Saturday, December 31, 2011

15 Indie Artist Revenue Opportunities for 2012

Check out this article "15 Indie Artist Revenue Opportunities for 2012 by Hypebot contributor: Clyde Smith

Three Essential Music Sites You Need to Use in 2012

Check out this article "Three Essential Music Sites You Need to Use in 2012" by Hypebot contributor: Robin Davey

It sums up the music marketing tools I've been stressing all year: a personal website & Youtube + Facebook

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Check me out at the A3C Festival on Xfinity on Demand's Get Local ATL

I found this video online of me speaking about my 1st time experience at the A3C Hip-Hop Festival. Check it out here...

Untitled from Comcast on Vimeo.<

If you're in ATL, you can view the entire segment by going to Xfinity On Demand and then by clicking on the following:
1. Get Local ATL
2. Best of the City
3. Must Do Events
4. A3C Hip-Hop Fest

How To Add Your Tracks To The Vimeo Video Music Store

Check out this article "How To Add Your Tracks To The Vimeo Video Music Store"
by Hypebot contributor Matt Voyno

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Can You Get For $5?

I stumbled across a cool site called and I wanted to pass it along. I know many of my readers still hold regular 9-5’s while pursuing their hip-hop dreams, which translates to having to carefully budget for music expenses and the constant search for cost-effective services and solutions. is a site where people share what they’re willing to do for $5.00 bucks; some of the stuff is random and wacky.
I do believe that you get what you pay for. However, there are some cool and useful services on the site that are worth checking out. They have many different sections on the site. I have listed the most useful sections for indie and upcoming hip-hop artists, along with examples of actual services people have offered on below:
Music and Audio:I will clean up your vocal track professionally for $5”                                   
Video: “I will create you an URBAN grunge street, gritty, dirty, dark and edgy industrial hip-hop theme text intro opener for $5”
Graphics: “I will graphic design anything for $5”
Social Marketing: “I will create a Twitter background design for $5”
Check it out and play around with it; see what $5 bucks can get you at - Fun Way to Discover & Promote Music

Check out this great article about the new site, which is an indie artist promotional site:

" - Fun Way to Discover & Promote Music" by Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith

Monday, October 10, 2011

5 Tips for Networking at the Next A3C Festival

On Thursday, October 6th, I attended the first day of the A3C Festival. I had initially planned on attending on Friday night to see Big K.R.I.T perform “Dreamin” and “The Vent”, and to see the rest of the stage. However Thursday was the only day I could go, so I decided to just go and scope out the scene. There was a variety of different stages of emerging and indie hip-hop artists performing, while golden era hip-hop blasted in the background. There were also tons of upcoming hip-hop artists walking around scoping the scene just as I was, many of them walking around aimlessly with backpacks full of their mixtapes and other promo materials. This was my first year attending A3C and I observed that A3C is definitely a staple for underground hip-hop and a cool platform for hip-hop artists to be seen and heard if they’re prepared. So in anticipation of the 2012 A3C Festival, here are 5 tips for networking at next year's event.
1.) Identify Who You Would  Like to Connect With: You don’t have to pass your mixtape and/or single to anyone who’ll take it. Instead take a more strategic approach. For instance, there were tons of hip-hop media in attendance at A3C. If there’s a particular writer/blogger(s) you’d like to connect with, find out if they’ll be at A3C and send a brief introductory email. It can be a simple intro such as “Hi, My name is Kayla and I’m a Pittsburgh based hip-hop artist and longtime reader of your site. I’m reaching out because I’d like to connect with you at A3C”
2.)  Offer praise initially, but only if it’s genuine: If you’re a fan of Let them know. Always avoid asking for help the first time you meet someone. Remember that all great relationships are reciprocal.
3.) Take care of your current network: If you already have an existing relationship with a hip-hop writer/blogger(s). Find out if they’re attending A3C, so you can meet them face-to-face and personally thank them for their support.
4.)  Don’t dismiss anyone as irrelevant: Treat everyone the same, with kindness and respect. You never know who you’re speaking with.
5.)  Follow-up: Immediately after meeting a new contact follow-up via email. Do not wait any longer than (2) days. This gives you a chance to further develop the relationship. Following-up regarding your previous conversation with the new contact helps them remember you better and they’ll be more receptive to you and any future emails you may send them.

3 Major Reasons To Drive Fans To Your Website Instead Of Facebook & Social Media

Check out this great article "3 Major Reasons To Drive Fans To Your Website Instead of Facebook & Social Media"
by: Hypebot contributor Bruce Houghton (article updated by: Chris Vinson)

Monday, September 26, 2011

"5 Questions" Interview with's Mike Boyd Jr.

