Archive for January, 2012

Interview: Astro Talks Roc Nation Rumors & Whats Next On Shade 45

Interview: No I.D Finally Getting The Respect He Deserves

No I.D been around for about 2 decades and now he’s getting the recognition he deserves.

No I.D. may want to consider changing his moniker. Having earned stripes under the radar for most of his 20-year career, the inconspicuous producer—who’s credits include Common, Kanye West, Drake, Rick Ross and Jay-Z, among others—has seen his name recognition reach its apex in 2011. The Chicago product executive-produced Big Sean’s breakthrough debut album released last August, he was awarded a lofty as Def Jam’s Executive Vice President and, presently, he’s in the lab with Nas at work on the veteran’s latest effort.

“I’m VP but I’m also a producer, so I’m always working on music,” No I.D. says. “I’m in the office when necessary for A&R meetings and trying to bring my spirit, which is super hip-hop purist at heart, who understands how to make it in business cause I’ve seen all sides of it.” Has he ever.

Born Dion Wilson (No I.D. is Dion spelled backwards), he began DJing house music at 14 and only toyed with production so he’d have material to play during his sets. He soon picked up the mic and then experimented with tracks because his rap group, CDR—comprised of childhood friends Lonnie Rashid Lynn, better known as Common, and Corey Crawley—needed beats. His musical aspirations, however, were innocent in the infancy stage. It was simply a way to stay on the straight and narrow path.

“[I] didn’t really look at it as a profession or anything, just more of a fun thing to do to stay out of trouble,” he says. In high school, CDR opened for the likes of Too $hort, Eazy-E and Big Daddy Kane. Skeptical of the group’s prospects because they were based in Chicago, he quit rapping and enrolled at Southern Illinois University to study electrical engineering. After a bumpy first year at SIU, though, he dropped out and on a whim drove down to Florida A&M University where Common attended school—Com continued to rap and was on the verge of signing a deal with Relativity Records.

The trip re-sparked his passion for making music again. The following year, No I.D., then known as Immenslope, contributed eight of the 13 tracks that comprised Common’s 1992 debut, Can I Borrow a Dollar? The then upstart beatsmith says he had to earn each placement. “I was competing for the sake of being viewed as good,“ he says. “It was even internal battles and going on to prove your worth.”

The LP received mixed reviews and sold a disappointing 136,404 units, according to Nielsen’s SoundScan. Two years later, now producing under his current tag, he helmed all but two songs on Com’s sophomore disc, Resurrection. Though it only sold 253,532 copies, the project was critically hailed and established No I.D. and Common as a force to be reckoned in the rap game. Hip-hop’s finest took notice.

“After Resurrection I was getting calls for people to do work with me and I was turning it down,” says No I.D. “I got a call that Biggie wanted to hear some beats, Ghostface [Killah] and Big Pun. I’m like, Nah, I produce for Common. This is like Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth. At that time I didn’t even conceptualize trying to make beats, or produce for other people. It wasn’t even in my mind. I viewed myself as part of a group.”

His myopic vision would haunt him. He may have passed up the opportunity to work with A-listers, but he did show interest in working with promising Chicago talents, including Kanye West and Infamous Syndicate—a femcee duo that featured Shawnna of Disturbing tha Peace fame. Common, for his part, viewed things differently, which led to tension during the making of 1997’s One Day It’ll All Make Sense.

“I think me and him clashed a lot during that time because my idea of a business was, ‘Let’s start a label and let’s sign all these talented people around us,’ and his idea was, ‘Nah, let’s take this music to another level,’” says No I.D.

Despite guest appearances by a red-hot Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, ODIAMS moved a paltry 284,310 units. The record’s commercial failure launched a streak of misfortunes for the producer. His two-and-a-half-year marriage fell apart, and he was shut out from Common’s fourth album, Like Water for Chocolate—coincidentally the first gold-selling album of the rapper’s career.

“I was upset,” he admits. “As I start seeing the way the music industry was actually forming and going and I was like, ‘OK, wait a minute, I’m the fool.’ A lot of those years, me and Common weren’t speaking too much. I felt like, I just helped build this thing up, and then as soon as you go and get a real major deal I can’t get a beat? Nothing?”

