Do Evangelicals Miss the Mark When It Comes to Urban Music?

I think so. I’ve struggled with how the “CCM” world sees hip-hop music from believers (which is a very wide spectrum). While I am thankful for the little pieces here and there, I don’t always feel like it’s ever been even close to being understood.

Over the years I’ve been running Sphere of Hip-Hop, and also in my work at record labels (Uprok Records and currently Illect Recordings), I don’t get much assurance that things have changed much or ever will change. Perhaps the latter is too cynical. The current growth is because most artists built their own following apart from the support of Christian media and radio. That’s frustrating but not surprising given things I’ve heard in private meetings with “industry executives”.

Bottom line… evangelicals are missing a big opportunity to reach youth culture. Not all of these people respond to or like rock music. Hopefully it changes but I’m personally not holding my breath… BUT that isn’t stopping me from living out my calling which is to serve urban culture.

Your thoughts?

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Free Online Music Courses

A friend of mine shared this news with me and I wanted to pass it along…

http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

Scroll down to music:

Dave Conservatoire (Music Theory Lessons) – Web – David Rees, Royal College of Music, London
Free Music Courses (Multiple Offerings) – Web Site – Berklee College of Music
Listening to Music – Download Course – Professor Craig Wright, Yale
Politics in Music – iTunes – Web – Courtney Brown, Emory Craig Wright, Yale
The Unanswered Question: 6 Lectures on Music – YouTube – Leonard Bernstein, Harvard

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Don’t @ Spam Me Bro!

It’s a Twitter epidemic. No introduction, no attempt to build… just an in your face attempt to promote your stupid music. Knock it off. Any worthwhile outlet (media, radio, tv etc) you’re @ tagging on your spam tweet doesn’t react to it. Quit wasting your time and stuffing our feed up with the spam.

In honor of this… a meme. Don’t @ Spam Me Bro!

Dont Twitter Spam Me Bro

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Too busy for details

Two years ago I started what was a “reboot” or everything I was involved in with music. The idea was to return to the basics and eliminate things that ultimately didn’t matter. It turned out that I was wasting a lot of time on non-essential work and was so far behind on everything important that I grew to loathe doing what I do. That’s tough.

The process was at times unbearable. I consistently questioned whether I was doing the right thing and even if I should bother continuing. It was too much work. Too daunting. Very discouraging. I didn’t see a lot of grace even though I apologized frequently for letting people down (because of delays etc). The whole process felt awkward.

Where did I start?

I made a list of everything I do. I wrote out all of my responsibilities. Then I put it away for a week and came back to it. I started crossing off things that were not important and in some cases things I enjoyed but weren’t important. Tough to do. One of the reasons I was in the position I was is that I said “yes” too often when I shouldn’t have. I also deviated from the plan that got me to where I am in the first place. The first month of the process was eye opening and helped me recognize how far the goal was away and yet that it was attainable.

Now what?

The list was prioritized. It was 8 full pages written out by hand. I figured that I had listed about 500 projects. Some that take a few minutes and others months… a few even years. As I worked through the list I constantly reassessed and reworked the list. I resisted the temptation to continue adding. That was a problem early on. Internally I continued to fight the process but knew that eventually it was going to be worth it.

The process is near the end.

For the first 18 months I doubted, struggled and wondered often “what the heck am I doing?” sometimes every day. The last 3-6 months have been the most rewarding. All that early groundwork is now showing dividends. It’s funny how that works. The work now is no less important than the work at the start. Yet I felt entirely differently.

The nugget of gold.

Details. I had a clear objective overall and in each individual part of the plan. Sticking with the details is what will make this all a success. It has worked. The funny thing is that I hadn’t even considered early on just how important the details were. I just went to work.

In a landscape of life and music, it’s busy. Things move very fast. Details are forgotten. Overlooked. Unresearched. We’re so busy looking towards this “goal” that we forget the important details. These details are often the foundation of success.

On a daily basis I see a lot of music that’s obviously rushed. I see records released by artists and record labels with no real plan. Well, their plan is to emulate and copy other peoples plans. Unfortunately, the people they are following haven’t paid attention to details either. People matter. If people matter, you should be intensely concerned about details. It’s stewardship. Sloppily rolling out your album release reflects on you. It reflects on your message. It affects your bottom line. Whether you’re worried about ministry, business or a healthy mix of both… be a good steward. Be detail oriented. If you don’t really know what you’re doing… get help from someone who does. KNOW what you’re doing and why you’re doing it rather than following some mythical model of “this is how so and so does it”.

Don’t be too busy for details. They matter. I learned that again after 2 years and 5000+ hours or work during that time. I’m thankful I did it right.

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Your Website Still Matters

Having your own dot com and not just existing on Twitter or some other social network is still your smartest web move.

I read the following quote on Copyblogger and it makes fantastic sense. It’s also bearing true for Sphere of Hip-Hop in many ways.

Your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instragram, and any other fans/followers should have frequent opportunities to come back to your site for content they can only find there, and to subscribe to your email list for even more premium content.

With recent changes at places like Facebook where sharing information via your Page now reaches even fewer of your fans, what are you going to do?

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Politricks 2012

It’s hard to not be a bit cynical about elections this year for the usual reasons.

Politricks 2012

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Real Ultimate Power: NINJAS!

I found this a long time ago… it’s a pretty funny read. This quote will get you started:

If you don’t believe that ninjas have REAL Ultimate Power you better get a life right now or they will chop your head off!!! It’s an easy choice, if you ask me.”

Real Ultimate Power / Ninjas

PS: Read the hate mail section. It’s super funny. (pardon the language)

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Seasons Change

Much is changing at Sphere of Hip-Hop. This fall we’re wrapping up a full site renovation. It’ll take a month or two to get settled in to our new digs but ultimately we’re confident it will be a good transition.

Our content is changing. We’ve got a sharper focus and are honing in on a specific type of material to feature on the site. If you’ve been rolling with us for a while, it’ll be the same but only better. If you’ve only know about us for a short time… give us a shot to win your repeat visits.

Back to work. See you soon.

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Chap-Hop History by Mr.B the Gentleman Rhymer

Don’t call it comeback…

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Sampling – Exploring the DNA of Modern Music

Love this info-graphic about sampling… if you appreciate this one, please share this post.

Sampling - Exploring the DNA of Modern Music
(click for larger version)

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