Tuesday, September 30, 2008
These screen shots were taken around 4pm and show (rebel) at #3 on the Hip-Hop/Rap Chart and #15 overall.
Pick up your copy via Reach Records or The Bus Shop.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I've been meaning to post this blurb about my article on the demise of Beatmart & Gotee Records for a bit. It also covers the business struggles of other gospel rap labels and was recently published in the latest issue (#11) of S.O.U.L. Magazine.
Here's your tease, then please go get your copy at: www.thesoulmag.com
On its face, it’s easy to understand why one would perceive Christian hip hop to be an easy, even lucrative, business.
After all, mainstream hip hop has a strong track record of sales, influence, and popularity – primarily among the coveted youth and young adult demographics that have fair amounts of disposable income. It’s also conceivable that if you cleaned it up a little bit, rounded off the rough edges, and injected it with Jesus talk it would be even more commercially attractive to parents and churchgoers who like to buy music for iPods that belong to them or their children. Add the “God-is-on-our-side” argument and you’ve just about got a license to print money, right?
Not exactly. There are still those lingering issues of truly understanding the gospel rap mindset, getting paid by your distributors (on time or at all), nurturing an entrepreneurial willingness to accept market mistakes as learning experiences, and a host of other challenges. Just ask Beatmart or Gotee Records – (apparently) two of the latest tombstones in a graveyard full previously powerful holy hip hop labels.
“I don’t think you have to have a degree from MIT to figure out that the sun is clearly setting on [us] as a traditional record label,” Troy Collins, president of Beatmart Recordings, said. “But I think that’s just a symptomatic condition of where the music business is right now.”
As it stands, the company’s last official release was Eric Cross’ The Art of Composition on April 1, 2008. But Troy (brother to producer and Beatmart CEO Todd) Collins promises that Beatmart isn’t dead and is instead evolving toward a, yet publicly unspecified, viral marketing / community-building entertainment company that will serve the Christian hip hop culture.
“Beatmart is still very much in business, but not in business as the consumer would perceive it,” Collins said.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Christian rapper CY has a message for mainstream hip hop singer T-Pain: “I used the Circus Ringleader concept first.”
T-Pain’s next project, set to drop in November, is titled Thr33 Ringz, carries a circus theme, and has been heavily promoted on music networks with the artist wearing a top hat and ringleader attire. All of this is eerily reminiscent of CY’s Circus World Event: The Ringleader concept album and stage show that has been released and publicly performed since 2006.
“I’m frustrated and concerned that people will think I’m copying T-Pain when that’s clearly not the case,” CY said. “But he has a higher profile and marketing budget than me and I’m afraid hip hop and music fans are going to assume I’m the one that’s biting.
“Our messages are completely opposite. I’ve strived to be very creative in my presentation of the redemptive power of Christ’s sacrifice and the deceptive tactics of the Enemy to unjustifiably claim the title of ‘Ringleader’ over our world. God is the only true Ringleader.
“On the other hand, T-Pain’s circus seems to mostly be about carnal living. I just hate to see similar imagery and presentation being used to spread such divergent themes,” CY said.
Documentation of CY’s “Ringleader” concept can be easily found on the Internet, including video of his eye-popping, circus-themed performance at the Texas Holy Hip Hop Achievement Awards in June of 2007. The event’s packed audience included MTV journalist Sway and rap legend Special Ed.
“I’ve promoted video of that performance on my MySpace page for a while since then and interestingly enough, T-Pain is one of my ‘Friends.’
“After his circus-themed set at this year’s BET Awards show my cell phone nearly ran out of battery power with family and fans calling to tell me how much his performance looked like mine with the spotlights, mimes, and clowns. I’ve tracked down footage of it online since then and there are many similarities between the two,” CY said.
"Pain's Thr33 Ringz album artwork even uses the same yellow and red color scheme," he added.
This is also not the first time that T-Pain has been taken to task for borrowing from a gospel artist. In August it was revealed on MTV.com that Kirk Franklin had a sit-down conversation with the Auto-Tune Wonder Boy about his “tequila soaked” version of Silver and Gold that had leaked online. The song misappropriates the lyrics to Franklin’s work of the same name that proclaims the worth of the Savior. In contrast, T-Pain’s track laments the effect of mixing clear and colored Patron alcohol.
