I am genuinely excited about my upcoming show on Fri., March 7 at the Local 662 in St. Petersburg. You would believe me if I told you it was because T-Quest and the Boyz Wit Da Bass along with Da Beav and I are opening for 2 Live Crew, a legendary rap group that can legitimately lay claim to being one of the most controversial acts in American music history.
As pinch-me-to-make-sure-I’m-not-dreaming worthy as that is, when you’ve shared stages with Cypress Hill, Canibus and as many members of the Wu-Tang as I have been lucky enough to, goose bumps are a little harder to come by.
The reason I’m most enthusiastic is because the promoters who brought 2 Live Crew to town actually don't suck. Find out what I mean after the jump…
So far, at every step of the process they've been on point.
1. They did their research.
Brad Hellerich from Noise Solutions LLC approached me about being involved in the show after having attended one of my Homegrown Hip Hop events. He saw me perform, felt the energy of the crowd, and witnessed first hand the results of my team’s promotional prowess.
2. They were fair.
When the topic turned to compensation, they gave me what I asked for. I know my worth. I don’t always get what I deserve and that is my fault. Sometimes I decide (usually reluctantly) that the “opportunity” or “exposure” is worth working for less than fair market value. I didn’t have to go through that soul sapping cost-benefit analysis here. I wasn't expected to buy tickets and hope to make my money back or take the short end of a 90/10 ticket split.
My asking price, which will be paid before the show, was accepted without negotiation. That number takes into account what I can reasonably expect to draw while still allowing the promoter to turn a profit on their investment. As an artist, knowing your worth is critical. If you don’t hit that number, you become a liability instead of an asset. Liabilities don’t get called back. Assets do and can raise their asking price. As a promoter putting on shows of this magnitude, your business model sucks if you have to leech off local artists. Book and promote traveling acts you can bank on, or find another industry. Asking artists to 'pay to play' is simply unacceptable.
3. They are accessible.
We're all busy people, hopefully. So, if I actually make the effort to call you about something, chances are it's not because I just had to hear your voice. When I call a promoter or venue, it's because I have a question or need that I can’t reasonably find via other means. For this show, I volunteered to sell tickets. I called Reggie of Reggie Cochran Productions on multiple occasions because demand for tickets has been higher than I anticipated. One call or one text message and my issue was resolved. I literally cannot tell you how often my manager Jason Dragon or I have had to reach out to promoters dozens of times to get things done.
Creative Loafing has asked me to write about hip hop in part because the Editors know I care deeply about it, but also because I can provide an honest "inside" look at the scene that you don't typically get in traditional forums. Here is some truth: This is the first time in my career that I've dealt with a promoter that's come through on all three of these things. That is embarrassing and it's all my fault. I have good relationships with a number of venues in the Tampa Bay market and with at least one other promoter, but it has taken me 10 years to touch on all three of these things in one event. Maybe that's a reflection on my music (doubtful), or maybe this is what people mean by paying dues (things hustlers say), but these are things that all artists should expect every time out.
Good people. Good music. Good business.
Do you have an example of a promoter that doesn't suck? Let us know below in the comment section.
Infinite Skillz is a hip hop fan and emcee. Click here to find out more about his music.