I recently interviewed Mike Boyd Jr., Founder of the emerging hip-hop artists site Check out what this bonafide hip-hop head had to say about the importance of catchy subject lines, building a fan base and much more!
1.) I know you receive tons of emails. So when a hip-hop artist is trying to pitch themselves to the Artist Spotlight or Reviews section, how can they make themselves stand out in the mass of emails you receive daily? Hip-hop artists and managers should ask themselves the following question: "If I were in the shoes of this blog, website, DJ, or tastemaker, what would entice me to open an e-mail?"  Personally, I think artists and managers should also put more time into crafting interesting subject lines. More often than not, a bad subject line will get your e-mail immediately deleted from my inbox.
2.) I definitely consider you a source when it comes to uncovering some of the freshest and newest hip-hop talent. How do you stay abreast? When a new artist jumps onto my radar, I'll check him or her out to see if their music and image matches up with their buzz and story.  Sometimes it takes me a few listens before I can really hear what's going on with the music and movement, especially if I'm listening to an artist from a different region!  Having said that, I'm always watching for trends and listening to a select list of tastemakers. 
3.) Where are you based out of? covers a wide range of artists; however I've observed that has recently been a great platform for Atlanta hip-hop artists, such as Pill, Future and Trouble. The reason I ask is because I'm from SW Atlanta.           I'm originally from Saint Louis, but is based out of New York City.  As mentioned in your question, my site has been supporting a good deal of Atlanta artists lately.  This is the case because I feel that some of the best new talent in the game is currently coming out of Atlanta.                                      
4.) In your opinion, what are some examples of some hip-hop artists, who are doing a great job of promoting themselves across the Internet and what are other ways in which artists can build a buzz and following outside of the Internet? Mac Miller and Rostrum Records are doing a great job with grass roots and viral marketing.  For example, they recently made videos to announce Mac's debut album title ( and release date (  Most artists would have simply tweeted out that type of information.
For building a buzz and following outside of the Internet, I'd suggest that artists think of events that their fan base would like to attend.  For example, Mac Miller could throw a listening session or album release party in the same park that he named his album after.  He could also have a scavenger hunt around the city of Pittsburgh and give concert tickets to the winners, etc.
To build a buzz, it's important to focus a good amount of your efforts on current fans.  Try to turn the people who 'like' your music into people who 'love' your music.  They'll spread the word to their friends.
5.) Who are some of your favorite new hip-hop artists? & What mixtapes are you currently listening too? Some of my personal favorite new hip-hop artists are Big K.R.I.T., Trouble, and Future.  If you are not familiar with those three artists, I suggest you check them out now!  I'm currently listening to Future's Streetz Calling mixtape, Trouble's Green Light and December 17th mixtapes, OG Ron C and DJ Candlestick's Chop The Throne project, and Curren$y's Pilot Talk 2 album.
*Where does the name HipHopAtLunch come from? Originally, HipHopAtLunch's main focus was an e-mail newsletter that went out to my subscribers every day around noon.  By reading the e-mail, kids and young adults could keep up with the hottest emerging emcees and hip-hop news while on their lunch break. Nowadays, I use my e-mails to inform those in need of new music as to projects and artists that they should be checking out. If you're on my list, you can expect to get a message whenever I feel the need to share some info!
Hit me on Twitter, @HipHopAtLunch, and I'll add you to the e-mail list!
Thanks Mike!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

4 Tips For Hiring a Graphic Artist For Your Mixtape

Your mixtape cover art is an important and extended part of your image and should be a dope and forthcoming visual representation of what’s to come on your mixtape. When hiring a graphic artist for your mixtape cover, you need to make sure they understand your music and brand and that they can bring your ideas to life or that they can bring forth their own creative mixtape cover ideas that will represent you and your mixtape effectively. So with that being said, here are 4 tips to consider when hiring a mixtape cover graphic artist.
1.    Versatility- When selecting a graphic artist, make sure that they are versatile and that they are creative and that they have a range of design skills, because you want someone who can convey your individuality and the themes and messages of your music, not someone who has a one size fit all approach to designing mixtape covers.
2.    Track Record- Request to see work they’ve done in the past and ask for testimonials. Additionally, when you’re hiring for services, such as PR/marketing or website design check track records as well.
3.     Professionalism- I know that the hip-hop industry can be a little casual, but business is business. Make sure you have a timeline for the work and ask that the graphic artist is being consistent with you and communicating effectively with you throughout the process.
4.    You Get What You Pay For- If you want good value for something, allot a budget and pay for it. When you are a DIY type of hip-hop artist, who more than likely has a day job it is important that you are budgeting and planning in advance for these types of cost.

