Monday, August 20, 2012

Livesosa, and The Univerzity "Big Man on Campus"

When I sat down with recording artist Livesosa, I thought that it was about time that people start taking our musicians seriously in this area.  I know there is not much opportunity for press releases, and other avenues forwarded to artists in much larger markets.  I plan to continue to reach out to many of the other artists, from my area.  Mainly, to give them the ability to express themselves on topics they may not touch on in their music.  And, to show their fans, that they can be taken seriously enough to give them a quality interview that you would see in any music publication.  Here we have it, a moment with one of ours areas brightest rising stars.

Alright! My name is Delmico, I'm here with recording artist Livesosa.  I just wanted to ask him a few questions, mainly just to see where he is, you know I followed his career for some time.  I know where he's been, he's from the same place as me.  And I just wanted to get his take on some of the things that are going on with him today and his music.  So here we go!

  • Ok so, for those who don't know you, you've went by many names.  What do you want people to recognize you as?

Livesosa, and that's L.I.V.E.S.O.S.A. A lot of my fans and newcomers, into my music world they space it out, but it's actually all together. I don't care if it's spaced, you know but it's really all together. The name, LiveSosa, all together.              

  • So, give me a brief background and resume on yourself, how did you get started doing what you do, and what is it that you do?

I started off producing, basically with your normal fruity loops, you know your FL Studio.  And I wasn't making enough money, really around town.  Or gettin'... (takes a pause) I had the respect as a pretty predominant beat maker but, I wasn't able to really profit off of it, the way I felt. And I was learning some of the new ways about leasing and different things that were online that were outside of my city.  So, I started breaching off [sic] into other things but I saw that market was kinda saturated online it was a whole lot of....  I was like man, you know how do you get noticed? So, I was just like let me try something a little bit different. So, I came online as a songwriter, a guy doing hooks, [an] artist doing hooks, and that's where people started really messing with it, and it started taking off.  So, I been really making headway in different parts of the region with that.

  • So, would you consider yourself a rapper, a singer, or a rapper turned singer or vice versa?

I consider myself like, you have a....a stylist in a sense. "A song stylist"  I get the beat, whether if i'm making it or if I come across one that catches my ear.  I style it out, I do my tweaks here and my tweaks there.  My step-backs look in the mirror, I fix it up, you know.  Yeah...

  • How long would you say your experience goes back if you could put a date on it?

Beat wise, were talking high school, were talking  '05s and way back like that.  But, if were talking about seriously tryin' to make headway, make moves in the game.  You know, develop sponsors, and making moves .  We'll say late '09, I had a single called "Entertainer", back then that actually touched our local radio station which is KISR 93.  I believe its still in rotation, just not as much or just here and there.  But, that definitely helped spawn notoriety within my own city, of course.

  • So far, what has been your biggest accomplishment, or accomplishments, if you could just narrow it down to few?

I know one recently, was me touching the XXL [Magazine] off a song that I wrote called "All Night" and another one.  Both of them had big features on them from major artists like Killa Kyleon, Glasses Malone.  And, I would say touchin' the Source [Magazine], the Vibe [Magazine], XXL [Magazine] Online from little Fort Smith (Arkansas), you know (pauses) my little town.  You know what I'm sayin'?  That's humongous! That was definitely a goal and I'm pretty sure a goal of a lot of hip-hop artists coming up, right now.

  • What has been the hardest issue to overcome in your journey so far?  And, do you think there is a lack of a scene or platform for what you do?

The hardest thing for me to overcome, has been me finding myself, as an artist.  Like you said earlier I sing, I rap, and that's been the most.... Not haters, not lack of scene its really finding yourself as an artist. Because there is a difference between somebody that just turns on the mic and somebody who is an artist.  When you're an artist you have an image to yourself, your music.  Art is supposed to transcend, it's suppose to move forward and you're supposed to show people that side.  So that would be the most tough thing. The scene?  Oh man, our city really doesn't have a strong hip-hop scene, if you want to put it that way.  It really doesn't have a strong music scene period, as far as taking it to the next level.  Anybody can go into Guitar Center, and buy equipment and learn this and learn that.  But when you're talking about the other 50% of it that's not talent, when you're talkin' about; your credentials, who you know, your character, the money.  Outlets... it's not here, it's very scarce, and you have to create your own.  That makes it tougher.  Because it's based on buzz, and you need money to build buzz in a sense.  So it is very difficult, almost impossible, I would say coming from where we're from.

  • Well, you just touched on it a little bit. But, artistically, how do you feel you are able to broaden people's perception of what a hip hop artist is?

I do that, from what I hear from my fans, every time I do a song they're just like "Thank you".  What I get from that is i'm touching... I use punch lines and different things like that.  But, along the lines somewhere I'm always teaching you something.  Something that's... It's a way of saying something without being corny.  But you know it's true like, "Awww, yeah he's right about that."   But doing it to a point where it's not corny and you know you can really feel it.

  • Who do you think at this point in time, influenced you to be the kind of musician you are today and who excites you in today's music?

I love true artists, I love art, I just LOVE art.  Lauryn Hill.  Where are you Lauryn? (laughs) But, Lauryn Hill definitely.  John Mayer, I know these are not necessarily hip-hop artists. But, when I was growing up, I believe my first rap cd was 3-6 Mafia.  But, other than that I really listened to a lot of Lauryn Hill, my mom had Aaliyah, R. Kelly around, Tupac of course was around.  But the ones that I gained most influence from of course you know your Michael [Jackson].  I mean everybody was influenced by Michael Jackson at some point I don't think you could leave that out.  But, I was heavy into different types of music, and I think that's from the area that were from.  If you want to scale it out, there's a bigger alternative culture here than it is hip-hop. So that definitely helps when I go to create having the different ear.  (Takes a long break) Who excites me now?  I like Kanye West.  Some of the things he does within his form.  I didn't start off as a Jay-Z fan. Of course, we're from the south, and his music didn't really touch here that deep like that. But, after that third album with the three red stripes, I think its called "The Blueprint 3," I don't know.  But after that and then "Watch the Throne."  It was almost as if he wasn't even trying now, like maybe he was back in the gap when I wasn't paying attention.  But, the way he formatted his words and he's always ever changing I really admire and respect that. And, I like that a lot. I definitely look at Kanye.

  • With the overwhelming success of an artist like Drake who can captivate listeners with both his singing and rapping where do you fit, do you strive to exceed the standards he set?

It's so hard, I get that all the time because just like another comrade of mine, Sims, Turrell Sims (a.k.a.) Meet Sims. We've been doing the singin' and rappin'.  We know about Mike Jones and Chalie Boy and there's other artists been singin' and rappin' before Drake. [sic]  I guess, he took it to that next level and his lyrics, they seem so simple yet when they hit its the most complex things.  It's crazy, I respect him definitely as the artist of now.  When it comes to singin' and rappin' I just do my music.  I have a message to my fans.  When I sing, I think I sing a little harder than Drake, a little bit more going towards the R. Kelly side.  'Cuz of that influence of growing up and, that raspyness of Lauryn Hill.  So, my form kinda fades a little further I think.  But, definitely to be on the same label would be difficult in a sense.  But, we're definitely different artists...definitely.

