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.
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.
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 GrindXDesign.com for more information and to get on board.
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 DatPiff.com.
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 GrindXDesign.com 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 GXDFree.com for more info and to register.
That’s Chuck D of Public Enemy, right, giving a terse description of his career as a global artist.
In other words, he has steadfastly carried the flag “in the name of hip-hop,” as he often notes, to many places, just to firmly, lovingly plant it. That’s the best reason for having him co-lead the Wednesday, September 19th GrindXDesign.com tutorial on working as an international artist.
(When I asked Chuck to speak and take questions on this issue, he said “Yes,” immediately. Immediately. He doesn’t say yes, immediately, to anything, certainly not to me. So, in part, that’s when I knew I was on to something.)
That he’s been so many places, though, is not my only reason to host him. The other one is that he often took me with him, and he didn’t have to do it. Ghana. Australia. Hawai’i. France. Brazil. The aforementioned Germany, and many more places. (That, above, is a picture I took of Chuck, one morning, in Egypt, in front of the pyramids.) These, and others, were all sites I never thought I’d see, but did, doing so on behalf of the culture, and P.E., courtesy of Mr. Chuck. Thank you, sir.
Getting someone else to help Chuck carry the ball for GrindXDesign wasn’t a struggle, though. (I say his, despite the fact that far too many U.S. hip-hop artists give side-eye to touring overseas. It’s the food, they often say.) That’s because I reached out to the inimitable Questlove, of the Roots, and bandleader at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, right. (Before doing the TV show, his crew’s 200-shows-a-year churn was legendary, which is much of how they got so astounding as a live act.) In fact, when I DM’d him, Quest was, actually, on tour in Europe. Getting him booked required nimble mediation from his manager, Rich Nichols, to get it done, but it was.
Get on the horn and hear what these two giants have to say about this often overlooked aspect of being a modern musical artist. Purchase your ticket to the entire GrindXDesign series of 8 live, one-hour “modules,” presented one-per-week for eight weeks, by phone.
Tickets are $77 until midnight, tonight; $97 after that. (Save 20 bucks, spend it on more hip-hop.) Everything starts this Wednesday, August 15th, with Rap Coalition’s Wendy Day and Booth Sweet LLP’s Dan Booth. Subject: “How To Get A Record Deal.”
As you probably know from my writing, my broadcasting, and certainly from my long-standing relationship with Public Enemy, education and information has always been critical to me. I don’t think that education or information, themselves, liberate. However, I firmly believe that they are the basis of freedom.
That’s why I’m extremely excited to produce and host GrindXDesign, an eight-week tutorial that starts about a week from today, on Wednesday, August 15th. I trust that you will be a part of it.
I’ve been working with my team on this for a while. A large part of that time had to do with me just understanding the concept. Brilliantly executed by social media strategist Lena West, it consists of creating a technology format through which hip-hop industry leaders can connect with, and teach, groups of committed, driven individuals who need the information those luminaries share.
That is what I hope to create for artists, through knowledge. The business of music is an amazing, fearsome world. It has produced some of humanity’s most powerful art. But, for many, it has also functioned as a cesspool of exploitation, usually those who merely wanted to get on stage, as fast as possible, and sing, dance, or rap.
That has got to end. As my friend and mentor Chuck D has often noted, even the term music business is over 60% the word “business.” That is, it’s mostly business.
Hip-hop artists may suffer most from the lack of this information. If we’re going to save hip-hop, that, too, has to change. If hip-hop is going to be preserved as a cultural and social system—if such a thing is possible—people who are concerned about its survival are going to have to commit to performing strong acts.
That is the definition of leading by example. We need more of it in our culture, one built by many, many hands. I’ve put mine in, and, if God gives me life and strength, this is only the beginning.
I’ve officially opened registration at GrindXDesign.com. Grab your seat. Take no prisoners.