Federal Prism, the new record label from TV On The Radio‘s Dave Sitek and his partner Jeff Bowers, is trying a new approach to releasing music.
It’s become clear in recent years that where mass marketing was once the name of the game in the music biz, direct fan engagement is now the holy grail for artists and those labels interested in building careers. But how best to make that connection?
Federal Prism’s answer is thorough online interaction with fans. New music from their roster will now be released on SoundCloud prior to any retail release. Going even further, the label will offer select track stems (essentially deconstructed pieces of songs) for fans and other artists to hear and remix.
“The goal here is to allow listeners to participate fully in the creative and marketing process, in many cases prior to the commercial release,” said Bowers. “SoundCloud gives us an opportunity to break albums and singles with a completely new engagement strategy. Young producers and fans will have access to new music before it’s proper release, but more importantly they will have a unique opportunity to reinvent the track and interact directly with the producer and artist while doing so.”
Head over to their SoundCloud page starting today for the first such releases, including music from TV On The Radio, Oh Land, Chuck Inglish, Asher Roth, and more. And look for new releases soon from Sitek, Kelis, Scarlett Johansson, Stardeath, and the White Dwarves.
With the 2012 presidential campaign well underway, hip-hop heavyweights are weighing in on the Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney battle. While the celebrity circuit has been relatively quiet compared to the last election, some stars are stepping up to lend their support to Obama, while others are just encouraging young people to vote.
Last week, legendary rapper Immortal Technique voiced his support for President Obama, and doubted he would be ousted come November.
“I don’t think [Romney will] be elected. I’m not saying there’s no chance. I just think the chips are going to fall with Obama. I think a lot of people are very invested in that, and the infrastructure of America ” especially finishing these wars and going through economic change ” rare to see them oust a president that way. Although, Romney does have a huge, huge cash influx, which makes him able to put all these ads out. It’ll just be up to the swing states. New York is always going to be Democrat for the most part,” he told Vlad TV.
He also took some time to compare the two candidates, noting Romney’s new focus on personality. (more…)
OurStage artists Delta Rae have had quite the year. Adding to their impressive list of accomplishments, the group has now announced that they will be performing at this year’s Democratic National Convention, alongside the Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Motion City Soundtrack, and Asher Roth. The Convention will be held September 4th-6th in Charlotte, NC.
Delta Rae have been an OurStage favorite for several years, after winning the “Shout It Out With HANSON” Competition in 2010. They were most recently recognized by Rolling Stone in the “Women Who Rock” cover contest. Check out their brand new video for “Morning Comes” below:
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Nottz wants to restore the boom-bap in rap. He misses the kind of hard-hitting bass patterns that formed the undercarriage of so many of hip hop’s no-frills golden moments before Diddy added glamor to the street and took it mainstream. As a beatmaker he has stuck to that creed in his productions of artists like Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Busta Rhymes among countless others, both radio popular and underground. But this year he entered the club of producers who rap with his solo artist premiere You Need This Music. It is a minute group peopled with such luminaries as Dr. Dre, Kanye West, J.Dilla, Diddy and Q-Tip who have all had different levels of success being able to direct the mic and hold it as well. The artist role may be new to him but the lack of compromise that all great artists possess is already in his DNA. In this interview he explains why maintaining his vision is necessary, the creative process and why you really do need his music.
Why the transition to the artist slot?
There’s a lot of wackness coming out right now to sum it all up. Too much trash coming out right now, my kids listen to this music. You got dope talk, you got gun talk, you got gang talk and all that and kids look at it like it’s cool, and it’s not cool.
How does it feel to have finished your first solo album and to now promote it and take on the duties of the artist?
I’m starting from the beginning. I really started out rapping and how I got into beats is no one would give me beats so I started doing my own thing. I like it and then I don’t like it because a lot of people don’t know who you are. They know my music as a producer but they don’t know what I look like. But being an artist, it’s hard for a new artist to come out being a producer. It kind of gives me a big push on everything.
I’ve noticed that you will produce someone like Kanye West then produce a rap act like Pitch Black. A lot of guys on your level won’t touch any underground rappers. Why are you so democratic?
It’s just the way I was raised, my heart is bigger than anything. I will work with anyone, my manager will tell you I don’t care who you are. I will work with you. I just want to hear good music on the radio. I just want to hear it. To hear good music is like the best thing to me.
You use a lot of soul samples and movies soundtracks, can you tell me something about your creative process?
The majority of the records that the tracks came from we had major artists that wanted to deal with the record but they got kind of scared of the record and didn’t want to mess with it. The tracks that’s up there I took from them, I said I’d write something to it and make it work. With the samples, my father he was a DJ back in the day in the ˜70s. And my brother he started doing DJing, and my dad has all kinds of soul records. I grew-up listening to all that so that’s how I really got into soul. I really listen to everything from jazz, gospel and all that.
Why do hip hop fans “need this music”? What is different about your work from the stuff you call “flashy”?
