Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Who are the Internet Psychos?

  I have seen a growing and stupiud trend in the underground, mostly Juggalo, fan base lately.  That is to post surveys like "If you were on a psycho killing spree what song would you be playing?" or "Do you prefer knife, hatchet, or gun?"  Here is my take on any and every single person who posts or answers these surveys, if confronted with the possibility of actually killing someone a vast majority (98+ %) would not have the guts to do it.  I am sick and tired of these people thinking you have to act or claim to be a psycho killer because you listen to our music!  If you listen to the music and dig it, that is great.  But if you honestly think any of the lyrics that ICP, Twiztid, etc have in a song is actually anything they have ever done you are a complete moron!  Their music is entertainment.  Nothing more and nothing less.

 For me the music is a way to release certain emotions that I have no other outlet for.  It helps me battle anger and depression.  It has helped me through so much and these kinds of displays do nothing but devalue the music and what it helps people through.  It also helps the outside world to say "See they are all degenerates."  That is why when we have shows and Gatherings the cops are always there and in some cases shut it down.  In life peoples first impression can make or break what they think of an entire group of people.  Why would we as a fringe group want to further push that negative image?

  ICP and Psychopathic have done a lot recently to help change that perception.  With toy drives and other charity events they are showing us what we need to do to help fix the FBI and gang label problem.  Why is it that they get mocked and made fun of for doing it?  People say they are getting soft or bitching out, I disagree.  They couldn't be any better an example for the fans to follow.  There is nothing wrong with being a socially responsible person in society.  People will never look at our fan base any differently unless we give them something different to look at. 

  Don't get me wrong there are a ton of groups in local communities that are doing good work and trying to make positive changes.  But if you go on Facebook and browse through Juggalo groups you will find a large population of these "Internet Psychos" and that is what some people see first.  I personally try very hard to change peoples ideas when I am in public.  I don't flip off cops and yell fuck the police.  I wear the hatchet proud while acting like a productive citizen.  You know how many times I have been harassed or arrested for wearing the clothes or chain?  Not once.  The cops have so many other things to be concerned with that what someone is wearing or listening to on their iPod makes no difference.  If you do the things I said then you more than likely will get hassled.  If you draw attention to yourself no matter what you have on you will be harassed, period.

  When it comes down to it the fact is we are the ones making us look bad.  We are the ones continuing to make people think negative of us.  We are the ones who can ultimately change these things.  As a united group we need to do the right things, act like productive citizens, and try our best to improve our communities.  Until we do those things all anyone will see is a bunch of "Internet Psychos."


MMFWFL,

Juggalotus

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Year in Review

  This was a very productive and busy year in music for me personally.  With Faygoluvers I was able to do 23 album reviews, that is a little less than 1 every 2 weeks!  I was hoping for 2 a month so I missed that a little but I was so close.  I also did Interviews with Gangsta Boo, Madchild, Adlib, Ganxsta NIP, Slaine, Zug Izland, Cryptic Wisdom, Mr Grey, Raz Simone, DJ Clay, Prevail, and Sozay.  That is an average of 1 every month!  Once again I could not have done any of that without Scottie D hooking it all up on Faygoluvers.net.

  I also hosted another concert this year.  It was Mr Grey and his "Warpath to the Gathering of the Juggalos" tour.  It was a super small venue but the show was dope and all the artists threw down!  I attended a ton of concerts and wrote reviews for Faygoluvers and I once again owe all that to Scottie D, James Wright, and a few others for the hookups on that.

  In 2014 we saw Twiztid create Majik Ninja Entertainment and announce their first artists signed as Blaze and ROC.  They have also announced they will be releasing an album called The Darkness on Jan 27, 2015.  When their tour came through Tucson I had a chance to lead their street team and actually meet them for the first time since I was in the Homies video way back in the day.  This year the label released it's first album Blaze Ya Dead Homie "Gang Rags: Reborn".  In 2015 we have been told Twiztid will release "The Darkness" and "The moment You've All Been Waiting For" and re-releasing "W.I.C.K.E.D" and "Abominationz", R.O.C. "Digital Voodoo", and Blaze's next untitled album.  I can safely say I am super excited to see what is coming next from the dynamic duo and MNE.

