In the Best Rap Performance category, the nominees are:
• Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa
• Look At Me Now – Chris Brown
• Moment 4 Life – Nicki Minaj and Drake
• Otis – Jay-Z and Kanye West
• The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
No major surprises but it’s notable that given the “Collaboration” category below, the Best Performance nods include two collaborations.
Speaking of working together, the nominees in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category are:
• All of The Lights – Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
• I’m On One – DJ Khaled, Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne
• I Need A Doctor – Dr. Dre, Eminem and Skylar Grey
• Motivation – Kelly Rowland and Lil Wayne
• Party – Beyonce and Andre 3000
• What’s My Name – Rihanna and Drake
Recognizing standout rap music songs is one thing you can count on from the Grammy Awards. The 2012 nominees for the Best Rap Song are:
• All of The Lights – Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
• Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa
• I Need A Doctor – Dr. Dre, Eminem and Skylar Grey
• Look At Me Now – Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes
• Otis – Jay-z and Kanye West
• The Show Gees On – Lupe Fiasco
The Kid Cudi nomination is a little unusual, given that Kid Cudi announced that he was leaving rap behind back in 2010. I guess he hasn’t gotten around to that, yet.
These nominees are a little disappointing, since these nominees were all recognized in either the Best Performance or Best Collaboration categories. There’s a lot more to rap music than just these tunes. The nominating committee could have done a better job on these categories.
Finally, the nominees for the Best Rap Album are:
• Lasers – Lupe Fiasco
• My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
• Pink Friday – Nicki Minaj
• Tha Carter 4 (IV) – Lil Wayne
• Watch The Throne – Jay-Z and Kanye West
This list is also a little disappointing. There’s no nice way to say this: Lasers just doesn’t belong in this category. Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy definitely holds up to the hype and is poised (fairly) to win the category, but Pink Friday, which is mostly a C-level effort, ends up being, on the whole, only marginally better than the long-awaited Tha Carter IV, and not quite as good as Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne. The nominations leave out some more worthy contenders like Saigon’s The Greatest Story Never Told, Phonte’s Charity Starts At Home, All 6′s and 7′s by Tech N9ne and Royce da 5’9″ Success is Certain. Even Drake’s Take Care ends up being better than everyone nominated, except Kanye’s Fantasy.
If you’re thinking that you can do better than most of the nominees here, and you’re into making your own music, check out Sonic Producer and get your rap career in high gear!
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As Heavy D, Myers was among the most recognizable rap music acts of the 1980′s and 1990′s. His style was a mixture of reggae and swing, and his lyrics were free from profanity. Myers was the lead artist in the group Heavy D and The Boyz and first charted with their debut album, Living Large. The group recorded a total of five albums between 1987 and 1994, only the first two of which included Troy Dixon (Trouble T-Roy), who died following an accident in 1990. Eddie Ferrell (Eddie F) is the co-founder of Uptown Records, the label on which Heavy D and The Boyz released their albums.
After the fifth group album, Heavy D went on to a solo rap career, releasing four more albums, the last of which, Love Opus, debuted in 2011. Heavy D also performed live for the first time in 15 years at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards in October. Myers demonstrated that rap music artists could succeed with unique styles and approaches to lyrics. While many of today’s rap music artists rely on the shock of foul language, Heavy D’s lyrics were always clean, yet engaging.
Myers also worked as the president and CEO of Uptown Records, and was instrumental in the development of Mary J. Blige. Myers also hired Diddy Combs early in his musical career. Uptown Records, renamed Uptown Entertainment folded after Myers left the organization to pursue acting opportunities.
In addition to his work as a music producer and recording artist, Myers also made guest appearances on several television series, an off-Broadway play, had a recurring role on Boston Public, and occasionally acted in motion pictures. His last appearance on the big screen was in “Tower Heist,” released in the US just four days before Myers’ death. Myers also provided the theme music for several television shows, including In Living Color and MADtv. He also made guest appearances for Michael and Janet Jackson, BB King, and appeared in the video for One More Chance by Notorious B.I.G.
Myers was nominated for Grammy awards in 1992, 1995, 1997, and most recently in 2009, and also received four nominations for Soul Train awards, winning Best Rap Album in both 1988 and 1990.