No I.D. suffered through a four-year slump before he placed his next track. At the time he struggled to make ends meet, briefly managed Kanye and tried to develop a few other acts. He landed tracks on Beanie Sigel’s The Reason in 2001 and Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 2 in 2002 through his relationship with then Roc-A-Fella A&R, Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua—to whom he would later introduce Kanye.

In the mid 2000s, he moved to Atlanta to align himself with Jermaine Dupri. He credits the So So Def boss for re-energizing his career and providing him the foresight he previously lacked. “I said, ‘OK, I think I have a full grasp of what I wanna accomplish as a producer,’” says No I.D. “It was almost like I had done my research, I’ve done my bad experiences, I’ve lost. It’s almost like Donald Trump. You gotta go bankrupt a few times and figure it out.”

A few years later, No I.D. would reconnect with his protégé (who he’s known since Kanye was 14) after ‘Ye’s mother passed away in 2007. “Malik Yusef said to me one day, like, ‘Yo, he needs you, you know you are a stable person, you are one of the more stable men he knows,” he says. During a two-day stint in Hawaii, the old friends locked themselves in the studio and, to their surprise, crafted nine beats together, including several tracks that wound up on Yeezy’s 808s & Heartbreak and Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3. As a result of their chemistry, he was tapped by Kanye to serve as president of his G.O.O.D. Music label and relocated to Los Angeles.

“I had this conversation with him before it started like, ‘Hey man, be Quincy Jones right now,’” he says of their reunion. “It don’t matter that I taught you. I’m humble enough to play another role so we can just be successful.”

After a productive period he set his sight on an position at Def Jam. His intentions were G.O.O.D. “I made a decision to make Big Sean win and I’m gonna do it in a way where I walk it straight to L.A. Reid,” he explains. “I’ma make it clear that I made this win with the intention of L.A. saying like, ‘Damn, we need this guy.’”

It worked. Though Def Jam’s budgets were frozen at the time, No I.D. paid for Sean’s first recording sessions out of his own pocket and got the ball rolling. The Detroit rapper scored a hit with the No I.D.-produced “My Last” featuring Chris Brown. Sean’s Finally Famous hit stores in June and debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200—selling 87,100 in its first week. Though L.A.—who resigned as Island Def Jam chairman in May to run Epic Records —offered him a position under the Sony umbrella, No I.D. stuck with Def Jam and was rewarded with an executive vice president gig and his own label.

Nearly 20 years into his career, No I.D. appears to have finally found his stride and has come full circle in the process. He has tracks on deck on Nas’s Life Is Good and Jay-Z’s 11th studio album, but foremost, he’s reunited with Common for the first time in 14 years. He produced Com’s ninth LP, released last December, The Dreamer, The Believer, in its entirety. Again, No I.D. embraced the challenge. “I know the history of my career,” says No I.D. “This is the time to prove something. I could go do records for Watch the Throne. What does that prove? Nothing. It’s Jay-Z and Kanye West. But, Common, acting, no record deal? Let’s try this.” Resurrection.

source: xxlmag.com

Mixtape: Red Cafe “Hell’s Kitchen”

Music Video: Classified “Unusual” Feat. Joe Buddens

The Bodega Cold Kutz Radio Show

Tune in to the show today with special guest Homeboy Sandman

Music News: Toni Braxton Hospitalized

Singer turned reality television star Toni Braxton was hospitalized in Los Angeles this week due to a lupus flare-up, but she says she is OK.

The artist told TMZ that pain associated with her condition promoted the hospital visit, but that she is fine and thankful for the support of fans and family.

“I wanted to say thanks to all my fans for their support, as I have been experiencing some flare ups with my lupus which has me in the hospital for a few days.”

Braxton had been keeping a busy schedule and was in L.A. for a promotional event that she wasn’t able to attend. On Wednesday night, her sisters appeared at a WE channel event to promote the next season of “Braxton Family Values.” Siblings Tamar, Trina, Towanda, Traci, along with their mother Evelyn, attended a dinner and screening at SLS Hotel, the show’s publicist told us. Toni had to miss the event due to her illness, and WE president Kim Martin read a statement from Toni explaining that she’d checked herself into a hospital due to the flare-up but that she was OK.

