew of MCs from Philadelphia and creating a style that still is mimicked today. The Jay-Z style, that hybrid out of Philadelphia. I adore Jay-Z for being that person ten years ago and today. I adore him and admire him for giving me Beanie Sigel, for giving me Freeway, for giving me Young Chris and those flow patterns and that whisper rap. I appreciate that.”

“You wouldn’t have the set up today for Philadelphia for Meek Mill, who I love, if you had not had Roc-A-Fella,” he added. “So when I’m talking about Blueprint, I’m talking about Jay-Z and Damon Dash and Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burke, because those three men did what a lot of black men couldn’t do. For a very finite amount of time, they put bullshit to the side and made the world pay attention. And eventually they made every knee bow. That’s why I adhere to lessons I learned from the Roc-A-Fella run.” source: xxlmag.com

Article: 9/11 and the Cuban Hip Hop Revolución by Sujatha Fernandes

Over the past decade, the events of 9/11 have been the catalyst for all kinds of political actions, from warmongering and militarization to social mobilizations for inclusion and justice. On the island of Cuba, the events provided a new platform for young people involved in the movement of Cuban rap. Echoing the words of their leader Fidel Castro, Cuban rappers took the opportunity to reflect on the state of world politics. But in the aftermath of the events, rappers also saw a chance to become bolder in speaking out about the issues affecting young black Cubans.

On September 11, 2001, I was living in Havana, carrying out research on the movement of Cuban rap when the planes hit the towers. The grandmother in the house where I stayed flicked between the two channels available on state TV. The images of planes crashing into buildings were unreal. None of the commentators seemed to know what was going on. It was several hours later that the news came through about the hijackers of four planes who had reduced the twin towers to rubble, and crashed into the side of the Pentagon and an empty field in rural Pennsylvania.

Like many others, I sat before the television, watching the grainy images of the towers imploding over and over again. Fidel was involved in the inauguration of a new school that evening. I watched the live broadcast from the school where Fidel addressed a packed hall of elementary school kids. Resplendent in his military fatigues, for three hours Fidel cajoled, provoked, and meditated on the events of the day before a group of 10 and 11 year olds. He expressed his sympathies for the American people. He offered the resources of the country to assist in treatment of the victims. And he urged caution on the part of the American government.

“Whenever there is a tragedy like this one, no matter how difficult to avoid it may be, I see no other way but to keep calm,” advised Fidel. “And if at some point I am allowed to make a suggestion to an adversary who has been tough with us for many years, we would advise the leaders of the powerful empire to keep their composure, to act calmly, not to be carried away by a fit of rage or hatred and not to start hunting people down, dropping bombs just anywhere.” He paused. “Put down that pencil,” he reprimanded a young schoolgirl in the audience. “Don’t doodle. Try to pay attention while I’m talking.”

In the year following the 9/11 attacks, the world changed irrevocably. Almost immediately, all U.S. airspace was closed to passenger planes leaving Cuba. Canada-bound planes with tourists who had been in Cuba were forced to fly an extra nine hours along the coast of the U.S., a harbinger of what was to follow. The U.S. declared a global war on terror, and the charges that , with accusations that the island was harboring fugitives, selling biotechnology, and trading with the enemies of the U.S.. carrying out counter-terrorism work in U.S. were convicted in a federal court in Miami and sentenced to prison. There were stepped up efforts by U.S. officials to find and prosecute former Black Panthers in Cuba. Assata Shakur — who was given political asylum in Cuba following her escape from jail in 1979 — would soon be with a bounty of $1 million dollars on her head. Cuban rappers denounced the U.S. war on terror in their lyrics, taking on the slogan of Hip Hop Revolución. But they also turned their critical gaze inward, speaking more openly to issues of racism and marginality in their own country.

In July 2002, rapper Sekou Umoja from the group Anónimo Consejo spoke passionately to a gathered crowd at the Casa de la Cultura. Sekou, formerly known as Yosmel Sarrías, had taken on an African name to emphasize his spiritual connections with Africa. “You have people saying, ‘You’re Cuban, you’re Cuban, but they’re not, they’re not.’ Well then, where did ‘they’ come from? They come from Africa. We have Afro-Cubans in Cuba, Afro-Americans in America, Afro-British in England, and if you’re born in Russia with this color skin, are you gonna come to Cuba and try to say that I’m Russian?” He paused. There were laughs from the audience, the irony of that last comparison was not lost on them. “You’re separating yourself from who you are. This is who you are. When someone feels marginalized it’s never because they wanted to feel that way. If the government wants us to respect [independence hero] José Martí, if they say we are all human, then first they have to respect us.” The crowd burst into cheers and whistles.

