Few bloggers catch readers’ attention like Confusion, Gotty, and LowKey do. They are great with words and manage to make good picks, cover the information, and add their own personal touches to keep things interesting. They have a love for what they do and all will not stop until carpal tunnel prevents them from typing. We decided to reach out to LowKey and get some insight into his experiences with this blogging stuff. Check it out below.
Think way back to 2006, where were you getting your music from on the internet? Was it Limewire or Kazaa? Or were you one of the few going from blog to blog like we do today? While you were looking for new music, Lowkey was presenting it for us fans. In 2006 he started YouHeardThatNew, a hip-hop based blog that had exclusives and new upcoming talent. Though he was not making large amounts of cash from it, he stuck with it and built a brand that has become his career and has let him travel the world doing what he loves. In this interview we find out how he brought UHTN to the top, why he loves Blue Moon so much, where music blogs are going, and what he thinks it takes to start a one.
How much of an influence do you feel you have on this music blogging?
To be honest with you, not THAT much. That’s not to say my opinion goes unnoticed because I know for sure it doesn’t. But I’m quite sure folks aren’t scratching their temples before letting go a new track saying “I wonder if YouHeardThatNew.Com is going to fuck with this. I can say I’ve been one of the OG’s in leaking shit though. And I know that because whenever I get some exclusive shit the messenger always says the same thing, “Do what you do.” Lmao!
What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever blogged from?
Damn that’s a GOOD ass question. The weirdest place? Damn I really can’t think of one. I blogged from a Panera Bread before. But that’s not weird, all the hipsters do that. But im not a hipster so I guess that makes it weird for me lol. I remember blogging after sex one night. She wasn’t to happy with that lmao!
How was You Heard That New Born?
UHTN was born out desperation. True story. I came out of Howard University with this huge chip on my shoulder because I received the On-Air Personality of the Year
Award at the Black College Radio Awards a couple months before I graduated. I was almost SURE a radio station back home would take me under their wing. You think that happened? Fuck no! So, that put me on my ass and I had to basically build my brand back up from the bottom up. Momma Lowkey told me I had a certain amount of time to get things cracking or I had to move down to MD with my aunt. I wasn’t going anywhere so, UHTN was born.
It wasn’t SHIT, but I had relationships out the ass. I had an internship at Bad Boy in 2003/2004 which led to me leaking my FIRST real record (a couple Mase records) to some popular NY DJs who I won’t name. I caught my mojo from that. The adrenaline rush from that. In between taking random industry jobs/internships or whatever, I was a front desk supervisor at the Doubletree Hotel in Somerset, NJ for about 2 years. During those 24 months, UHTN grew. It still wasn’t shit, but I was so proud of it. I worked the night shift so I would wake up at about 9 or something, start updating the site, go to work around 2, but I was late everyday lol. Then after things slowed down, I would update the site from the front desk while checking guest in. It got me in trouble numerous amounts of times but I didn’t give a fuck because UHTN was my career and being a Front Desk clerk was my job.
I quit the Doubletree because I thought I had a lead for an industry job, but you know how that goes: empty promise after empty promise so I was assed the fuck out. But, UHTN was still poppin! Took some more odd jobs just to pay the bills and became depressed because I didn’t know what the fuck was going on with my life. But I KNEW UHTN was keeping me busy so I kept doing it. I got back into the hotel business for a couple months because that’s easy money when you’re down and out. One day I got a call from Kim Osorio who was the EIC of BET.com at the time and she expressed interest in bringing me on board because of my blog. I’ll never forget that call. I took it during my night shift at the hotel because again, I didn’t care. One thing led to another and about a month and a half later I was hired. The night I got my letter from BET.com, Momma Lowkey and I cried in the kitchen. She knew how much I wanted it. My Dad knew too, but he wasn’t worried about me, Momma was.
Did you ever think blogging would become a career?
Hell no. I had no idea what the fuck blogging was until my ex-girlfriend in 2006 put me on. She was like “Yo, this girl got a book deal and a tv show from blogging. Why aren’t you doing the same thing?” She was the one who really pushed me to do it. Once I got my feet wet and understood blogging was just a tiny road that could lead you to a big city I got it cracking. Blogging has allowed me to travel the world! Yes, the fucking world. Meet incredible people, earn a lot of money, develop relationships with my favorite artists and form a very very controlled alcohol habit lol. But if you asked me in 2004 when I was at Howard University if I thought blogging would do this for me? I’d would’ have looked at you like you had three heads. I’m truly blessed at what blogging has let me accomplish. I’m truly humbled and grateful for the all the
support over the past 5 years.
Blue Moon or Egg Nog?
Blue Moon. Blue Moon holds a special place in my heart. I discovered Blue Moon back when I worked at the Doubletree Hotel. Naamah Bateman, one of my best friends put me on. Every Wed and Thursday we would get off work around 11pm and hit the Olive Branch, a college bar over at Rutgers University and just order pitchers of that shit. It was so cheap but GOD that shit was good. We would get HAMMERED! That’s when I actually developed my love for liquor too. But it would be all of us, not just me and Naamah. My homey Peavy, Caren, Wellington and some others. Man talk about white boy wasted? We would be HURTING the next day. But we didn’t care because the night before was SWEET!
There are tons of new music blogs popping up every day and the internet is getting pretty saturated, making it harder for new bloggers to win over many readers. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a new music blog?
