Thursday, March 30, 2006

Is it just me or is that little DJ Drama cartoon character just the cutest little thing???? It looks just like him! And so does the Pharrell cartoon. They are just too damn cute. I toyed with the idea of having the little Drama character tattooed on my body, but that would just be toooo weird--in a stalker kind of way. Whoever drew these REALLY captured them! I hope there's a Cartoon Network show a-coming! I'd watch it...the adventures of DJ Drama.

Just too damn cute...

I am currently reading Into The Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose The Myth Of A Free Press, Edited by Kristina Borjesson (ain't nothing in life scarier than the truth...)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Life Lessons I Learned From Tupac Shakur

I learned a lot from Tupac Shakur. I am thankful to have known him, and to have considered him a friend. I am sad and angry that he is no longer here. I am angry at the music industry, and at all of the artists that have let Hip Hop become what it has become. Before he passed, Pac predicted much of what I am seeing now. He was one of the most enlightened and prolific people I’ve known. Those who really knew him understand what I mean when I say: Tupac, the artist, was only the scratching of the surface.

Anyway, I learned a lot from Pac. On the business side, I learned that if you make a great song you will create a few temporary fans, but if you touch the people, you will build a fan for life. Pac built fans for life.

When he used to tour early in his career as the opening act, after he performed he’d go into the crowd without security and interact with the fans. I remembered him telling me that he had performed at a stadium show with Scarface back when folks really didn’t know who Tupac was. After performing, he went out the back door of the coliseum, around to the front doors, and came in and stood with the crowd in the back of the stadium to watch the show. He took pictures with fans and signed autographs until he was the last person to leave the venue. He signed every last autograph. His fans were able to feel him and touch him often. He built fans for life, not just temporary fans of his music who’d buy a CD. His work ethic was unsurpassed.

When Pac passed away, everyone had a Tupac story to tell about how they met him, or when he was at such and such place, or how they saw him do blasy blah. The one thing everyone said about him was that he was “real.” That was a big part of his appeal. He built his fans one by one, and people knew he was “real” by seeing him and interacting with him.

On the human nature side, I also learned a lot from Pac. He taught me that no good deed goes unpunished. He told me that as people did things to help others advance in their careers, once they advanced they would go on to grow without the folks who helped them get to that level. He educated me to the fact that no matter how much I did for someone else, and no matter how instrumental a part I played in their career, that they would go on to forget me, often even writing me out of their history for no apparent reason. I argued with him about this lesson, adamantly denying people could be so cold and heartless. He was right.

Over the years, I watched people I had supported and helped build, grow and move beyond me, especially when it came time to honor a contract by writing a check. As they grew in their careers to discuss how they got started, they magically did it all by themselves. This became the norm. I watched many artists take hundreds of thousands of dollars from street entrepreneurs in order to survive as they were coming up in the industry trying to get on, only to shit on their benefactors once they got signed to a record deal. In the case of one Chicago rapper, I saw him do it to four different gangstas over a five year period--it’s a miracle he’s still alive today.

I read interviews from incarcerated rappers talking about how no one supports them while they were in prison. I guess all the books and letters I send don’t count. I do this for EVERY rapper locked down whether I know him (or her) or not. One rapper even went so far as to name in an interview the only two people who “held him down while he was locked up,” and both of them I asked to put money on his books because no one else was.

Pac taught me that the majority of people are motivated by greed and have short term memories. He also taught me that some people, when they are helped by another, can’t live with that thought and are reminded of their dependency on another (viewed somehow as a weakness) every time they look at or think about that person, they have to move on in order to feel better about themselves. Too bad the 48 Laws Of Power wasn’t out when Pac was alive. He would have loved that book. Some of what I learned from him was so eloquently explained in that book.

In terms of human nature, Pac informed me that often if you give a person an inch, they will take a foot, and that if you do something for someone, they will expect more and more. He taught me that familiarity breeds contempt--you can tell your crew something over and over, but when an outsider comes in and says the same thing, all of a sudden they listen. The people closest to me were the ones who paid others for services identical to what I was famous for providing successfully in outside circles. To this day, the majority of artists I am closest to, have never asked me to negotiate a deal for them and consequently keep getting stuck in bullshit deals.

Pac taught me that if you give something away for free, it will be received as though it has no value because it was given with no value attached. These were lessons I did not learn well, and still have not. Pac believed that people respect fear and power, and if you are giving something away or helping people, it could be misconstrued as a weakness, which removes all respect. In my opinion, although he believed in helping people to some extent, he was torn by their reaction to the help.

