On avenues from Melrose to Myrtle, you’ve likely participated in the following exchange:
“Do you like Hip-Hop?”
“For you? No.”
Sad and mean, but after so much of the the exact same approach from these rappers wanting you to take a flier on them all at random, you develop a heart that pumps used motor oil.
Trust, Stuff Ghetto People Like does not believe in knocking hustles, just pointing out what goes down when it comes to some hustles, and how wild the game really is. Ghetto people try the hard sell on you con frecuencia, taking the darndest folks by surprise. It can sound like they’re practicing on you for the day they’re actually serious about getting a sale or two.
Oftentimes the spiel is fired at probably the most inappropriate moment of all: on company time. Surely you thought it was weird to be hit up about buying a rap album by a security guard, or the guy changing your oil at Jiffy Lube, or a bank teller (e-mail that I’m lyin’!), or dude that is taking your order at McDonalds. Get a $5 drink coaster with your Big Mac Value Pack!
It’s not totally a bad thing. Some of the best acts in the Hip-Hop era got their careers off the ground by flipping their music on the streets (see Too Short, Showbiz & AG, Nas, countless cats down South). The thing is way too many guys do it these days, from the Woods of Ingle to the Woods of Holly, and they’re annoying anymore. Cats don’t even stand out, looking exactly like the dude next to ’em selling incense. (They probably came together! Take blunt breaks with one another and the whole deal.)
It’s as if no one tries to get signed, they’re selling the demo right to the consumer, unmixed, unmastered. And often it isn’t even packaged in an appealing way that would fit in next to the Gang Starr and Lil Wayne on your rack. Quite likely it’s a sweaty envelope with folded corners from sitting in the pocket of homeboy’s North Face for days.
Listen up, MCs, if you got a product you reeeeally believe in, if you’re a real artist, and you aren’t just someone hitting a lick like so many other rap hucksters (many of whom actually get radio spins on Power/Hot/The Beat in your town right now), get your marketing bars up, find better and more respectful ways to demonstrate that the product is dope. Take it to college radio. Book some shows opening for someone established. Do your cuts at open mics with your albums handy. Put some in the hands of a few bar and club DJs. Hell, sell it on Myspace. Failing all that, at least have it bumping out the car trunk or in a boom box. Anything but trying to push it on someone unheard, because you may as well be panhandling. Those who know this author know I’m not a big fan of panhandlers. And don’t you dare pass me those sweaty, lice- and ear wax- ridden headphones, because I’m likely to slap them to the ground.
Yep, even in front of my evening date.