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Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm a Diva

When 50 cent was first discovered it was by RUN DMC Dj: Jam Master Jay. JMJ helped 50 get his first record deal. The Advance Money given to 50 at that time was $60,000. JMJ took $40,000 as a finders fee, lawyers took $15,000, leaving 50 with $5,000.

Papoose was discovered by DJ Kay Slay... They released a new mixtape every month... eventually off the buzz, Papoose was signed with an advance of 1.5 million, DJ Kay Slay took his cut. Paps later terminated his relationship with the record company. I'm sure that finders fee that Kay got wasn't refunded.

Moral: There's no favours in the industry, only business deals.

last year I was approached by an entrepreneur to be part of a event happening this month. She was excited and enthusiastic and shared a few events she wanted me to perform at. This was right after a performance and I pretty much said yes to anything she offered (Rule: learn to say no). My performance rule is pretty simple: Charities and non-profits, I'm there at no cost. But if your planning to profit off the event, you have to share a piece of the pie. That doesn't necessarily mean cash, but coverage of expenses, and access to the events (Believe it or not, I know artists invited to events to show their work/perform and are still asked to buy a ticket). With this entrepreneur, at the request that I have someone be with me during my attendance at the event I was advertised to be at (which my manager requested clarification on weeks in advance with NO reply), her eventual (and delayed) position was that I wasn't a make or break of the event and it wasn't going to happen (she stands to make 4 digits off this event).. Fair enough, they always say not to burn bridges, I was too busy lighting my match to hear that.

When i released my very first video on youtube, and wasn't even calling myself Humble The Poet yet, I was approached by some well known UK producers to work on a project, they also sold it to me as an opportunity of exposure, and that they were doing ME this favour. I did the track as they requested , at my own expense( back when I didn't have my own studio setup). not only was I not chosen for the track, (I learned they pitched the same sales pitch to quite a few artists), I wasn't even told.. I had to chase them down to get a "Oh yea, sorry we'll be going with someone else"

Moral of these stories, Exploitation is rampant, Believe in yourself more than anyone can believe in you, that way no one else can take advantage of you.

When Jay Z was first starting out, he went into a meeting with a record label, the label rep told Jay to show him what he's got. Jay's reply "This isn't a free show" and he walked out of that meeting and started his own record label: Roca Fella Records.

Some say he arrogant. Can y'all blame him?
It was straight embarrassing how y'all played him
Last year shoppin my demo, I was tryin' to shine
Every motherfucker told me that I couldn't rhyme
Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem
Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams
I use it as my gas, so they say that I'm gassed
But without it I'd be last, so I ought to laugh
So I don't listen to the suits behind the desk no more
You niggaz wear suits 'cause you can't dress no more
You can't say shit to Kanye West no more

-Kanye West - Last Call

I'm learning a lot about being a Diva in entertainment. Immortal Technique told the organizers of a recent DC show to 'Fuck Off' if they didn't have the specific sound setup he wanted. Being 'Humble' the Poet, making demands of a $3000 sound system doesn't really fit the bill, but when you perform on a shitty sound system, the audience doesn't blame the Sound Boy, the attribute it to your talent. Take care of yourself, because other folks won't be looking out for your best interests. The ego can be your best friend in some of these scenarios, and in others it can also be your worst enemy.

I heard about this producer KenLo from Sikh Knowledge, who passed me his CD. I found a track I liked and put out a freestyle. KenLo contacted me after with praise for the track, and now we're working on a little project together. No promises of fame and stardom, no exploitation, just two folks making some magic. I couldn't even tell you when that's coming out. Here's how it all started though.

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