It’s good music trying to bring the boom-bap back the way it’s supposed to be. Everything evolves, it’s going back you had like Kid ‘N Play and Just Ice and BDP and all that, and these young folks don’t know about none of that. We really need to school them on this kind of music. The album I did, it’s versatile. I got Travis Barker up there, I got Snoop up there, I got Dwele up there, Mayer Hawthorne, it’s a whole record. It’s full of substance. I’m not just rapping on it, I’m talking about something on it. I’m not going to the club making it rain and all that. It’s just good music that the world needs to hear.
Any more updates on Dr. Dre’s Detox that you have worked on?
All I can say is it’s coming out but I don’t know when.
How did you connect with Dilla and what did you take from that relationship?
Dilla wanted to work with me. I was one of his favorite producers and it as crazy because he was one of mine. He came out here and we started working. At first he was little quiet until he felt everybody out and he just felt at home. I did a couple of joints for his album that was coming out on MCA. I did two joints and I guess Diamonds made it. I still got two records that nobody heard ever and you’ll never hear them. I’m not wasting it right now. I probably never let people hear them unless you come here. That dude was so cool, he got Diamond D to produce a track for him. I was one of the first people he reached out to for that album. We were supposed to do an album together. We sent hundreds and hundreds of beats back and forth just vibing off of each other. He did the album with Jaylib. I wish my homie was still here, we’d take the world over right quick.
Your album with Rah Digga is solid and yet even you admit that not as many people that should be listening to her are. Why do you think she hasn’t reached a larger audience yet? Do you think this album will change that?
You got the pop-rap people versus people who are on Digga’s level. Digga is more of a rapper than an entertainer, it’s no gimmicks with her. She’s just raw. There’s not too many female emcees who can touch her. Not even female emcees, emcees period. She’s better than most dudes.
How did you come up with the beat for Dwele’s I Wish?
I did it for Game and Dwele was like “We need to get Game on the record.” I hit Game up and he said he would do it, but it never happened. I never told Dwele that, but he will see it now.
Who are your favorite producers?
Black Milk, 9th Wonder, Hi-Tek, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, it goes on. There’s a lot of dudes out there. A lot of people don’t hear these dudes and they need to hear them.
What’s your advice to up-and-coming beatmakers on how to learn the business side of things?
You’re gonna get shafted one day or another. You send beats out or whatever then you just got people who are just leaking your records. If you just get it started sometimes that don’t even matter, it’s free promotion. It’s not doing you any good money wise, but it will help you out in the long run. As far as dudes being artists coming up, turn the radio off, stay in your own lane. I’m in the studio everyday from 4:00 to 4:00 except Sunday. I work. I don’t have a radio in here, a TV. I’m constantly working. I listen to my own music. Dilla always told me “Man don’t change for anybody.” One year when I was making music, I changed my bassline and I could tell nobody was really feeling like they were the year before.
You did My Whole Life for Sunshine Anderson. Are there any other female R&B singers you would like to produce?
Everybody. I wanna produce for everybody, I don’t care who you are.
What inspires you as a beatsmith and a rapper?
People doing the same thing I’m doing. People who want to make a change who want to bring the real hip hop back. Really the underdog, they inspire me.
You know we have the Raw project coming out in November. Me and Asher Roth, that’s going to be crazy. We got Derrick 32Zero on the Raw Concept label. We have Stacey Epps is coming out. Truck North is coming out.
How do you like being a label owner?
I love it. We don’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves and the fans. The fans are the ones that count. At a major label, they just throw stuff out and if people don’t bite on to it then you’re done.
Are you going to tour the record or do any videos?
We got a couple of videos. We probably shoot the one with Snoop then we’re going to shoot the one with Dwele, the one with Mayer Hawthorne and we’re going to do a couple of videos off the Raw EP.
Tamara Harris is a music blogger who has published past work in Blues and Soul, Floss, Grip, AOL City and The Metro Times.
It’s not often you read a rapper’s blog and find a quote from William Faulkner. Or a critique of the new Harper’s Bazaar cover. But then again, it’s not often you come across a rapper as original as RAtheMC. In addition to being a well-read fashionista, RAtheMC is also a vintage hip hop connoisseur and a fearless freestyler and cipher participant (one video clip on her MySpace page shows her throwing down with Asher Roth egging her on from the sidelines.) Her sinister swerve recalls Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill, whether she’s spitting lyrics about discovering her boyfriend is bisexual in her remake of Biz Markie’s Just a Friend or declaring Music be my first love / Maybe he my second in the byzantine What Else.
Probably RA’s strongest musical showing to date is her song Nikki Boy, a collaboration with noted DC producer, Judah. Nikki Boy plays off of Toni Basil’s campy hit Hey Mickey, but transforms it into a bouncing dance single that approaches the hip-pop confection of Hey Ya. It’s definitely catchier than Faulkner.