“Afghanistan has been the first casualty of the war on terror,” Sekou told the crowd. “Who will be next? Iraq? Maybe Cuba? We, as Hip Hop, say no to war and imperialism. Anónimo Consejo Revolución!” The crowd cheered. “Hip Hop Revolución. Put your fist in the air.” More cheers and whistles. The aging sound equipment came to life with a few static groans. As the beat kicked in, Anónimo Consejo launched into their song, “No more war! No more deaths!/ Talkin’ ’bout something real, this ain’t a game/ Prepare yourself for what’s coming/ I know what it is, stay calm, I take action.” I recognized the phrases from Fidel’s speech on the night of 9/11. As the world was yet again subject to arbitrary acts of American imperial power, Fidel’s words resonated with Cuban rappers.

In a former mansion turned culture house, technology courtesy of the Soviets, Cuban rappers were reworking the crisis of 9/11 to encompass the kinds of changes they wanted to see as a local and global movement. The Hip Hop Revolución drew inspiration from the Cuban Revolution and from Fidel, but it was also connected to the motherland. And perhaps this imagined connection to Africa was what kept rappers somewhat outside the orbit of the state, even as they continued to collaborate with it. As I argue in my new book, Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation (Verso, 2011), hip hoppers around the globe drew on the idea of a hip hop planet to boost their local claims for recognition. Seeing themselves as part of a global movement fighting against war and injustice gave them greater leverage to communicate their specific experiences.

“Hip Hop Cuba with Africa!,” said rapper Amehel from the group Profundo, to a serious and focused audience with their fists raised in the air. “Hip Hop Cuba with Vieques! The undergroun’ protests Israeli repression of Palestinian children.” There was a shout from someone in the audience, “Free Mumia Abu Jamal. Libertad.”



Article: On 9/11, Jay-Z & “The Blueprint” 10 Years Later By Ryan J.

Ten years ago, the country was recovering from the worst national disaster since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Mourning, sadness and anger filled the air. It’s understandable that pop music released on September 11, 2001 was lost in the chaotic aftermath of the terrorist attacks. However, Hip-Hop music provided a small glimmer of cultural positivity: Brooklyn’s native son, , released his classic LP, The Blueprint, the very same day.

Despite its unfortunate drop date, The Blueprint’s accolades include the following: launching the career of then-producer Kanye West, including one of the best and well-executed Hip-Hop diss songs ever (the Nas- and Prodigy-bashing “Takeover”) and forcing listeners to debate whether Eminem’s verse on “Renegade” is his greatest. And, oh yeah, the music’s pretty good too—from album opener “The Ruler’s Back” to closer “Blueprint (Momma Loves Me).”

September 11 mourners will lament that praising a record’s release and subsequent impact is disrespectful in light of tragedy. What critics are missing is not just The Blueprint’s salient impact on Hip-Hop music as a whole, but also the escapism from disaster it provided. While on the album claims the opposite (“music experts state that music sales that day were at least partially driven by a group of youthful consumers, who were somehow and incredulously untroubled”), it would be naïve to discredit the music’s ability to provide at least an hour’s worth of solace.

Not to say that there was anything of-the-moment about The Blueprint or particular about its sound in regards to the 9/11 attacks. It’s an album hinged on an early ’90s adherence to comfort food soul samples and clever bars. It’s incredibly digestible, as the album packs the hits together tightly. The smooth soul of Just Blaze’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” plays well with West’s powerful sampling of the Bobby Blue Band on “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love).” And its release provided a.) a resuscitated era of New York Hip-Hop and b.) a Jay-Z for the new millennium. Both created a perfect, incredibly enjoyable storm—especially for those affected New York City fans.

Even for those outside of the Big Apple, the album’s likable appeal inspired and remade the sonic landscape. Current Jay-Z protégé J. Cole credits the album with fostering his admiration of Jigga. West’s mass manufacturing of “Chipmunk Soul” laid the foundation for his debut album as a rapper, 2004’s The College Dropout.

For as successful as the album has been, its accomplishments were achieved in the most unlikely fashion: Jay-Z created a LP in 2001 that harnessed old-school sounds but cranked out a generation-defining album. It didn’t rewrite the book on Hip-Hop, but it certainly re-asserted the genre’s blueprint. After the atrocities of 9/11 Jay provided exactly what was needed: a 63-minute audio escape from the complexities of the day.



