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?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Underground to the mainstream

  There has been a transformation in the underground that many "fans" have shown immense hate for.  There seems to be this belief that once an artists gets underground fame they should never be allowed to do anything remotely similar or involved in the mainstream.  For instance, once Twiztid left Psychopathic and released New Nightmare they were skewered for working with "mainstream" artists such as Caskey.  The truth is I praise them for doing whatever they want and working with who ever they want.  Another example is Tech N9ne and Strange music.  In the Faygoluvers forum recently someone said "Strange music isn't an underground label anymore. All of the artists are mainstream except maybe."  Another person commented that Tech had "sold out" because he is finally getting recognition in the popular arena.  In the same breath those people praise ICP for their work on Fuse TV for finally "getting their dues."  This is the double standard I was speaking of.  Why is it that the number one group in the underground, the originators of the underground wicked shit are given a pass when others are not? 

  I personally feel that any artists that represent us, the Juggalos, should be praised for getting us recognized.  The fans should continue to support these artists even if we might not like the artists they collaborate with.  Each and every artist that comes from the depths and breaks through in pop culture brings us closer to being accepted and better understood.  Tech N9ne didn't sell out, he MADE IT!  Twiztid is not selling out, they are making music they want to make.  There is absolutely no reason for anyone to hate these guys for making these decisions.  I think a lot of the hate has to do with jealousy.  People don't like that these guys are making money doing the things they love.

I was working with a group for a while out of Amarillo.  From a business perspective I was trying to do what was best for the longevity of the group in the business world.  Shortly after we had a small dispute and parted ways they posted "We don't kiss ass to be accepted period. *********** will stay running local shows before we sell out just because its doing "good buisness" fuck you if you don't like it"  When they mention kissing ass it was in reference to my trying to keep a business relationship with a printer who supplied stickers, backdrops, and other printed items to us at a great discount because of my friendship with him.  Unfortunately this is the attitude that leads to people never getting ahead, never making it, and never, ever getting out of their cities.  Guys like this are proud to be local opener heroes for guys in the business that are making moves and getting ahead.  This group, while very talented lacked the most important traits: Commitment, ability to control their emotions, and common sense.  The biggest problem with guys like this is that they are the biggest haters towards people making moves.  I promise you that guys like this will not get anywhere in this business.  

  So I guess I can sum up this article by saying as Juggalos we should back these artists even if they are working with people we may not like.  We should support these artists until they begin to make music we don't like.  It shouldn't matter if someone is on MTV or BET regularly.  Hell ICP was on MTV back in the day!  We all need to remember, even if you are an underground artist, that if you were offered a good chunk of money to be on Strange, Subnoize, or any other bigger named label you would be an idiot not to take it and run with it!  If you are not in this business to make money, you shouldn't be in this business.  As it is a majority of these artists in the underground will never make it.  Not because they are being shunned, held back, or kissing enough ass but simply because they don't have the talent, connections, or drive to make it.  For most of these guys they do music as a hobby nothing more.  They work from a studio in their basements, garages, or closets to save money.  In order to be successful in this business you need to invest in it.  That means investing time, money, and energy into everything you do.  Find the best studio you can afford, get your tracks mastered by professionals, and don't try to sell cd-dvr's with sharpie as "the hottest thing on the market"  When I get those I rarely listen to them.  A first impression can only be made once.  

I got nothing but love for every single artists struggling to make it in the business.  I got nothing but love for my Juggalo Family.  Let's stop hating on los and lettes for making it.  Let's celebrate their success.  Hate and jealousy will eat you alive and make you do and say things that will hurt you in the long run.

MMFWFL,

Juggalotus

Friday, March 7, 2014

Juggalo Family?


So this is my first post of 2014.  The reason behind this is simple, I have been busy working music reviews over at Faygoluvers!  I have tried to post at least one per week and for the most part have done well with it.  Now lets get to the crux of this post and why now is the time for it to get posted, Juggalo family.

For those who don't know I was introduced to ICP back in 1997 shortly after Milenko was pulled from the shelves.  I knew from the first track I heard that I was a Juggalo.  It wasnt something I learned, became, took a test for, or any of that.  When I heard the songs I knew I had been a Juggalo all along.  I felt a sense of belonging.  I found a group of people just like me.  We don't fit in with other people.  We are outcasts.  We don't apologize for who we are.  When I would go to shows I would feel like I was home.  Everyone treated everyone else with respect.  Regardless of our social class or background, if you had any merch on, or anything.  We didn't need a list of rules.  We didn't call ourselves gang bangers.  We didn't cause havoc, tag shit, or destroy property.  We managed to go to shows and have a blast without cops harassing us.  We could hold a Gathering every year without worry of people dying, FBI showing up, or someone getting robbed.  Well things have changed greatly in the past 17 years.