Find Out How Your Music is Being Categorized on YouTube via Music Discover

Music Discovery is a YouTube tool that allows users to make playlists and discover new artists and music videos, similar to Pandora. However, Music Discovery is not finalized. Music Discovery is a part of YouTube’s TestTube, which is where YouTube developers test out new ideas that aren’t quite finished yet, while inviting viewers to give them feedback on their unfolding developments. Check out music discovery here at
So here’s how you find out how your music is being categorized:
2.)   Click “Try it Out” under YouTube Music Discovery
3.)   Type in your name in the search box and click “Disco” & YouTube will generate a playlist of your music and similar artists.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"5 Questions" Interview with's Brian "DJ Z" Zisook

I recently had the opportunity to interview Co-owner/operator & Editor-in-Chief,  Brian "DJ Z" Zisook of the popular and well-respected hip-hop site Check out what DJ Z had to say about Internet buzz vs. real life buzz, how to pitch your music and much more! Dope interview with lots of great tips!

1.) I've seen you tweet examples of how not to pitch your music to What are some examples of how some upcoming hip-hop artists have effectively pitched themselves & music and caught the attention of Also, how do you feel about hip-hop artists pitching you their music via Twitter and Facebook? Great question.  The most important thing to consider when pitching your music (or the music of your artist) is time.  Ask yourself, "How long will it take this person to get through this submission?"  If the answer is 10 minutes, you've lost them before they've read a single word.  If the answer is 5 minutes, they will most likely give up after beginning.  If the answer is 3 minutes or less, you have more than a fighting chance.  The next closest factor to time is organization.  Reading countless emails is hard enough on the eyes, nobody needs wacky fonts, different size text and several colors.  Set the size to the standard 12, the color to black, and the font to default (do no over think things to try and get someone's attention).  Make sure to include all the basics: the music (attached as an MP3, or available in 1 click through a service like SoundCloud), the title of the release, the production credit, the project information, links to a website and social networks, professionally-taken promo photos, and if available a bio or EPK.  At the end of the day, though, no matter how conscious someone is of time and organization, the music must speak for itself.  If the submission is quality, it will rise to the top.

As for the second question, do not ever send me music through Twitter or Facebook.  It is unorganized, unprofessional, and won't be considered.  Would a mail carrier try to deliver your mail through the opening in your car window?  No, its not the right way to do things.  Same deal here.

2.) What are some of the criteria you use when deciding to feature the music of indie and upcoming hip-hop artists?We receive thousands of submissions per month, so its hard to pinpoint any set of specific criteria that determines who is and who is not featured at  As I mentioned in my answer to question #1, the music must speak for itself.  If you don't catch our ear in the first 30 seconds, your time is over.  Also, if the song (MP3) is not mixed and mastered, you probably won't be featured.  Mixing and mastering music is like breaks on a car; they are not optional, you need them or else it just doesn't work.

3.) Tell me more about's participation in the A3C Festival. Also, could you give a little background on the A3C festival for those who don't know what it is., for the second year in a row, was invited to present a showcase at the A3C Festival in Atlanta October 6th - 8th.  Our showcase is Friday, October 7, at the outdoor stage and will feature performances from Big K.R.I.T, Jean Grae, Saigon, Pill, Aleon Craft, Jon Hope, Yonas, J. NiCS, and a few others (who have not yet been announced).  For more information about A3C and its growing movement I would suggest people visit their official website,
Kayla's Note: A3C is the largest hip-hop festival in the Southeast.

4.) In your opinion, what constitutes an artist having a strong Internet buzz. What hip-hop artists do you think do a great job of promoting themselves across the Internet? A "strong Internet buzz" can be very misleading.  If an artist has a strong buzz online, that doesn't necessarily mean that they can translate that semi-success outside of the net.  For example, Artist X has 20k Twitter followers and an additional 25k "likes" on Facebook.  Those are both very respectable social network statistics.  Does this mean Artist X will be able to book and sell out a venue that holds approximately 250 people, lets say, in 8-10 major market cities across the country?!?  Maybe, or maybe not. The simple mathematics (if they are real numbers, and not artificially inflated by blank accounts or paid-for bots) tell us that they should be able to - but most artists in that range struggle mightily (without additional artists as supporting acts). 

Artists who have done a great job of parlaying Internet buzz to real world buzz over the last few years are Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Big K.R.I.T, Curren$y, and Freddie Gibbs.

