Endorsement Deals

Are endorsement deals based on how good the music is?

My opinion on endorsement deals is a bit spicy, because the companies that sponsor artists generally do it based on the artists following on social media and not necessarily on the quality of the music that the artist produces, with the exception being Red Bull and Sprite, these guy will endorse anything that looks and sounds cool.

A quick look at the brief history of SA Hip Hop will show you that SA Hip Hop artists went from not fitting the mold of endorsement deals and having to create their own brands or styled by young brands at the time like Loxion Kulca and the likes, to being sponsored by brands ranging from BMW and Mercedes Benz, clothing lines and every rappers favourite, the alcohol brands, Vodka specifically, what changed?

In the past tracking an artists following was tricky and sponsors had to use record sales and other means to measure these stats, thanks to social media this process has been made a lot easier for brands, now the market can be segmented and spammed with adverts, this is common on facebook, youtube and twitter, there’s a long explanation why this happens but the short version is that the sponsors are not particularly interested in the music that the artist creates but rather the number of followers or influence the artist has on the market, with that being said brand affiliation has to be noted as a milestone for SA Rappers, its always good to make money and grow your brand, keep pushing the culture and setting the bar for the next generation of rappers.

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Rhymes vs Persona

Hip Hop music has always been about the lyrics before anything else, well let me not say always, because there has been a number of times where the persona of an artist holds more weight than the rhymes they deliver, for example Khuli Chana is more likely to write a song that is more lyrically inclined than a Stilo Magolide, but that’s just my opinion.

Musicians have come across the crossroads of being an artist first or a celebrity, either way it’s a tough decision to make, because the audience responds differently to each of these, they admire the creativity and lyrical finesse of the artist and are fascinated by the boldness, charisma and fashion sense of the celebrity, record labels are aware of this and they try to create hybrids where the artist needs to be sociable and still write wholesome music or come across as socially interesting through their music.

In this powerful information age anyone can become anything, and with the backing of social media and the right personality, you can attain followers and cultivate a musical path for yourself, and the great thing is, you don’t even need to know how to write music, record labels feed on this and some will even go as far as stripping their celebrities down (sex sells) to compensate for the lack in lyrical ability, “they will not be mentioned in this article but will be exposed in future article”, to sum this up, its tricky being an artist in the information age because most listeners are being fed celebrity culture when all they want is music.

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SA Urban Fashion

S.G.O.D – The Cronicles of of Styla Gang

A street style journal profiling a creative collective from Soweto, by the name of Styla Gang. Showcasing a distinct look in their natural habitat & what they consider inspirational.

Que - Quickfass CassThis is one of those brands that came up in the most remarkable way; through word of mouth and curiosity; my first encounter with the brand was through Quickfass Cass (Que), at the time the brand was barely known but the name had a lasting impression on me; “GANG” printed on a yellow T-shirt, how could it not stick, so I began to watch the brand and how the S.G.O.D fam moved in the industry, they approached all the influencers, side note (some were not interested) but in no time everyone was wearing a GANG T-shirt or hoodie, the rest is history.

Styla Gang HoodieThis is written to acknowledge the workmanship of the select young group of South Africans that feel the need to create their own opportunities in a country where the majority of the youth is struggling to pay for tuition, depressed and unemployed, the urban or street fashion scene, music, modeling and acting industry will see the youth flood it and take over.

Gang Ladies Wear

Stylagang. “Stylagang.” THE CHRONICLES OF STYLA GANG, 27 Feb. 2014, stylagang.tumblr.com/post/77984567668/sgod-styla-gang-original-designs-is-proud-to.

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Podcast Guide

Multiple MicsPodcasting is extremely fun and exciting, but there is one thing you must do before you start podcasting, Commit. You must internally commit to podcasting, as you must do with anything that is potentially beneficial but takes some time and effort to do.

What You Will Need:

Apart from what we covered in the Home Studio article you will need to able to record with multiple mics, why would you want to record with multiple mics? Well it makes it a lot easier to fix someone’s audio, either on the spot by adjusting their mic level or later on if you have multiple audio tracks recording at once.

Even with multiple USB microphones, however, most standard computer recording software can only recognize one audio input for recording at a time. However, there are ways to sneak around this limitation:

  1. Windows

For using multiple USB microphones on Windows, you can aggregate them all into a single recording device using software like Voice Meeter (free) or Virtual Audio Cable (trial version supports up to three devices). The audio from each mic will get picked up just fine, but all level adjustments have to be made through the software.

  1. OS X

In OS X 10.7 and later you can set up aggregate devices without any additional software.

Allan, Patrick. “How to Start Your Own Podcast.” Lifehacker, Lifehacker.com, 9 Aug. 2017, lifehacker.com/how-to-start-your-own-podcast-1709798447.

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Building a Home Studio

Getting up and running with a home studio can be very tricky if you don’t know where to start, luckily for you this is a very good starting point, we’ll be looking at some of the things you’ll need to get started, we’ll be building on this topic in the weeks to come and get some expert advise from some of our in-house producers, lets get started with some of the things you’ll need:

  1. Audio Interface

Audio InterfaceAlthough your computer likely comes with a microphone input port and you can buy low-grade microphones to plug directly into your sound card, you won’t achieve anywhere near a high level of quality. Additionally, built-in sound cards provide little to no control over the signal. Among other advantages, an audio interface provides you with the ability to use high quality microphones and studio monitors (speakers).

  1. Microphone

Condenser mic with filterAny condenser microphone will do, get a pop filter if you will be recording vocals, you’ll get a crisp sounding voice that way.

  1. Studio Monitors

Studio MonitorsStudio monitors are speakers that do their best to represent recorded sound as cleanly and accurately as possible. Regardless of what you get, you should also invest in a pair of monitor isolation pads so the sound quality of your monitors aren’t negatively affected by the surface you place them on.