Article: Tupac Shakur, ‘talented rapper and society bad boy,’ died 15 years ago today By Elizabeth Flock

Tupac Shakur.Fifteen years ago, rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur died in a Las Vegas hospital of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, a result of gunshot wounds in his chest, pelvis, right hand and thigh.

The day after his death in 1996, the Post published the following story by Esther Iverem, “A death as real as it gets; Tupac Shakur’s gangsta image was the rapper’s fatal flaw”:

In his short life and career, Tupac Shakur had three faces: budding actor, talented rapper and society bad boy. It is through the last two roles that he presented the image of a young black man who “keeps it real.”

From Harlem ghetto roots, he became a self-made millionaire. On videos and in real life he presented an escapist image to scores of his fans facing poor prospects in an unwelcoming world. The key elements were a flashy car, a fat blunt, women galore — and a gun in his hand. Well-to-do kids, white and black, could flirt with these images, then head off to college. But for kids without this option, the images were powerfully seductive. Tupac’s death showed that “realness” is not invincible — but will the message get through?

Grab your Glocks {guns} when you see Tupac.

Call the cops when you see Tupac . . .

You shot me but ya punks didn’t finish.

Now you’re about to feel the wrath of a menace.

. . . You know who the REALNESS is.”

This sort of obsessive threat to perceived enemies, from his current rap “Hit ‘Em Up,” had, in his last months, become typical behavior of Tupac, who rapped under the name 2Pac.

He built his career on one of the most overused phrases in the world of hip-hop: “Keep it real.” At its most meaningful, the phrase urges those in the hip-hop nation to remain true to beliefs and rooted in reality. At its worst, it implies that only those things ghetto-centric are true and “real” in black culture — be they the positives of toughness and street smarts or the negatives of quick, bottom-line violence and mind-blowing abuse of alcohol and fat “blunts” of marijuana. The latter was Tupac’s definition.

He lived a real-life version of his Devil-may-care ideology, proclaiming, for example, that he always stayed “strapped” — or armed — and high on marijuana. He said his “Thug Life” movement — a phrase he had tattooed on his belly — was for “all the underdogs, all the niggas with no daddies . . . all the niggas in juvenile hall, in jail and everything.” But his movement had nothing to offer his would-be followers except an eventual return ticket to jail…

Tupac was black America’s James Dean for the ’90′s — young, brash, beckoning trouble. He was a small, wiry man, not nearly as big as he looks on film and video. He had a look of hardness from his chiseled cheeks and thick eyebrows. His aura as black bad boy was only enhanced when he survived after being shot five times during a robbery outside a Manhattan recording studio in 1994.

Shortly after, he was convicted for his role in the sexual abuse of a fan in a Manhattan hotel, and served 11 months in an Upstate New York prison. While in prison, his album “Me Against the World” went to No. 1 on the charts, and has sold 1.8 million copies. Since his release, a hastily made 2-CD album, “All Eyez on Me,” has sold at least 2.3 million copies, according to SoundScan…

“Die slow,” Tupac warns in “Hit ‘Em Up”: “My 4-4 {.44 caliber weapon} makes sure all your kids don’t grow . . ./ You can’t be us or see us./ We’re West Side ’til we die . . .”

“The message sent by a lot of rap artists is You’re the man. Do what you want,’ ” [Havelock] Nelson, [rap editor of Billboard magazine] says. “I’ve seen artists light up a blunt in a restaurant. Tupac gets in trouble over and over again. People say, You got shot and survived.’ And then he says, Yeah, I’m bad. I’ll keep doing it.’ “

But for everything there is an endgame.

While 1960s revolutionaries taught the importance of being willing to die for beliefs, it is a totally different matter to die in senseless gang violence or over a high stakes game of “Yo Mama,” proving your “realness” by how much you can bluff, how many bullets you can take, how many times you can cheat death.

“This is really unfortunate,” said Heavy D., CEO of Uptown Records and a veteran rapper in his own right, before Tupac’s death. “I know Tupac and I know he has a good heart.”

“But you know what they say, you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” 



R.I.P Tupac Shakur a/k/a 2Pac

Industry Tips and Advice: Get Paid To Blog

One of the easiest, most popular and profitable ways to generate an additional income stream from your blog/s is to do some paid posting through paid blogging networks. Connecting paying advertisers with bloggers-for-hire, paid blogging networks simply act as a bridge or middle-man.

Bloggers are basically paid to write and post their opinions and reviews of advertiser websites, products and/or services. But, because each paid blogging network is different – rules, guidelines and requirements vary.

Being professional and consistent are key in order to build a good reputation for yourself. Making money through paid blogging and posting can earn you a realistic $100 to $500 or more per month with each blog.