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Between his 7.5 million album sales, his number one rank on Twitter in terms of followers, more than 40 million fans on Facebook and more than 1 billion hits on YouTube, it should come as no surprise that Eminem is on top of the rap heap. No other rapper comes close to those numbers, but the love of one’s fans doesn’t always translate into financial success.
Not to say that Eminem isn’t very well off – he is. But there are other rappers who don’t rap quite as much who end up making more money than him, according to Forbes Magazine. In fact, the King Of Hip Hop found himself in a 3-way for 14th place, along with 50 Cent and Young Jeezy. How does that happen? While other rappers make music, more of their earnings come from sponsorships, product endorsements and production deals than from rap music. For Slim Shady, the money comes from the music and the fans love him for it.
Eminem’s income may get a bump from the $1M+ Chrysler commercial he shot for the Super Bowl, and the deal with Lipton Brisk iced tea, but don’t expect a lot of merchandizing deals from Slim just yet. At 38, he still believes he’s got a lot of rap beats to lay down before he assumes other roles in the music business.
Even though Eminem has a significant lead on other rappers in terms of sales and fans, there’s still plenty of room for new rappers in today’s rap and hip hop music scene. The art form has spent nearly 30 years building a diverse fan base, and rap has been used successfully as a way to reach out to a broad audience.
The genre is far more open to new talent than other musical styles and still represents one of the best, most efficient routes into the music business today. It still takes an investment of time to make the music people want to hear, but new rappers can get into the business by self-producing their own tracks, using something like Sonic Producer. With distribution channels like iTunes readily available to new rappers, there’s no reason not to join the party!
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C. KhiD says his songs appeal to the “under-30″ crowd, and says that he and a handful of hip hop music artists are changing the way hip hop music appeals to fans. Producers Johnny Juliano and Bravestarr Beats have recently created rap beats for hip hop music artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Travis Porter, and Nipsey Hussle.
Fans who want to download the music, or want to hear C. KhiD for the first time can visit C. KhiD’s Web site (ckhid.com) beginning Monday, October 25 to get the new tracks. C. KhiD’s producers say they expect to see 100,000 downloads in the first month. C. KhiD has already been building a quiet following on YouTube and on his own site. His YouTube hits have exceeded four million and his site boasts more than 100,000 hits each month. In addition, ringtones featuring C. KhiD’s music have been downloaded more than 350,000 times.
C KhiD’s approach underscores the importance of being yourself when it comes to producing and promoting your music. “I’ve had a lot of success on-line because people like who I am authentically. I love entertaining, I love music, and I love having fun. Will Smith, Heavy D, and Teddy Riley might have been the last successful people to do what I do and be successful,” says C. KhiD.
Online distribution is just one way in which independent hip hop music artists can promote their work. C. KhiD is also looking for support from local DJs and party promoters to help spread his music to new fans.
Independent artists can be successful when it comes to music self-production and self-promotion. One key in producing great rap beats is to have the right tools on hand for the job. One great tool to have is Sonic Producer. Sonic Producer is a software program that can not only help you put together rap beats, but also can show you how to put together the music that people want to hear. Check out Sonic Producer and see how it can help you get your music career started.
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The episode illustrates how powerful rap music and rap artists can be. One reason rap music is so influential is because it resonates with the fans. The artists also have their own resonance; they’re ordinary human beings, too. T.I. spent a year in federal prison on weapons charges, and was on supervised release when he and his wife, “Tiny” Harris were arrested on drug charges. The judge in T.I.’s case wasn’t moved by the rapper’s admission that an unaddressed drug addiction caused him to violate his probation, and the rapper was sentenced to an additional 11 months in prison.
Rap music artists are more than gangsters, however. T.I.’s suicide intervention and his charitable works show another side of the rap culture, which fans understand and appreciate. Rap music is more than just a genre; it’s part of a larger culture and a larger community.
Getting into the community isn’t as hard as you might think. Many artists have entered the rap music scene on a shoestring budget. Having music and the ability to make meaningful music is just the first step. Making the club scene and getting promoted by local DJs is another important part. That enables you to build a loyal – if local – fanbase.