In the same article, he admits to taking other creative ideas he did not originate. The MTV.com piece states the inspiration for his “Can’t Believe It” video came from TV spots by Apple computers. “I just came up with it man. I kinda stole some stuff from the last iTunes commercial. I got the same people to direct it… I was like ‘If we can find those people to direct my next video, it will be the best video.”
UPDATE (09/30/08): We found another one. This time T-Pain is being sued for ripping off his "I'm In Luv With a Stripper" hit from another artist - TV's "Huggy Bear" of all people!
Read more here: Rappa Turnt Steala
Peep the video clips below and see if you notice any similarities.
CY @ the 2007 Texas Holy Hip Hop Achievement Awards
T-Pain @ the 2008 BET Awards
Friday, September 19, 2008
Colcutz hipped me to this one since his church will be participating.
If you're free and in the area, please consider linking up with this event to join thousands of other Christians in prayer for the survivors of Hurricane Ike.
Monday, September 22
George R. Brown Convention Center
More info here: www.projectfaith.org
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I live an hour north of Houston and still don't have power, phones, or internet at my home. (6 days strong and looking at the end of the month.) Thankfully, God provided an awesome cool front that makes sleeping with the windows open reasonable AND my father-in-law lives next door and has a gas-powered generator that has kept our food cold, faces fanned, and TV running with updates.
Ike is also responsible for rescheduling or cancelling a few big g-rap events.
I believe the Canton Jones show will go down tonight in Huntsville (that was the word last Thursday but I haven't heard anything since) and tomorrow's KJ-52 concert/video shoot has been cancelled. The church is a relief supply POD (point of distribution) so it's understandable.
I'm working remotely at my family's LearningRx office in The Woodlands that just had services restored today.
I'll keep you posted via the blog as much as possible.
Thanks in advance for your prayers for our area.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Here's a little promo clip for a FREE Canton Jones concert going down this Thursday (Sept 11) in Huntsville, Texas (home of my alma mater - Eat 'Em Up Kats!) I don't own any of his music and never seen him live, but given his following, it should be a good one.
And a just over a week later KJ-52 will be back in The Woodlands for a show and video shoot.
Photo by Sketch the Journalist
It's on Friday, September 19 and will be filming a video for an unreleased song called "Keep Shining" with former SOI partner Goldenchild (not SOM's Chizzle.)
It's FREE and dude always puts on a good show.
Fellowship of the Woodlands
One Fellowship Drive
The Woodlands, Texas 77060
View Larger Map
Monday, September 1, 2008
We need your help.
I've been blessed to see Sphere of Hip-Hop flourish in the last 11 years. Maybe you have too. Looking forward, I am aware of the challenges of "doingwhat we do" here with the Sphere website family and of course all of thethings we're doing offline as well.
Believe it or not, Sphere of Hip-Hop is more than just a website. We'vebecome something that affects change and also gives hope to many across the globe. Lives touched and hearts changed. We're blessed to be a blessing for sure!
With that said, we need your help. We need help in catching up past debt that has piled up from 2005-2007. We also need help staying on pace forthis year as well. During the months of January, February and March we actually came pretty close to breaking even having only come up about $300 short. The next three months were quite a bit more challenging however.
April - June tend to be the most challenging months of the year due to several yearly expenses coming due. We came up short to the tune of$1,720.50. July started off strong and went out with a whimper. We fell $341.12 short.
Our fixed operating costs figure to $903 monthly. That covers the basic needs and costs in operating the site including (but not limited to):phone, internet, web hosting, postage, shipping supplies, storage space,digital download services, shopping cart capabilities, supplies (printer ink, paper, labels, tape etc) and other odds & ends. Some months that total can grow anywhere from $100-500 based on different activities we're working on. Flyer orders, software needs etc come up irregularly throughout the year.
Please consider helping Sphere out in any way and in any amount you can. Please also consider sponsoring a particular need we have. The goal is always to simply break even and use any profit to bless others through several offline ministry opportunities we assist with. Remember that nobodyis drawing any sort of salary... everyone (myself included) donates all of their time.
If you would like more information to feel comfortable supporting, please hit me up privately and I'll be able to help. I am ready to be creative in any way so we can get this debt paid off in quick fashion. Let me know if you have an idea!
Please visit the following link for information and updates
You can support the site by direct donations. Contact me for details or use our Tip Jar area.