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You’re Charging for a Guest Verse? Really? Really?Posted by Jacques "Jooks" Morel on 01/27/11 | Filed under Features, How to Blow..., IFuxksWithThat
First off I’d like to say Happy New Year. I have been on a brief and unstated hiatus from my column writing due to a large pickup in the intensity of my life. I am back - but if you want to keep in contact with me hit me on Twitter (@JacquesMorels). Today’s topic is something that many of you may not truly understand. For some that do not know, I manage a Hip Hop artist. Since I am not trying to jeopardize my journalistic integrity - I will leave it at that. Feel free to hit me on Twitter to find out more about my (very dope) artist.
As I am in the process of working on his upcoming mixtape, him and I have been trying to figure out how to get his tape on the blogs. If you think about it, blogs do the work that A&R’s used to do. This is the best path to get him signed, exposure, and fans. One obvious idea is the generate relationships - however with the constant inundations of emails sometimes it is hard to even be noticed. It happens.
Another obvious idea is to get a notable feature which can almost guarantee a post on numerous blogs. This is a time tested idea which has worked for years and years. This involves reaching out to different publicists, managers, and artists in order to get this project done. Even the smallest of mixtapes take a tremendous amount of work which is not never truly seen or understood. Some of the artists that one may seek for a feature are nearly impossible to reach unless you are currently at that level already. However, some artists which see some success but are not HUGE can be reach and will allow maximum exposure on the blogs. Talking to the people around them is treading on tough waters - it could go one of two ways - positive and negative.
One direction would yield a feature for the artist you are working with - if they are charging for the verse (which for most blog artists is egregious to begin with) it is manageable and worth it. For a few hundred dollars you can get a quality 16 which could very well break your artist. However in this day and age I still believe that 95% of musical collaborations should be free - the old adage “you get what you pay for” does not always translate to these musical collaborations. An artist that bangs out a free verse for someone most of the time yields better results than a purchased one. These free verses are more often labors of love as compared to labors for the love of cash. If they are doing it for free they tend to put the same effort that they do into their own music - which no one is paying them for. Also it helps if the two artists come together (via Skype, Twitter, Facebook, etc) to make something great.
On the other hand it could go terribly wrong - this is where an inflated “ego” comes into existence. Some people seem to have the obnoxious idea that if their music is posted on DJBooth.net, Nah Right and 2DopeBoyz that they have made it - thus allowing them to ask for an equally obnoxious and inflated price for a 16 which will garner nothing but exposure on various Internet blogs. If this was 2001 and a notable feature guaranteed radio play, it’d be a different story.
Instead of trying to make a nice product and a living at the same time, some feel the need (or maybe they are really that strapped for the cash) to hit people on the head. It is insane to me how quickly one forgets that they were practically a media obscurity prior to their postings on some of Hip Hop’s top blogs.
I do understand that at the end of the day this is some-one's livelihood. However, when some artists - who have never sold a record - decide to charge the same prices as artist have done the latter...there is an issue. This rant is not unfounded - I have been in this blog industry for three years. I am all for supporting your living, but I am for making great music before that. When you try to put the money over the music, it does not matter if you haven’t done a song with Soulja Boy yet. You’ve already sold out. If you forget where you came from then you will lose sight of where you’re going.
(Jacques Morel is the creator of IFuxksWithThat.com. A journalist, interviewer, and personality he is a College Senior, he attends St Johns University in Queens.)