The New York Daily News Covers GrindXDesign.

WOW! Super-ultra-special thanks to The New York Daily News, writer Anita Samuels, and photographer Jeff Bachner for covering the debut module of GrindXDesign, above.

It’s great, stupendous coverage. Admittedly, I’m slightly uncomfortable with Jeff’s crystalline photo, as I typically don’t view myself from the side, but love that he caught the stereo waveform on the computer monitor. Not complaining.

I’m amused that, for the 900th time, a white media organ covering me has utterly excised my title—and this blog’s—Media Assassin, from the text. But I’m thrilled Anita reproduced this quote, perfectly: “Hip-hop is made up of many moving parts, and if you’re not aware of all of those parts, those parts can fall off and roll over you and kill you.” Dag: That gal’s got an ear for a quote.

Of course, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious thanks to Gang Starr producer D.J. Premier and Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, the instructors for our first tutorial on producing and songwriting. Not only were they knowledgeable and frank, but they were hugely entertaining. The duo had never done a speaking engagement before, and there were so many moments I’d sit, looking at them, saying to myself, I can’t believe I’m getting this.

Tonight, 8 pm ET, technology strategist Lena West, right, outlines how the social media landscape has altered the music business for musicians, and how artists can, and should, respond. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud? All up for passionate discussion, and schooling for mastery.

Registration for GrindXDesign is $97. Participants get access to our audio archives; for example, our GXD Free preview with Steve Gordon, and everything that The New York Daily News heard and saw. Come on down: Join the movement we’re building.


Chris Lighty, 1968-2012

Rest in peace, sweet prince….


How To Get On The Cover of a Hip-Hop Magazine.

GrindXDesign is an 8-week series of meetings-by-phone. The calls feature industry pros, talking on subjects that are firmly in the field of their expertise.

So, for example, we could have gotten Vanessa L. Satten, right, editor-in-chief of XXL, and Kim Osorio, below, editor-in-chief of The Source, to talk about touring, and what makes a good live show. They’re certainly knowledgeable, and would have had strong opinions.

Instead, we got Chuck D and Questlove to do that, because, in addition to firm ideas about stagecraft, they also have experience with it, and a legacy of showmanship.

In like manner, for our tutorial on how to get your music covered by magazines, we didn’t seek D.J. Premier, who has. We sought Vanessa and Kim, who do. We did this, because we wanted to make sure that the information you get, as a GrindXDesign registrant, is right and exact. (I’ve written about hip-hop professionally for 25 years, and felt comfortable giving advice in the video clip, above. But I wanted a discussion on how decisions are made given by those who make them.)

D.J. Premier, and Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, right, will both be live, tonight, at 8 pm ET, for GrindXDesign’s first tutorial. I’ll be interviewing them about production and songwriting. Then, I’ll turn our callers aloose to ask these wizards questions on those subjects…and, really, anything else that the students want to ask them.

Note: This is also the first time that Premier and Young Guru have ever appeared together to speak. So, there is a more-than-average amount of historical shine on the event, too.

We’re doing GrindXDesign to help people learn more about the art and business of hip-hop; to show the kind of projects we believe hip-hop needs in order to change; and as the foundation for future projects that, by repeating the formula, do the same…and more. Please kindly support these efforts.

Registration for GrindXDesign is $97. Go to for more information and to get on board.


Does Twitter Work For Hip-Hop?

GrindXDesign starts tomorrow. Registration is $97. Go to for information.


How To Make The Mind Your Most Powerful Weapon.

During GrindXDesign, we’re addressing technical issues such as publicity, production, and promotion, with capable guests like the editors of The Source and XXL; D.J. Premier and Young Guru; D.J. Drama and Marcus Frasier, of

But we also wanted to focus on thinking, and how a positive mindset is critical for success in the hip-hop business.

That’s why we’re bringing in Arthur Wylie, author of Only the Crazy and Fearless Win BIG!: The Surprising Secrets to Success in Business and in Life. “Following the pack and doing what you are told may get you a job and even a promotion,” he says, “but it won’t lead to real success.”

That comes, says Wylie, by audacity, and thinking outside the box. “To win big,” he says, “you have to be fearless and, sometimes, even a little crazy.”

Arthur will be leading our Wednesday, October 3rd tutorial. Register for the entire eight-week series at for only $97. That’s less than you’ll spend for just 1/2 an hour of an even barely competent lawyer’s time, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

PLUS tonight, Monday, August 27, at 8 pm, join us for our GrindXDesign completely FREE preview!! Attorney Steve Gordon, right, author of The Future of the Music Business: How to Succeed with the New Digital Technologies, will be with us on the line and in the studio. But, first, “8 Success Secrets the Record Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know!” Go to for more info and to register.