Tupac Shakur was the first board member of Rap Coalition in 1996. We argued often about Rap Coalition helping artists for free. I was not, and still am not, willing to accept the fact that I have to charge artists who are in need of help, in order to gain their respect and recognition. He felt that even if I helped the most destitute and neediest of artists, there should be a price attached. I believed artists would be grateful and would give back to help other artists out of sheer remembrance of what it was like to be in such a bad position. Pac may have been right, and if so, I still have not learned this heartbreaking lesson.

I learned from Pac that rather than argue over some dumb shit with somebody, there must be a price for their ignorance. He used to tax people (I can’t repeat what he used to call it because it involves a racial epithet that I am not willing to utter, so for the sake of this article, I will call it “Knucklehead Tax”). This was my favorite lesson that I learned from him. When I was negotiating one of my first deals, the label irritated me over and over, and I applied Pac’s philosophy. Every time the label pissed me off, I upped the price of the deal $50,000. After adding an additional $200,000 to the deal in knucklehead tax, I felt better and the artist was thrilled. The label never knew what was going on, but I felt vindicated. I never had to raise my voice or burn a bridge. I just taxed them and raised the value of the deal naturally.

I do this with the many people whom I have tried to help in the past but they didn’t listen. Somehow they end up back on my doorstep asking for help, and now there is a price involved. It’s knucklehead tax—they acted like a knucklehead, so now if they want to be down, there’s a price. Oddly, no one has noticed yet. It still saddens me that many of Pac’s lessons about human nature are true. I prefer seeing the world through rose color glasses, and that’s just not realistic. Pac was more Machiavellian in his approach to human nature. In fact, he read The Prince when he was in high school and I sent it to him when he was in prison because it reminded me of how he thought about human nature. He had no rose colored glasses; he had a microscope.

So the next time you hear me speak, or read an article and you think I am angry, bitter, or negative, please just understand that after doing this for 13 years, I have seen a lot of ugliness and watched a lot of people act a fool over something as replaceable as money. Pac always said ignorance is bliss, and I have found this industry to be very, very blissful.

Monday, March 20, 2006

In reading other Blogs, I have found some interesting posts by people I respect:

MC Hammer
MC Hammer Blog: Maturation of Hip Hop, Chapter 1

Chris Lighty


Hip Hop Press Releases
Press here

The Bible Of Hip Hop Blog
The worthwhile one...

Paris' Guerilla Funk Finincial Advice
Building Wealth

Greg Palast

Gary Webb
Debt To Gary Webb

Saturday, March 18, 2006

C-Murder is home and doing well!

Friday, March 17, 2006

This just in:

"C-Murder is finally coming home. As previously reported, the rapper's murder conviction was overturned, and a $500,000 bond was set, while he waits to enter into his second trial. The order was issued on Wednesday (March 15) by State District Judge Martha Sasson, and C-Murder, whose real name is Corey Miller, could be released on house arrest within a few days."

Come on home, baby! We got you!!

What I am reading currently: 100 Great Businesses And The Minds Behind Them.
By Emily Ross & Angus Holland.

Professor X was Vanglorious!!

In 1992, I started Rap Coalition out of pure disgust after seeing how my favorite rappers were treated-- specifically, Eric B and Rakim, and X-Clan. In the late 80s and early 90s, these were my favorite rappers. I just got an email from Afrika Bambaataa saying Professor X has passed away from Meningitis. Fuck.

Lamumba Carson was great because he stood for something. He had something to say and he said it. He was the son of New York based (now deceased) activist Sonny Carson (how difficult it must be to be the son of someone so driven, focused, and important to humanity). Lumumba always rose to the occasion.

I always avoided meeting Professor X and Brother J (who, together, comprised X-Clan and were heavily involved in the organization Black Watch, which Lumumba founded years before), out of fear that they may not be what their image portrayed. At that point, I had met so many of my rap heroes and been completely disappointed in the past because often the reality of the person was so far from the marketing image of the rap star (a painful lesson for someone devoting a career and life to helping her heroes for free).

I found that J and Lumumba were serious about what they were accomplishing. And while I found Professor X to be human with all the human frailties (thank God!), over the years I have found both of them to be exactly who they portrayed themselves to be--strong Black men, loving and caring for a race of people often too tired to fight for themselves. They were not hypocrites.