Self-producing your own music isn’t hard. Start with a great product like Sonic Producer and you’re halfway there. Sonic Producer won’t help you with your lyrics, but it can teach you how to make beats and provides thousands of royalty-free music samples to choose from. You can mix your own beats and start making your own mixtapes.
Export your music to MP3 format and share it with your friends and with the people you meet. Sonic Producer is great because it helps you produce music anytime. You don’t need studio time or special equipment. Sonic Producer works on any computer and is available for both the Mac and PC platforms. If you want to be part of the rap scene, get your music together with Sonic Producer!
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Greed. DMN doesn’t come off saying that rap music artists are greedy. Instead, what they say is that materialism is built-in to the entertainment industry and rap musicians have figured out how to make the most of what they’ve got going. Rappers like Jay-Z epitomize the kind of “greed” that DMN is talking about. By marketing more than their music, rappers open up opportunities for themselves to expand their brands and make more money. Jay-Z, who currently earns more than any other rapper, does so by promoting a combination of interests: rap music, night clubs, entertainment, other rappers, clothing and more. By spreading out the brand image, rappers can make more money simply because they’ve got more cookie jars to get their hands into.
Building Culture. Rap and hip-hop musicians travel in the same circles. Having a rapper appear on another rapper’s album is part of the culture. Including samples from other songs – well-known and obscure alike – is part of what makes rap and hip-hop music unique. In addition, rappers refer to other rappers’ works, use each other’s language and have an ongoing conversation that the fans all understand. It allows the listeners to be part of the conversation and to understand what one artist means when s/he refers to another artist’s work.
Powerful, recurring themes. According to DMN, rap music focuses on some powerful, long-running themes, like poverty, violence, wealth, and sex. These themes are common not only to the rappers, but to the fans, who can relate closely with what the rapper is expressing. By giving fans something they can relate to, rappers encourage them to be loyal listeners, and also provide a way for fans to explore these themes in their own lives.
Last but not least, fans are engaged. By keeping fans involved in the evolution of the music, by feeding their desire to hear more of their favorite artists, by showing them their favorite rappers in movies, television programs and other entertainment outlets, and by releasing significantly more material (mostly free), rap musicians prosper even during today’s deep recession.
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Collaborate. Collaborations are king in the rap music world, and according to the research, collaborations sell better and are more interesting to the listening audience than tracks (and albums) that feature a single artist. By combining artists, DMN argues that producers can “share” fans and get more reliable and effective exposure for up-and-coming acts.
DJs count. According to DMN, DJs are critical to exposing a new artist to the listening audience. They also create a market for rap and hip-hop music by creating mixtapes that are distributed at no cost to the listener. While some may mistake the mixtape as an outlet for material that’s not good enough to be put on an album, the mixtape freebies actually create an ongoing music feed to the audience and increase demand for the artists’ music.
More work means more music. In the past musicians would work intensely for a relatively short period of time to create enough usable tracks for an album. Today’s top musicians (in more genres than just rap) work all the time. Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga are notable examples of musicians who record daily. Not every track is worth putting on an album; in fact, only a few tracks make it to the album stage, but the artist creates a new product every day. This generates a lot of material that would otherwise not be created, or would be thrown away. Today’s artists give away a lot of their music. For example, Lil Wayne has given away more music than most traditional musicians make in their entire careers. The benefits? Audiences have become very familiar with Lil Wayne and reward him by buying his albums when he does produce one. Another benefit? Lil Wayne can release albums at will. He has enough material available to put out a collection whenever the timing is right.
Rappers Find A Lot of Local Support Because rap musicians regularly pay tribute to where they came from, they get a lot of support from fans in those areas. By building a base of support – which includes regular mentions of the places they’re familiar with – rappers can count on receptive audiences for music sales and tours.
In my next post, I’ll look at the other four reasons DMN says that rap musicians are better at the business aspects of music than artists who work in other genres.
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This isn’t the first time that West and Mos Def have worked together. Mos Def appeared on West’s “Two Words” a track on the 2005 album College Dropout and again on “Drunk and Hot Girls” from West’s 2007 Graduation album. Mos Def has worked primarily as a solo artist, although his first album, Black Star, featured himself and Talib Kweli. His albums have each been released by a different record label, and one – True Magic – received no promotion at all, either by the record label (Geffen Records) or by the artist himself. He has appeared in several other albums and collaborations with other artists and he’s recently developed his own clothing line.