5.) Who are some of your favorite upcoming and indie hip-hop artists? I could literally spend the next five hours listing artists, who I believe will play a big part in shaping the sound of urban music over the next 5-8 years.  Currently, I am a big fan/supporter of Dee-1, Emilio Rojas, Fortilive, GhostWridah, Gilbere Forte, Hoodie Allen, J NiCS, Jon Hope, Kendrick Lamar, Kyle Lucas, Logic, Laws, Macklemore, Nikki Lynette, Novel, OnCue, Phil Ade, Rapsody, Smokey Robotic, STS, Soul Khan, Thurz, Yonas, and Young Scolla.  And that is the "Cliff Notes" version, if you will [laughs].

Thanks Z!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3 Tips For Optimizing Your YouTube Channel

So you already have your YouTube channel. You’ve already posted music videos and candid footage, which means you’re connecting with existing fans and trying to reach new ones. It also means your YouTube channel is now showing up in the search engines.  So are you making the most out of your YouTube channel by optimizing it? Here are 3 optimization tips you can use to increase the visibility of your YouTube channel.
·Make sure your channel type is Musician and not the basic YouTube user setup. The musician option allows a custom logo, music genre selection, tour date info and CD purchase links on your profile
·Utilize channel tags. Place keywords in your channel tags that pertain to your videos, i.e. your description of your music, for example Alternative Hip-Hop Artist. Also be sure to research the specific keywords that you would like for your video to appear from when searched for to get ideas.
·Create Playlists and make them visible on your YouTube channel. Playlists are collections of  videos that play back to back. Playlists are great if you have a series of videos. For example ATL hip-hop artist Young Rich T filmed a prequel video to introduce and garner early buzz for his mixtape, and followed the prequel with a series of music videos for his mixtape tracks. That’s a great example of a playlist.
Another way you can utilize playlists is for example if you are an ATL hip-hop artist, search for the most popular keywords associated with Top ATL hip-hop artists on YouTube, then create a playlist and title it using those keywords found from your search. Include your video in the playlist, but make the first video of the playlist a recognizable artist with lots of views. This helps optimize your channel and the addition of the major hip-hop artists breeds familiarity, and makes viewers more likely to stick around to view your video, since playlist videos are played back to back.

How to Customize Your YouTube Channel with Your Mixtape Cover Art

Let’s say you want to use the mixtape cover of your upcoming mixtape for your YouTube background. Here are the steps:
·         Log-in to your YouTube account
·         Click your user name, which is located in the upper right corner and click “Channel”
·         Go to Themes & Colors
·         Click the “Show Advanced Options” link
·         Click “Choose File” (Make sure your mixtape cover is saved as a jpeg)
·         Select your mixtape cover image and click “Save Changes”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

5 Tips Toward Making XXL’s Freshmen Class

So you’re aiming to land on the cover of the much coveted XXL “Freshmen Class” issue, well you can borrow my cliff’s notes. As of 2010, the XXL Freshmen Class list is unveiled in early March and then the carefully chosen new wave of hip-hop artists are introduced to the world in XXL’s April issue. I researched the early buzz of some of XXL’s freshmen alumni, and I came up with these common factors. Without further ado, here are 5 useful tips you can use toward becoming a hip-hop freshman.   
Consistency: As with any goal that you set, you have to be consistent and continually take action. Each XXL freshman has been consistent in their efforts. Big K.R.I.T first started generating a MySpace buzz in 2005, releasing his first mixtape at 18. Curren$y started off as one of the 504 Boyz on Master P’s No Limit Records, he later signed with Young Money where he released the track “Where Da the Cash At”. After pushbacks, he left and took control of his career. He released the popular mixtapes: Independence Day and Higher than 30,000 Feet, generating a buzz that landed him in the 2009 freshmen class.     
Co-Sign: Many of the former freshmen class have earned seals of approval from hip-hop heavyweights. Freshmen Class 2010 alum and Maybach Music Group signee Pill received praise from Andre 3000 after 3000 heard his mixtape; Pill 4180: The Prescription.
Internet Buzz: One trait that each freshmen class alumni possessed was a strong Internet buzz. In 2007 west coast hip-hop artist Crooked I started a 52 week long Hip-Hop Weekly series via the Internet. For a whole year, Crooked I released a new freestyle track every Wednesday, in which he rapped over various current and old hip-hop instrumentals, sometimes fan selected. His popular and trendsetting Hip-Hop Weekly series gave him a vehicle to build his fan base, engage his current fans and build a strong Internet buzz, ultimately gaining a place in the 2007 XXL inaugural freshmen class.
Timing: As of 2010, the annual freshman class list is revealed in March. In January 2011, Eminem signed southern rap artist Yelawolf to Shady Records. Aside from his amazing grind, this factor most likely contributed to Yelawolf being included in the 2011 freshmen class. Additionally Meek Millz signed to Maybach Music Group in February 2011, which amongst other factors may have contributed to his inclusion as well.
Crossover Record: Alternative hip-hop artist Kid Cudi’s breakthrough mixtape: “A Kid Named Cudi” produced the crossover record “Day N Nite”, a track that eventually charted on both hip-hop and pop charts.