Like most rappers, and certainly like the majority of rappers from their generation, they did not make much money from their art form. In fact, they had the further degradation of watching others become wealthy on what they built, and on their art form (a BIG fuck you to Lou Maglia and 4th and Broadway).

I just spoke with Lumumba for the first time last year. I had received an email that was making fun of him because he listed himself on eBay, and was auctioning off "a day with Professor X" to the highest bidder. How he must be struggling financially to do something like that, I thought to myself. I became the highest bidder. The fact that I could barely afford to pay my rent at the time did not enter my mind. I bought a day with Professor X.

He ended the auction before the final deadline (doesn't matter, I would have won regardless) because of the hateful emails circulating on the web about him putting himself up for auction. I was disgusted by the reaction. It was a fucking lunch date with Professor X. Had it been Justin Timberlake for a charity, no one would have said shit. But a hungry man was not supposed to eat this way, I guess.

Somehow others who have made a career from (read: pimped) Hip Hop had the right to say what was acceptable or not for one of the pioneers. All of a sudden, people making money critiquing what others create had the power to say what was the proper way for Professor X to make income. It pissed me off beyond words. I received disrespectful, opinionated emails from self-appointed authorities asking me why I supported such a gimmick. (If you do a search on the internet, you will still see the worst offender. His one-sided diatribes still exist on his poor excuse for a website. I refused to grant him an "interview" because he phrased his request so disrespectfully regarding a man who was my hero. I saw him for what he was--an negative opportunist pretending to be a "journalist" when his agenda was so evil and so obviously meant to belittle Lumumba. He chose to air out his frustration with me publicly and cowardly).

Lumumba called me. He knew who I was. He was excited that I had been bidding on his post. I had the opportunity to tell him what he meant to me. I told him how he influenced me to go down the path I am on without ever having met me. Now THAT'S power.

The price for Lumumba was high on eBay. Not high financially, but high in negative reaction, high in lack of support, and high in the realization that this unforgiving industry has no love for those who have come before when the fucking VH-1 cameras aren't running. I think my last bid was under $100. I would have bid $1,000.

We quietly disrespect our artists for not being Billionaires, and then we disrespect them if we perceive them to "sell out" (read: earn a living). They can't win. We bemoan artists today for selling misogyny, crime, violence, and materialism, but we didn't support the ones who had a positive message once they were no longer perceived to be "hot!"

I wanted to spend a day with Lumumba. He would not take my money. We spoke at length about the industry and Afrocentricity. We discussed his father and his legacy. We discussed a lot. It was the first, and last, time we spoke.

I never got my day with Professor X. But what I did get was far more priceless. I got the real Professor X, and he is and was what he always said he was. He was REAL. And he loved people. Especially Black people. He will sorely be missed!

Please understand if the next time you see me I am wearing my big black boots.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Here are some more flicks from the Core DJ Event. I'll let you go to their website to see the people pictures. Here is a baby blue depreciating asset I saw outside of Saks Fifth at the Galleria (the rims tell me it's no white boy) and the most intelligent shirt I have seen in awhile (on the chest of one of my favorite people).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Yesterday Was A Good Day!

I was honored by The Core DJs with an award for my contribution to Hip Hop. Pretty cool, huh? I was presented the award by Gipp (formerly of Goodie Mobb) and Ali (from the St Lunatics). Although I have never met Ali before, I have spent time with Gipp. He told the story of how I brought him and Pimp C to my house in Brooklyn, and along the way we stopped at Flatbush Avenue (it's funny that he recalled that mostly, as I remember dragging them on the subway at the height of both of their stardom...). They introduced me by saying I was the hardest working woman in Hip Hop. I hadn't thought anyone noticed...

The highlight of the evening was meeting Hammer. I looked at the man standing next to me in the VIP section, and damn if it wasn't the man whose Blog I had just got done reading before ehading over to the club: MC Hammer). As someone who has devoted a 13 year span to helping artists NOT get jerked (and believe me, there is NO money in that, so it is definitely a devotion), it was awesome to meet the man who is most famous for his rocky expereinces in this treacherous business. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met, meaning negative shit can happen to anyone...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ah Hell! Kill me now. Quickly...

My favorite artist from the 1980s signed to Koch. Ugh! Back in the early 80s was a very important group (the genre of music was called Alternative back then) called the Psychedelic Furs. Anyone who saw the teen cult film Pretty In Pink would recognize the title song's distinctive sound as none other than Richard Butler from the Psych Furs. This group could shit in a bag and I would buy it. I supported them through every release the group put out, even the two when they became Love Spit Love (and you thought I was just a rap girl..didn't you... didn't you...admit it...).