Show us YOUR world. It doesn’t take much for these knuckleheads to post and embedded clip and a hulkshare link. Momma LowKey can do that. Show us why YOUR blog stands out from the rest. What do YOU like? Where have YOU been? It’s to much of the same shit going on in the blogsphere and it’s quite annoying but I’m not here to judge a soul so get it how you live. But don’t complain about not progressing when your posts look like Nahright, 2DB, UHTN, FSD, OnSmash, Xclusiveszone or MissInfo.
Are blogs somewhat moving in the direction to be the new labels?
Yes and no. Yes because we’re discovering new talent left and right. We’re also distributing that talent’s content to the masses in ways these labels have yet to tap into. Our connection between the artist and the consumer is such a direct one it’s not even funny. It’s a gift and the curse actually. A gift because some of the content is directly from the artist: unfiltered and uncensored. A curse because it’s not always authorized. No because we’re not getting paid to do this. In essence, we’re just hardcore fans of the music we post. Some of us aren’t catering to a certain demo and some of us are. Some of us just get up and post what the fuck we want and don’t cater
to an album release or whatever. Labels have to cater, we don’t. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, just make it easier to ride.
Besides UHTN and the Hip-Hop Report, what else do you do in this industry?
Well I use to do the Hip Hop Report, but I don’t anymore. But it’s mainly UHTN and whatever can be attached to it. I’m getting into hosting A LOT more now. I just recently hosted the Slaughterhouse show at SOBs last week and that shit was fun. Despite Joell Ortiz’s manager hating my guts, it was a great fucking time lol. To those planning a party, mixtape or whatever I’m down to host. My fee isn’t that high….YET!
What does it take a new artist to get a post on UTHN – skill, buzz, personalitty?
Presentation. I mean of course skill. I’m not really concerned with buzz. If you’re dope enough, you’re buzz will come whether I post you or not. I’m just realllllly big on presentation. A lot of these new artists will email EVERY FUCKING BLOG under the sun the same impersonal message and expect us to pay attention to it. Once I see more than one person on the email, the “personal” value is lost and I begin to lose attention. I mean if the music is good it’s good….no way around that. But my interest is heightened when the message is just to me. It makes me believe you want ME behind this project or whatever it is you’re pitching.
The Office or Martin?
Martin. I fucking love The Office. But Martin is my show. Mama LowKey and I watch Martin when she comes over and we both just fall out. The Office is my show to the death as well though. Michael Scott and his offensive mindset. Jim and Pam’s American romance. Dwight’s unapologetic mentality to EVERYTHING. It’s everything I’ve seen in the corporate world and more. Give me those two shows on an island along with a curly haired bandit and a lifetime supply of Blue Moon and Chipotle? I’m good.
Did you shed a tear when Micheal left the Office?
Hell yeah I did. And they cut the mic off when Pam came to the airport? Nah man, to much for ya boy. But I’m glad he went out the way he did. He gave that show much life. The OG of sarcasm in my eyes lol.
Where did the nickname Lowkey come from?
Leaking music early in the blogging game had a couple prices on my head. I adopted the moniker because I didn’t want to be known. Guess that didn’t workout to well now did it?
I see Obese is back, he was talking about getting back to doing some radio shows like he used too. You think there’s a UHTN radio show in the future like Ballers Eve?
Yep. Beast is back. He’s got his own thing popping now BombOnem.com, but he’s holding down the fort for UHTN down in ATL. Beast was rocking hard with me back during the early days of UHTN but he had some personal issues to tend to so that was that. But now he’s back stronger than ever and I appreciate him. Best believe we got some SHIT cooking for 2011.
How has twitter changed the way you do things, not just blogging?
It’s changed the way I promote my brand. It’s changed the way I interact with supporters and haters. It’s changed the way I interact with females lol. It’s changed everything. I’m not mad though. In this fast pace world filled with evolving technology, you have to adapt in EVERY aspect of your life. I’m not mad at all. I’m trying to tone down my ratchetness because more and more house hold brands have approached me to work with them in some form or another. Can’t be wilding all the time lol.
It seems like the industry is starting to get more sensitive about free downloads at blogs. After the takedown of NMC sites like OnSmash and DaJaz1 have you taken any measures to guard yourself or avoid any trouble?
Yeah. We have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which basically breaks down the procedure a copyright holder must take to have certain content removed. And yes, the industry is getting very sensitive about these free downloads. And I can understand why. But when about 75 percent of the material is serviced via their workers and other individuals close to their golden tickets, they MUST look at some of these people close to them instead of us all the time. There’s too much friction between us and the labels and until we have an UNFILTERED meeting between some of the core leaders in this blog shit and label heads, NOT THEIR INTERNS this MIGHT get resolved. Until then, I got posts to make.
The other day Wale said that he thinks the days of artists blowing up via the internet are over because it’s been done so much. You think there’s truth to this?
What type of sense does that make? Niggas blew up off the streets time and time and time again. History repeats itself in ALL forms. The internet is NO different. The world wide web is the place of instant gratification. If John Doe puts out a hot track tonight and another one tomorrow and another one the next day and then a QUALITY LP you don’t think these labels, program directors and concert promoters won’t be ITCHING to get John Doe on their label, show and radio station? Cmon man, Wale better smarten the fuck up.
Is there anything else you would like the people to know or want to say?
Be HAPPY with what you do in life man. I’m tired of people complaining. Be fucking happy! Your life could be WAY worse. Seriously. If you aint happy, shut the FUCK up and search for happiness. Ok, bye!