We’re told that the Jan. 19 episode of “Braxton Family Values” will feature Toni’s appearance at last year’s Georgia Music Hall of Fame awards event held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Toni was just about the last artist to stroll the red carpet before the awards event kicked off. (We got about 20 seconds with her, long enough to shoot the photo above.)

The sisters were supposed to perform, then didn’t. The episode synopsis explains why: “Toni gets inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and asks her sisters to perform a tribute to her at the ceremony. However, the girls just can’t get it together during rehearsals. Tamar once again takes over, Towanda once again leaves, and Traci once again lashes out at Tamar. Ever the peacemaker, Trina tries to pull things together, but they can’t pull this one off, leaving Toni and fans disappointed.”

The episode’s title: “Sisters At War.” We wish Toni a quick recovery and hope she is feeling fine in time to see the next episode of “Braxton Family Values!”

Music News: Vinyl Sales Up by 39% In 2011

We’ve seen some conflicting data on vinyl sales this year, especially from indie stories. But this is looking pretty bullish: according to stats just released by Nielsen Soundscan, vinyl sales in the US topped 3.9 million in 2011, a 39.3 percent gain over 2010. The modern-day LP resurgence now looks like this…

source: digitalmusicnews

Real Talk: Katt Williams Puts Rumors To Rest Of Dave Chappelle Smoking Crack In Africa.

Music News: Drake Confronts Tattoo Artist Who Tattooed Drakes Name Across His Fans Forehead

The dude Kevin Campell tatted a girl with “DRAKE” on her forehead. Well he and Drake went back and forth in the media and well, it looks like Drake made good on his words. I don’t know the facts, but the artist Campbell says Drake and some goons came to his shop. “Drake sent his security detail into the shop to inform me that ‘nobody is going to hurt Drake in the state of California,’ I don’t remember ever saying I was going to hurt him, but maybe they were referring to his feelings. Guess you could call it sorted out. When Drake was in LA last, he parked out front of the shop and sent in his huge security dude. Calling Drake ‘soft’ was like calling Justin Bieber a p***y. I kinda feel bad for the dude now. Drake said he would beat my ass, not me. Now I’m just embarrassed for him. He made himself look like a weenie. I just think it’s funny that he made the threats and when I actually responded, he sent in the troops.”
According to Campbell, there was never any physical confrontation. He merely stated that they told him this was his “first warning.” Drake should go in there and beat his ass!!!!!! But of course he would never do that…
source: allhiphop.com

Music News: 50 Cents Clears Twitter Rant Of Suicide.

Commercial with Deepak Chopra Below

Industry Tips & Advice: How Music Licensing Works by Marshall Brain Pt 7

Think music licensing is limited to t.v. and the film industry? Think again. The video game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for Playstation 2 and its soundtrack box set are filled with dozens of famous songs. There’s a wide range of artists — from Tesla to Tears for Fears, the Psychedelic Furs to Squeeze and Frankie Goes to Hollywood to Foreigner.

Image courtesy

Other Licensing Scenarios

There are many other situations where you need a license to use music. Here are several examples:

  • You want to create a new song that uses samples of other songs. Even if you are using just a few notes, you need to obtain licenses through an organization like . Otherwise, you will end up paying even more in penalties when the song is played in public.
  • You want to play music in your lobby, , restrooms, etc. You either need to obtain performance licenses from ASCAP and BMI, or you need to contract with a company like , which handles all the licensing for you.
  • You want to play music in your small restaurant. You have three choices. Technically, you can play the . But in that case your customers will be listening to all the commercials, which they may not appreciate. You can play tapes or . In that case you need to file with ASCAP and BMI for blanket licenses. Or you can contract with a commercial music services firm like Muzak.
  • You are making a yearbook for school, a wedding video, etc. and you want background music. You cannot legally use songs off a CD for these purposes. That forces you to look for production music — music produced by companies specifically for these applications. The simplest example of production music is the kind of music you get when you buy . A place like offers complete songs in many different styles.