In 1981, I went to see the Psychedelic Furs perform at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphis. The opening band was GrandMaster Flash and The Furious Five, which was my introduction to rap. And if you are reading my words on a blog, you obviously know what that has meant to rap and the artists. Thank you, Richard.

I supported all of the tours, bought the T-shirts, bought all of the music. On vinyl, then on cassette, then on CD, then on-line for my MP3 Player. I'd like to point out that I was forgiving when Butler's sexy drone of a voice was the theme song to the trainwreck of a TV show called Charmed. I was happy he was eating.

I just bought his new CD on eBay. I couldn't even wait for it to be released on March 21. I had to have it NOW (and will buy a copy that benefits him financially when it is finally on store shelves--yes, even on Koch). So I bought a promo copy on eBay. I ripped open the packaging and stuffed the CD into my computer and snuggled into my comfy chair to read the packaging. What's this? The Koch logo. A fucking Koch logo???? My favorite artist went to the label known for killing more rap careers than drugs and violence combined? Say it ain't so...

Hmph. Well, I am thankful Richard Butler is still making money with his music. And I am thankful to be listening to his incredible voice and intriguing lyrics. And yes, he could shit in a bag and I would buy it.

Allen, you are a nice guy and all and my beef is not with you, it's with the business model of the company you work for. But if you fuck this project up, I will go to war with Koch. I promise!

Damn, Richard. I'd have shopped you a new deal for free.... might have even come out of my own pocket with marketing funds... damn. Shoot me now.

By the way, the album is quite good...

What I am reading currently: The Clustered World, By Michael J Weiss (it's about demographics and psychographics)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This is the funniest shit I have read in a long time. It is a SATIRE that appeared at this week. Folks in the music industry began circulating it around via email panicking that it was true (too damn funny). One major radio conglomerate even froze their playlist in reaction to it. Here it is, in its entirity, as borrowed from the good folks at

Playahata Times: Entertainment Section
VP of Programming of BET, Stephen Hill Tells It All On Tavis Smiley
By Kelly Hudlin

During a recent taping of the "Tavis Smiley Show", VP of Programming of BET, Stephen Hill tells it all. Hill claims the ongoing probe by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, coupled with his reconnection to his faith in Jesus Christ led to this most revealing interview.

Hill entered into a plea agreement with the New York Attorney Generals office, that allows him to keep and estimated $700,000 dollars, in illegal payments. Hill controlled the playlist for the entire network. Spitzer's investigation covered a five year period, beginning with Hill's move from MTV in 1999. BET is currently in 77 million homes.

Tavis Smiley once again shows his journalistic skills in this exclusive 30 minute interview. Stephen Hill reveals that when he first made the switch to MTV he was instructed by Bob Johnson "to whiten the network up" Hill knew he was brought to BET due to the imminent sale to MTV parent company Viacom. The transition was easy Hill said "I simply copied MTV show's like TRL and Tom Green, 106 and Park was a no-brainer and 'Hits from the Street's' were done with low budgets, Bob loved it".

Hill admits his problem was catering to the Urban market. Hill broke down in tears and admitted "Destiny's Child and "Bills, Bills Bills" is his all time favorite but ironically was the beginning of his lavish life of payola. Hill admits "I knew it was time to come clean, after I moved D4l's "Laffy Taffy" up BET'S charts" he was bound to get caught.

Spitzer's office planted D4L's "Laffy Taffy" as a nationwide sting, Hill along with over fifteen hundred programmers took cash payments to make D4L the most paid for song in the history of radio. “I remember when I heard the song, I laughed" Hill said the lyrics were great but the drum machine was not a Kevin Liles track! Hill decided to tell all in a plea agreement and now spends 40 hours a week with his renewed Jehovah Witness faith preaching door to door against sexuality in New Jersey.

Stephen Hill admitted that Bob Johnson and Viacom, know that BET's core audience will fall for anything. "Radio and Video are about making money, developing stars and content is long gone. Hill told Tavis Smiley that the "industry has run amuck, pay for play is the rule now and I am tired of playing Kunta for Jimmy Iovine and the rest of the industry".

Tavis during the final minutes of this must see interview asked the Brown University Alumnus, "You have three pictures on your desk, Tiger, OJ and Michael Jackson, which one of those stars are your favorite"? Find out that and more when Tavis Smiley interviews Stephen Hill, VP of Programming on Friday March 31, 2006 on PBS.