It remains to be seen whether Mos Def will become more productive or mainstream on the G.O.O.D. Music label. Despite his limited album releases and movement from label to label, the hip-hop artist has had an undeniable influence on hip hop music. Working with West and his growing collection of rap and hip-hop artists may finally allow Mos Def to achieve what many see as his true potential.
In the mean time, the hip-hop music world waits for another bright star. Many new artists are entering the business on their own, thanks to the availability of music self production tools. Even as little as ten years ago, self-production was relatively unheard of in music circles, because self production is only half the picture. Promotion is what sells records, and weak self-production tools and poor self-promotion channels meant that new, independent artists had little chance of being heard.
Today, all of that has changed. Self-produced music is much more common, and tools like Sonic Producer make self-production easier than ever. Self promotion is available through the Internet, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, and sales channels like iTunes. In terms of music, there has never been a better time to be a self-producer than right now.
Sonic Producer is available for download on both the PC and Macintosh platforms. Download your copy today and see how easy self-producing your own music can be!
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Some analysts attribute the decline in sales to the recession and music piracy. Digital distribution is also cutting into album sales, but digital music sales are also reported to be down. The album format isn’t as popular as it may have been at one time in part because digital distribution enables people to buy the songs they want without having to buy an entire album.
The popularity of music services like iTunes should convince at least some people that consumers are willing to buy music. The advantage that iTunes offers is that it enables people to buy music economically and choose only the songs they want to hear, without having to pay for songs they don’t. It’s popular because it delivers exactly what the consumer wants.
Still, industry analysts are left with the nagging impression that music sales should be higher. They base this conclusion on the fact that there are a lot of MP3 players, and sales of MP3 devices are relatively healthy. They reason that if people are buying the players, they should also be buying the music to go along with them, right?
MP3 players are for more than just digital music though. A lot of people have converted their existing music libraries to digital format. This provides the listener with what they want at no cost since they’ve already purchased the media. People choose to listen to other audio products like podcasts.
People also choose to produce their own music. Self-produced music is growing in popularity and people now have the tools they need to make the sounds they’re interested in hearing. Sonic Producer is a great example of a complete music production software suite. With Sonic Producer, even a novice music producer can create the sounds s/he wants to hear and export professional-sounding results to MP3. Don’t believe me? Download your copy of Sonic Producer today and find out just how easy it can be to self-produce your own music.
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At Fat Beats, it was not at all unusual to find professional and amateur DJs, and fans alike crowded around the store’s turntables to hear the latest that the musical genre had to offer. DJs and MCs were free to promote themselves among true hip hop aficionados. New sounds and new techniques were the order of the day at Fat Beats and many new artists found their inspiration there. The staff were hired based on their knowledge and love of hip hop,
Scratching has given way to electronic sampling and sound generation. Selling music has also been replaced by the digital download. And ultimately, that’s what’s brought Fat Beats to its current state. When it comes to music, digital is the way to go from production to distribution. Electronic music formats make not only professional production and distribution easier, it also enables self-publishing for individuals who – no matter how talented – escape the notice of the music publishing industry.
Fat Beats has closed its last retail store, but the company isn’t gone. It’s merely moving into the next phase of its existence. It has reinvented itself as a music label, and an online music retailer. Yes, it will still sell the vinyl that made its name, but it will also distribute music. Hip hop music fans can still count on Fat Beats to provide the best hip hop music collection available.
Digital distribution outlets like iTunes and Fat Beats give self-publishers a real opportunity to make the kind of music they want to make as well as an opportunity to be heard. Self-published music defeats the record label “‘gatekeeping” system that’s been established. The traditional system of music publishing meant that “hit” sounds and styles were copied precisely because the originals were successful, even though it meant that other original sounds – which might have had more public appeal – went unnoticed or unpublished.
Today, self-publication makes music anyone’s game. Anyone can come up with a club hit, a YouTube smash or just consistently good music that’s followed by a limited number of loyal fans.
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