  1. MIDI Keyboard

Midi ControlerIf you plan to use virtual instruments in your arrangements, you’ll need a MIDI keyboard to play them. These come cheap, and you don’t need anything fancy in most cases. These keyboards only provide basic controls, however, so if you plan to manipulate your instruments (a common need in electronic music) you’ll want something like the M-Audio Oxygen 49 instead. For those who intend to include a realistic piano, you’ll need to cough up quite a bit more money for a good digital one.

  1. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Software

Digital-Audio-Workstation-(DAW)-SoftwareYou can buy all the hardware in the world, but if you don’t have recording software you can’t do much with it. When it comes to picking a DAW, you have many options. Cubase is one of the common ones but try out some of the trail versions and get a feel of the one that you like best.

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The Beats – Production

appwikc - producingProducing or beat making is one of the major corner stones in Hip Hop, it sets the tone for the song, some artists even lean on the beat to make up where they are lacking in lyrics, it takes a long time to master this skill especially if you want to carve out a unique style that will separate you from the crowd, we’ll be bringing you beat making tutorials from some of the best producers in South Africa and you’ll get to hear what they have to say about software preferences, equipment, themes, the works.

appwikc - beat makingWith the rates on beats ranging from anything between R80K and R100K +, a lot of rappers are learning how to make beats and with the affordability of the software and some free options producing your own beats might not be such a bad idea, I have listed some of the software that we’ll be exploring and some of the producers that are worth noting:

My to 6 software

Magix Music Maker Premium, Logic Pro X, Cubase Elements, Reason Essentials 8, FL Studio 11, Ableton Live 9.

My top 10 producers

Anatii, COkayn Beats, SP Dubb Beats, Blass, Mash Beatz, Ruff, Tweezy, TR Beats, B1, Narcotic Beats.

Here’s a taste from SP Dubb Beats, let me know what you think, hit me up on twitter @appwikc_theguy

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Lose Yourself – Rhyme Scheme

Rapping is very fun to do especially when you figure out the different techniques, patterns and rhyme schemes, you can play around with single, double or triple rhymes and for the advanced scholars internal rhymes and whole lining gets you extra points. Lets look at the Eminem Loose Yourself verse, I used this verse because its easy to breakdown and understand how the rhymes are formulated:

Loose Yourself – Eminem

[Verse]

Yo! His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already: Mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking, how? Everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up, overblaow!
Snap back to reality, oh, there goes gravity, oh
There goes Rabbit, he choked, he’s so mad, but he won’t
Give up that easy, no, he won’t have it, he knows
His whole back’s to these ropes, it don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke, he’s so stagnant, he knows
When he goes back to this mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again, yo! This whole rhapsody
Better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

[End of Verse]

Pro Tip:

If you don’t know what to write about, let your mind flow and give you random words and imagery, write them down in no particular order, then check to see if the words are guiding you in a specific direction or pointing you towards a theme, sometimes writing a random verse will inspire you to write something that is more specific and worth recording.

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Graffiti South Africa

appwikc - Graffiti South Africa the history - CityGraffiti is one of the most interesting elements of the Hip Hop movement and some would claim it came before the beats and the rhymes, used as a means to point out the ills in society or to turn a dark alley into a brightly coloured section of the city, it is met with open arms by the creative community and with fire and brimstones by government, here’s what Dave Mann says about graffiti below:

Graffiti in South Africa has always been a contentious topic. It’s been called public art, vandalism, a tool for social change, a gateway to further crime and urban degradation—essentially, it’s an artform with various symbolic meanings and is only recently experiencing widespread corporate backing and interest in the public sphere.

appwikc - Graffiti South Africa the historyTo go back a few decades – around the 80s to be precise – would find you in the origins of South African graffiti. It was the days before Montana cans with specialised caps that aid in finer lines and less drips. The days of Sprayon bought cheap from hardware stores, thrown haphazardly into a backpack to rattle around as you made your way trackside to paint the fresh steel of the city’s trains. The style was crude and unrefined, copied out of international graffiti books like Subway Art and Spraycan Art by documentarians like Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper, rare commodities in SA at the time. Back then the writing on the wall came in the form of a few big names—Gogga, Falko, and MakOne1 amongst others. Much of the graffiti was political, marking the white walls of the apartheid regime and calling for the release of political prisoners. It was a time that many of today’s established graffiti writers look back on as their inspiration.

If you like this topic check out Graffiti South Africa by Cale Waddacor: (graffitisouthafrica.com)

Mann, Dave. “From Tags to Murals – South African Graffiti’s Move into the Accepted Public Eye.” Between 10 and 5, 28 Mar. 2016, 10and5.com/2016/02/25/from-tags-to-murals-south-african-graffitis-move-into-the-accepted-public-eye/.

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Composers

As an artist you will have to familiarize yourself with some of the technicalities of the music business, and the terminology used, we borrow the below definition of a composer and the rights that you are entitled to from Wikipedia and SAMRO:

appwikc - Akai MPCA composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music (for a singer or choir), instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any musical genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and pop, hip hop, R&B.

As a composer, there are a number of rights that vest within your compositions. SAMRO administers what is known as Performing Rights, and control what happens when your music is performed in public. Mechanical Rights are another form of music right that come into play when your music is reproduced. In South Africa, Mechanical Rights are administered by the Composers, Authors & Publishers Association (CAPASSO). From 2014 onward, composers need to join CAPASSO as members in order to enjoy the benefits from their Mechanical Rights.

“Composer.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composer.
“MUSIC CREATOR.” Music Creator | SAMRO, www.samro.org.za/music-creator.

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