Kelly Hudlin is a freelance writer, from Chicago, best known for his short film "I saw it, I seen it, then I did it".

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tonight I watched a documentary about who really killed Malcolm X ("Brother Minister") and it reminded me how great it was to study African-American issues in the early 1990s. Malcolm was a hero turned pop icon, which, commercialism aside, brought him to the attention of many folks who otherwise would not have known who he was or who would have believed the popular misconception of him being a "hate monger." Could we have had Tupac without first having Malcolm to set the stage?

In addition to Malcolm, Afrocentricity was a hot topic of discussion in NY. This allowed for numerous books, incredible scholarship, and outstanding opportunities to attend relevant lectures at universities and community centers. I miss listening to learned people speak on topics that matter. I got to hear my hero, Dr Molefi Asante speak numerous times, and I got to sit at the feet of Dr John Henrik Clark and learn before his passing.

I lived in a neighborhood where William Kuntsler would pass by frequently, and he'd often stop on the street to share his views and opinions publicly. I recall attending a seminar regarding the African Diaspora at The New School in NYC (where I first met Kevin Powell, years before his M-TV Real World fiasco). They held many seminars that mattered because it was the socially responsible thing to do (and interesting!).

The media cared about issues and instead of focusing on politics and fear of pissing off a president or a certain group of people, they did their job by asking the hard questions and uncovering lies. Our pop music icons made songs about relevant issues, not about how much weight they were moving or which brand of champagne or car they could afford (that we can not).

Only ten or fifteen years have passed yet I feel so much is lost... The world has changed. People interact mostly through the internet; our stars are from reality TV shows or daughters of billionaire hotel magnets, and we can't seem to get enough of them; and entertainment has become dull. Our politicians lie to us and are being indicted in record numbers (or escaping indictment with a great publicist and a crackerjack legal team). And if they continue to get indicted, will there be room for them in the country club prisons that are growing full from CEOs who cooked their books (compared to the 80s and 90s where prisons filled quickly and unjustly from those who cooked cocaine)?

In the 90s a Black man was beat down by the police and rebellions ignited across the US--today we'd curse because we weren't the ones to film it and get to start a bidding war between cable stations and internet sites (one of the on-line poker sites or an on-line porn site would win that bid today). In 2005 an entire Black city was destroyed by Mother Nature and we did nothing when the goverment didn't react properly. Six months later, we watch footage of the President being briefed days before Katrina side-by-side with footage of him saying he was never told of the severity of the situation before hand. No one reacts.

And my biggest fear has come true--I have turned into one of those boring old fucks who sits around reminiscing and playing the "remember when" game...

What I am currently reading: The 33 Strategies Of War, By Robert Greene (he wrote my favorite book, The 48 Laws Of Power)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Oops...almost forgot to add these two shots. Asberry Bros was a syrup shop and as you can see, proud of the fact that it was open 24/7. Sippin' on Sizzzyrup... OK, I gotta go call MJG. Select-O-Hits has a check for Ball and MJG and can't find them...

Pimp C was kind enough to send me these photos from when he and Bun B filmed for BET from his hometown of Port Arthur. You can see a white building in the background that is burned out. It used to be one of the original 2 syrup shops in Port Arthur. You can see grafitti on the building that says RIP J-Will. I adored J-Will. I met him through an artist called DJ DMD (DMD was a not very happy deal that I did in 1999--it was the first deal I did after Cash Money and it was a nightmare, but J-Will was a prince to work with). J-Will played baseball semi-professionally. He was an amazing player. He also had sickle cell. I am told that is what killed him. I think of J-Will often, and I am sad to say that he was dead for almost a year before I even found out he had passed. It still breaks my heart to this day that he's no longer with us...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oh my God! Jon's head IS a big magnet and I am stuck to him. Ha ha ha ha OK, this is backstage at the Anger Management Tour in Atlanta. This is where I got the idea to Blog. This is the day where I realized my life is pretty damn cool and that others might be interested in coming along for the ridw (from my point of view of course or get your own damn blog!). You can also see Trick-Trick in the background making sure I am OK and safe. This event is where I spent time with Trick and decided that I would shop his deal for him. He's a friend of Eminem's and that's who made the connection (would you tell Em "no"?). I liked Trick and his partner Simen so much, that I would have moved the moon a little to the left for them if they needed that. And I still love them... we talk everyday, although his 50-50 joint venture with Universal came and went in 4 months. Is that a world record???