  • Hip-Hop and black music culture have given rise to a large number of icons....Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne in Hip-Hop and Michael Jackson or Beyonce in Black Music in general.  These are examples whose style, image, and music set standards that will live past their generation.  Do you feel iconic?  And is it your intention to follow these examples?

I think that, and I've been asked this before, and this is also a question that most artists have to ask themselves.  Are you trying to be a pop artist?  Or, are you just trying to be a hip-hop artist?  And, there's a difference and no way is wrong, or bad or anything like that.  It's just that there are different standards and different things that go along with being a pop artist.  Which is popular music, it doesn't mean you have to be doing whatever Britney Spears is doing.  It just means that it's a popular brand of music.  Meaning that you got more interviews, you gotta go more places, you gotta make sure you're everywhere overseas.  It's a whole 'nother complex, as if you study Troy Carter, which I believe is the manager of Lady Gaga.  He even speaks of that a lot, it's a difference as compared to a hip-hop artist.  You can just Ahhhh! (In heavy exclamation), it don't matter what you look like as long as your music's crunk, and people are enjoying it, you're in the door.  Iconic?  Like I said, I DO the music. I believe that I am iconic.  I believe that, I will be on a major scale iconic.  If some people even say that now, on the underground level, that have been listening to me and play me on a daily basis.  But yes, Icon that definitely should go next to my name by the time I'm done with this for sure.  That's what I'm lookin' for. [sic]

  • Hip-Hop can be depicted negatively in the media as a means to continually perpetuate negative ideals and promote a destructive way of living.... Do you agree with that?

I do.  Somebody says no, Live NO! (He laughs but reiterates his point seriously.)  I do, it's a cycle you know.  And, I don't wanna throw names out there, 'cuz I mean I've done music that has vulgar language that speaks on.... (Changes pace before he delves into too much self deprecation) But, in a sense it is just the feeling.  I mean I might wake up one day and I might feel like (he takes a second to find the word)...I want some ass!  You know, I want a sexy girl you know what I'm sayin', I want her to have the chest, and the hair long.  That, makes me lead into talking about how rappers really push out the yellow bone woman.  And, it kinda leaves the red bone or darker skinned women feelin' like out of the picture, like they're not [acceptable]. But, that's a whole 'nother topic.  But, I believe that it does, it really does.  I believe that they portray a life and it makes us.... 'Cuz i even catch myself sometimes like man, you just seen that new [Mercedes] Benz on TV.  And, you're like MAN!  If I could just have that, if I could just do that.  And, I think it causes a lot of our youth especially on the African-American side to come up thinkin' like.  Yo' I gotta be out here in the streets, I gotta be a hip-hop artist, I gotta be a rapper.  And, there is an art to just even rappin' just even steppin' to the mic.  I think these youngsters get it all confused, and not everybody is meant for this game.  That's why if you really pay attention there's only been a few over the last years that you can name.  That really are doin' there thing now, came in strong, still strong, and look like they're goin' to continue to be strong.  You can name 'em on your hand, and were talking out of millions of people that do this.  Yeah, don't give up and keep your drive but, know what's out there, stay true to your heart and yourself.  'Cuz there's more out here than material things, and you'll learn that you can lose those in a second.  Real talk.

  • So, when a kid tells his teacher he wants to be a rapper and his teacher says its not realistic or it comes with a negative lifestyle i.e. violence, jail, etc. what is your advice?

My advice is get ready, you know what I'm saying get ready, be prepared.  'Cuz I mean I sing a lot.  But that doesn't mean that you're not going to have to.... I mean when I was younger I went in the hoods, backpack on, passin' out cds, tryna meet everybody, shake hands, game respect.  It's hard because you're gonna endure a lot of hate the more successful you are.  At first, you probably won't, you know everybody's just cool and kickin' it.  "Hey can I borrow your mic?"  "Oh, it's so fun" and mom "Get off of that and get into your school work."  And, you're in school and the girls think you're cute 'cuz you got your new Converse's on and your swaggin'.  But, when you start takin' it [For Real] for real and you out here.  This is a jungle, everybody's goin' for the same thing you're goin' for.  So yeah, everybody keeps their respect and they're nice.  But beneath the lines, like, this is a competition in a sense, you know.  I kinda got out of that part of it, and stay as far away from that as I can, you know, keep that at a distance. And I focus on my fans.  If you focus on your fans, then competition will come but, its not something that's gonna stray you away from being the best artist you can be. So, I just would tell him to stay true to his heart, if that's what he really wants to do, make sure he's not just doing it because he seen it on TV. Just make sure, that it's something that he really wants to bring, 'cuz music I believe is another life. It's another lifeform, you know, its beautiful.

  • Do kids from where we're from get an opportunity to invest their beliefs in realistically going after what they want in this business?

If you want it.  And this is to everybody in my city especially the youngsters that are spittin' right now.  If you want it, I am proof that you can be successful and you can make money doin' it.  The objective, for me is not necessarily the money, like I said I have a message within my music that I want to get out to mass ears.  But, I wanna say it is possible.  Can everybody do it?  No.  Does everybody even really want to do it?  Probably everybody wants to be a rockstar, everybody wants to be shiny and doin' all that.  But it's not all it's cracked up to be.  It really isn't, you have to find your peace within it, and I think you'll feel more of what I'm talkin' about as you get older. And, you get out of high school and, you're really out here and you're takin' trips and you're breakin' your pockets.  And, you're doin' everything you can to just get heard.  But, you're basically out here just tryna' get it.  It's difficult, it's difficult it IS difficult. Especially where we're from....Like I said earlier, it seems (changes course) and it still seems impossible.  Of course there are levels I haven't gotten to yet.  I still have a long way to go.  And, if anybody from my city has followed me then they know; how many times i've pushed the record button, and how many trips i've taken, and how much money i've invested.  Which that's another key, if you're going to invest your money.  I didn't know what was the right way to invest my money, at the beginning.  So, not only did me being from Fort Smith, Arkansas (his phone is holding the camera and begins to ring)(sidenote: the ringtone is Ellie Goulding "Lights") slow down the process.  (We laugh and wait for the ringtone to stop)  But, I invested my money in the wrong places so not only [did] just being from my city kinda slow that down.  But, now I'm investing money into the hands of people that are; not either handling it correctly or I didn't know exactly where to send it for it to be most effective.  And that's part of it, is you want to be cost effective comin' up and make sure that everything you do is definitely goin' to lead you into the right position, your movement on the board.  So, make sure when you're spending your money, and that's part of the music game even up at this level that I'm on.  You're dealing with people that want your money to do something, and you need 'em to do it because you need to move up.  But, they may not being doing what they say they do they could be frauds, fakes, phonies, lames, slutbuckets, whatever you know what I'm sayin.  So, you just gotta try to build relationships, trust [your] instincts and believe. 

  • You just recently had a daughter... Congratulations on that and I hope you feel blessed for that new addition.  Do you feel that someday you will have to discuss what goes on in the industry the good and the bad with her?