D.J. Premier Calls GrindXDesign “A Tunnel” To A Better Hip-Hop Future. (Plus, Register For Monday’s FREE GrindXDesign Preview Event!!)

Norway’s 15 1/4-mile Lærdal Tunnel, the world’s longest.
Photo by ping

D.J. Premier, right, is undebatably one of hip-hop’s treasures, and, with, Jay-Z engineer, Young Guru, one of the expert guests on our lead GrindXDesign event, this coming Wednesday, August 29, at 8 pm. In this 90-second piece of audio, he talks about why GrindXDesign is not just another event for him.

P.S. If this audio peaks your interest, you’re definitely going to want to join us for the FREE GrindXDesign Preview, “8 Success Secrets The Record Industry Definitely Doesn’t Want You To Know,” Monday evening, 8 pm, August 27—two days before our launch event. Details at


Hip-Hop: The Producer’s Medium.

In this brief clip, I talk about what producer’s do, and applying their thinking to life.

GrindXDesign registration is $77 through August 22nd, $97 after that. Go to for information.


“Don’t Give Up Your Publishing!”

Music is a publishing business.

This may seem obvious, but, in a way, I think it’s not. That is, we often think about the field as music, and then publishing; as separate things.

But, of course, the act of putting music in fixed form is an act of publishing, and pretty much anything one does with music, subsequently involves publishing.

That’s why we think it’s critical for hip-hop artists not to give up their publishing, but to also think about publishing a different way. That’s a big part part of why we’re doing GrindXDesign.

Registration is $77 through August 22nd, $97 after that. Go to for information.


“How Do I Get A Record Deal?”
Rap Coalition’s Wendy Day On The Question She Gets Asked The Most By Hip-Hop Artists.

As Wendy Day gives recording contract facts, Cash Money Records
producer Mannie Fresh appears to regret every deal he ever signed.

This conversation is from last week’s Friday, August 10 edition of my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION. In it, music business activist Wendy Day, above, discusses the modern-day record deal with me, and talks about how artists should sensibly approach getting one—or not.

On October 17th, Wendy and attorney Dan Booth will be guests at GrindXDesign, the “teleclass”—that’s education and instruction by phone—I’m doing for eight Wednesdays, starting August 29th. (Our first guests: Gang Starr’s D.J. Premier and Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, discussing production and songwriting.)

Registration is $77 through August 22nd, $97 after that. Go to for information. Now, back to our scheduled programming….


How Not To Get A Record Deal.

I’m absolutely certain I could not have asked two better guests to lead the first module in our GrindXDesign eight-week tele-course.

The conversation takes place this coming Wednesday, August 15, 8 pm ET. It’s called, “How To Get A Record Deal,” and it’s led by Wendy Day, right, and Dan Booth, below.

Why do I think they’re the best choice? Have you ever looked at a modern recording contract?

Wendy has, and so has Dan, both many times. Apparently, what they’ve seen has so terrified them that they’ve decided to warn every human being who may, even accidentally, come across such a labyrinthine, all-encroaching, aggressively one-sided document.

Wendy does this through her activism, as the long-standing founder of the advocacy organization, Rap Coalition. Dan gets it in through his firm, Booth Sweet LLP. He describes himself as an attorney for “people in creative industries”—that probably means you—with a focus on copyright and trademark law.

Most of all, though,  Dan and Wendy both have a passion for right that, in this cynical age, probably strikes evil people as mad corny, but that to me is admirable and desirable. Also, I dig Wendy’s direct, no-nonsense e-book, How To Get A Record Deal: The Knowledge to Succeed, right, so much that I bit the title for GrindXDesign, and malformed it for this post.

(Plus, Wendy was a guest this past Friday, August 10, at 2 pm ET, on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION. If you missed the live show, here’s the link; go to the 32-minute mark if you don’t check out the whole thing. It’ll be in our archives for up to 90 days after the broadcast.)

How not to get a record deal? The best way not to get a record deal is to not take the GrindXDesign telecourse. And HURRY! The early bird price is an awesomely reasonable $77 for the whole eight weeks—less than 10 bucks a session—but it goes up to $97 on Sunday night! Don’t cry to any of us when the industry takes your money, B. When they do, it’s gonna be a lot more than a hundred bucks.