Top Tips For YouTube Music Marketing

Check out this great article by Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith:                                                                                           

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

3 Video Tools You Can Use to Promote Your Mixtape

Qik: Qik is a mobile application that allows you to stream live video from your cell phone to the Internet. Users are able to upload videos to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Qik allows you to stream live video directly from your cellphone to the web. Qik is great for candid videos in the studio or interacting with friends. These types of candid videos are great for transparency and for really showcasing your personality, and they do not have to be long to make an impact. In fact I would not go over 2 minutes.

Mini-Documentary: Create a mini-documentary of the creation and promotion of your mixtape by including the following components:                                                                        
·         Mixtape music   
·         An Interview discussing your mixtape, music and background (can be shot in your neighborhood)                                                                                                                                   
·         Live performance from mixtape release party before, during and after)
Ustream: Ustream is typically used to broadcast and share live events. Ustream would be a good tool for sharing your live performances in real time. For example you could share a live performance from your mixtape listening party.

Music Marketing on Google+?!? Resistance is Futile!

Check out this article by Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Introducing the "5 Questions" Interview Series: James Moore (#1)

I’d like to introduce to you the “5 Questions” interview series, in which I will be interviewing hip-hop influencers, indie music experts, social media strategists and prominent hip-hop artists asking them for tips and commentary on the marketing & promotion of hip-hop music. First up, in the “5 Questions” interview series is James Moore; author of the book “Your Band is a Virus”. Moore is well-versed on the indie music scene & though he focuses on bands, his advice is universal and relevant to hip-hop artists as well. Check out what James had to say about bios, video marketing & more!

What is the correct way to write an indie artist bio? The correct promotional language of an indie artist bio should be factual. I always suggest getting others to endorse you, and then include their quotes in your bio and press materials. For example, "The Source Magazine calls them the most impressive hip-hop act of the last 10 years" gives you instant credibility even if no one has heard of the publication. The more outside sources have to say about you, the better. Until you build up your press quotes, keep your bio factual and fairly minimal. It's also ok to mention famous artists in the context of your influences or "sounds like a cross between" references. 
What are some of the most creative viral/video marketing campaigns that you've come across? To be honest, a lot of artists & bands are going about it the wrong way, so I'm ALWAYS impressed when I see artists doing simple things like getting reviews, running successful campaigns on sites like, being creative with contests and sweepstakes on Wildfire (, thinking outside the box with creative music videos and creating incentives for their fans to get involved, such as giving away free unreleased tracks.
How important is the addition of viral/video marketing to an indie artist's music promotion/PR campaign? It should be one of the main components of any PR campaign. If there is nothing that is viral worthy about the artist, it's going to be very difficult for them to get known. It's important for artists to differentiate themselves, sometimes to the extreme, and video is a great opportunity to do that. As long as the video fits your sound & image and is unique, you could have a hit.
What are some tips for building an effective website? These days, you can either do it from scratch if you have those skills, or you can go with a service such as or, who make the process easy for you and charge a monthly fee to host your site. I've had good experiences with both companies. However you'll want to check out their templates and choose the one that's right for you. Don't add too many sections though! You want your website to frame your product, so to speak. Lead people toward the sale, even if it's a free download. Having a mailing list or newsletter is a must as well, and sign up options should be on multiple pages of your site. Also, you should be plugging your social network presence on multiple pages of your site. A blog with relevant content could be a big help too - not just content about your band, but other things you care about. This could help you in the search engines, especially if you go with a good blog services such as Wordpress or Blogger.
What is the proper way to approach music media professionals? It's a numbers game and it takes effort. Don't just contact a few websites and wait. You want to reach out to a ton of places. Try to contact individuals who writes reviews or features catering to your style, and be personable and polite. It's good practice to mention something you liked about one of their pieces, or engage them with a question about an artist that you both like. Be appreciative because no one is obligated to cover you. Offer a link back or cross-promotion especially if it's a smaller blog, podcast or website you are contacting. It's best to think of them as a fellow music lover who does what they do for similar reasons that you do what you do. I hope these suggestions lead you to more success!
For info on James Moore and his book “Your Band is A Virus” visit his website @
Thanks James!