I believe so, and if going as far as I'm going.  Then she will be.... It's kinda by force in a sense.  She'll definitely be around the music or know about it.  It doesn't mean she necessarily has to be a singer.  You know my dad played basketball and I can hoop but, you know I didn't do anything past P.E.  But don't get it twisted son, don't get it twisted!!! (He says in defense of his basketball skills)  Yeah, it's gonna be difficult I'm gonna do my best to explain both sides.  That means the pimp, and the ho.  You know what I'm sayin', both sides of the game in all retrospects of everything.  So that she knows from every angle, what's comin' at her, when it's comin' at her.  Need it be, she decides to even go into that field. [sic]  Definitely, explaining and talking with your youth, the youth is the key.  We were youth once, and now we're here.  Hey, some are here and they ain't doin' what they supposed to be doin'.  It starts with the youth and tryna get our families back, and there's not a lot of families out here.  Especially, on the African-American side, the minority side.  We're just not seein' the family anymore, and when you do see the family they don't look happy.  So, like I said it's all about finding that peace.  And, if you want to be a successful artist you have to find that peace within your music.  To know, that you are not just doin' it for your friend, you're doin' it for the world and that's a different platform.

  • What is your greatest hope for the future of your career?

My greatest hope is just to not ever stray.[sic]  You know, lets say next year this time, things don't look as good.  Its like "Oh, Live he ain't really gonna make it to 106 [& Park], or he's not gonna make it any further, or XXL [Magazine] is as far as he's gonna go.  That show he did in front of 2 thou is as much as he's ever gonna do."  You don't wanna get depressed and down, you know maybe I'm arguin' with my girl, you never know what could be goin' on.  You know the devil comes at you in formalities that... Man!  Even when you're having the best week he's still comin' at you, you just didn't notice, he comes man.  So, I don't wanna get to a point where I'm like.... Man, what am I gonna do, I gotta make it?  I say that all the time but, I don't wanna get to the point where you would wanna do something that would risk messing up your life in the future, just for a few dollars here or a few dollars now.  So, you just wanna make sure your morals are correct.  Your heart is strong, your mind is  That's a fear but, it will work itself out if you keep your morals and values correct. 

  • Are you viable in today's industry?  And by that do you feel that with your work ethic you could have longevity doing what you love?

And this is a serious, this is probably one of the deepest questions on here.  Because, marketability of an artist is everything when it comes to who's gonna put money behind you.  As you can see I'm a handsome guy (he takes a moment to look into the camera's viewfinder).  At the same time, I could get better in shape, I could look a little bit better, you know tighten up a little bit.  It's not just you talkin' in a mic.  I mean everything.  You are a superstar, that means the camera is on you at all times.  From your dialect, how you voice your opinions.  To how you look, I don't care if you're just goin' to the grocery store you better put on some Jordan flip flops.  You better do somethin'.  Because you're always being judged, always being looked at.  So, in the industry if you wanna speak on longevity, that's a part of it.  Your health, is another part of it.  You've seen some of your biggest artists take some falls, and you were worried about them.  You're up days at a time, days and nights at a time, weeks at a time.  You don't wanna necessarily put drugs in you but, that's what happens in this industry with some folks.  Lord willin', I don't have to do nothin' like that.  I create my music freeminded right now, without any hallucinogens or anything like that.  But, I mean I wouldn't mind pourin' a cup every other month or somethin', when I'm kickin' with my boys or whatever.  You know we from the south, hold up baby!  But, I mean you gotta keep it real with yourself.  Do I feel like I am?  I believe like I'm working towards that, and that should mean a lot for me to say that if you really follow me or know.  Because, I know that I'm not at my 100 percent best, but that's what I'm shooting and going for.  And, we will get there and, right now shelf life of a cd is what a couple years or a year something like that?  I'm looking to when you say icon like you mentioned earlier that's not one....Well you might could be iconic off one cd, that better be a bad ass cd (he says to establish his tone).  But, I mean we're lookin' at multiple cds I got a lot of music I wanna put out.  I'm lookin' to hold down a decade at least, and hopefully that music will pull off some Temptations type stuff, and still be being played when my child is of age where I am.[sic]

  • Someone brings up your name to a person who has never heard your music, what song do you suggest they hear first?

I would say listen to "Beatles".  Livesosa "Beatles" that song right there, I believe that something kinda just came over that day.  And, I believe that it was different from any song I've done yet, thus far.[sic]  It was almost like a message from somewhere else, you know.  That song, and I have a new song off my album called R.U.S.S.I.A. It's called "Gardens" and I believe I would love for someone who came along to definitely peep that out.  When it comes out it's not out yet but, if you're lookin' right now "Beatles".  Some of my music has some vulgar wordplay, Beatles doesn't, but if you really dig deep, and pay attention to the song and graph out the lyrics you'll catch the message.  And, normally the message is super positive for the most part. 

  • You have changed your name as well as your label's name over the years... What hasn't changed?  What continues to increase the response you get?

That is me making sure that I am giving the fans, the best graphics, the dopest concepts, the best video I can give 'em.  For my first video by myself which was "Stars Over London", I coulda shot that multiple of places.  We don't have a lot of outlets here for that either but I definitely coulda got that shot.  But, I decided to....I found a director that I knew was, to me, the best director in the business right now, and that was Edwin Escobar.  A guy named Wednesday Adams introduced me to him via Facebook.  I was like you know what, I'm gonna get my money up and we're gonna make that video happen.  We went to New York, we went to Connecticut we got it all shot and worked out and it came out to be beautiful.  And, that's what I wanted for my fans, I felt like my fans deserved to look at MTV, Sirius Radio, BET, VH1 that type of quality.  Even, if its not coming from a major signed artist, and I wanted them to be able to see that.  That also shows the major players in the game, "Yo, Livesosa he did that by himself" (Just then the Ellie Goulding ringtone comes on again we take a second and I go to the next question)

  • How would you describe a Livesosa fan?

(Takes a second and chuckles) I would describe a Livesosa fan, as someone who is human.  And that would be, that they are in tune with....They know that there is gonna be good times.  They know there is gonna be bad times.  They know that this makes them happy, sometimes something that normally would make them sad will make them happy.  It's just about being real and the truth.  Not being afraid to speak their mind.  Also, not being afraid....Not letting fear keep them from progressing in life.  A lot of people let fear stop them.(He emphasizes this statement strongly)  Whether it's if their scared of someone else's opinion, or whether.... That fear can stop them from getting a job they need.  I know you just talkin' bout what is a Livesosa fan, it's not someone who just doesn't have a job (he laughs hard at that comment).  Definitely my fans are courageous.  They hurt, they cry, they smile, they're real people.  They're working people, they're striving for better I believe that's the people that enjoy and listen to my music.

  • Does it ever surprise you the reaction you get?

Sometimes, I be lookin' for a bigger reaction.  You guys start sharin' my music more!  (laughs)  Other than that, sometimes, I look at it like it may have took me a few hours but, I put a song out.  To know somebody's playin' that, and that they're probably gonna play that even when their child comes.  Like they really dig it, and it's gonna be on their playlist.  Just like how you wouldn't think I listen to Project Pat but, I'll pop in a Project Pat "Getty Green" cd in a heartbeat because that's somethin' I remember.  He may not be iconic or nothin', in that sense.  Mike Jones, these are some of the people that in the hip-hop side that I had in my deck growin' up.  So, it surprises me to an extent sometimes, it's really humbling.  It keeps me humble it never goes to my head.