  2014 saw Psychopathic Records release some bombs.  They released AMB "The Garcia Brothers", Boondox "Abaddon", ABK "The Perfection Collection", Dark Lotus "The Mud, Water, Air, and Blood", Killjoy Club "Reindeer Games", ICP "20th Anniversary Hallowicked" "The First Six" box set, and "House of Wax".  This was a much better year for Psychopathic than 2013 without a doubt.  We also saw the Gathering moved to a new location.  From all accounts it was a nice change and went off without a hitch.  Coming up for them in 2015 we have been told albums from DJ Clay, DJ Paul, ABK, AMB, ICP, Otis, Big Hoodoo, Boondox, The Hav Nots, Vanilla Ice, Zug Izland, Legz & the purple gang, Rydas, and more are coming.  But that is purely speculation.

  2014 was a big year for Strange Music as well.  They released Tech N9ne "Strtangeulation", Mayday and Murs "Mursday", Ces Cru "Codename: Ego Stripper", and Rittz "Next to Nothing".  They went on a massive nationwide tour.  Not much has been announced for 2015 yet except Tech N9ne "Special Effects" and K.A.B.O.S.H. "Amafrican Psycho".

All in all 2014 was a really good year for Underground Horrorcore and it's fans. 

As I look forward into 2015 I would like to accomplish the following things with Faygoluvers:

1. Write and post at least 4 album reviews a month (1 major label & 1 independent artist every 2 weeks)

2. Continue interviewing artists and try to broaden our reach into other genres our fans are interested in (Metal, Rock, and Hip hop)

3. Make it to Dallas and ride to the Gathering with the Faygoluvers crew.  Then make the Gathering as accessable to our fans as we can!

Personally I would love to do these things in music:

1. Host 2 concerts in Tucson.

2. Finish recording and release JV's album.

3. Work with artists I have worked with in the past to get production credits to add to my resume!

 I have a feeling 2015 will be a dynamic and highly evolving thing this year.  Faygoluvers is just starting and I project we will continue to dominate the internet coverage of all thing Underground.  I also hope Juggalos can truely embrace what I know as "Family" and stop the division in the fan base.  We are all in this together, artists and fans alike, and we need to have each others backs cause noone else will!

MMFWFL Family,

Juggalotus

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Juggalo Family? Pt 2

I wrote a blog a while back titled "Juggalo Family?" in that post I discussed the "New school" vs the "Old School" and how we are all family regardless of when we found the music and family.  I said "Family is Family, period.  No matter how "down" someone is or isn't if they support the movement they are family in my book."  I have been a huge advocate for unity and having each others backs no matter what.  Recently some events have happened which make me question this attitude.

Earlier this year Twiztid began forming street teams to help promote their music, shows, etc.  I was selected to be the lead for Tucson.  The people over at Desert Juggalos had Phoenix on lock.  I assembled a solid team and waited for the promo to be delivered from the promoter here.  When it arrived I received around 50 black and white flyers and 50 small hand flyers.  That was it.  I got with each member of my team and we began pushing what promo we had into the community.  When the Twiztid concert came through we were given VIP access and some swag for our hard work.  The day of the show we showed up on time and ran into the lead for Phoenix and his girl.  They told me they didn't think there was a lead or team in Tucson because they hadn't found the page on Facebook so they asked Aaron if they could come to Tucson and get on the VIP list for both the Tucson and Phoenix shows.  Since my team was already on the list they were denied and had to drive home without even getting into the show.  While they were here we discussed supporting each others teams and cross promoting to make both cities stronger.  About a month later I received an email from the street team lead at Majik Ninja saying they were going with a different lead for Tucson.  I started looking around out of curiosity to find out why they made that decision.  My gut said the Phoenix team had something to do with it but I could not confirm.

I wrote to the team lead and asked who the new lead was and gave him my info so I could still support Twiztid and help out any way I could.  I got no response from this.  I am still a part of the street team leads group on Facebook and came across a post today from that Phoenix lead suggesting a friend of his for the lead position.  He ended the post by saying "Since the Tucson show was a bust last time" as his justification.  The show here was sold out and packed and all of our promo had been put out.  I private messaged him and said "I think my team did awesome and the show was packed.  Not sure why you say it was a bust."  He did not respond but immediately went to the page and deleted his post.

