In 1982 I fell in love with Hip Hop through b-boying/breakdancing and writing/ graffiti. My crew back then was Pop Glide crew. Like most kids who fall in love with Afro-American music and culture, we also fell in-love with how cool hip hop was and how it spoke to us. Later, when many people stop b-boying we combine MCing with a b-boy show and Black Noise is born. So like many people from back then we all spoke with that slang and accent, no matter how hard they sound now. But we learnt to love how we sound and started rhyme about what we go through. We do a gang of shows for free to get a track record and just build a portfolio. The shows become our calling card and people start calling around for us to book us for school carnivals and other community based events. In 1993, I left my job as a teacher to do what is my first love - Hip Hop Culture.
Step one ... How the hell do I pay the rent. OK. I sell newspapers and recycle stuff for extra cash. At the same time I use part of the cash to call for gigs at clubs around town. Most want to know where else we performed, so we need to show our track record right... they are impressed. As we improve the show and earn more money we start to invest in ourselves. We buy a 808 and 909 drum machine and one of the crew members learn to make beats.
Step two ... We continue to do gigs for free at schools and other community based organizations. We rehearse constantly to create the best show. We ask people who have nothing to do with the group what they thought and what they liked about the show. We ask people that we meet about the process of managing a group. We start to record demos and video footage of the show, so that we can send it off to promoters and they are impressed and often bring us the JHB and P.E. clubs. We realise that their is a shortage of gigs in the townships, so we greate our own shows. Hire the venue, the sound, the make the poweters, DJs, etc and make extra cash from shows in places where people cant afford to go to clubs etc ... mostly younger kids.
Step three ... We read about getting deals as that is what everyone suggest is the way to success.. I speak to Steve Gordan of Making Music productions and Shaheen of POC to hear exactly what it is like to be signed and what it amounts to as a performer. You see you must learn from those who have gone before. The rest of the group thinks that we will be different in the recording industry, but you know how that is ... we all think that we will make the difference and that it wont happen to us ... So we sign the deal and that is the biggest lot of bullsh*t that you can go through, but you have to go through it to really know its crap here in South Africa ... everyone thinks they will have an easier route ??? .We have national tours, our videos are on TV and people know the group and the songs BUT, we starving in Durban while the show organiser is nowhere to be found. People all think you are living the life and most artists live the lie for the record labels and even keep the masses believing that its good being a signed artist ... mmmm maintaining that lie as a hip hop artists today becomes evident when they do solo albums to get some more of that cash than to divide it with the other 7 members of your crew and producers and record label ...
End of part one ... In the next part I will explain how to manage yourself and release your own album as a hip hop group or just an MC or b-boy crew or graf artist. If you have any questions or contributions for others wanting to make a living from this GOD GIVEN CULTURE , let me know and I will try to answer it when I have time or others who have the solution can assist with information. You never to old to learn and I do not have all the answers, but someone out their does.
LEARN TO SURVIVE IN HIP HOP / LIFE !!!!!