Friday, July 15, 2011

How to Create a Social Media Plan To Promote Your Mixtape

  • Set measurable goals
  • Seek out online groups and communities that are relevant to your music and brand in general
  •  Identify key influencers in those groups and communities
  •  Based on your findings, create a content strategy
  •  After a content strategy is formed, allot a time frame to promote your mixtape & once that time period has ended.
  • Repeat and apply these steps toward creating and delivering content about your music and personal brand in general. Consistency, transparency and engaging content is key and remember that social media participation is a commitment.
So what should you say??? To help you brainstorm, I’ve included a few tweet examples from emerging Atlanta hip-hop artist Yung Booke below:   
If u keep #bands on u.. This is your anthem!!! GO DOWNLOAD IT NOW!! 5:47 PM Dec 3rd via Twitter for Android
Go download "Bands On Me" feat. @jfuturistic09 & MDC Nowww!!  
I used his tweets as an example, because they are engaging, consistent and in sync with his persona.
  • Engage in conversations with fans, followers and people that are interested in and or talking about your mixtape and music in general
  • Be a conversation starter: Facilitate conversations amongst fans, followers, contemporaries, and influencers

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to Get The Source Magazine to Tell Your Story

Editorial Calendar Exp.
1.   Make sure that your story is newsworthy and interesting.
2.   Keep your media pitch short, simple and to the point.
3.   Make sure that your press releases and supporting materials are sent to the appropriate media contact.
4.   Make sure that you’re available for additional info.
5.   If an editor, writer, reporter or hip-hop blogger responds to your pitch, treat their questions and/or requests for additional info with urgency! (I cannot stress this enough)
6.  Target media outlets that cater specifically to your target audience.
7.   Become VERY familiar with the media outlets that you are targeting. Whether you’re targeting a print publication, hip-hop website or blog, know which section you would like to be featured in and find out the name and contact info of that direct editor, hip-hop blogger or writer. For example if you want one of your mixtape tracks to be featured on’s Bangers section, contact the Director of Digital Content.
8.   Utilize editorial calendars. Editorial calendars are lists that outline specific topics that print media outlets plan to cover within each issue of the year. For example, The Source magazine’s annual July issue is the Independent Artist/Label Package Issue. Editorial calendars are a great tool to utilize for planning which magazines & sections you want to pitch yourself too. (See blog post image)
9.  Always send an email first. Email is the preferred contact for mostly all hip-hop media professionals.       
10. Make sure your email subject line is appealing.
11. Cut and paste your mixtape/music press release, in addition to attaching it.
12. Keep note of your contact history with the editor, writer or hip-hop blogger. Make note of things such as, whether you made contact with them or not? Were they interested in your music and/or mixtape? Did they say when you should email or call again?

How To Get On Wikipedia

Check out this article by Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith:

How To Get Your Band On Wikipedia

My hip-hop readers can definitely pull from this.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hip-Hop Marketing: An Interview with Nahright's Eskay by Hubspot's Dan Zarrella

I don’t do a ton of interviews, in fact I’ve only done two in this site’s history. One with Craig Newmark of Craigslist and one with Alex Bogusky formerly of CP+B. I only interview folks who I think bring a unique perspective to social media marketing.

Nah Right is considered one of the most influential Hip-Hop blogs on the web. And as a fan of rap, I often learn a ton about marketing from it. So I decided to interview Nah Right’s founder Eskay about his thoughts on marketing in the industry.

A lot of rap artists are getting involved in Twitter and doing very well with stuff like trending hashtags. Does social media actually sell records?

Eskay: I think social media contributes to the public’s awareness about an artist and that awareness then (hopefully) turns into album or single sales. Social media in the context of any recording artist is a marketing tool, and like any marketing tool can backfire on you and end up hurting you if you don’t put enough thought into it.

DZ: Beyond record and ticket sales what are Hip-Hop marketers measuring? What should they be measuring, what’s the most important metric? Followers, fans, mix tape downloads, etc?

Eskay: I think that online, it’s an artist’s overall digital footprint. How many pageviews does their website get? How many Twitter followers? How many retweets, how many Facebook friends/fans, number of mixtape downloads and Youtube views, all of that stuff can give you a picture of what kind of noise a particular act is making. At the same time though, I think you have to take those numbers with a grain of salt. On the “rap Internet”, numbers are often fabricated by dishonest artists and sites, and even legitimate numbers can fail to give you an accurate picture of how many people somebody might be reaching. I think it’s still really important to get out to the streets and shows and clubs and get a real feel for what people are connecting with.