To help get you started with paid blogging, follow these steps:

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need
Your own blog/s


Using Notepad…
In Notepad or other text editor, make a list of 7 to 10 keywords that describe your blog site. Then, beneath this list, create and write a keyword-rich description of your blog. Save it! You’re going to need to copy and paste this information on your applications to paid blogging networks. Trust me, this will save you a ton of time.

Browse the following paid blogging network sites (direct links to these sites are found at the end under the Resources section):

These folks pioneered the “get paid to blog” concept. Besides being the most popular paid blogging network, I’ve found that they always seem to have the most job opportunities available at any given time. PayPerPost pays bloggers anywhere from $5 to over $200 per completed and approved post.

Although Bloggerwave is a smaller paid blogging network and lists fewer open job opportunties, their site is super blogger-friendly and easy to to navigate. Bloggers here get paid a minimum of $10 for each completed and approved post. Bloggerwave also pays on time and like clock-work.

You’ll like Smorty because they pay from $6 to $100 for each post and they pay-out weekly. A great feature with Smorty is that bloggers are allowed to have multiple blogs so income earning potential is unlimited. The Pagerank of your blog along with a high Smorty smart score determines how much you can earn – up to $100 per post.

Bloggers – get paid to review products and services on your site. You control what you review. You will be paid $20.00 to $200.00 for each completed review that you post on your site.

With LoudLaunch the amount you are paid per post is based on your blog ranking? LoudLaunch allows bloggers to be compensated for distributing our advertisers LoudLaunch press releases. Search through our advertisers latest press release campaigns, select campaigns aligned with your blog, post a Micro Press Release on your blog based on the advertisers campaign, and be compensated based on the exposure your blog can deliver.

Once you are approved to the Blogitive system, you are given access to opportunities from companies to post about their news releases. You are paid per posting. The standard amount is per post is $5. This may vary depending on the sponsor. You must have a PayPal account in order to get paid with Blogitive.

BloggingAds is different. They supply the advertisers, the text and the money, all you have to do is post the ad on your blog. We are looking for bloggers to post one-time ads on their blog sites for money.

List continues below…

A Sponsored Review is an article you write for an advertiser. You review their products and services and then post the review on your blog. Each advertiser has his or her own requirements. Bloggers can earn anything from $10 to $500+ for each review.

Once approved, your blog goes into the assignment queue. The blogsvertise administrator then assigns writing tasks for what our advertisers want you to mention in your blog. The current payout rate for new accounts is $4 – $25 per entry.

If your blog meets our requirements then you can make money blogging in our system and you can count on Payu2blog to deliver that consistent steady income from advertising on your blog.

CREAMaid is a service that lets you meet other bloggers with similar interests, and make money while doing it. Anyone can start using CREAMaid by inserting a CREAMaid Conversation widget inside her post. When your post is selected, you will be able to instantly collect a royalty for your contribution (usually about $5).

Do you own a blog? Blog publishers in the Contextual Links @ V7N Network make cash and get paid by PayPal for simply adding text links to their blog posts. Currently publishers make $10 per link.

LinkWorth is a search engine marketing company that offers a variety of monetization options for bloggers. LinkWorth gives up to 70% of the revenue for its ads.

If you have a blog, you can make money simply by reviewing other websites. You receive 60% of the sale price for each review.

Your blog must have a minimum Page Rank of 3 to be accepted. You get paid a flat fee of $10.00 per post.

Your rate of pay to blog for this company is based on your Google’s PageRank (from $5 to $16 per post).

The process is simple! Register, look for bloggers or advertisers, negotiate back and forth via the messaging system, strike a deal, BUZZ and compensate!

Migrate your existing blog or start a new one . Refer a friend and get 5% of what the friends blog site makes. Promote your blog and get paid.

Apply to as many of the above listed paid blogging network sites as possible. Why? Your blog may not be accepted or approved by some companies, so you’re going to want to make sure that you’re getting every opportunity possible to get paid to blog.

After applying, be patient. Some networks have a fast approval process, while others seem to take forever. I’m still waiting on some of these.

Write, blog and make money! Good Luck! source: ehow.com

Quote Of The Day

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore

Article: The Music Industry’s Funny Money By: Cord Jefferson

Still think a music career is an easy path to a blinged-out life? Don’t believe the hype. A whole lot of folks have to get paid before the musician does. The Root traces the money trail.

