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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hustle To Be Free

I was reading a New York Times article that caught my attention:

For Siddiq Booker, life is full of rejections. Clutching a handful of CDs that bore his dreadlocked visage, Mr. Booker scanned Broadway’s throngs of students, tourists and office workers for anyone he could stop long enough to buy his latest record, which is titled, fittingly, “Hustle to Be Free.” As sirens blared and cab horns honked past Eighth Street in Manhattan on a recent weekday, Mr. Booker, who calls himself Creature, spotted a potential mark among the masses.

“Mr. Beatles,” he yelled to a young man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with images of the Fab Four. “Check out my album.”

But the man walked on without even glancing at Mr. Booker, who made one last attempt as the man melted into the crowd. “Do it for George, and Paul. I’m a superstar like Ringo.”

There was no time for disappointment. Mr. Booker, who said only that he was in his 30s, waved his CD at a man in a suit and tie heading his way. “Counselor, can I help you diversify your portfolio?” he asked with a grin. The man averted his eyes and quickly weaved out of pitching distance.

The dry spell did not seem to bother Mr. Booker, a Queens native who has sold his CDs on the streets full time for four years and has been invited by music festival organizers and nightclub promoters he has met to perform in cities across Europe. “It’s about keeping the positive energy flowing and finding the commonalities,” he said. “For every hundred noes there are 10 yeses, and that’s a hundred bucks.”

Each day across Manhattan, music peddlers work the sidewalks, selling their own voices, rhythms and poetry about gangs, cash and hustling to those with a few minutes and dollars to spare.

For these rap artists hoping to make it big, Times Square, Herald Square, Union Square and the Village are paved with gold: packed with people who have money and maybe, just maybe, the connections that could lead to a record deal. Spending long hours outside in snow, rain and sun is a full-time job for the artists, and the money they earn each day goes to supporting their professional ambitions and their families.

The peddlers typically sell around 30 CDs a day, for $5 to $10, depending on their bargaining skills and the buyers’ generosity.

Although they live just a short subway ride away from the vintage boutiques and cafes that line the Manhattan sidewalks that they call their offices, these men commute from far different neighborhoods, where blue and red have gangland connotations and drugs, crime and prison are more than just fodder for explicit lyrics.

“Before, I was standing on the corner saying, ‘Gimme your money,’ ” said Roderick Peters, a wiry 19-year-old who said he used to be a member of the Crips gang, as he tried to sell his CDs in front of the Virgin Megastore in Union Square on a humid afternoon. “But now I’m confronting people with something positive: my music. Hip-hop saved me.”

Mr. Peters goes by the nickname Bones Don, which is tattooed on his hands, and wears his long hair in a ponytail. Every morning, he leaves his grandparents’ house in Flatbush, Brooklyn, for what he calls “the Strip” — Broadway, from 14th Street to Canal Street — with 30 copies of his latest album, “Don Season.”

The musicians compete with armies of clipboard-laden volunteers asking for a minute to fight global warming or support gay rights; with “broke and hungry — God bless” beggars; and with that New Yorker apathy and suspicion toward anyone displaying an instrument, sign or smile in public. Most days, a wash of people, often on cellphones or wearing headphones, ignore them, make excuses or simply utter “no.”

Many of these rappers say rejection motivates them to improve their pitch. “The noes keep you going,” Mr. Peters said as two teenagers looked right past him on their way into the store. “I want you to say no; at least it means you see me. Don’t just pass me by like I’m invisible.”

Nearby, Mr. Peters’s mentor, Jaja Fredricks, who is also from Flatbush and introduced Mr. Peters to peddling rap in 2004, was using a broad smile and the power of suggestion to engage passers-by. “Oh, I’m not selling it,” he said of his album to a woman pushing a stroller. “I’m just asking for an e-mail and a donation.” Won over, she gave him $10.

Mr. Fredricks, 27, said that he sometimes gets $20 and even $100 bills, and that he has sold more than 65,000 copies in four years.

He was stabbed in 2006, he said, by someone jealous of his success. “After that, I knew I was a star,” he said.

Over on Avenue of the Americas, Ronell King was making his pitch, one that he grounded in history. “Dizzy Gillespie and Jimi Hendrix were here in the Village,” he said. “We’re carrying on their legacy.” Mr. King, 26, who calls himself Shake-O-Blaize, and lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, has been selling his music on the streets for six years.

He sticks with the grind to build a fan base, because, he says, no one else is going to do it for him. “If people don’t know who I am or what I’m doing with a CD in my hand, they think it’s a bootleg,” he said. “But this is my record, my bar code, my label. This is me.”

Reading articles like this inspires me and reminds me of when I first started in the music game, pushing cds out of a backpack.

From personal experience I would say that the best approach is to got to local high schools at lunch time or when school gets out as they are more likely to say yes. And if at all possible let them listen to the music.

In front of the record store is probably the worst place to hustle cds because people will wonder why your cd is not on the shelf of the store.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New cure For HIV discovered!

Come on now, this isn't news. Everyone knows there has been a cure for AIDS for YEARS just ask Magic (seriously it's been 17 years, and he still shows no signs of it and everyone else with it is dying) or the people of Gambia.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jeezy - Put On Remix ft. Jay-z!

CD Quality courtesy of Xclusives Zone

Redman's New Car?

Is this a joke or for real? Mean he's joking about it but is that actually his car?

Purple Tape (Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx) 2 Preview

Hot Rod talks about mixtape with Tha Advocate n Ballerstatus

Creative Recreation Cesario

I need to find a pair of these when they drop

Spotted at Selectism

Ya boy is trying to know Ashley Logan personally too...

Backshot Queen is a Red Cafe song so... does that mean the that Ashley knows Red Cafe PERSONALLY?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dedicated To All The Lying Ass Rappers

*cough* Rick Ross, Akon & Plies *cough*

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Diamond Iphone

Debut Mixtape From Swedish Superstar J-son

Download Now

Peep the street banger Jeep

BMW 750i

Saturday, July 19, 2008

National Geographics presents Bloods & Crips

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Love Is For Suckers

We back on that shit...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kardinal Offishall (Feat. Lindo P) - Burnt

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Littles The General ft Lazy Jaw & Aristo - Money Cash Cars Hoes


Littles The General - Naked

Infinite - Take A Look

Bonus Videos:

Infinite ft Divine Brown - Gotta Get Mine

Infinite ft Jully Black

Ghetto Concept - Krazy World

Classic song

Classified - The Maritimes

Its Canada day so all day is gonna be nothing but Canadian love.

I dunno what Class is talking about mixing tobacco with weed, I think its a country thing...

Bonus Videos:

Classified ft Rocky Ninja - Heavy Artillery

Classified ft. Maestro & DJ IV - Its Hard To Be Hip Hop