  • At this point would you still consider yourself underground?

I am underground.  But, you know what? Underground is the new major, if you really wanna get real technical.  Underground is the new major, there's nothin' wrong with being underground.  Actually, if you play your cards right, you can make just as much money, if that's what you're in it for.  The only problem with me being underground is I do want to be a little bit over, [or] do somethin'.  Because I want more ears, like I said that's my main thing is mass ears.  And to be underground and have mass ears, you can....  You can have mass ears you know you have like your Z-Ros and Traes that have some pretty good ears.  But yeah, there's nothin' wrong with being underground nothin' at all. 

  • Two of the ways for people to give their fans the visual aspect of their music are videos and live shows.  As someone who has done both which do you think is more important?

I wanna say neither, or either or.  The way time is progressing, and digital age is at its all time, just bangin' right now.  People love... Now, you just only get 10 seconds of a person's actual time, like their attention span.  So, you would think like "ohh (changes pace a bit)"....  Live shows and merchandise, is a way to gain fans from here (points to his heart).  To gain this, (points to his head) and for it to spread real fast and people be just "Ahhhhh, did you see, did you see, did you see?"  Yeah you want that video, you do want that video.  You do a show in Tallahassee, Florida and, out of all those fans that night or people that are not fans.  You might get 10 good solid ones, 20 if its a huge crowd, you might get 200.  Hopefully they'll spread your music but, I believe that you can spread it faster through the eye.  And, that's why the world wide web is what it is.  That is why I can go down, and we can do a show at the event center, you know, get 500 or a thousand people.  But, it's not gonna spread enough, unless they go get somethin' and share it online.  So, you're gonna need that video, you're gonna need that hot, conceptual video that's different from everybody else's, definitely.

  • You have recently been doing lots of collabs as well... How are they important?

Collabs are definitely important.  You never know who's poppin' where, you know.  They could pop (snaps fingers) like that!  But, make sure when you collab, don't just collab to collab.  Make sure that either you're exchanging fan bases, that there's a plan behind that collab.  Make sure that the mastering, and everything is successful.  That the song, really came out how it would have came out, regardless if they were in the studio or not in the studio with you.  If not, you probably wasted your time.  If you're doing hooks, of course that is probably the fastest and best way.  Because, if you're on a hook then that verse is probably got two or three different rappers on it.  If they're in London, which is like the case with me.  Somebody from London, or Czechaslovaya [sic], or somewhere over there, Italy or somewhere.  They'll get a hook, an American hook, sometimes they'll ask me to change some words in it.  Or they'll buy a hook and they'll put their guys on it in their area, and that's gonna branch out me overseas to where I wasn't.  So, that's been a big thing I believe, definitely collab but, just make sure that it's gonna do somethin' for you, when you do it or you wasted your time.

  • Is there anyone out there who you feel you have as your bucket list collab?

The collab I have to do, before it's all said and done?  Lauryn Hill, I gotta have that collab, I would love to have that collab.  I wouldn't mind a Jay-Z collab.  Yeah, that's about it right now.

  • Is that your favorite artist of all time, Lauryn Hill?

That's the one, that's that prominent one that stuck.  Now that I listen to it, it may not at all times be as impressive.  But, definitely her value to me is just....she had to be here.  That is one artist that I felt had to be in the game.  Like, there would not be music if she wasn't there for me, in a sense.  (The phone rings again with the same Ellie Goulding ringtone) (sidenote: He goes into a brief explanation of how AT&T has recycled his number and he feels about it)

  • So, as more and more of your work is recognized do you entertain the thoughts of being a hip-hop mogul, is that realistic at this point?  Livesosa sneakers, Livesosa energy drinks, what would you branch out into?

(Laughs) That's part of the Autumn Univerzity Media Group, which is a group that I've been working on this past year, and that is not just associated with music.  We have basketball teams, we have etcetera etcetera.  We're looking to be in the home, which is meaning like doormats, cookware, even baby stuff.  It's definitely something that...we're looking to go into movies.  You know, not everything is gonna say Livesosa on it.  But, definitely we wanna make that media group a big, big thing where there is branches off of it.  Pauze, which is the logo that represents the Univerzity, the bear if you've seen it.  There's a lot of things that we've planned for the future, as far as business goes, and investing our money in the correct formats to be successful.  And, gain more capital to do even more. 

  • So, on another note how do you feel about the media and many fans who contend that some of the industry's biggest stars are occultists or have a hidden agenda such as the illuminati etc.  And do you think some artists use it to their advantage to discourage would be competitors?  

Yeah, some artists do use it to their advantage, to discourage the up and coming artists like myself, and others.  I believe that to an extent some of it is real, and there are different things that are done, I believe.  Not everybody has the same story, not everybody knows the same people.  I'm sure there's all kinds of blasphemous stuff going on.  I'm tryin' to stay away from that.  This music industry is very, very, very....I'm lookin' for a good word for it man, it's befuddling, if that's even a word I know befuddled is.  It's everchanging, it's a lot of stress and like I said a lot of crookedness.  As the industry as a whole, everybody's just tryna get over but, that's what happens when you have a game and everybody's tryna come up at the same time.  Eventually, they all gotta meet and the strongest survive and, when the ones that are strong can't make it they may do reckless activity to try to stay afloat on that ship.  I'm not gonna sit here and be like, "This artist I know did this, or this artist I know sacrificed that," you know that's not for me to speak on.  I believe that you just do you, and just try to...If you're a positive, stay positive, I don't believe anybody should let any of that detour them from their success.  No matter who or what they believe in.

  • Finally, what other form of art influences you the most?  And which artist makes you go hard at what you do?

That's crazy that you say that, because normally within your own city or state, you have somebody that has made it before you.  Or, that's doing something on a major level, to where you can look to and be like, yeah.  Like, if you're from Memphis, you got beaucoup artists to look up to.  If you're from Dallas, you got beaucoup artists to follow their mold and path.  If you're from Arkansas, there's absolutely no one.  So, we are the first of our kind if you're successful.  Because, there was no one to look up to.  There was no one for me to look up to comin' up, at all period.  Even when I tried to make someone that person to look up to, they didn't even want to be looked up to.  (Laughs)  So it's just like you gotta do it yourself man.  Really, you need to know your business side but, you definitely need to know how to make beats.  Like I said, be cost effective, you need to learn how to make your own music, do your own graphics.  Graphics for me is something that... every time I do a song I feel like the particular picture... I always get a picture.  Maybe I'll find one that matches the song, maybe i'll just get a random picture that doesn't match the song at all.  And, I'll let that picture, 'cuz a picture like they say is a thousand words.  So, when people be like "Oh, I can't think of nothin'" grab a picture man.  You know, look at the picture see what the picture tells you, and then rebuttal that and use that on the track.  Not sayin' everybody should do that but, that's something that helps me, create.  Being from a place where I haven't seen a lot, I have now to an extent.  But, comin' up not seein' anything really that much, that helps.