To see how particular things can get, consider this example:

Let’s say you have a cheerleading squad at your high school and you buy a CD from a place like for your practice sessions. Now you want to play the CD while your squad performs at a game. The school should have waivers for ASCAP and BMI for that, but you need to make sure. If a local station wants to broadcast the game, there is a problem if you perform to the music because that is a retransmission of the music. Then if you want to your squad performing to the music and sell the video tape, you have the same sort of retransmission problem. There are so many problems, in fact, that offers a FAQ on it. In the FAQ it says, “Over the years our writers and producers have created hundreds of songs that are available for video license. Since we own the recordings and the compositions we can grant you the license to manufacture videos with music from our catalog.”

In other words, about the only time you do not have to pay to use music is when you are sitting in your home or automobile listening to the radio with your family. And in that case, the radio station paid for you to hear the music with blanket licenses from ASCAP and BMI, and you pay by listening to the station’s commercials. Every other possible use of music legally requires the payment of a licensing fee.



Quote Of The Day

Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.

Erma Bombeck

Sports: Floyd Mayweather Jr. Calls Out Pacquiao…

“Manny Pacquiao I’m calling you out let’s fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see.”

“My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk.“

#May5Bout Mayweather got his 90-day stint delayed till June 1, and now bout it bout it bout fighting Pacquiao on May 5! Mayweather called out Pacquiao via twitter on Tuesday! Pacquiao returned no reservations about fighting Mayweather. Now the only thing left is to finalize the paperwork through Pac-man promoter Bob Arum. Check it out!

“I’ve said this over and over before and I’m saying this again, I want Floyd Mayweather Jr. to be my next opponent and I haven’t changed my choice despite recent developments,” said the 33-year-old Pacquiao.

“I am meeting with my promoter, Bob Arum, on Tuesday and I will insist that the fight with Mayweather be given the preference,” said Pacquiao, who has won 15 fights in a row dating back to 2005.

“Whoever the fans want me to fight, I will face him atop the ring. I don’t choose the fight. It is my promoter who does because it’s his job. My job is to fight, everybody must realize that.“ – nypost

Humor: Hitler Gets Invited To South X Southwest

This is pretty funny check it out.

Industry Tips and Advice: How To Make 50,000 a Year As a Musician.

One of the reasons we started MusicianWages.com was because of the huge reservoir of unqualified career advice that was being served to musicians online. I usually keep quiet about the charlatanry tips I find online, but I just can’t pass this one up. It displays the characteristics of bad career advice so acutely that I just have to point it out.

The Busking Alchemist

This article dropped onto my reading list this past weekend. Want To Make $50,000 a Year In Music? Start With One Dollar a Day. There’s a pair of sentences early in this article that are particularly telling. One of the things that mystifies me about this article is why it continues after this:

How does a musician make money? Honestly, I don’t know for certain.
The article goes on to explain how daily busking, YouTube videos, Adsense ads and CD sales could net a musician $5 to $10 a day and ends with the epitaph:

What else? Do you have ideas on what can generate money on a daily basis? I think my ideas above could get an artist up to $10,000 a year. What would push it to $50,000?
The difference between $10k and $50k is a BIG difference – especially when you’re already spending 7 days a week busking on the street for $5. I can’t imagine how anyone would turn that janky business model into a $50k/year career. Telling musicians to busk 365 days a year is terrible career advice, but the inconsistencies in the article (namely, the huge discrepancy between the title and the content) are not really my point here.

Bad Advice
Every day my RSS reader gives me pages and pages of what I think is lousy advice and useless data. What is the deal?

Here’s what I think. For about 100 years there was this economic bubble in the musician industry. We called it the “Recording Industry” and it made a ton of money. Some people made money hand-over-fist. (Most of that money, though, went to the people that ran the business and not to the musicians, but that’s another story.)

The problem was that the whole industry was dependent on a closed distribution system built on limited technology. Eventually some smart people created a way to circumvent that distribution route with computers and the whole house of cards collapsed.