So these series of events have opened my eyes to the fact that my kindness has been taken advantage of.  It isn't the first time but I held hope the times before were isolated instances.  I now believe that is not the case.  Because Twiztid is giving away cool swag and freebies to their leads (Which I think is awesome and well deserved) you now have people looking out for themselves and their click and screwing others over to make it happen.  As a street team there should be solidarity and unity but this case proves that is no longer the case.  It is a sad day for me that I am losing what little faith I had in the fans.  I still want to hold out hope we all are united and stand against the world of haters but I am finding more and more haters and self centered people than the Family I once knew.

We may all come from different backgrounds but we all united together.  That is what drew me to the fan base and genre.  The feeling of belonging no matter what town you were in.  A sense of community that no other fans had.  Bad concert experiences, bad interactions, and shady dealings has stripped me of that feeling.  There are still Los and Lettes I have respect for that believe in these things.  I still have nothing but love for Juggalos and will always give my non bias opinion in my Faygoluvers reviews and interviews.  I have love for people like Scottie D, RAM in Roswell, Legion in Tucson, Docta Mann, Madchild, Twiztid, and Blaze.  These guys are great examples of what we stand for.  So I have to ask are we still Juggalo Family?  Or has it all been a dream?

MMFWFL,

Juggalotus

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Marketing

In music, as with any business, one of the most important aspects to be successful is being able to effectively market yourself.  Making yourself appealing to potential investors (Record Labels and Executives) is vital to not only getting signed to a label but staying signed to a label.  Marketing includes everything from your public image to who your friends are.  In most local rap/hip hop scenes you can find the cliques.  The groups of friends who are local heroes but will never make it out of their local area.  The main reasons for this can be seen all over their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all other social media.  Here are three examples I have personally witnessed in my local area that will and have limited artists from being marketable:

1. Blatant and over usage of drugs and alcohol.  Now anyone who doesn't realize most rappers have or do currently smoke weed, dab wax, or drink while partying is obviously blind.  In this case multiple times a day you will see them post their wax, drug paraphernalia, or them doing the drugs.  This is a sure fire way to turn investors off.  They do not want to inherit a "Problem Child" or someone who is addicted to these things so much it limits their productivity and availability.  If you need to be high or drunk at all times during the day while not on the road you will definitely over do it while on tour and cost the company money.  That is why groups like the Kottonmouth Kings and others have limited their reach.  Are they successful?  Hell yes but they came in at a different time where there was no social media.  Today your life is on peoples screens 24/7.  At any given minute people can log in and find out what you are doing, who you are with, and what you had to eat for dinner.  Social media allows fans and investors alike to see you scrapping for every dollar while still posting all your drug and alcohol pics.  If these artists invested that money back into their music and image they could be a lock for a contract.

2. Your friends.  In social media everyone knows who you hang with, get drunk and high with, and what you are doing at all times.  If you are hanging out with bums who can't hold job, act like thugs or gangsters, or post anti-establishment propaganda you will most likely not get any interest, no matter how good you are.  Your friends and associated are a direct extension of who you are.  In some cases give the best possible look into your personality and habits.  The days of Gangster rap are long gone so having a ton of pics or tags with you and your friends flashing gang signs is probably not the best idea.  Posting anti-cop posts is also not going to help you.  No label wants the authorities eye because of an artist who yells Fuck the Police every other post or tweet.  Another way this hurts you is that you may be in a group of 5-10 guys and no label is willing to sign all of you.  In most cases there is one or two guys in that group worthy and the rest become D-12.

3. Associates or political causes.  Not since Public Enemy came out with Fight the Power has there been a really successful political rapper.  Sure there are big names that have taken up causes like legalizing weed, helping foreign nations, or brought awareness to political candidates.  Most of the time these people are anti-establishment and it is ok because they have made it and are already huge stars.  There are very limited people who are unknown and new to the business that are successful when trying these things.  With popularity and money you can afford to tarnish your image a little and still be successful.  If you are struggling to make it this is a sure way to make them pass and move onto someone else.

There is way too much competition in this business to fall victim to any of these things.  All three of these are easily avoidable.  Now before anyone hits my comment section with "Yo I am from the street, this is who I am.  Fuck them if they don't want it." remember that your image is important. 

If you pay attention in your local area you too will see these artist and realize I am 100% right in this case.  I understand there are exceptions to these rules but for a majority of artists these will hold true.  The ones who make it are called out as being fake or selling out.  When in reality they did things the right way and made the right first impression.