  • Anything you would like to add or anyone you would like to mention?  Where can people keep up with what you're doing and what are your upcoming projects and shows?

We're shooting, currently we're working on, we have the templates and some drawups on some cartoons.  We're working on movies, that we're lookin' forward to.  One is called "Kill The Chandeliers", also some videos we're workin' on to lead up off of the "Stars Over London" to promote the "R.U.S.S.I.A." album.  (I interject for him to further his explanation)  Well, if you've seen the cover, I don't know if you've seen the cover or not.  It has me sitting in kind of a thronish chair, with a lot of gold Egyptian things, and everything going on around me.  And, I'm holding a couple of guns.  And, people were like "Woah, Livesosa is holding guns we didn't know what to think about that."  Like, "What to do about that, my daughter listens to his music, should I let her continue to listen to his music?"  Yes, the guns is to show the fight, and there's a song on that album called "The Fight."  Basically, it's fighting for your right to be yourself and continue to be yourself.  And, I'm just sittin' in there, on some come at me bro type stuff but I'm not goin' [for it].  That's what the album is about, it's about promoting self respect, self strength, power, not being in the fear anymore, not being in the dark.  The "R.U.S.S.I.A." has an acronym, and I'll express that more as we lead up to the promo of the album release.  But, that's basically the entitlement of the project, in a whole.  But, we're working on the videos for that, 'cuz we wanna have strong images 'cuz this project, we almost want the images for it to be more powerful than even the music.  The music's gonna be powerful, but we want the images with it because it's gonna be like a 50/50 type thing.  So, I think everybody's just expecting for me just to drop the "R.U.S.S.I.A." project but, they're gonna see a whole lot of visuals before that actually drops.  So that when they get it, it's like a whole thing they can just hold it.

That's good, so R.U.S.S.I.A., the Autumn Univerzity Media Group, Pauze, all those things are where you're at.  I been around you, we grew up the same area, went to school together, makin' music not understandin' to a point where you are right now.  It makes me look back on what you've done and where we all come from and it makes me proud.  I really appreciate you being able to take time out and do this interview for me.  I know it was a lot of questions but you did a good job of answering the questions, being eloquent in how you wanted to express yourself.  I really have high hopes for your future and some day those things that you are striving towards in marketing and branding yourself really come true.  

Like I said that's the toughest thing, as an artist is finding the peace within yourself.  When I started off doin' music, I just rapped about whatever I heard.  Which was like the candy paint, the cars we didn't even have all that.  I'm grown now I'll buy what I wanna buy (he says laughing).  As long as you work for it and you do it the right way you do what you wanna do.  Just stay true to yourself and try to make that come out through your music, and its a process it takes time but, stay with it stay with it.

Follow me on Twitter @Livesosa Autumn Univerzity Media Group and shoutout to everyone in The Univerzity much love we gettin' to it!!!

And you can follow me @CaesarTheMind.  I really hope, that this gives an idea of what type of artist you're working with in LiveSosa and his music, his background, and what type of person he is.  As a whole, just stopping to answer these questions, it makes sense in the fact that he is continuing to change in an industry that changes constantly.  Taking his artistry to the next level as well as, how fans get to see him, new ways.  I really hope, that everything from here on out goes well for you man.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One More Time

How is everyone today? Hopefully all is well. I want to bypass pleasantries in this issue and get straight to business on this one. In this edition of Gentleman's Quarterly I plan to revisit some of my larger talking points one by one and explain how I have come to each of these conclusions. Also, I want to make sure that everyone knows why I have chosen gentlemanly affairs as my most talked about subject. Then, I will conclude by comparing and contrasting the outcomes associated with being outside the gentleman's circle of trust. But first please watch this video in this LINK.

Now, if you did not click the link you may be confused by this next statement. Whatever happened to using charm and wits to achieve your goals and assist you in your ambitions? It has been replaced by instant gratification and self promotion that is the answer. Before, maybe I wrote each issue too vaguely. Now, I will show you what type of information is good, and where you can use creative license to "deviate from the doctrine". Each situation is different and knowing yourself is half the battle. So, with all the ado that I just wrote about and probably still more to come I present Gentleman's Quarterly part V.

Before, I made the comment
"It is not cool to be a gentleman anymore. Mostly, its not even accepted as normal anymore either."

To explain this situation I am going to ask the ladies a question. When is the last time you met a guy whom you would consider a gentleman? Did you make a note of this situation? I am sure that you were surprised and probably thought of what his parents, school, or religion may have taught him. Maybe you think that gentleman are synonymous with the Tri-Lambdas from This Link. And you really could care less, all you need is a thug in your life. Although you may be convinced that you are more suited for Young Jeezy than you are for John Cusack you can't ignore some simple facts. 1. By default a person who lives by the sword or an agressive lifestyle is destined to receive his rewards and punishments by that means.(i.e. The gun will take his life) 2. Although you may want a confident and independent man who lives by his own rules, I am sure there will be a time you want someone who listens a little deeper. 3. The gentleman's needs and wants are always growing as he knows he is not just one man looking for one woman he is bigger than himself or his selfish desires. So, as a segue I would like to pose another situational circumstance. Maybe the gender roles have changed to the point that women and men alike want mates who can encompass the best traits from both sexes.....

According to
In ancient India, women are believed to have enjoyed equal status with men in all fields of life. Ancient Hindu scriptures describe a good wife as "a woman whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires high renown in this world, and, in the next, the same abode with her husband." In ancient Athens women were always minors and subject to a male, such as their father, brother or some other male kin. A woman's consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary and women were obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents or husband. Early in the Republic women were subject to Manus Marriage, but the custom died out by the Late Republic in favor of marriage without Manus which did not grant the husband any rights over his wife. When married without Manus a woman was not only free of her husbands legal authority, but could divorce him as she pleased without any reason required. Women in Ancient Rome when no longer under the control of their Pater Familias could and did contract, work for wages (usually without many other options), own property, and perform some (but not all) legal functions.
This history, as well as the feminist movement---- as defined by Nancy Cott as the belief in the importance of gender equality, invalidating the idea of gender hierarchy as a socially constructed concept. Has contributed to the modern American woman you may or may not be sitting next to right now. Basically they ARE EMPOWERED GET OVER IT!!!! Let me take a second to explain, I never wrote this with the intention of helping people "hook up". I also never said I was talking to any men other than gentlemen(toughguys, wiseguys, soldiers, regular joes) about any women other than ladies(demure, genteel, respectful, tasteful). And how to make real connections with each other(i.e. friendships, relationships, and social networks). My examples are limited but you will know by this test. If you are a guy who has never been in at least one fight, verbal or otherwise, you probably don't fit the criteria. If you are a female who doesn't remember the first and last name of every partner you have been with or you chew tobacco(had to use that one), you definitely don't fit the criteria. So, to my guy friends remember "consider your audience" when you are dealing with the modern American woman. In 1920, you may have been able to impress a girl by driving a car because she wasn't able to. Needless to say, the standards have been raised in general which means you wont be able to "run game". In this day in age you are better off telling your potential suitor the truth. However, all good performances have some element of illusion involved. So, flare and charisma are definitely pluses.