I am a member of quite a few groups on Facebook that contain "old school" and "Kid" Juggalos.  More and more I am seeing a division in our group.  Things are popping up like the 13 Juggalo Commandments, Juggalo code, etc.  A lot of people think unless you know these by heart and follow them religiously you are not a Juggalo and thus not Family.  This is complete crap.  There is also a group of people that believe we are in a gang because of songs like Gang Related and groups like Psychopathic Rydas.  These people also miss the point.  The music we listen to is ENTERTAINMENT!  Nothing more, nothing less.  The Psychopathic Rydas are a group that rips off other rappers beats and puts their own lyrics on them.  Once again, entertainment. 

For the longest time I was not willing to call out these new school family.  I was hoping they would fade away when the novelty of being a "Juggalo" wore off.  Unfortunately that is not happening.  There are people out there that think old school los and lettes have a mandatory requirement to train the new school on how to be a Juggalo.  This also is crap.  No one ever told me how to be a Juggalo.  I never had to learn rules and follow trends.  When I heard the music I knew I had been a Juggalo all along.  For anyone who has called someone a Juggahoe for not knowing all the lyrics to every song, not wearing all the merch, or not paining up for the shows let me clarify something.  You are the one who is wrong.  Being a Juggalo isn't about all of that.  It is about knowing no matter where you go there will be people looking out for you.  When you go to a show you don't have to worry about being robbed, beaten, or killed.  We have a sense of right and wrong and we always look out for each other. 

Family is Family, period.  No matter how "down" someone is or isn't if they support the movement they are family in my book. 

We need to stop the in fighting.  The world hates us enough without us making it worse.  When we go to the Gathering we should not destroy everything we touch.  We should take care of the site, each other, and the towns that welcome us (Because they are getting fewer every year).  We saw this years Gathering have to be moved after it was announced because the community didn't want "Gang members" in their town.  The same town that welcomes Hells Angels every year didn't want Juggalos.  Let that sink in.  The Hells Angels.  A murderous biker gang.  Notorious for murder, rape, and many other things is more welcome than us.  Why is that?  Simple, they respect other people and try to make positive changes in communities that welcome them in.  Why can't we be the same way?  One reason, the new school has embraced the gang tag, cause problems, and make no effort to improve anything. 

Instead of us against the world and us against us we should embrace positivity.  Make positive changes.  Make an effort to change our community and help them understand we are just fans of a certain type of music.  Nothing more.  We need to stop destroying shit.  Stop saying Fuck the police every time you see a cop roll by.  Stop trying to make a statement.  Once we embrace the positive we will see positive in return.  In the most recent interview on Faygoluvers with ICP Joe Bruce said "When Twiztid left that was the end of the family era."  I couldn't agree more. 

I do expect a ton of hate for this post and I welcome any discussion you want to throw at me.  I love the Juggalo Family.  I want my kids and grand kids to bump the wicked shit if they choose.  I want to see Gatherings happening when I am an old man.  I do think without change we will become a dying breed.

MMFWFL,

Juggalotus

Friday, December 27, 2013

End of the Year blog time

Yes we have reached the end of 2013!  With this being my last post of the year I wanted to take a minute to look back and reflect on the changes we have seen in music and then look to the future and give some predictions of what we might see in 2014.  So without further ado here we go:

In 2013 we saw turmoil and upheaval in the Underground music scene.  It has been one year since Twiztid left Psychopathic.  In that time we saw them release A New Nightmare, return to the Gathering as Guest performers, go on two tours in support of their last release on Psychopathic, Abominationz, and open a new web store.  While they have yet to release an official statement about their release the speculation behind A New Nightmare is that it tells their side without a statement being needed. 
  We also saw what many of us hope is not the future of Psychopathic Records.  In the past year the label has released the following albums: Legz Diamond 9 Pistolas, DJ Clay A World Upside Down, Big Hoodoo Crystal Skull, and Zug Izland Toxicology.  Those albums all fell way short of the expectations Juggalos had.  Legz and Hoodoo were both heavily co-written and influenced by Joe Bruce and that really hurt the albums.  Clay's album was good but nothing really outstanding.  And Zug's was not really promoted and I have yet to actually hear it.  We also saw them bounce every check they wrote for the Gathering and have yet to this day not paid those people.  I firmly believe that is why the Gathering is being moved, but I don't have any evidence of that so for now it is a theory.  We saw them let Blaze leave when his contract ended, send people on the road with limited funds and little to no promotion, and have lawsuits filed against them for sexual harassment and other charges.
  We saw the Kottonmouth Kings leave Suburban Noize Records and claim Kevin Zinger was ripping them off.  Since then we have seen hateful accusations in interviews on both sides.  We also watched Johnny Richter walk away from the Kottonmouth Kings after 18 years and go solo.  He released a solo EP called FreeKING Out on Suburban Noize Records and is preparing to release his next solo LP next year.
  The highlight of the Underground music scene this year was Strange Music.  In 2013 the label released ten albums.  Releases from Brotha Lynch Hung, Kutt Calhoun, CES Cru, Rittz, Wrekonize, Mayday, Tech N9ne, Stevie Stone, Krizz Kaliko, and Prozak.  All of those albums were expertly done and will not disappoint both mainstream and underground fans.  This label has shown themselves to be the cream of the crop.  They put out top notch music throughout the year and kept the fans eager to buy the next.  This is how it should be done.

Now lets leave the past behind us and look to the future.  I am going to break this section down per record label or group and then give you my thoughts on what I expect to happen.

  First lets look at Psychopathic Records.  The release of the Joker's Cards Box Set has been delayed from it's Dec 17, 2013 release date and there is no new date given.  The speculation is this was done due to immediate backlash when pics surfaced of the product itself.  We expect Anybody Killa "Shape Shifter", a new ICP EP, Mike E Clark, Vanilla Ice, and Axe Murder Boys "Garcia Brothers" to all be released in 2014 but no release dates have been given as of the date of this post.  We also will see the Gathering of the Juggalos change venues for the first time since 2007.  We still have no information on where it will be but there is plenty of speculation on the net. 
 Now here is what I think is going to happen with them this year:

1. The ABK, Vanilla Ice, and AMB releases will all be released and do horrible due to lack of promotion or they will not be released at all and delayed.
2.  ICP and Mike Clark will be released and hopefully live up to expectations although I am skeptical they will.
3. This will be on of the last years for the Gathering.  After the events that occurred last year I think they will have a difficult time finding groups to perform, sites for the event, and money to make it happen.
4. Finally I think we will see a large number of fans drop the hatchet.  I know I will get some hate for that prediction but we have already seen a lot of old school cats walk away.  Once Twiztid left there was a huge group of fans that lost all respect for Joe and Psychopathic Records.  I expect those trends to continue as long as mediocre albums are released and horrible business decisions are made.

Next lets see what Twiztid has in store for us.  They have announced that a new album is on the way.  It will be titled "The Moment You've All Been Waiting For." They have also announced that they would like to get more TV and movie opportunities.  So let me share what I think is going to happen with the demented Duo:

1. The new album will be released.  I think it will be the beginning of their rise in mainstream as well as cementing their legacy in the underground.
2. I think they will tour for a majority of the year again.  I also think they will make a trip out of the country if legal issues permit it (Canada and maybe Australia).
3. I think we will finally see the collab most Juggalos have been demanding, Eminem and Twiztid.  If it does happen you can count on this being the year of Twiztid.

Next lets look at KMK.  I think we will see KMK really disappear.  Once the "lawsuit" gets settled I think KMK will release a new album and possibly tour in support of the album but I do not see them climbing out of the hole that Daddy X has put them in.

Let now look at Suburban Noize Records.  I think we will see them bounce back from the lawsuit well.  Once the legal issues are cleared up we will see them sign at least 2-3 more acts.  I predict we will see Potluck release a successful album and tour in support of that album.  I think it will begin the rise of Subnoize back to a respectable label.  I do think Johnny Richter will release his next album on Subnoize and it will be a huge success.

Finally here is what I think we will see from Strange Music.  I think they will continue to put out solid releases from all of their artists.  I think they will once again hold the flame for the underground.  They will be the beacon for crossover fans.  Their label is going strong and I do not see that slowing down in 2014.

Now all of these things may or may not happen.  These are just my thoughts.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate you checking out my blog as often as you guys do.  I wish you all a a Happy New Year and want to thank you for your continued support!

MMFWFL,

Juggalotus