MMFWFL,

Juggalotus

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Investing in yourself

I am back!  And within a few weeks, I know unbelievable right?  The past few weeks one theme has been brought to my attention on quite a few occasions.  That theme is artists who are unwilling to invest in themselves.  The ones I am speaking of are never willing to pay for quality studio time, quality album production, quality mixing and mastering, or any other quality products necessary to be successful.  To me there are only a few things any artist should invest in and they can achieve success far beyond what they are doing right now.

1. Invest in quality beats!  If you are rapping over tagged beats or beats that everyone else is rapping on you will not stand out.  Take time to research unique quality beats from all over the world.  The internet has allowed millions of beat makers world wide to be at your fingertips.  So what do you do when you find the perfect beat?  Some say rip it, remove the tags illegally and call it yours.  I say invest money in the beat!  Not only does it help the guy making the beat out it will open future doors for discounts, custom beats, and more.  Now you can buy exclusive rights (Which let you have the beat and no one else can use it) or lease it for a limited number of copies you can sell (But others can still buy the beat and use it).  Of course the first option is more expensive but it allows you to have sole possession of the beat.

2. Invest in a good quality studio to record the album.  Yes every rapper has a "studio" tucked away in his closet where them and all their friends make "hot tracks" but I promise you that will not get you any further than your local (Your city) market.  Do I think you need to pay for a studio at $200/hour?  No way!  But there are plenty of studios in every single city that can provide top quality recording, in most cases mixing and mastering, for between $40 & $70/hour.  By investing money in this process you will create a better product that could catch the attention of people outside of your local market.

3. Invest in quality CD Production.  If you hand me a CD to check out and it is a recordable cd with your name written on it in sharpie I am more than likely going to find the nearest trash can and scrap it.  Take pride in what you are doing and find reputable CD  replication company (Copy Cats Media as an example) to produce your vision.  In most cases these companies will have an online template that you can add pictures to as well as designing the entire album cover inside and out.  By doing this you give a professional appearance and can sell these for a few more dollars a piece.  Most of the time the larger the order the better the discount.

4. Invest in high profit merchandise.  Most artists who have made it in the business have T-Shirts, Sweat Shirts, Hats, Bandanas, and anything else they can mass produce to sell.  These items unfortunately have a very low profit margin unless you buy hundreds at a time.  For a newcomer in the business look for high profit items such as shot glasses (you can get these for .40/glass and sell them for $3-5), Di-Cut Vinyl stickers, and your album.  All of these things are low cost high profit.  Once you get the bigger return on those items you should invest in things like bandanas or t-shirts.  Research and time invested with pay dividends here.

5. Invest in going on tour.  Sounds expensive but you can find regional tours and even some national tours that if negotiated properly can be a low cost high return investment.  You should not dedicate yourself to doing 200 shows a year in your city or even local cities.  If you are going to invest the time and effort to promote those kinds of shows you should just research and reach out to national tours and commit yourself to exposing a huge fan base to your music instead of performing to the same 50 people show after show.

By investing in these five simple things you will find that success you are looking for.  If you do not want to take the risk and invest in yourself I can promise you nobody else will invest their time and money in you either.

MMFWFL,

Juggalotus

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My 20 min with interview series

For those of you who might not know, I do an interview series for Faygoluvers.net called 20 Min with.....  In this series I interview various artists for about 20 min.  Now the difference in my interviews is that I take a lot of pride in asking questions that other interviewers may not.  For instance I interviewed Potluck a while ago.  At one point I began asking about their song "My Dad" and in the interview I ask 1 Ton about his father who just passed and how much of an influence their fathers were on their career.  The question seemed to catch them off guard a little bit.  But that is what I do.  I actually research my interview subject and try my best not to ask the same thing they get asked all the time.

I also review albums on the website.  All of my reviews are 100% honesty as far as my opinion.  Now I have had artists ask me to remove my review once it was posted because they were not happy with my thoughts.  I will never remove a review once it is posted.  I also will never give a glowing review if the album does not deserve it.  I take pride in giving constructive criticism.  I also take pride in being genuine.  I don't get paid to do reviews or interviews.  I do it because I love music and the genre of Horror Core.  I would be lying if I said I didn't hope at some point in the future I could get paid for those things but for now it isn't happening.