Now, in the past I put emphasis on the wingman because after all what are friends for? I recently had a female friend who was well above the legal limit tell me she wanted to drive home. Now, as a man I thought I was placed in an awkward position and I am sure that is apparent. However, as a gentleman my test in the situation was perfectly easy to handle. Don't leave with her, but let her leave, don't let her drive, but make sure she is driven home safely. And, 1,2,3 just like that it was settled and everyone was still friends in the end. So, in essence I was a wingman for a woman. Now don't let your head explode just yet I just wanted to point that out. But, would you rather me leave you hanging? It all comes down to want you want and what you need. From there how much do you want those things. If you want to dress up as the gimp and be whipped and stomped by high heels my scope of practice doesn't quite reach. But, talking to girls should become easier from reading these if not I will keep them coming. Love truly does conquer all, and you have to be willing to say "Fuck Fear"! Because Time Heals all Wounds....

As a plus I want to compare a little old school charm versus new school swagger, right! So, as an international team player who has his swagger so right he can charm you right out of your wallet(if you're a man) and panties(if you're a woman) I want to be extremely concise in differentiating. Swagger is one tiny, minute, esoteric cog in the male mojo charm machine. A man who walks and talks with all the swagger plus pomp and circumstance could easily have very little charm. Example, how many times have you met a guy who seemed to talk about having it all but, when exposed below the surface was very little intelligence or ambition. That is one of the easiest traits to come by is swagger because all you have to do is "feel yourself". Now, before I explain charm I want to define two things. According to
A gentlemen's agreement is an informal agreement between two or more parties. It may be written, oral, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette. The essence of a gentlemen's agreement is that it relies upon the honor of the parties for its fulfillment, rather than being in any way enforceable (by the government). It is, therefore, distinct from a legal agreement or contract, which can be enforced if necessary.
Webster's describes a confidence-man(or con man) as someone who gains the confidence of someone to complete his game or trick. So, in essence a gentleman and a con-man are almost synonymous because they use informal methods to gain the confidence of others to create connections. Charm as it seems comes from both within and outside. You are just born with it, or raised into a family of charming people. You can walk and talk ridiculously and still be a completely charming individual so it is in no way like swagger. It encompasses all that makes up a man or woman it is not fly by night at all. It is longevity in the flesh and baby I got the most.....

But I'm still sad that she's gone......

Thursday, March 25, 2010

DAMN! The real Wendy Day

When I first emailed's Wendy Day I thought to myself, "There is no way in hell this woman has time for this shit, but who cares let me try it." When I received my first response from her my heart dropped and I saw that she was a rarity. Someone in the music industry exactly whom they claim to be, Real... Now, I have spoken to her multiple times through email,(even though she knows no background on me) and even recently completed an in-depth email based on questions I have wanted to ask someone like her for years.

I am the kind of person who buys every new XXL, Vibe, Ozone magazine, etc. that I see. I can't get enough of this industry American pop culture and anything of the like. I could simplify it to say I am a "hip-hop head", but I know my love for music spans well beyond that simple term. I love this; music, art, literature, any and all of it consumes my mind enough to the point that I have tried for years to exchange my role as a consumer to that of someone who is a manufacturer, retailer, distributor, and marketer. In short, I knew all about Wendy Day's background before I did this interview. Now I want you to have the same opportunity because whether you know it or not she should be important to you. Keep in mind I am not a journalist or professional writer (only in my mind) I am as far away from a degree as a kindergartener but, I still want to soak up game like a sponge. Hopefully you share my sentiments. So with no adieu at all, Black Caesar's World presents The Real Wendy Day.

-Hello Wendy, how are you today?


-For those unfamiliar with your resume and your contributions to hip-hop music, could you give a background on who you are, what you do, and the companies you rep?

Absolutely, it’s always hard for someone to speak about themselves (laughs) so I am going to keep it short anyone who wants more info can just GOOGLE me... In 1992 I started a not-for-profit organization called rap coalition it pulled artists out of bad deals. Then around 1995, I realized pulling people out of bad deals wasn't enough, and I started helping people get good deals. And I have been fortunate enough to do some of the better deals out there that exist in music.

-How long have you been doing this?

Since about 1992.

-What would you say has been your biggest contribution or accomplishment?

A lot of people think the Cash Money deal ($30 million distribution deal) in 1998 was my biggest was a big deal which was unheard of at the time and probably will be unheard of in the future, because the deal didn't really make financial sense...In my opinion my biggest contribution has been the free panel discussions that I have done. I do monthly panel discussions for free every year since about '93 or '94 to educate people on the music business. Because this is a business that has a very low barrier to entry. Which means pretty much anybody can get into the industry. All you have to do is print up cards at Kinko's and say I'm a manager or I'm a rapper, or I run a record label or whatever. It's not an industry where you have to have education, or a degree, or have to qualify for some test in order to pass to get into the industry at all. So, I have found there are a lot of people who get into the industry without any real knowledge of the industry. So my thing has been educating people on how the industry works, what really happens in the music industry and how to be successful in it.

-You have also been involved with some of the biggest names in music as well as in the streets such as "the real Freeway Ricky Ross", who are some other real OG's you have been a friend to? Do you know Harry O as well?

I actually do know Harry O he was actually Ricky Ross' first cellmate. He was actually the guy who started Death Row Records. But, back then it was called Godfather records. Just like I’m not big on name dropping the artists I’m representing or I have worked with. I am also not big on name dropping the street dudes I know. One of my personal passions..."I'm very big on prison reform. Many of the larger gangsters that have been incarcerated, I probably have reached out to them at one time or another" [Sic]

-So what kind of "gangsta shit" do you do? Do you smoke weed?


-Have you ever been in an uncomfortable position being that you have worked with so many artists, entourages, labels & execs?

Of course I have. Anybody who has really been in the trenches in this business has been in an uncomfortable position. Actually the biggest gangsters in the music industry are the guys that run the major labels. Anybody that’s ever taken a meeting with somebody that is Vice-President or higher has been in an uncomfortable position.

-Who in your opinion over the years has been the most dedicated label, music mogul, artist etc.?

It changes so I don’t know if I could call just one name. It changes from year to year. There was a time when Def Jam was runnin' shit. Now it seems to be Interscope. There was a time when Universal was runnin' shit. It changes based on who works at what label. And as soon one label becomes successful the other labels come in and corporate raid. So what will happen is, and let me use Universal as an example. Because Universal was a great machine when Cash Money was there. And then, one label will hire away the VP of Marketing another label will hire away the VP of radio promotion...and what they did was they broke up that winning team at Universal and split the people into different companies. It's kind of unfortunate because what happened was...I just don't think Universal is successful anymore, I just don't think [Universal] is good at what they do.

-How did you get into representing mainly hip-hop artists?

I became a fan of rap music. I have been listening to rap music since 1980. It was just the music that reached me. I liked the energy and the passion in rap music. And, as a fan listening to the music when I would hear the horror stories about the artists not being paid properly it just really pissed me off. And, I was in a financial position and an emotional position to be able to do something about it. I just got tired of hearing about my favorite artist gettin' jerked. So, I decided to do something about it. So, I put my money up, and started rap coalition.