If you thought the life of most musicians was comparable to the blissful and blinged-out existences of Kanye and Rihanna, you’ve clearly not heard much about our ever-desiccating music industry. According to the latest , only 2.1 percent of the albums released in 2009 sold even 5,000 copies — that’s just 2,050 records out of nearly 100,000, and to fewer people than go to a small liberal arts college.

As if that weren’t bad enough, even the bands who do move units end up paying through the nose, mouth, eyes and ears for management, legal fees, producers and other expenses, leaving most of them scrounging to pay for record advances and, if they can afford it, health care.

From the outside, it often sounds fun to be in a band. But before picking up that guitar or microphone, take a look at where the money from a record goes.(Scroll down to continue)

SLRP: The suggested list retail price of a CD is currently $16.98, while the standard wholesale price — what retail stores pay the label per CD — is about $10. Once the retailer gets the CD, they can sell it for however much they’d like — hence “suggested.” Artist’s royalties are a percentage of the retail price. Superstars can get 20 percent of the SLRP, but most get 12 percent to 14 percent.

Packaging charge: 25 percent of the SLRP goes back to the record company immediately for what’s called a “packaging charge” — that’s the label literally charging the artist for the plastic case in which his or her CD is sold.

Free goods: In essence, “free goods” are a roundabout way for labels to discount records so stores will be more inclined to buy them. So rather than sell Best Buy 100,000 records at the regular wholesale price, the label will sell them 100,000 records for the price of 85,000. The artist is then paid for the 85,000 CDs, not the actual 100,000 sold to the retailer.

Reserves: Records, especially records by newer artists, are generally sold with the caveat that retailers can return to the label whatever copies they don’t sell for a full refund. Thus to ensure they don’t lose too much money on artists, record labels will sometimes pay artists for only 65,000 copies out of 100,000 copies, just in case 35,000 (25,000 if you consider the free ones) are returned. If the retailer ends up selling all their copies, the label will then pay the artist the balance owed, which can sometimes take years.

Distributor: Music distributors are entities designed to promote and distribute records. The major labels maintain in-house distributors, while most all indie labels use private distribution companies. For smaller bands’ records, the distributor can take as much as a 24 percent cut of the SLRP; bigger bands might only be charged 14.2 percent.

Songwriter/publisher: If an artist doesn’t write his or her own music, someone else has to. And someone who writes a song must first go through a music publisher, whose job it is to place that song with a recording artist who will agree to perform it. If an artist buys the song, the writer and publisher then receive 9.1 cents for every copy of the song sold, a sum they must then split.

Personal manager: This manager guides the career of the artist and gets about 15 percent of the artist’s gross earnings.

Business manager: This manager is the artist’s money man, making sure the musician repays his debts and invests his earnings wisely. A business manager charges 5 percent of an artist’s gross.

Lawyer: While it’s not always the case-many charge hourly-some artist’s lawyers charge 5 percent.

AFTRA and AFM: These are the musicians unions. Singers join AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), while players join AFM (the American Federation of Musicians). If an artist cuts an album, he has to join a union, which will then take $63.90 in base dues plus 0.743 percent of the artist’s first $100,000.

Record advance: Unlike touring fees, of which the record company can only recoup half, record advances are 100 percent recoupable. That means that if the label fronts an artist $75,000 to pay for whatever he or she needs to record an album–studio time, new instruments, etc. — the artist then owes the label that initial $75,000, regardless of whether the record is a success or not.

The Root thanks Don Passman, author of .

Still want to get the band back together? Crunch the numbers and see for yourself just how much you’d make as a musician.



Article: The Lucrative Side of Hip-Hop Beef – 10 Rap Feuds That Fueled Sales (5 of 10) by Alexis Garrett Stodghill

Rick Ross vs. 50 Cent
50 Cent’s beef with Rick Ross started, , when in early 2009 “Rick Ross came out with ‘Mafia Music’ taking shots at 50 Cent.” Of course, 50 went right for the jugular with Ross. He brought up his rather embarrassing history, and made a viral video of himself taking Rick Ross’ baby’s mother on a shopping spree – presumably one Rick himself could not afford. And it didn’t stop there – both rappers created a media bonanza of dis tracks, cartoons, web series, and more. Of course, all of this coincided with Ross’ release of his 2009 album which containted the originally offensive lyrics. It went on to sell “158,000 copies its first week, making it Rick Ross’s third number-one album,” according to Wikipedia. Their beef also set the stage for the release of 50 Cent’s 2009 LP,  which is certified gold in the United States.
Winner in this beef: Tie – even though Ross ended up looking like a little bit more of a fool, he got his jabs in. Both stars garnered a similar amount of money and exposure — but Ross likely needed it more, making the cost of losing face worth it.




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