22 Feb I HATE Titles
I get propositioned time and time again by people who want 2 “manage” my career as a DJ. In most cases I’m flattered that they see the potential for us to make money together but when I look at the track record of 95 percent these people, 1 thing is missing. A resume! In any normal business the strength of the organizationrelies on careful positioning of employees and everyone in those positions doing their jobs to their fullest potential. It usually involves some kind of formal training be it on the job or thru schooling. If you ask any manager at Wal Mart what he was doing 5 years ago he’ll most likely tell you he was working there or at another similar business learning what it takes to properly manage such a business. This makes me wonder what a lot of these cats in the rap game are thinking.
Being in the hip hop business I hear a lot of people throwing around titles for themselves: CEO, Manager, and Promoter are some of the more commonly used or shall I say mis-used titles I hear. Most think CEO is as simple as getting a business license for their record label and that’s it. Yeah, you now have the right to legally run a business but in most cases more time is spent telling the world about your label and not enough time developing a sound business plan, grooming profitable artist and building a trustworthy brand name.
The 1 that irks me the most is the so called artist manager. I see it all the time and most often it goes like this. An artist has been in the streets working to build up his resume at open mics, talent shows etc and as soon as his buzz starts to heat up his cousin, homeboy or brother are there to try and fulfill the management position. Its hard to say no to someone you care about especially when you know nothing about the management position yourself. All of a sudden you have a talented individual putting his career in the hands of someone who hasn’t even taken the time to familiarize himself with booking and contract terms. I asked one of these managers what was on his artist ‘Rider’ a standard question when inquiring about booking a performer. As you can probably tell by the tone of this article he had no idea what a Rider was. Like I said previously, you have people with no experience attempting to do a professionals job. Would you let somebody with zero experience give you a root canal or would you rather go to an experienced dentist. Think about it. I think the part that irritates me the most is these individuals rarely take the time to try and learn proper management etiquette so their client, the once talented rapper gets forgotten about due to missed opportunities and shady business dealings. The number one thing I see that doesn’t get done is the simple task of answering the phone. I’m close friends with a prominent southern mixtape DJ and the one particular trait about his manager that I like the most is that he will ALWAYS answer the phone. 5 AM, unknown callers, with his girl….it doesn’t matter. He will answer the phone. He’s told me before that 90 percent of the calls are BS. People with general questions about how to get in the game, rappers trying to freestyle over the phone or young girls calling saying ‘I just wanted to see if this was his real number’. But the other 10 percent are money generating, real business related calls. It takes a special kind of person to sift through all the mess to get to the money but thats what successful management is all about. Because when the client makes money you make money so it shouldn’t be a problem dealing with the BS calls. I have always felt as though you’re not doing a good job as management if you and/or your client still have regular day jobs. Your job as a manager is to day in and day out make and answer phone calls, reply to emails and pursue enough opportunities to ensure the artist stays in the money making position. That naturally puts money in your pocket since management gets 10-20 percent (the numbers vary GREATLY) of his clients earnings. Maybe the day job is part of the problem. It’s almost impossible to give all of your attention to your client when you’ve got a 9-5 to attend to. If your job is to secure shows yet your artist hasn’t done a show in over a month, the jobs not getting done. Its common sense to me but apparently not to everyone because on a daily basis business calls go unanswered because the manager can’t use his phone while he’s on the clock at foot locker.
I guess my ultimate point is I hate titles because so often, especially in the Hip Hop game, they get in the way of actual work getting done. It’s easy to call yourself by these grand titles but are you really living up to the job description? If not you might want to find another occupation and stop tearing up the game from the inside.