Review: Young Money label the winner in Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour


drake-wayneMANSFIELD – Rap stars Drake and Lil Wayne played adversaries at the Xfinity Center Monday night, rattling off hits and trading comedic put-downs in a battle for “immortality” and the title of “greatest rapper in the world.” The Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour featured multiple rounds of competition, a smartphone app for fans to download and cheesy graphics that turned the two megastars into video game characters.

For just over two hours, the hitmakers alternated 15-minute sets, shared the stage for a song-for-song battle and unleashed their best material during a final round before they united for a series of joint hits while fireworks and flames danced behind them. Then Lil Wayne was declared “the winner” (rightfully so), Drake sang Lil Wayne’s praises as the “greatest rapper to ever do this” and the charade was over.

Yes, the competition may have been a smart way to spin a co-headlining tour and get a video game maker on board for a sponsorship. And it was fun to see Drake and Wayne as fake foes. But their matching Young Money chains said it all – Drake is the flagship star of Weezy’s Young Money Entertainment, and their allegiance is clearly to one another…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.


Grinding hard or hardly grinding? An introduction to rap music marketing


Behold, a rap marketing genius.

Confession: I got tired of rappers spamming links on Twitter as the basis of their “promotional strategy,” realized there’s a lack of know-how about marketing in the indie rap world and decided to write this marketing guide.

I’m by no means a marketing “expert” (if such a thing really exists), but I have learned a great deal about the subject as a freelance writer required to market myself to get work and as a music journalist on the receiving end of marketing from artists for nearly 10 years, and I hope to share some of that knowledge in this series. While the info will be geared towards rappers, it applies to most endeavors that require self-promotion.

In this first installment, I’ll lay out a brief overview of marketing and explain the difference between effective and ineffective marketing. Future posts will include information about branding, press materials, using social media effectively, improving the quality of your music, building relationships, staging better live shows, grinding in the streets instead of talking about grinding in the streets, and much more…continue reading at Rap Rehab.

Concert review: Beyonce and Jay Z are ‘flawless’ in Foxboro

beyonce jay zFOXBORO — Two-and-a-half hours, more than 40 songs and too many wardrobe changes to count. Music’s reigning supercouple Jay Z and Beyonce delivered an eye-popping, breathtaking show at Gillette Stadium Tuesday night that raised the bar for joint tours — and tours in general.

It was a concert that featured lengthy dance interludes, video snippets of the pair’s gangster non-movie “Run,” audio segments about feminism and a lengthy barrage of hits.

Their songs frequently blended together and sometimes worked in momentary riffs by artists ranging from Michael Jackson to the Notorious B.I.G. Visually and sonically, no detail was neglected…continue reading at The Sun Chronicle.

My philosophy of life courtesy of Damon Dash

“My win is to never in life have a boss. To always be free to say what I want. To be able to empower the people I love. That’s my dream. My dream is to make the money without selling out. Anything else is a loss to me. Somebody might say ‘If somebody pays me $100 million to be a slave, then I won.’ That would be a loss to me. But it’s about perspective. I’m looking at it through a completely different lens than most people, because most people that judge me have jobs. Entrepreneurs don’t do that. And again, I don’t judge you for that. You’ve never been free.” –Damon Dash (1:09:11)

How to create a freelance writing schedule that boosts your productivity


As a freelance writer, it’s easy to start the day with lofty goals, only to find that by dinnertime all you’ve done is catch up with fifth-grade BFFs on Facebook, play with your cat and write a half-baked outline of a piece you were hoping to finish.

That’s where a schedule comes into play.

As much as freelance writing is about freedom and writing award-winning articles in your pajamas, it’s also about discipline and structure. And it all begins with your schedule.

Having a daily schedule that outlines what you’re supposed to do at specific times — and sticking to it — is how you become a productive, powerful freelance force to be reckoned with. So here are some tips for creating a freelance writing schedule that will help to boost your productivity:
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When did rap become so ridiculous?

Behold, Gucci Mane.

Behold, Gucci Mane.

I’m sorry, but at what point do rappers become ridiculous? Yes, I understand that you’re insanely wealthy and you own 16 cars and ALL of your bitches (of which you have several) are extremely fly as well as half-naked, not to mention there’s a gigantic pool in your backyard where all of your fly bitches congregate.

I get it. I got it the first 847 times every commercial rapper (save for one or—well, one) tried to stuff that garbage down my throat. Can’t anyone be a little more original?

The culture of materialism and degradation that’s posing as hip hop makes me nauseous. Listening to modern-day mainstream rap after growing up during hip hop’s golden age is like finding out your little sister has become a prostitute…continue reading at Rap Rehab.

Why Chuck D was right about Hot 97

chuck-dBy now the Chuck D/Hot 97 beef has been well-documented by blogs, and anyone with access to Twitter can see the back-and-forth exchange that’s spanned several days.

Long story short, Chuck D blasted Hot 97 for this year’s Summer Jam show, calling it a “sloppy fiasco” and criticizing the liberal use of the n-word, questioning where Hot 97 would be if the concert had been filled with Anti-Semitic and gay slurs. He wants urban radio to “get it right or be gone.”

Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 responded, and a war of Twitter words ensued.

On the surface this seems like just another social media spat that will be forgotten tomorrow, but in reality it runs much deeper than that…continue reading at Rap Rehab.

5 questions I still have about the Jay Z-Solange elevator brawl

jayz-beyonce-solangeI know, I know. Elevatorgate has already been discussed to death. There are more important things to focus on and more constructive things I could be doing with my time than writing about the family strife between Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange. Just because I share the last name Carter with two-thirds of the clan does not mean this is any of my business. And yet, I live on Earth, so I’ve seen the video, and I’ve heard the incessant chatter, and I’ve read the “think pieces,” and even though the trio issued a statement saying they’ve “worked through it,” I still have so many questions about what, exactly, “it” was. So I pose the following inquiries:  Read More

The 10 most common press release mistakes — and how to fix them

avoid-these-thingsWriting a good press release isn’t rocket science, but there are some important rules to follow and mistakes to avoid if you want to increase your chances of scoring publicity.

I became all-too-familiar with these mistakes in my first newspaper gig. Part of my job involved taking press releases and turning them into listings or briefs — short blurbs with just the bare facts. Besides being incredibly tedious, this chore exposed me to common errors in press releases that make it difficult, if not impossible, for journalists to get the information they need.

Though I transitioned out of that listings gig a long time ago, I still receive press releases on a regular basis, and I still see the same errors. Some are minor, but others basically guarantee that the release will end up in the trash bin.

So in no particular order, here are the most common mistakes in a press release, and how to avoid them:  Read More

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