100 years. It’s really not that long. Humans have been on Earth for about a half a million years, so the record industry era represented just a tiny percentage of our history. Beethoven made a living as a musician, as did many of the musicians that played in his orchestras and operas. They never sold a record. So what’s the big deal?

I think the 100 years of the record industry created a set of unrealistic expectations and entitlements in the musician business, and we’re still having trouble getting past it. Selling recorded music used to make a lot of money – quickly – and we want it back. When we can’t get it back we try make up substitute business models that might bring in quick money just as easily.

So what kind of content do we see being served to musicians these days? Articles about the collapse of our beloved recording industry. Articles claiming to give advice on how to make quick money again. Articles about mega-stars that are still making quick money.

It’s all nonsense.

Good Advice
You know how you make money as a musician? The same way everyone else makes money – get a job and go to work. Or start a business and make it grow.

There are plenty of jobs in the musician business – at schools, tours, churches, theaters, the military – we talk about them all the time here at MusicianWages.com. We have a whole jobs board full of them.

Can’t find a job where you are? Move to a place where you can find work. You don’t see fishermen complaining that they can’t find a job in Oklahoma.

Musicians start businesses all the time – your private studio is a business. Your band is a business. Your solo career is a business. Make it grow and expect it to be difficult.

That’s good advice.

How to Really Make $50,000 a Year
Get a church job (3 services a week @ $100/service) = $15,600
Start a teaching studio (12 students @ $50/lesson) = $31,200
Play background music once a month (@ $250/gig) = $3,000
Play in a band twice a month (@ $50/gig) = $1,200
That’s $51k a year. That’s how it’s really done. 
source: musicthinktank.com

Sports: Knicks Beat The 1st Place 76ers

playing only their 10th game of this lockout-shortened season and just their second opponent with a winning record, the Knicks passed it Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

With defense. And despite subscribing to their own version of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan down the stretch on offense: nine turnovers and nine missed shots from the floor in the last nine minutes.

The Knicks’ defense, though, held the fort in an 85-79 victory over the 76ers, who had won six straight to storm to the top of the Atlantic Division but were also playing for the third straight night and the fifth time in six days.
read full article at www.nytimes.com

Music News: Madonna Drops New Album Name “M.D.N.A.”

Madonna Drops New Album Name “M.D.N.A.” On Facebook:
Madonna is coming out with a new album this year and it finally has an official name. Madonna’s new 12th studio album is entitled M.D.N.A. Madonna dropped the news earlier today on her Facebook page and the highly anticipated album has already caused a stir due to the leak of the track – “Give Me All Your Love” in November 2011 right before Drake’s album “Take Care” was leaked.

Madonna’s fans are eagerly awaiting her new music and she is slated to perform “Give Me All Your Love,” at Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 live in Indianapolis. No word yet on album track listing or exactly what the acronym means…
source: collegdjnet

Interview: The Untold Stories Of DJ Whoo Kid

Whoo Kid’s Untold Stories – Meeting Michael Jackson [Chapter 1]

Whoo Kid’s Untold Stories – Getting Fired By 50 Cent [Chapter 2]

Industry Tips & Advice: How Music Licensing Works by Marshall Brain Pt 6

The song, “Happy Birthday to You” is copyright protected until at least 2030.

The tale of “Happy Birthday to You”

The song “Happy Birthday to You” is an example of just how interesting the world of licensing is. Think about this song — it is only 6 notes. Yet it is one of the best known songs in the world. It was written in 1893 by Mildred and Patty Hill and first published with the words, “Good morning to you”.

The words “Happy Birthday to You” were first seen in print in 1924, although the author is unknown. Copyright was registered in 1934 in a court case involving a musical called “As Thousands Cheer” by Irving Berlin. The Clayton F. Summy Company became the song’s publisher in 1935. Through a series of purchases and acquisitions, the song now belongs to AOL Time Warner. ASCAP represents the song for public performance licensing.

The copyright to “Happy Birthday to You” should have expired in 1991, but the Copyright Act of 1976 extended it, and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended it again, so the song is protected until 2030 at least.

