Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bay Area Rappers: Get Off Your Own Nuts

Bay Area Rappers: Get Off Your Own Nuts
By: Adisa Banjoko, “The Bishop of Hip Hop”

Right now we have a lot of people jockeying for position in the Bay. Labels squabble in backdoor bid wars. Mixtape DJ’s are locking and loading the hottest track from the Bay. Everybody from MTV, BET and your local news station want to look at the Bay Area rappers on the rise. A lot of money and a lot of reputations are at stake.

I was here when the Bay Area first rose up in the early 1990’s. I was also here to watch it fall aroudn 1995. One of the main reasons it fell then, and might fall right now- is because of bad business.

There are a lot of self appointed, half baked "managers”, “label owners” and “CEO’s” squandering real opportunities in pursuit of the ultimate hustle. All eyes are on the Bay, but they don’t have to stay here. Out of all the groups trying to take advantage of the hype around Hyphy, only a select group will truly make that journey. Too many people are over confident on what they can do when they have no real record of accomplishment in the game. But if the Bay does not learn to get off it’s own nuts- it won’t matter who is watching.

I want to see the Bay fully back on its feet. To do that the Bay must learn from its mistakes. Here are seven things you can do to keep yourself, your group and your label away from failure.

1. You must learn to see what you are doing beyond the hustle and turn what you are doing into a business. E-40 and Too Short’s success did not happen overnight. It was the result of many years of recording, doing shows, selling tapes outta the trunk, learning the in’s and out’s of distribution, learning how to use the media to your advantage, etc. At some point, they made the actual transition from the hustle into the business. If you fail to do that, you can expect failure period.

2. Follow though with your word and your deed. If you say you are going to provide a service (promotions, recording, PR, mastering, cover art, building a website, etc.) provide to the fullest. If you tell someone, you are going to pay them an agreed amount on a specified day- follow thorough.

3. Understand that just because you soul 50,000-100,000 units or more in the Bay- that does not make you large. I know cats who made platinum plaques on the first rise of the Bay who are broke today. I know cats who never went gold who are living well. The people who won and the people who lost usually had their fate decided on #2. Which one do you want to be?

4. Consistency is the father of victory. If you want to win you have to stay the course. You have to make a habit of doing what you say, when you say you’ll do it. Giving your all in one show, one day of recording, one battle will not keep you in front. Remember a lot of rappers and rap groups have come and gone in the last few years. Only a FEW remain in the minds of the people. If you are consistent, you have a better chance to be one of the truly chosen few.

5. Look at yourself, and your group. Are you marketable? Why should someone buy your music over the next rappers CD? If your only response is, “’Cause I’m hella raw”, that’s not enough. Do you know what a brand is? Do you know what your company’s position is? Do you know what messaging is? What does your press kit look like? What is the difference between public relations and advertising? Do you know what kind of habits build and destroy brands? In an oversaturated market you need very edge you can have. Do you visit sites like ? Knowledge is the key. But there is no better branding than making good music, and conducting positive business.

6. Think beyond the Bay!! Many rappers are so focused on gaining an audience here to the point that they ignore the national and international rap audience. Listen to music from other areas and see if you can show them love by working with producers, DJ’s, magazines and rappers from that region. One of the main reasons the East coast fell off, is because they could not see beyond 5 boroughs. But the world was bigger than NY. If we want to avoid their fate, we have to know that the world is bigger than the Bay. It always was, and always will be.

7. Read books about money and have integrity when you deal with people. Understand that one day of selfishness over a connection or the media spotlight can lead to years of never having access to it again. Read books about the industry, find out the people in your area who conduct the best business. They may not all be apart of the Hip Hop community. Some of the main people I work with have no connection to the rap game. Visit websites like, often. No matter how dope you are, no matter how many records you have sold, no matter how many shows you have done, get off your own nuts and put in real work. Seek to build bridges, don’t burn them. If you don’t know how to do that, see #4. Good luck and God bless.

Adisa Banjoko is author of “Lyrical Swords Vol. 1 & 2” and a partner of Shin-Ken PR. For more info visit: .


Anonymous old dirty bucket said...

dudes got some good points, but needs to hook up the spell-check feature.

5:05 PM  

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