Jul/21
2010

Back from Mississippi

Hello Blog readers,

I’m fresh off the plane from my trip to Jackson, Mississippi and I got a story to tell.

The show went well, It had good points and bad points but overall it was positive. My performance CD wasn't as loud as I wanted it. On my speakers it was loud enough but on the big speakers there it needed more volume. I compensated but spitting louder to fill the void. After my performance I met with some reps from Def Jam, Anthony “Scoe” Walker, a talent scout, Lenny S., VP of Def Jam, and some third guy who didn't Identify himself and who showed up late to the performance.

They critiqued my performance and wrote a review of what they thought from a marketing perspective. I was told I was very militant and might be too aggressive for some people. (I already knew that) Also, I write dope reality rhymes which are good for the underground and I gave a good performance with a strong stage presence. Scoe did most of the talking, he was the facilitator of the event and contacted me to do the showcase. He was a cool guy, liked to talk, name dropped allot and was fond of the term “god is good.” I’m always apprehensive of people who use religion to inspire trust or confidence in their listeners. (Which is why I don’t go to church.)

Lenny S. was more laid back and quiet. He said what he had to say and didn’t waste any extra words. (I liked his style.) He gave a brief history of how he got into the music business and what he was looking for as far as new entertainers. Basically he was looking for acts that would make established artists already signed to a deal nervous. He said he likes to call Young Jeezy or other artists and say “Watch out this new artist I found in such in such a place is dope.” Its a competitive industry and once an artist gets complacent the music suffers. By finding talent better or equally as good as what's already on the roster, it makes artists step their game up.

After my performance he wrote me a little note saying there was already an artist named “Tyga” signed to Yung Money. I already knew of “Tyga.” He’s nothing like me. I’ve been releasing records as Tyger Vinum since 2000 when I released my first single “Nocturnal Emissionz.” I know Lenny S. is a busy dude and doesn’t have time to check every artist he interviews, but that comment annoyed me cuz it showed he knew nothing about my background. Tyga may have the exposure from being on a major label but I doubt he has the years of dedication I’ve put into the game. It has happened in the industry where two artists have the same name. What happens is the one with the most money or exposure is credited for being the original and the other person is the biter. On some occasions if the original artist (the person who had the name first) can prove it and is willing to litigate, the other artist will change their name. That’s why Biggie Smalls, changed his name to “Biggie” the notorious B.I.G..

The point both Lenny and Scoe wanted people to understand was that it takes more than one showcase or meeting for you to sign a deal. Scoe said he had to remix a track four times before Puffy accepted it, so don’t be discouraged if you have to do this again. There was another act, a cat named “Shice” who was meeting them for the third time. This time he came with a new team and new music. Each time you meet with label executives always perform something new, cuz you only get three of four songs to show your musical diversity, so always play something they haven’t heard before. In hindsight if I knew before hand they were looking for more commercial tunes and not reality tracks I would’ve performed songs like “Welkom 2 Amsterdam or Put it in my pocket.” Instead I did tracks “Best Kept Secret and Grinding Muzik” both displayed my lyrical skill and personality but they’re not tracks that would get regular rotation on the radio. The track that really made them notice my marketability was “That’s Life” cuz its real but has commercial appeal. (no rhyme intended) The showcase was a positive experience because it let me expose my music to a new audience and industry executives, who were unfamiliar with my sound.

Outside of the performance I got to explore a little and see what life was like in Mississippi. First, public transportation is only by bus or taxi and the buses are always ten to fifteen minutes late. On the weekends buses too and from the malls stop at five o’clock so if you miss the last bus its a long way back and you have to take a taxi. Second, the racial divide in Jackson is impossible not to notice. Its almost like the civil rights movement of the 60’s never made it to Mississippi. Everyone there is either black or white. I didn’t see any Asian’s and only a few Latino's in a mall in the suburbs. There are literally places where there are no black people and others where whites are afraid to go. The Mall in Jackson, where I was staying is called the ghetto mall and the big mall in Ridgewood (a suburban town outside of Jackson) is called the white mall. I asked the bus driver why they don’t call the mall in Jackson the “black” mall? Why do they call it ghetto? She said “She didn’t know but maybe that’s how the people view themselves.” I didn’t want to be rude and tell her, she was one of the “people,” who shared that view...if not she wouldn’t use the term.

Finally, downtown Jackson, had the most racial diversity and mixing of the people. They renovated my hotel recently and it was directly across the street from the Greyhound station, so I was right in the middle of everything. Downtown had lots of stores and a wide range of bars catering to all musical tastes. The drinks were cheap the food was really good and the atmosphere on the weekend was laid back. I didn’t party much cuz I was there for business and don’t like to mix business with pleasure. I walked around, checked out a few places and was back in my hotel before 3am. That’s a early night for me.

Overall I had a good trip and enjoyed my visit to Mississippi, the people were nice, the style of living was different and the whole experience was very educational. The only trouble that occurred was in the airport flying in and out of Texas. I had a layover at Ft. Worth international airport in Dallas, Texas. The minute I get thru baggage claim security walks up on me with two dogs and asks can I place all my items on the floor for the dogs to smell. I was surprised cuz there at least twenty people ahead of me in line. I complied eager to get to my plane home. I went through a similar experience when flying in. They just questioned where I was coming from, what type of business I was in, and why I was going to Jackson.

This time was different. They had dogs! After the dogs smelled my bags and found nothing, the security asked me to follow him to this private room. I knew what was going to happen, they were going to take everything out of my bags and inspect each item. They did just that and also found nothing. Next I was sent to another room where some rotund man on a power trip starts interrogating me about why I have a spider tattoo on my arm and what is my gang affiliation? He didn’t ask “Was I in a gang?” He assumed I was in a gang and asked what gang I was affiliated with. This followed by an hour of me explaining that my tattoo was Mayan, the symbolism behind it, why I was going to Jackson, and why I wouldn’t allow him to take pictures of my other tattoos to run through some U.S. database. It took great restraint for me not to reach across the desk and peel his fat face off with my pen. In the end I missed my connecting flight to London and was stuck on the airport until the last flight where they had one seat available. If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve been sleeping in the airport and I’m one hundred percent sure bad things would’ve happened.

I’m back in Holland now, working on new music trying to stay cool in this scorching heat. Even though its hot enough outside to fry an egg on the concrete...I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Until Next We Speak, Be Well

Tha One an Only

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