-As you know I am planning a conference for independent artists and musicians of all genres in my hometown, what are some of the techniques you have employed on your many panels?

I choose people that are truly successful at what they do. Because you are going to find as you put your panels together that 99 percent of the people that reach out to you because they want to speak are reaching out to you because they want to build their business; because they wanna make more money. And, they offer to speak sort of as giant commercials for their company or what they do. And the hardest thing in doing panels and this is not something that anybody can teach you, it's something you're gonna have to learn by doing. You are going to find that some people are just really giving of information and then other people are just giant commercials. And, the key is to focus on the people that are really giving of information and just not utilize the people that are only interested in building their own company.

-If you could go back would you do it all the same and if not what would you change?

I probably wouldn't change anything I’m not big on regrets...I like where I am today if I did something different I wouldn't be exactly where I am. I don't think that I would do anything differently.

-What profession would you see yourself if you had chosen to do something else with your life?

I could see myself as an attorney for the underdog. I could see myself taking on [cases]...I watched Meech's case (Demetrious Flenory Godfather of Black Mafia Family) very closely when that happened. And he is also a friend of mine, which is funny because he became a friend of mine after he was incarcerated. I never met Meech when he was on the street. So, I would love like a William Kuntzler type attorney and take on the underdog cases the unwinnable cases. I would love that!

-What type of things should artists consider when choosing a performance rights organization? ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC as examples...

The way the performance rights organizations work is money gets paid into a giant pot. From radio stations and places that broadcast music, they pay licensing fees, this money goes into a giant pot and then that money is split amongst the people within the performing rights organization. My problem with SESAC (3rd largest performance rights organization) is that its so small that, that pot of money isn't necessarily a big pot to be split. But ASCAP and BMI are a little bit bigger. The only difference that I see between ASCAP and BMI, and this is just a personal opinion people have to go and do the research on their own, is that ASCAP is a society of artists, and BMI is a society of broadcasters. So, basically its broadcasters policing broadcasting as opposed to ASCAP which are artists policing broadcasting. It just seems a little more legitimate to me to not have the inmates guarding the cell.

-What about distribution?

A distributor basically distributes your product, warehouses it, and collects your money that's all they do. They don't advance you funds; they don't own your record all they do are those three things. So, you want to find a distributor that is legitimate at getting your record into the store and collecting the money. Because, you want to make sure, that they will collect the money and that you are going to get paid. And, that's the area where most people have problems with distributors. I can count the number of legitimate indie distributors on one hand. That's an area where people really need to be careful. Do the research at retail stores see who they like dealing with, ask the artists who have deals at those labels. Because artists are very forthcoming: If you reach out to somebody like a Killer Mike, and say you have dealt with 5 or 6 indie distributors...Pastor Troy he's the same way, If you reach out to them, which they can be hard to find. But, with twitter and myspace it’s not as hard to find artists anymore. If you reach out to them, and say what you think of the different distribution channels that you have used. They will tell you right away; this one is good that one is not good. So, you're getting an opinion that's from someone that has actually utilized those companies.

-How do you think the game has changed some of the artists and labels you have consulted? Lil' Wayne, Master P, C-Murder, and Jay-Z as examples...

They have grown with time. They have grown just in age, just naturally as you get older in life you have new experiences, and those experiences change your perception and your point of view. They have all grown; they have all become businessmen because they have had to. Not necessarily because they have wanted to, and they have grown in their careers and their empires. Some of them have built wonderful empires and some of them have kind of crumbled. It just depends on the artist and the direction they take it. In terms of their lyrics, their lyrics have changed and grown as well. Because the artists have changed and grown, When I first met Wayne he was 12 or 13 years old. Now; he is an adult, he's a father, he's a good son, he's a C.E.O., he's an artist. He's got all these different hats that he wears and he's very different than he was when I met him in 1997....He was actually always my favorite of the Cash Money artists. The guys when I first started working with them their favorite was B.G. And, I loved B.G. because of the street side of B.G. But in 1997 I was still in love with lyricists. And Wayne is very lyrical and you wouldn't know it by listening to some of his music today. But, of all the Cash Money artists he was the one who was more like the New York backpack artists that I was listening to at the time. And I really loved how lyrical and intelligent his music was.

-In the '90's the mainstream and underground seemed to be joined at the hip. What do you think has changed that? And do you see that return to an independent market?

It's definitely returning to an independent market. I think, Too Short and Master P were probably the first to say, enough with this bullshit! And, they started to go independent at a time when the rest of the industry was still putting out their hand and taking money from the majors. But, as the economy of scale has changed and as music and rap music has sold less and less copies. Pop music is selling better than rap these days. It used to be that rap was pop music. Now, what's happening is the Black Eyed Peas and more pop acts are actually selling far better than rap, 5 and 6 times better. What's happening is its forcing rap artists, especially ones that have niche marketplaces, like the really gutter street guys, and really lyrical artists... It's forcing them back underground and to put out their records independently which is a great thing because it allows them to build a one on one relationship with their fans. Then they can sell their music or their records directly either through digital downloads or distribution deals.

-What do you think the internet has done to the music industry in the long run? Hurt it or helped it?

It's changed it. First of all, it has leveled the playing field. So that, anybody that has music and means to upload through an internet connection it gave them access to fans. Back in the day, if you made a record you couldn't just walk into a record store and say I’m gonna start distributing this now. You had to actually go through some sort of pipeline that already existed, some sort of distribution. Today you can go to, and upload your music you just made on your Mac 20 minutes ago. And upload it, promote it, and advertise it yourself and fans can actually go to iTunes and download your song. You no longer need a record label. You still need money, but you don't need a record label.

-I'm from Arkansas, a state almost forgotten in hip-hop as a whole how do you feel the artists in my region can use that to their advantage?

Any artist can use the internet to their advantage no matter where they are located. You just got to remember that you still have to do traditional marketing and promotion. There is no such thing as free advertising anywhere. That is not realistic it just doesn't exist. So, an artist whether they are from Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, or New York City has to have a budget that they can apply to advertising their music and their brand. I think that's something a lot of artists outside of the hubs. Like Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, or places where we naturally expect music to come from. A lot of people just don't do the same grind and the same work and they don't have the same budgets that people do in the hubs. And, I think that a lot of times people have a misunderstanding about what it takes to succeed especially if you are from a smaller area. And, in a smaller area like Arkansas you can't just work your own little town or your own city. You gotta draw a 6 hour driving radius around your city, and make that your target market. So, even though you're based in maybe Little Rock or West Memphis, or wherever you are in Arkansas your market is going to become bigger. It is gonna go maybe all the way to Nashville in the east or it may go all the way to Colorado in the west. It just depends on your budget and what your ability to make it happen is.

-Could you give me your opinion on the dominance the South has had on the airwaves over the last decade?

