• Looking ahead

    Gen 26 2012, 9:54

    My greetings and salutations to all whom have made it to 2012. We are in that time where we can reflect and reminisce and hopefully problem solve. I am sure we have mad things to talk about and hopefully take on 2012 with optimism and the proper attitude to make sure we progress. I am at a point where I can't express enough how blessed and fortunate I am to be South African. We have come a long way, since apartheid and I commend everybody who contributed to the positive changes in this country. I feel we have to pay tribute to all those soldiers who gave their lives on the front lines in order for us to be able to enjoy and exploit many opportunities we have at our fingertips. In Hip Hop we still have hardcore soldiers spitting and working hard to make sure we get to a point where we need to be. Many issues still need to be addressed and taken care of especially on the social and economical front. We have crazy things to fix that apartheid has left behind for us to deal with and the unfortunate scourge of corrupt politics.

    We are also going up against a host of community leaders that don't have a clue on how to deal with youth issues. This is where the MC's come in to straighten things out and give clues about frustrations and where their headspaces are. A lot of our leaders do not listen to our young people, they hear us, but they don't listen. This I feel is why they keep on missing our points and the communication gap keeps on growing further apart. Hip Hop need to become a more important player in this field, which is why I always make the point of becoming organized. In that respect we will have a better position, stronger influence and a better platform to work and get our points across. Our culture will always be misrepresented; candy coated and watered down if we don't get serious about issues that knock us off balance from time to time. A point that I am trying to make is- why do a rapper want to spit in circles where he or she will only be heard by a limited amounted people and in most cases to heads with the same issues and subject matter. (nothing wrong with exchanging ideas, swapping notes or presenting fresh lyrics). Our objectives should be to reach the masses and the ears of those in influential positions. We cannot excel with a half ass mad rapper temperament and expect to be taken serious.

    Many cats have signed deals, but ended up being mad because things did not go as expected. In this game you have to be realistic with a clear plan and a safety net. Waiting for us is world that’s ready to be engaged, if we don’t go out prepared and equipped, chances are that we will be going in circles forever. We need to support one another and stop holding people back that are making moves because they are opening doors and giving us experiences we can learn from. I know more heads will release albums and do great projects this year because we have built a great pathway. Get involved and be a part of the growing process and please make valued criticisms and not that brainless sour grape bullsh…..t floating around on many chat rooms.

    I wish Mzansi well and may we go from strength to strength.

    DJ Ready D
  • No pay no play - by DJ Ready D

    Gen 26 2012, 9:53

    I want to share my thoughts with you that relates to money, ching, moola, zak, miering, imali, loot or what ever you choose to term this schizophrenic necessity. The daunting question is – can I survive doing what I love and in this case, can we get paid being a Hip Hop artist. I have many mixed feelings and opinions about this subject.

    Money issues in this game can sometimes become a journey into a vortex or utopia depending on how much you get paid or being ripped off. Sometimes we have ourselves to blame for not getting paid because we don’t pay attention to the business aspect of the industry.

    Many up and coming artist are disillusioned by these bling orientated music videos and spreads in magazines. Many artists are groomed by big labels and it cost mad money to complete the process. Adds in magazines, music videos, studio time, travel, tour cost, drugs and ho’s, stylist, cars, just to name a few from a very long list all adds up and must be recouped, meaning that your ass won’t get paid until your bill with the label gets settled. A huge advance don’t mean a thing and the chances of a new artist or group getting a compromised deal is very slim these days. Every cent, all loans and expenses are collected by who ever you are signed to as soon as your album moves out of the music stores. It is difficult to predict if your album will blow up because people have a bigger choice and more means to acquire music. Many artist survive from live shows, sponsorship deals, merchandise and new ways of selling their work via the internet.

    It is a relief to see many artist talking the independent route because it allows space to be creative and introduce us to the soul of the music. Going this route requires business savvy and the understanding of the market you want to penetrate. This is a very exciting and challenging option which means that you have to work tens times harder than somebody with a regular nine to five because you seldom get to switch off and chill. If living on the edge and hard work gives you a rush, then this way will be very job rewarding. My advice to new cats entering the scene is make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into, get good legal and managing representation and most importantly – get an education in case things don’t work out as you wished.

