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What’s good ya’ll, been a minute since I wrote a blog so I figured I’d jump right back into it. Self Portrait has and continues to receive a positive reception, and I thank everyone of you that have and continue to play a role in that success. Even though I’ve been rapping for years, this album taught me a lot. I gained knowledge that I didn’t have prior in regards to how certain markets work (I’ll dig a little deeper into that in a little bit) and also gained some new fantastic supporters along the way. But enough about that, lets get into the meat of this blog. As you all know (or may not know) I’m a veteran in the music industry. I got my start in the industry years ago when an A&R at Universal heard my demo entitled ‘Eclectic’ and he loved my single ‘Music’ . From that point I started writing songs for artist and shopping songs to other Labels. Then my ‘break’ came when myself and KiD CuDi released my single ‘Take Em High’.
I continued to make my mark further in the Industry ghost writing, recording albums, shopping songs to Sony, and starting my own imprint/label. Gaining record spins on Hot 97, press from MTV, BET, The Source, XXL and etc. You name it, I’ve made my mark. Everything was great until I had what I would like to call a ‘moment of enlightenment’. It came at a time I least expected (July 2012). I just purchased a new property, had two new cars in my drive way, and yet one day I felt unfulfilled. I was seated in my new studio and felt everything was worthless because I simply did not feel fulfilled. I had material things but it still felt like something was lacking, and that was a relationship with God. I started to read the Bible and God made it clear that life has to have structure, and without that structure things can’t flow properly. That structure is God, You, Family, and everything else. The problem I had was that I had put everything else first and had no foundation in God. So I had to keep it real with myself. I renewed my relationship with God and got a better perception of where my life should be headed.
I still have all my material possessions that most rappers boast about (property, cars, and etc) however my new mentality became to be humble (humbles the new cocky). Naturally that progression created a shift in my music. My new music/direction became clear, to make music from a realist perspective that shows people where I’m at in my life. I wanted people to know I’m not perfect, I got flaws, and issues like the next man. But the goal is to show people that regardless of my imperfections I strive to do and be better. The result of that new direction was two albums in less than one year ‘Read Between The Lines’ and ‘Self Portrait’. Self Portrait gave all of you me, the good, the bad, the past and present all wrapped into 18 tracks. Now, the million dollar question is this, what have I learned since making my albums on this new journey? Seeing that my music is labeled as ‘conscious’ I get support from lots of mainstream outlets. Also, because I am a Christian there are also a few Christian Hip Hop outlets that have shown support. But for the most part I’ve learned a simple lesson, the Christian Hip Hop business has some serious problems. The main issue that has to be addressed is the elephant in the room, and that elephant is payola.
Don’t believe me, on any given day go to one of these websites and be subjected to bad music at your own risk and you’ll see my point. At first I thought who is A&Ring this content? How can so many bad artist be promoted on these sites with banner ads, side ads, and any other ad possible to man kind, but the answers simple, they pay. Now the rabbit hole goes deeper because there appears to be no filter, and as long as your paying their playing. Which opens up my debate that I challenge all of you to discuss, at what point should someone draw the line? Just because an artist is paying you (even though you know it’s bad) do you still go along with it to get paid? It appears the answer is yes when it comes to a lot of these outlets. You’d be amazed at the amount of email pitches my team gets from ‘Christian’ outlets that want us to pay them to post my content (seriously) It’s sad but yet funny to me at the same time because they obviously have no clue who I am or who I know in the music industry. It amazes me I can send my brother Peter Rosenberg my music and he’ll play it on Hot 97, but a ‘Christian’ website won’t post a song or video unless my team pays money, something’s wrong.
The thing that amuses me most is that I get genuine support from non Christian outlets all the time. And these are major outlets, so the question becomes what’s so ‘Christian’ about some of these outlets that only ‘support’ Christians when it involves payola? If mainstream outlets support the message without a question, I have to challenge these individuals that operate under a ‘Christian’ theme when their actions only reflect the dollar as their bottom line. And of course most of them come back with the age old tired game of ‘we have to cover expenses’ (yeah, we be knowing) what the real agenda is. None the less I thank God for the position he’s put me in for a few reasons. First off, I don’t have to rap, however I do it because I love Hip Hop and enjoy making message music that provides listeners with a fresh perspective. Secondly, being in this position God put me in I have a clear advantage, I don’t care. Meaning, I don’t care what any of these outlets think about this blog anymore than I care about if Trinidad James ever makes another terrible song about gold all in his watch (feel me). I’m here to do what God has put me in this position to do, make quality music that resonates with people, talk about my faith, and ruffle some feathers by speaking what everyone thinks but is too scared to speak on it. Bottom line, A lot of ya’ll need to check yourselves.
Now, in all fairness I don’t want this blog to come across like all Christian Hip Hop outlets are negative, because there have been a few that have shown genuine/authentic support, and you guys know who you are, and I appreciate ya’ll (serious dialect). My goal is not to condemn those individuals mentioned previously. Rather my intent is to generate awareness in regards to The Elephant In The Room. I do feel that the genre of Christian Hip Hop has shown potential and has a handful of artist that have shown promise. However a house divided against itself cannot stand. If outlets such as radio shows, websites, dj’s, podcast, and others that are held in high regard continue to promote artist based upon payment and turn a blind eye in regards to the lack of talent this impacts the culture in a negative fashion. Especially when these outlets are the main places the public goes to listen to Christian Hip Hop; they are doing a great disservice to the culture. This blog is to serve as a wake up call to a lot of individuals that need it. In closing, ya’ll can move with us or move out the way. Humbles the new cocky.