DZ: There are a ton of examples of famous rappers becoming lifestyle brands with movies, clothing, books, beverages, etc: Diddy, Jay-Z, Dr Dre, 50 Cent, etc. What’s the key to getting this right?

Eskay: Any celebrity can sell any reasonably decent product to fans. Within the Hip-Hop community if you can maintain your integrity and not give the impression that you are selling out in any way, people will allow you to market to them. It’s an entrepreneurial culture and so for the most part I think we try to respect and support each other’s business ventures.

DZ: Jay-Z just started a lifestyle website,, with surprisingly little fan fare. What are your thoughts on the way he launched it?

Eskay: Personally, I’ve seen scores of artists and personalities pour tons of money and marketing muscle into launches for websites, products and services and 9 times out of 10, whatever they are selling doesn’t live up to the hoopla that preceded it. I think the quiet, guerrilla approach has its benefits. Jay knows that whatever he launches, rap and music blogs are going to cover it in excruciating detail no matter what, so why waste time and energy on a marketing campaign? The audience you’re looking for are blog readers and bloggers and you already have a built in marketing channel with those people. Plus it gives the site that kind of indie, Tumblr-esque, only-the-cool-people-know-about-this vibe that everybody responds to these days.

DZ: What are some of your favorite examples of established rappers marketing new projects?

Eskay: Honestly, nothing comes to mind. I think most of the really cool marketing stuff is happening with the smaller indie artists and labels like Duck Down, Rhymesayers and Stone’s Throw. I can’t think of a specific campaign but I know those labels always try to go a little left field. Most of the major labels are just horrible. There’s very little creativity coming out of those places. It’s like: street single, viral video, actual single, moderately budgeted video, 106th and Park appearance, release date.

DZ: I’ve written a lot about the use of social proof online. What role do you think it plays in Hip-Hop marketing?

Eskay: I’d say it’s enormously important. For all of our individuality, the Hip-Hop culture breeds sheep. In the online space, getting your music posted on the right blogs has become incredibly important to some artists, moreso than even the quality of the music they’re putting out it seems. And it becomes a situation where PR people and label flunkies hound a handful of blogs for coverage, knowing that it will probably turn into more widespread coverage if they can just get so-and-so to pay attention. But from the blogger’s perspective it just adds to the overflow of content being shoved down our throats on a daily basis and can end up being, in my opinion, detrimental to the artists. I’ve been known to ignore artists simply because their PR rep is so mindnumbingly annoying.

Beyond the Internet, I think social proof also plays a huge role in whether or not an artist’s career ever gets off the ground in the first place. Above almost everything else in Hip-Hop, fans want authenticity and without it you’re dead int he water. A lot of people hear the word authenticity in the context of Hip-Hop and equate it with street cred, but that’s not what I mean. You can be an emo skater rapper from some bumfuck town in the midwest but if you’re repping emo skater rappers from the midwest, and you’re repping them in a way that emo skater rap fans from the midwest feel is authentic, then you’re golden.

DZ: Conflict has been identified as a positive boost for certain rappers. Nas and Jay-Z come to mind. Do you think lyrical confrontation is a valid marketing strategy for up-and-coming artists?

Eskay: Yes and no. We’re at a point where fans are very savvy to all of the smoke and mirrors that artists and labels employ to get publicity. It’s to the point now where an artist will be involved in some kind of criminal incident or public dispute and people will immediately flock to Twitter and blogs to denounce it as a publicity stunt, even when it clearly is not. So yes, beef will almost always get you some kind of attention, but it might not be the type of attention you were looking for.

But to answer your question, I think beef is probably a better marketing tool for established rappers rather than new artists trying to make a name. Unless you’re involved in a conflict with a high profile artist, and that person is actually playing along and engaging you, nobody is going to particularly care why you’re mad at that person. My personal opinion? Leave the beef alone and focus on making great music and when you’re established you can ruffle whatever feathers you feel still need ruffling.

DZ: Certain lyrics are referenced over and over again. What do you think is the key to writing contagious lines?

Eskay: I honestly could not tell you. If I knew, I might have a rap career!