If you want to check out my interview series head over to https://www.youtube.com/user/FaygoluversHeaven/videos and check out my latest and greatest with Mr. Grey, Sozay, Ganxsta NIP, Zug Izland, Cryptic Wisdom, Slaine, and many more.

To read my album reviews head over to http://www.faygoluvers.net/v5/category/reviews/albumreviews/ and look for reviews posted by Juggalotus0069.

I hope to keep this blog more current as I have been hella busy and slacking.  If you dig my blog here and want to help spread the word I would seriously appreciate it!  Please leave me some comments and let me know you checked it out and where you are from.  I am really interested in where my readers are at!

MMFWFL,

Juggalotus

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Successful artist or weekend hobbyist?

This blog is going to give the secret to making it in the music business, hell any business for that matter. 

The secret is this, surround yourself with people whose primary goal and focus is helping you get ahead.  Not pushing their own agendas, projects, or ideas.  Artists should hire a good manager who will do everything in their power to help the artist make money (if the artist makes money so does the manager!).  The manager of course will have a contract that has percentages of the profits on shows, merchandise, and appearances that go to them for their time and effort in promoting, finding shows, setting up merchandise deals, etc.  Most contracts have options to cancel if you are not satisfied with their services, if they don't be wary.  Your manager will have a majority of control of the business side of  your career, this is what you want.  If they are a good manager they will handle all business affairs, while including you in the decisions, with your best interest in mind.  They will help you hone your craft and produce the best possible product to market you effectively.  I can tell you from experience there in no artist in the world who can handle both the business and creative side of things.  It is way too much for one person or two people to do.  At the same time a manager should help you with the quality of sound and production they should not take over what you write, how you write it, or any part of that process. 

Over the past 6 months I have watched as people close to me surrounded themselves with "friends" that were helping them in the music business.  These so called friends may have had the best intentions when they started out but as I have watched I see these people doing everything except helping the artist get ahead.  In most cases the "friends" are riding the artists coat tails to fame and notoriety while doing nothing to help that artist get ahead. 

In a few cases their lifelong friends have managed to drain the artist of their money while doing nothing to help them get money back.  They do this by stretching the artist in too many directions, get them involved in things that are not relevant to their careers, or have them running and doing shows that are not benefiting the artist. 

Some of these so called friends are what I call part timers or hobbyist in the business.  They will put in minimal effort, finances, and time to the project they are working on with the artist.  By doing this they force the artist to pay for a majority of the albums, shows, or merchandise out of their pockets while barely doing enough to "make it work."  I have said many time that there a only a few traits an artist must have to be successful.  Those traits are:

-Commitment
-Willingness to invest in themselves
-Natural talent
-Willingness to learn and adapt

That is the most simplified list.

The last thing these "friends" do is drag you into their drama filled lives.  They will fail to pay rent and get you kicked out of houses or apartments.  They will make it a point to make drinking, drugs, and living the "rock star life" the number one priority.  They will allow their personal trials and tribulations to ge tin the way of doing what is best for the artist.

It was said to me not too long ago that the music business was just like any other business.  The example I was given was an author and editor.  Authors are wary of trusting editors to edit their work.  They are worried the editor is more concerned with making money off of the author.  When in reality a qualified and great editor will do everything in their power to make that author successful.  By doing this the editor will make more money over the long term.  This same principal applies to musicians, athletes, or anyone else who must market themselves to make it.

Please don't think I am naive to the fact there are shitty managers out there who do take advantage of artists.  I understand that any business can be abused.  I would ask all of you artists this simple question, what are the people around you doing to help you?  If you cannot think of a long list of things they are doing to pitch in and promote you as an artist, maybe it is time to change your circle.  I know a lot of you have life long friends that you wouldn't want to cut ties with.  But if those people are weighing you down and hurting your career why would you want them around?  Your manager should be your friend and closest confidant.  They should be the one you talk with about where you want your future to go knowing they will work their ass off to help you get there.

If you have 10 different projects going on with close friends how do you have time to complete your solo work?  How are you finding the money to support all of those projects?  How many of those projects are you in with part timers? 

If you are the only person putting 100% effort into your career and projects while others are just along for the ride it should not matter how long you have been down.  This is a business first and foremost.  If that isn't your focus then you need to reconsider what you are doing.

Do you want to be a successful artist or a weekend hobbyist?