Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts (Blue Book Value)

I got an email about a month ago from a guy in Holland stating that he really enjoyed my 99 Problems remix on You Tube (I’m up to 215 thousand views so I’m having a one-fifth platinum party). He enjoyed it so much so that he requested I send him the instrumental track. After feeling myself extensively (not in that way, at least not today), I was immediately suspicious. I asked if he was an aspiring rapper to which he replied yes, which made me twice as nervous. Now most producers and aspiring producers have always struggled with disbursement of their materials without compensation. Not only is it subject to plagiarism, the whole point of trying to produce music professionally is to get paid. At some point, you grow weary of all the pro bono work vying for your attention and respectfully request that someone (anyone) “CUT THE CHECK!! Everybody ALWAYS wants something for free and you can immediately discern who is serious about their craft from who is just having fun / trying to get over by a) compensation b) payment for services rendered and c) CUTTING THE RA$$CLOT CHECK!!

Back to Holland. Does it make sense to distribute your music to every Tom, Dick and Sven that makes a request visa vie You tube? How do I know MC Pedophile isn’t going to put my songs on repeat and play them audibly as he is captured, then subdued on Dateline NBC with Chris “Tough Actin’ ” Hansen? Certainly any press is good press but I do not wish to be on any potential pervert’s play list, lest I be blamed for his actions, circa Marilyn Manson and Columbine (and why is it always the first time these sickos have ever done something like this?) In addition, Hanz Da’ God Emcee could very well (but not likely) be the Swedish version of Diddy and here I am providing masters for his Dutch, multi million Daalder empire (did someone say Dutchmaster?) Given the amount of culture vultures, swagger jackers, and coincidental incidentals in and around the music industry, one should be extremely cautious as to who is privy to one’s club bangers and street anthems. Based on all the reasons listed on why not to send the track, I converted the instrumental from AIFF to MP3 format and sent it immediately (you should’ve seen that coming).

In order for me to even be presented with this quandary, I had to remix the track and video in the first place. And to do that, I borrowed the Tears for Fears album I sampled from my brother. I also distinctly remember not asking Jay Z for permission to use his lyrics, making the track with my mom’s electricity, mixing with my boy’s recommended engineer, downloading the original video from Limewire, we won’t talk about how I acquired the video editing software (I am the Jack Sparrow of the internet), then uploading the finished product to Youtube. Now after taking from every possible source available to me, I had the cahones to be apprehensive of someone asking to use “my” intellectual property. There truly is no honor amongst musicians. Further to that, everything I have ever achieved musically has not been on my own. To be honest, once your parents gave you life, you are terminally indebted to someone else for a majority of your accomplishments. This is why parents are always third on everyone’s Grammy acceptance speech, right after Clive Davis and God, and in that order.

The next time you are doing whatever it is that you do, and someone pays you a compliment, before you claim full ownership for your achievements and your gradually inflating head causes your body to tilt, then eventually collapse under your ego's weight, stop and think for a second. Should you be excited or humbled by the proficiencies achieved in your profession (achieved by learning from someone else), aesthetics inherited from your parent’s genetics (you really did get it from your momma), the fashion sense you obtained from watching music videos, the alleged intelligence you committed to memory from someone else's sources (print, spoken or visual), then regurgitated, your brand of wit, eerily similar to George Carlin sharing a one bedroom apartment with Dave Chappelle and Andy Rooney, or your riches, whose value is collectively determined by everything from the Trust you have in God to the literal price of tea in China. I say all that to say; Get Over Yourself!

Sidebar; A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to witness Dr. Cornell “Fredrick Douglas Incarnate” West and Dr. Michael Eric “Hippa to the Hoppa and You Just Don’t Stoppa” Dyson engage in a spirited debate about hip hop and it’s global influence at Carnegie Hall. As Dr. Dyson elaborated on the significance of “N*iggas Bleed Just Like Us (which to me is the craziest Notorious B.I.G song EVER recorded), he also stated that the concept of intellectual property and the idea of even owning an idea is a relatively new phenomena, spurned by, what else, capitalism. Who knew the possibility of even profiting from selling music has only been around since the early 19th century. I wonder if the guy who came up with the idea to sell ideas trademarked his idea? Sidebar complete.


dilly k said...

Great post, my literary friend you are in need of a book deal. Honestly your writing is very witty and superb to say the least.

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