observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Monday Marketing QB's

Before I start today’s rambling peep the
‘Corners’ remix
Common feat Mos Def and Scarface
Same beat but particularly nice verse from Scarface

Occupational Hazards

There is nothing worse than the Monday morning quarterback. The cat who doesn’t put in the work, but is more than willing to add his two cents after the fact. In running a label there are more Monday Morning quarterbacks than rats on the subway system.

You know them. The people who said ‘I told you Outkast would blow up if they released ‘Hey Ya’ as a single.’ Like a southern rap group dong a Beatles-esque song was a no brainer. I mainly hear them when it comes to the A&R process. They are the ones who lambaste Monica Lynch for not signing or dropping Wu-Tang. With the explosion of Kanye came the attacks on all the A&R’s who passed on him. Most of those attacks were launched by Kanye himself, but that is besides the point.

What really inspired this post I was watching Cold Pizza on ESPN2 the other day and they were talking about Phil Jackson (I want you in New York, but if I were you I would go to Cleveland). The cat that looks like Jack LaLaine was going on about how Phil was not that great a coach, but lucky to have strong talent. An argument often launched by our own Doug Nyce. It drives me crazy. To say that anyone could have coached Shaq and Kobe to a championship or that anyone could have made Ghostface a star is not only false but insulting. It completely devalues the work and expertise of those front and back office people who put in the 60 hour weeks. It also places an inordinate value on the talent as if they are some magic wand that anyone can wield.

We (7H) have been out in that position only a couple of times over the years. There is no better example than when we were pitched and passed on Little Brother. One day one of our college radio DJ’s who I am not sure was managing them, I am actually not even sure what he had to do with them. Basically this cat played the demo, pushed me to sign them on the spot and that was the last of it. I am not sure if that even counts as a pitch meeting since it only lasted under 20 minutes and we never got any music. A few months later they did the deal with Beni and you know the rest. Once ‘The Listening’ picked up steam the quarterbacks came out to let me know the mistake I made. Not only were those comments misinformed but I felt they minimized the talent, knowledge and experience of Beni B and ABB. As if Beni was just some faceless vessel. It also speaks nothing of the work and dedication of the group.

When I listened to their demo in that brief session I can say in all honesty that I did not hear the product that has intimately connected with so many people. With that being said you must give credit for those who did hear the potential. And with the success that they have experienced Little Brother must have some level of satisfaction with their decisions. Could the same have happened if I had signed them? Potentially, but probably not. I think ABB was better equipped to get that record out that quickly and better equipped to get them that deal on Atlantic.

In my opinion that would not have happened with us, Quannum, Def Jux, babygrande, or a Stones Throw. All of those operations are run by smart cookies who would (or could) achieve great success with Little Brother but picking a label is not like picking numbers for Lotto. If there was goal was to get signed by a major like Atlantic that did not fit my business model and from what I know El P is not too keen on re-selling his artists to the majors. And I doubt that is a part of Wolf and Egon’s plan. If nothing else that wrinkle in the label’s business model makes the dealings with ABB unique.

So to the fake Jack LaLaine and Doug Nyce give Phil Jackson his props. It does matter what team you are on, who your coach is, who your GM is, who your A&R is, and what label is. Naughty made better records when they were on Tommy Boy, Shaq had no rings in Orlando, Kweli made better records with Rawkus, The Pistons are better with Larry Brown, Apple is better with Steve Jobs at the helm, Murs always had skills but his profile got bigger with Def Jux.

And to you Monday morning quarterbacks, stop cherry picking, put a uniform on this Sunday and get your hands dirty. Then come holla at me


Blogger DESTRUCTION! said...


i just stumbled on your blog. interesting take on shit. i'm from sydney and pulling together some mula to put together an electro independant. sort of looking for info on el-p and his def jux outfit, seems that cat has got some mean buisness plan.

i heard he gives his artists money for food and a house and the mojority of the profits go back into the label?

australia's biggest independant (oxymoronic, i know) modular people, just signed a deal with time-warner and sold the whole shit for like 4 mil. that was like the point where i decided we needed some sort of co-op label. el-p said it himself on collude/intrude

"fuck time-warner and it's affiliates, for runnin that wanna be big willie shit, leave them fancy clothes up to the pope" .. ha he dead

just remember sydney is a foward city and we are coming for your money! so not that you know much about sydney independants, or that you even know the electro scene, but if you got any info on running a lable for co-op not big coin, let me know.

ddddestruction (dooom)

May 16, 2005 2:50 PM


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