“Happy Birthday to You” brings in about $2 million per year in licensing fees according to . If you ever hear the song in a movie, TV show or commercial, a licensing fee has been paid. Any manufacturer making a toy that plays the song pays a licensing fee. The manufacturer of any musical card playing the song pays a licensing fee. And so on… This 6-note song is big business!



Quote Of The Day

A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.

Ansel Adams

Music Video: Pusha T “Sweet” Freestyle

New Music: Saigon “I Am 4 Real”

Industry Tips and Advice: Writing an Effective Artist Biography

Written by Jem Bahaijoub

 Album finished? Check. Tour dates? Check. Press photos? Check. Press release? Check. Biography? Urgh!

If you’re not a spectacular storyteller or wondrous wordsmith, then the task of writing or updating your biography can seem like an arduous task. However, a biography is an essential item in any musicians marketing tool kit. It positions your brand identity, communicates your key achievements and provides background info to fans and media alike. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way…..

Interview Yourself

If you’ve not yet put pen to paper, the best thing to do is put yourself in the position of a journalist. Devise a list of questions covering your career and interview yourself. Gain ideas and angles by reading up on blog Q&As, or identify interview questions you would ask a favorite band or artist. This will make the process of gathering your bio content a lot easier. While you are interviewing yourself, write down as much info as possible. You can edit this all later.

Plan Your Structure

Your bio is not your life story. It’s a concise and well structured overview of your music career. This is why planning the format is key. Think carefully about what you want to include in each paragraph and keep the following in mind:

1. Define your key achievements. If you have performed with well-known artists or received awards or accolades, then now is the time to rave about them. List them according to their newsworthiness.

2. Your bio does not need to be chronological. In fact the first couple of paragraphs are often the most important as they’ll determine whether a journalist or fan will read on. Ensure that the beginning of your bio provides an effective summary of your sound. For example, the  conjures an image of their offering from the outset.

3. If you’re in a band, stick to writing about the band’s overall story, rather than each individual member in detail. It’s okay to dedicate some space to each member as long as the bio starts and ends with the band. Don’t kill the reader with detail – keep it focused.

 Find Your Narrative Style

If you’re not a naturally gifted writer, than discovering your “writer’s voice” is one of the most difficult tasks. But don’t panic! If you write with passion and personality, you are halfway there. If you get stuck, utilize press quotes or even quote yourself.  is a good example of this.

Alternatively ask your friends and family to provide descriptors, and get feedback from them on your writing style. If in doubt, keep it short and simple. Balance style with substance.

Create a Work In Progress

Make life easy for yourself and write a biography that is easy to update on a regular basis. Adopt a style and format that is timeless and easy to add additional information to as your career progresses. Keep your bio as concise as possible — make every word count. If you struggle fitting all relevant information into one page, create both a short and long version that can be used accordingly.

Now get cracking….it won’t write itself.

source: www.musicthinktank.com

Music News: Birdman Speaks On Drake and Common Beef.

Birdman stresses the fact that Cash Money isn’t about diss records, but says Drake has their support.

Since the feud between rappers Common and Drake began late last year members of Young Money/Cash Money have remained relatively quiet in regards to their opinions on the beef between the two artists. But during a recent interview on Los Angeles’ Power 106, Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman finally voiced his opinion on the feud.

“Drake the homie so we ride or die. Ain’t no second questions about that, but we never been a brand to make records and want to make money off of making records of other people that’s not what we about,” Birdman explained. “So to me however the young homie deal with it we behind him, we supporting him 100 percent with our life so that’s just what it is. Ain’t no other way. Drake the lil’ homie that’s blood, that’s family, and ain’t no siding with that. It’s Drake or nothing.”

Birdman went on to stress the fact that his label isn’t about diss records or the profit that comes with releasing those types of records.

“We don’t do all that. We never did that,” said Birdman. “Never was about making money off of music off of diss records. That’s not how we operate. We try to give the fans – I mean when you get caught up in that to me you forget what this about. And it’s about the people and that’s what we do. We do our music for the people. We never been a brand to diss and diss records and try to make money that’s not us. But Drake the homie and we support him fully and whatever he ‘bout we ‘bout. However that turns out that’s just what it is.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,498 other followers