These articles were inspired by a conversation she heard me having with a kid who just doesn’t get it about the music industry. Wendy heard me trying to explain to this guy for the 10th time how the industry works. This kid doesn’t want to hear about hard work, dedication and perseverance – he wants to be the next Mannie Fresh or Mouse on the Track. SMH.
Anyway, this kid (who is one of the THIRSTIEST niggaz I ever met) called me AGAIN asking me about what it’s going to cost to open up for TI when he comes to town to perform next month, or get a backstage pass to “kick it” with TI. The bad part is that this was the THIRD or FOURTH artist to call me wanting to perform at this big venue, hoping that TI would hear them, sign them, and make them famous.
Obviously none of these people pay any attention to what I say about getting on shows. Allow me to give you an example of a simple way that my methods work.
In 2009, I worked an artist who had a decent local song. Our team pounded the streets for months from Lake Charles to Breaux Bridge and Morgan City to Alexandria. I met with club owners and DJs and we all worked extra hard to get the music out. From May to August we sold and gave away two different mixtapes all over Louisiana. During this time, I met and became cool with guys like DJ Dolby D, DJ Sexy Lex, DJ Troy D, SinistaTraxx, NJ of DreamStudios, DJ Fab and many others who helped us get our songs heard. I met Big Boom & Vicious who gave me a lotta game in just a few words and 2 Throwed who always was willing to lend us a helping hand. I also met a lotta fuckboy type niggaz (& women) who tried to separate my investors from their money. But as a team, we navigated our way through the local waters and started getting calls for shows throughout Southwestern & Central Louisiana.
During the fall of 2009, there was a big weekend when UL played Southern in football. Well, no Lafayette artists were booked for any of the shows that weekend. In fact, the only local artist who was scheduled to make money that weekend was the artist I was working.
A lotta other more established local artists felt that we’d paid to get on these shows. I mean, how would a new artist get shows with a platinum artist? How else could some kid from Crowley perform with a rapper who was on one of the hottest songs from Lil Wayne’s Carter III? Four Trill Ent artists performed separately that weekend and our artist was scheduled to perform with each one of these guys. The greatest part about all of this exposure was that we were getting PAID to perform!! Five shows in three days!!
Now from day one, I was always against paying for placement on shows. Our artist performed at half-packed and mostly empty venues for months while he perfected his live show. We convinced Dolby D to give our song a try and worked with him on getting us heard by the people who partied every weekend. I spent $500 with Dolby to mix my artist’s mixtape (this forced him to listen to every song). There were a couple of songs that Dolby liked and we chose one together that me & my team would push. 120+ days later and I started gettin’ regular calls about shows for my artist, and by the time it was UL/Southern weekend, I was getting called by every promoter doing a live show in Lafayette. Our hard work was paying off and my artist was in position to eat off of his craft and his team’s grind.
Today, when I get calls asking me about how an artist can open for a certain show; or how they can meet a show’s headliner, I just shake my head. Let’s look at some shows that guys are begging to open for…this May 11th, TI performs at the Cajundome. No hate to TIP or the promoter for this show, but as a rapper let’s look at TI’s track record. Grand Hustle Records (the label that TI owns hasn’t put out an album in 5 years) – TI isn’t signed to Grand Hustle, he’s signed to Atlantic. Grand Hustle artists include Young Dro, B.G., Big Kuntry Kane, C-Rod, Trae the Truth and others. None of the Grand Hustle roster has had continued success in the music industry. Trae has been a solid presence in the rap game for 10 years, and has been signed to Grand Hustle for close to a year and a half, but still hasn’t dropped an album. Again, no disrespect to TI, but I could never advise an artist to sign with Grand Hustle as I’m gonna point an artist in the direction that allows him/her to control their creative content and gets them to the money while doing what they love. So look at it, even IF you had a song that was so great that TI wanted to sign you…what artists have blown up from his label?
I wonder if up & coming rappers realize how hard they ride the dicks of these successful artists. The same gangster, player, trapper, and killer local rappers run behind these “hot” rappers just like groupie females. I wonder if these cats have any pride at all. You think that it’s cool to pay just to be in the presence of another man? You don’t pay to see the guy perform like a fan does….no, you pay to be close to the man like some kinda super groupie. I can understand paying to open for Trina before paying to open for Lil Wayne. At least you’re gonna be backstage wit a fine female; but I know rappers that’ll sell everything they own to open for Wayne — & for what??
Stop believing the lies that a nationally signed rapper heard a kid’s flow and signed him on the spot based on how he sounds. That’s not the truth. Puffy didn’t hear Shine in the barbershop – Shine was already hot in Brooklyn. Baby didn’t just hear his latest signee T. Rone and sign him. T. Rone and his team had to conduct a radio and promotional campaign that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. The campaign caught Baby’s ear and the buzz was building PLUS the song was very strong and so now T. Rone is a YMCMB artist. It’s never JUST about talent to the guys who gotta write the checks. A lazy person that can out-rap Jay Z is a waste of a major label’s time and money. A rapper has to have charisma & hustle & perseverance & dedication & energy & focus & the ability to learn, listen & be coached – all of these things are as important, or more important, than his/her talent.
I know this isn’t what you microwave rappers wanna hear. You wanna buy some followers, likes & views – then tell us how popular you are on the ‘net, thinking that you can convince someone that you’re worth signing – without doing any work. Well, surprise buddy!! The people responsible for writing these 6 & 7 figure checks aren’t fooled that easily. You gotta put your work in and get your hands dirty to get a check that size. But look on the bright side, if you quit bullshittin’ and start doing the groundwork and the grinding it takes to make it in the music biz, you’ll eventually start getting calls to come and open for your favorite rapper. Only this time, instead of being the clown who pays the promoter for the privilege of performing, he’ll be offering to pay you because of the buzz you’ve built by doing your groundwork.
Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of music industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists. Tony is also owner of Authentic Artists Alliance and exclusive booking contact for Trouble (Duct Tape Ent/2 Tru Ent), O.Z. Mr. 28 Grams (Fratt Boi Muzic Group),Racked Up Ready (Bow Ent) and DJ Rell. For digital marketing services or booking inquiries email: OGTonyG@gmail.com or Tony@aScratchyThroat.com