A few Thanksgivings ago I was talking to Cee-lo asking him a million questions as usual ranging from GooDie Mob to just life in general. One of the questions, I asked him was why he believed he'd evolved so much from the early GooDie Mob days, and his reply was “It’s all about the air”, I asked him what do you mean? He was referencing astrology. He’s a Gemini. He said that it’s all about being creative, pushing the envelope and evolving. I asked him about water signs too and he said the same for water, so on my way home I thought about what he said and being the researcher I am I went on Wikipedia and started looking up the birthdays of popular artists and people that I respected from musical and or evolutionary standpoints and what do you know everyone I looked up was either an air or water sign from Prince, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Erykah Badu, Andre 3000 and etc. Though there is some substance to astrology, I’m not a big follower of it. However, I just thought that his take was unique and I wanted to share it. I think that everyone has a creative spark and that evolving in any area of your life is measured by your willingness and the power of choice. Awhile back, I was looking over Jay-Z’s reading list on and he mentioned the book “Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield. This is an excellent book and his wife Salle Redfield is awesome and she’s actually a mentor of mine. The book is fiction and it’s about a guy who travels to find a secret book that has a series of principles. The story is a metaphor for life, meaning one could go left or right, be stuck or keep advancing. Jay-Z says it’s a book that he lives his life by and he goes on to state “Some people are happy where they are. I tried to hire a guy once, and I said, "Don't you have ambition to be bigger?" And he said, "No, I'm good." I had to respect that, but for me that was the wrong relationship”. So anyhow I just wanted to give you some food for thought with a hip-hop spin.

Hello World!

My name is Kayla Calloway and I am an Atlanta-based hip-hop PR Pro and self-proclaimed hip-hop connoisseur. Ask me anything about hip-hop? No seriously, I’m a walking hip-hop dictionary:) I’ve been in the PR industry for 5+ years. I got my start by doing freelance PR work with local hip-hop artists, namely friends of mine and with notables such as Warren G, Chrisette Michelle, Outlawz and B-Rich. When I originally started out in the PR field, I just wanted to get enough experience so that I could land a job at a top 10 PR firm, such as Edelman or Ogilvy, because I didn’t have any formal PR experience, because I was an English major, with a strong emphasis on Modern Literature. So with that being said I know exactly what it means to be self-made and work from the ground up. I eventually did land internships at those coveted firms, but in the meantime in between time I had accumulated so much hip-hop experience, specifically indie that while I was interning I had steady streams of work. In fact during my interview at Ogilvy, my soon-to-be supervisor and mentor was already urging me to start my own niche hip-hop PR firm. So after my Ogilvy post, I went to work for firms such as Communications 21 but ultimately I decided to continue on my own hip-hop PR trek. I’ve worked with many major artists and hip-hop related organizations, but along the way, I realized that one of the things I loved most was working with indie and emerging hip-hop artists who were ambitious, hell bent on starting their own movements and what I call DIYers(indie and emerging hip-hop artists who are controlling their own brands; by creating their own movements and releasing their own music) The type of hip-hop artists, indie hip-hop labels and hip-hop managers that understood the whole premise and importance of PR; artists that I could co-conspire with. So as a branch result of that realization I decided to launch this blog as a DIY information hub that caters specifically to indie and emerging hip-hop artists. So enter my world and pick-up indispensable hip-hop marketing advice along the way too.

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During my time with XXL magazine as Music Editor Kayla Calloway PR was extremely helpful in doing my job. The firm kept me abreast of the goings on within the music scene of Atlanta and whenever we worked together it was always an easy process of securing information and setting up client interviews. Anslem Samuel, Senior Producer for Digital Interactive for Black Enterprise

Kayla Calloway is on top of her game! I hired Kayla out for last minute media exposure in ATL. I contacted Kayla on Sunday night, while en route to Atlanta. Within less than 24 hours, Kayla had booked Warren on ATL's top urban >radio stations and lined up interviews with numerous print outlets. She's a hard worker, who works very well under pressure. She truly exceeded our expectations. Wron G, Warren G’s Manager

Kayla Calloway was referred to me by a business client and I was very happy with Ms. Calloway's performance and her consistent calls on keeping me updated with her progress. Ms. Calloway handled the PR for my screening for my bio documentary I Am...Choke No Joke in Atlanta, GA and I had an excellent turn out with several media outlets present. I was so impressed with Ms. Calloway’s work that I hired her again for the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA. Choke No Joke, BET Producer

Kayla Calloway possess an optimal mix of professionalism and personality; of heart and hustle. She is a wonder to work with and is even agreeable to disagree with. She is a surgeon among spin doctors; a flack that takes no slack, a great communicator, a compassionate conduit and she will be there, step by step, to walk that path with you. Dasun Allah, Former Editor-In-Chief of The Source- Features Editor for Hip Hop Weekly -Former Head Writer for the Star & Buc Wild Show