The South has always had a lot of dominance. It's just that they came to the forefront recently. I think that everything has its time. I think that people just got a little bit tired of hearing that New York sound. The New York sound is very jazzy; the music seems to be less melodic as a whole. The thing about southern music is, much like the music that came that was funk based it was based on a lot of melody. I think that sound just became bold at one point, and its dominating now just like New York dominated for the first 15 or 20 years of rap. Like the West Coast dominated in the late '80, early '90s with N.W.A. and the entire Death Row roster. I think everybody just has their time, and right now its time for the South to have some prominence. Some change and some success.

-How do you provide services to independent labels these days? As far as price and is it only project per project work?

I run a company called Power Moves, and what Power Moves is it consults indie labels from start to finish of a project. So, we help structure and organize the company, and help build it every step of the way. And, then we basically hold the label's hand and teach them how to sell music; how to sell cd's, how to sell downloads, how to go out on promotional tours. I don't work with that many clients so I don't really advertise that service. For a company to work with me they need to have a budget, of at least $150,000 which will get you marketing and promotion. And, most people in this industry don't have that. Most people, get excluded just because they don't have the proper funding to put out a record. The other two things we look at as a company, when were choosing who to work with. Because, this is my name, my name means more to me than money. "So, I am real picky about who I attach my name to." [Sic] I wanna work for people who have incredible grinds, people who are gonna get out there and work [just] as hard as I do. I also want to work with [people who have] good music. There are the things we look at; we look at budget, music, and the people that are involved in the project. I would say that I turn down way more projects than I accept. I work with probably one or two projects a year; it just depends on how many great projects cross my desk. I probably get 30 submissions a month from people.

-What advice could you give me to relay to my readers about what type of diligence and discipline it takes to get on and stay on? What determines the longevity factor of a label or artist?

Longevity is just reacting to the market. A lot of artists make music that they like and that they want to hear, and that their inner circle wants to hear. If you're gonna do this as a business, you need to create music that your fans are willing to buy. In other words, you could be the dopest rapper in the world and if nobody is buying your record then it kinda makes it irrelevant. If you're gonna do it as a hobby that's a wonderful thing, is to make music for yourself. But, if you're gonna make music and sell it, if you're looking to do it to be your business where you're trying to make money to support your family, you gotta offer music that's marketable and sellable. That's one area where most artists’ error in the beginning because they don't realize that it is a business. They think it’s about their skill, or their battling ability, or their ability to make an amazing or hot beat, and unfortunately there is no one there to buy it. So, you gotta make sure that your music is marketable first of all. Once, it is marketable you gotta make sure that you stay marketable. I think, that's the difference between an artist that has longevity like a Jay-Z and another artist that doesn't. Because, somebody like Jay-Z stays very close to their fans, very close to the streets. And, they may not do it directly but they have people on their team that are close to the streets that advise them. So, they know what the fans want from them, they know what their fans are looking for, and they deliver what the fans want.

-Some people have [very] short-term memory's, but as I recall Remy-Ma, Da-Brat, Prodigy, Lil Wayne, Lil Boosie, and up until his recent deportation Shyne if i'm correct are all currently in jail. What are some of the things artists need to know about how the "hip-hop police" can affect their career, and how they can stay free?

This is a hard question to answer. Everybody's different, and every one of them has different cases and different situations. And, you left out C-Murder he is also serving a bid. (Side note: I also forgot others mainly the current king of rap jail time DMX.) Without pulling out my soapbox, and trying to put everybody into a category. I have to remind people that, this is a business. So, if you are going to be out on the street doing dumb shit whether its selling drugs or pulling weapons on people or whatever. It just seems silly to build a career in the music business, because you're gonna end up throwing it all away so that you can sit in a cell, and that's just insanity to me. The people that I work with are doing it because they want to get off the streets. They want to get away from a life of risk of dying or risk of going to jail. Or, at least a lot of them I can't say all of them but it just seems silly to me to get away from that, and build something positive only to end up back doing what you were trying to avoid anyways.

-If I am approaching artists for booking, verses, attending conferences, etc. What is the most professional way to extend my offer without seeming like a greenhorn (new booty)?

For their managers, you're going to have to build a one on one relationship with the artists. Unfortunately, there are so many people that came before you that have done bogus conferences. Like, conferences are the new come up right now. So, it’s sort of like whenever somebody calls me and says I need you to speak on a panel for me, I sort of cringe. "Because to me it’s like a Nigerian oil scam, because I hear about so many of those and so many of them are bogus, it's like 'Dude go out and do one or two of these and then come back and ask me to speak.' Don't cut your teeth on me!" [Sic] Last year I spent $150,000 to attend conferences. The year before I spent $80,000, and that's just money that came out of my pocket that doesn't include my time away from the office or me taking time to get to an event. I think it's the same with artists...once you add fame into the equation people tend to lose their minds a little bit. I think if you're asking someone to attend a conference, you need to have built something that people are going to recognize something that has a brand, like the CoreDJ's retreat(, SEA's(Southern Entertainment Awards), or the Diamond Awards( because these people in their first year didn't attract Jay-Z. They built something small, and then the next year got bigger, and by the 3rd of 4th year once they got a little press and recognition it was easy to get people to come. In terms of getting verses, that's kind of a tricky area, because you're trying to use an established artist on your album or your demo in order to get recognition. And, the artists feel that so, the first thing they're gonna come at you with is a price, right off the bat. Unless you've got a relationship with the artist where they are gonna do it for free, they're gonna charge you for that shit. And they're gonna want their money up front because they know it's so difficult to get paid in this industry by people that are coming up. And, they realize that you're probably never gonna go anywhere in your career and you're probably not gonna be able to clear it. But the point is, they see it as their come up, because they are asked everyday by so many people to get on songs. The best thing you can do in that situation is build a relationship with the artist, get to know them, and let them get to know you. And then, after you have known each other for a certain length of time and everybody's different but, after you've known them they'll do songs for you. You don't even have to ask they will offer to do songs with you because they believe in you.

-How can people get a hold of you for the purpose of acquiring your extensive knowledge and services? Email, website, phone number etc?

They can just go to my website(, I don't give out my phone number because I get 300 phone calls a day, the best way to reach me is e-mail(, you can follow me on Twitter.... I pretty much talk to anybody who doesn't try to get me to listen to music. If someone speaks to me I always answer. You can also find out how to reach me through my website go to, it is like the central clearinghouse of all of my other websites. They link together my two blogs, the archives, and all of my websites. And it's free!

-Is there anything you would like to add Wendy?

The one parting advice I could give, is to learn the industry. Just being able to make beats and rap isn't enough anymore. This industry is so overcrowded and there are so many people climbing for the top. It's kind of like the odds of getting struck by lightning or the odds of winning the powerball lottery. They are very slim. Learn the industry, put together a good team, know who the players are, and work harder than the next man and you can succeed.

-Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time this means the world to me and of course you are the S.H.I.T.(Sugar Honey Ice Tea) to me FOREVER! Because you kept it real and always answered and I haven't been met with that.

That's one of the reasons I do answer everybody, is because when I was coming up, nobody did. You know, I would email Puffy or Suge or whoever and they just wouldn't respond to me. They were sort of the titans of the '90's, and it would sort of piss me off, and it's like 'Dude, I made a million dollars in corporate America, but I can't get you to respond to a phone call or an email, what's up with that?' [Sic]