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Author Christian Farrad's Tips on How to "Protect Ya Neck!" from "Vampires" in The Cut-Throat Music Business

Posted by Billyjam, February 20, 2016 11:51pm | Post a Comment

No doubt hip-hop artists and aspiring artists of any genre will find interest in Protect Ya Neck!  [A Music Industry Survival Guide]. To be published in late March, the Christian Farrad authored non-fiction book promises to reveal "tips to survive (and thrive) in the cut-throat world of entertainment." 

A New York City-based business manager specializing in music and entertainment, Farrad's background includes being GM of Miami independent rap label Slip N Slide Records. While by no means the first tome to tackle the topic of the snake-filled music industry (Fredric Dannen's 1990 book Hit Men remains one of the best in that genre), it does put a contemporary (as in digital age) and hip-hop generation themed spin on its subject matter. This it does via the scenarios cited in its many what-not-to-do tales of the music industry like why Eminem had to sue his record label for miscalculating digital sales of his music or Lil Wayne filing a $51 Million lawsuit against his label over unpaid royalties. Beyonce firing her manager for stealing money from her tour and Rihanna suing her accountant for mismanaging her money are among the other cautionary tales examined in the book that promises to teach, among other things, "defensive strategies to protect ya neck!"

Books like Farrad's offer invaluable tools to navigate the pitfalls of the tricky music business. And there are many, from the importance of management to the ins-and-outs of publishing, and the unforeseen challenges of long term music distribution in the digital age. Unfortunately, it seems, most young artists starting out in their careers (i.e., those who need to read books like this the most) likely will not read them, at least not until after the fact. Typically they'll be too preoccupied with jumping headfirst into their music careers to stop, read, study, and take a sober look at the big picture of what lies ahead. This week I reached out to author Farrad to ask him about this and other topics related to his forthcoming publication.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: New Releases, Bay Area Vibez, Del in Denver, Psalm One, Goodword + Tahaj the First, Stretch & Bobbito + more

Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2015 11:46am | Post a Comment

New and recent hip-hop album releases to arrive in Amoeba Music's three retail outlets and on the online Amoeba store include Mac Miller's GO:OD A.M. on Warner Brothers, Glasses Malone's GH2: Life Ain't Nuthin' But...  on Blu Division Music, Michigan rapper/filmmaker Prozak's We All Fall Down on the Tech N9ne co-founded Strange Music Inc. record label, and Young Dro's The Reality Show on E1 Music - the first album in two long hip-hop years from the Atlanta artist who released High Times back in October of 2013. Other recent releases include Scarface's Deeply Rooted on BMG from the Geto Boys star, and the popular new joint from Motor City hip-hop favorite son Guilty Simpson, whose latest full-length Detroit Son is released via Peanut Butter Wolf's Stones Throw Records in both CD and vinyl formats as well as a download version of the recommended new 17 track release. Meanwhile, soon-to-drop upcoming releases will include Rhymesayers artist/Chicago femcee Psalm One (aka Hologram Kizzie) whose been on the road recently, including at Riot Fest 2015 in her hometown (see video below) and at Hiero Day earlier this month in Oakland, as pre-promotion for her soon-to-drop P.O.L.Y. album.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With R&B Singer Jhene Aiko

Posted by Amoebite, December 3, 2014 12:43pm | Post a Comment

Jhene Aiko at Amoeba Hollywood

Seamlessly blurring the lines of modern R&B and pop-oriented Hip Hop, Jhene Aiko is a new brand of singer. Some have said Aiko is the female answer to Frank Ocean, while other critics have drawn comparisons to the late great Aaliyah. Starting out in the '90s as a pre-teen, Aiko supplied backing vocals for R&B group B2K. In 2003, at just 15 years old, Aiko was set to release her solo debut via Sony/Epic Records. When the album was shelved Aiko made the decision to go back to school. Eight years later, Aiko returned to music delivering her first mixtape, .sailing soul(s). in March 2011. Nine months later she signed a recording contract with producer No I.D.'s label Artium, distributed by Def Jam.  

Jhene Aiko Souled OutJhene Aiko has been hard at work since her return to the spotlight. In 2013 she released the EP, Sail Out (Island/Def Jam) and landed an opening spot touring with Nas and Lauryn Hill. In 2014, Aiko followed up with her full-length, Souled Out (Island/Def Jam). Her album titles are in reference to a record executive who once advised she must "sell out" in order to succeed in the music industry. Aiko has since been a vocalist in demand, recording tracks for rappers Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino. With a strong work ethic and a down to earth attitude, Aiko is bound to be pop music's next "it girl." She is on tour this month, playing Club Nokia in Los Angeles December 7 and The Warfield in San Francisco December 10. See her full tour dates here.

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Axl Rose Named 'Greatest' Singer Ever

Posted by Billy Gil, May 21, 2014 11:24am | Post a Comment

vocal ranges greatest singers

There’s this thing going around the Internet right now saying Axl Rose is the greatest singer ever.

This list by something called Concert Hotels has actually done something really cool by showing the recorded vocal ranges of some of pop music’s most celebrated singers, taken from Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list. The Guns N’ Roses singer came in at No. 1, meaning he has the widest recorded range.

guns n roses
Axl Rose (center) in Guns N' Roses

It’s fun to see Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and others represented pretty well on the list—did you know Lana Del Rey’s recorded vocal range is three octaves, dwarfing Taylor Swift’s two-and-change? Or that Eminem has a recorded range of more than three octaves?

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Billboard Music Awards Wows (and Horrifies) Us With Michael Jackson Hologram Performance; See Who Won at the Show

Posted by Billy Gil, May 19, 2014 04:43pm | Post a Comment

Whoever greenlighted that Michael Jackson hologram thing knew what they were doing.

The Billboard Music Awards, which took place last night, haven’t always gotten the press the Grammys get. But last night’s show got people talking by taking the hologram performance concept that first gained notoriety in 2012 when a hologram Tupac performed at Coachella and applied it to none other than the late King of Pop.

I’m not sure how horrified to feel by this. The hologram looked pretty real, but at no point was I fooled into thinking that was Michael Jackson moonwalking across the stage, and judging by audience reaction in the video, I’m not alone. I think the hologram thing is a fluke that will go away. This notion that we’re gonna just replace dead rock stars or those who can’t be there with holograms and sell out arenas and tours is a little ridiculous—it’s a fad. At least “Slave to the Rhythm” is a pretty good song, from the better than expected posthumous release Xscape, although it’s not quite as good as “Love Never Felt So Good,” which should win “best song of 2014 that was mostly recorded in 1983” at some award show.

See a partial list of the Billboard Award winners below:

Top Artist: Justin Timberlake

Top Hot 100 Song: Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell – “Blurred Lines” (off the album Blurred Lines)

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