    Being talented don’t mean much in the commercial industry. The bottom line is if you don’t sell albums and settle your bills – your vernac skills, punch lines, metaphors and player looks will be nothing but forgotten trash. Learning to make and spend money needs planning and careful consideration because some fool will buy a 20k watch or a phat ride without making sure if the rent money or other important issues are accounted for. Some stupid saying is that we only live once and we must spoil ourselves. I have nothing against someone who has worked hard and deserves to get that object of desire. What I am saying is make sure your priorities are covered, your financial future is planned and you can afford to splash some cash. Anxiety, despondency, feelings of failure, drugs and other negative energy starts to reveal itself when the pockets become flat. It is at this point where resentment, self pity and people close to you gets blamed for your disappointments.
    Crooked managers, promoters, club owners, labels and other exploiters are always on the prowl waiting for some fresh young talent to chew up.
    I am not trying to be pessimistic or scare people off. I only want artist to be aware of the pit falls. If this can be avoided, then the industry can grow and empires can be built. Many books and various forms of literature are available. Do research and make sure that your intentions and reasons are clear. We have to put our money where our mouths are. This might sound cliché – but no pay means no play.

    Make millions; be responsible, humble and sincere with your talent and money.

    DJ Ready D
  • Digging in the crates by DJ Ready D

    Gen 26 2012, 9:49

    All of us had our own first introductions and encounters with Hip Hop. Some of us remember that song or the moment that turned our world on its head and made it spin like a B Boy doing bullet head spins. This is a short list and breakdown of some tracks that influenced and shaped Hip Hop music.

    Rappers Delight – The Sugar Hill Gang – When I heard this track I could feel it right away. They flipped on a huge disco hit called Good Times by a band called Chic. They were rhyming about partying and having a good time and this was my first little window into the Afro American experience other than that Blacksploitation movies at that time. This song was re-done by The Def Squad and both versions stand as classics today.

    Wikki wikki song – Nucleus – This was a strange track that came out in the early eighties. Strange but funky and this is what made us jump on the floor and rock those B Boy moves. This track also had those squeaky voices that was processed through a vocoder and they inspired the name of our first B Boy Crew Called the Ballastic Rockers.

    Jam on it – Nucleus - This was the return of the squeaky voiced rappers from outer space and this time it became more funky. This track gave you street credit and only a selected few had this track. When I hear this track it reminds me of one the B Boys called Ashley that was way ahead of his time. This song brought out the futuristic next level shhhht out of this B Boy. Most Def did a remix of this song as well.

    The Payback Mix – This was a mega mix done by the British DJ Production Crew called Cold Cuts. This was the music of the most sampled musician of all time – none other than the Godfather of Soul – James Brown. The track selection and the way it flowed made this one of the greatest DJ produced works.

    White Lines – MC Melle Mell – When I heard this song it felt like I was part of the instrumentation and the lyrics because it hit home and gave me a better view of my surroundings. This is one of Hip Hop’s first conscious tracks that told it like it is.

    The Adventures of Grand Master Flash – You cannot call yourself a DJ if you did not hear this track. This was the first DJ track that highlighted cutting and scratching and it laid the groundwork for everything else to follow. Grand Master Flash was amongst the first DJ’S to take turntablism to the next level.

    Sucker MC’s – Run DMC – When this came out it changed the sound and the look of Hip Hop forever. They made Adidas and pork pie Hats the ultimate in Hip Hop fashion. Other songs to check out – Peter Piper, My Adidas and Beats to the rhyme and Hit it Run.

    Rock the bells – LL Cool J – As far as I am concerned this was LL’s first and best work ever. This came out at the right time and it was the ultimate display of lyrical marksmanship with the Bomb production to go with it. LL even came off better on the remix of Rock the Bells. Also check out Mamma said knock you out, Jack the Ripper and the Bigger and Deafer album. - Other Tracks with a similar vibe and energy -Hold It now, Hit it – Beastie Boys,The Bridge – MC Shan, The Bridge is over – KRS 1 – this was a diss for MC Shan for doing The Bridge.

    If you call yourself a Hip Hop Head, I feel it is important to get these tracks because it indicates the journey we have traveled and gives us an insight into the history of this culture. It will even be better to get it on vinyl because that is the essence of a head to go out and make the effort and dig into those crates.The list and the short breakdowns will continue in part 2. Happy hunting and get those South African albums as well.