THE White Castle on East Fordham Road in the Bronx shimmered as if glazed. A Valentine’s Day of snow and freezing rain had left a thin layer of ice on its crenellated exterior and several inches of accumulation in the parking lot and on the sidewalk. There were few cars and even fewer pedestrians.===========
For this year, a mix of fawning and snarky local news media coverage — including a win-a-date contest with the blogger The Assimilated Negro — seemed to augur well. After all, Ms. Simpson said, reading from a plaque, the fast-food chain has operated an outpost on East Fordham Road in Belmont since Aug. 10, 1930.
New York Times Breaks Down Dramagate. Its so funny observing how a writer breaks down mix tapes to the largely white masses.
A mixtape can consist of remixes of hit songs — for instance, the Aphilliates offered a CD of classic Michael Jackson songs doctored by a Detroit D.J. Or it can feature a rapper “freestyling,” or improvising raps, over the beat from another artist’s song; so, on one mixtape, LL Cool J’s “Love You Better” became 50 Cent’s “After My Cheddar.” In most cases, the D.J. modifies the original song without acquiring the rights to it, and if he wants to throw in a sample of Ray Charles singing or a line from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, he doesn’t worry about copyright. The language on mixtapes is raw and uncensored; rappers sometimes devote a whole CD to insulting another rapper by name.Ummmm raw and uncensored. Thats the way we like it.
But Drama and Cannon’s studio was not a bootlegging plant; it was a place where successful new hip-hop CDs were regularly produced and distributed. Drama and Cannon are part of a well-regarded D.J. collective called the Aphilliates. Although their business almost certainly violated federal copyright law, as well as a Georgia state law that requires CDs to be labeled with the name and address of the producers, they were not simply stealing from the major labels; they were part of an alternative distribution system that the mainstream record industry uses to promote and market hip-hop artists. Drama and Cannon have in recent years been paid by the same companies that paid Kilgo to help arrest them.Sh*t is alternative AND STILL ILLEGAL. Record industry don't have no codes.
Music+Capitalism = Greasy.
One of the CDs confiscated by R.I.A.A. investigators during the Atlanta raid was “Dedication 2,” a mixtape that DJ Drama made with Lil Wayne, a New Orleans rapper; it appeared on the Billboard hip-hop and R&B charts and was widely reviewed in the mainstream press. (Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times chose “Dedication 2” as one of the 10 best recordings of 2006.) As the R.I.A.A. agents boxed up Drama’s stash of “Dedication 2,” the CD continued to sell well at major retailers like Best Buy and FYE (a national chain of record stores) and also at the iTunes Store online.
The economics of mixtapes appeal to XL, and so do their politics; as he sees it, mixtapes undermine the power of major record labels and radio stations. “Most artists can’t afford to get their music on the radio, but an artist has the right to let his fan base hear what he’s done,” XL said. “Who is the label to dictate how to feed the fan base?Ahhhhh. Drama, drama, drama. Easy Star. The labels don't GIVE out vaseline w/ contracts.
Labels prefer to use established mixtape D.J.’s like Drama, rather than produce promotional CDs themselves, Stewart said, because “the best D.J.’s have a better brand than the average label does.”Not only this, but they also have a rep to maintain so the damn mixtapes are gonna reflect that.
Although the deals are informal and often secret, labels typically pay a prominent D.J. like Drama $10,000 to $15,000 to produce a mixtape for an artist. The label’s representatives, Stewart explained, adopt what amounts to a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about the D.J.’s plans to sell the work; what the D.J. does with his copy of the master, Stewart said, “is his own business.” For successful D.J.’s, mixtape sales can bring considerable revenue. Mixtapes sell for anywhere from $5 to $10 on the street or on a Web site like Mixunit, and overhead is low, since the CDs cost only about 50 cents to manufacture and D.J.’s rarely pay royalties or licensing fees.Ahhh. Here is the Rub. The labels are a business w/ shareholders and like the governement, they want they cut.
Pimp C, a Texas rapper who is half of the popular underground hip-hop duo UGK, has repeatedly refused to participate in a UGK mixtape despite requests by his record label and, he said, from countless mixtape D.J.’s. Pimp C told me that because there is no paper trail, mixtape D.J.’s are able to invent sales figures, and they routinely claim that, after their overhead, they just break even. But based on his experience producing two of his own mixtapes, Pimp C suspects D.J.’s make plenty; they just don’t want to give artist a cut.Pimp C kinda gully for coming w/ it in media like this. So DJ's got the labels AND the Artist in that @ss. Muy interesante.
Drama’s arrest shook up mixtape D.J.’s and promoters across the country. But even in the days immediately following the raid, D.J.’s continued to release tapes — some with hastily added tracks on which rappers cursed the R.I.A.A. — and major labels continued to e-mail them new tracks.Capitalism is such a delicious shark.
Dramagate Scores are in.
Drama 1. Labels 1. Artists. 0.
Watch Beyond Beats and Rhymes Tonight on PBS.