Along with his new short film/music video for “Spaceship,” k-os has written this essay for Pigeons & Planes. His words. Unedited. Watch the video above, and read the essay below.
Bae6Ix – Instructions – Before – Leaving – Earth
After i made my first demo i thought it was pretty good but had no idea what to do with it. Then one day while watching Much Music – ‘The Nations Music Station.’ I saw this dude named Craig Mannix on Rap City talking about HIP HOP and how yung rappers could get exposure in the Canadian Music Biz. I noted that he worked for Arista Records and the next day i rang him up. The call went right through and he picked up the phone casually like “Hello this is Craig Mannix.” We spoke for about 15 minutes and he invited me downtown to the BMG offices the following week. I met with Craig and he told me all he knew about record labels in Canada and the right steps to get my music out. One thing he mentioned that really stuck out to me was that i needed to find and connect with a cool AnR (artist and repertoire) guy at a label who could develop and own my project. I knew AnR guys existed but from everything most of the rappers i respected in the game revealed in their music – especially Tribe Called Quest – these AnR guys seemed to be idiots! Whatever the case, i took it all in stride and continued on the quest to get that record deal in the sky.
And i did.
3 years later i signed to Capitol Records in Los Angeles. The Northern counterpart to Capitol was EMI Records Canada and although it seemed hella ironic and too uncanny to be true – the person heading up the Urban Music Department at EMI was none other than Craig Mannix the same dude that schooled me 3 years earlier but was now affectionately known as BIG C. From 1998 – 2008 i released albums with EMI and a couple of their other American labels like Virgin and Astralwerks. Big C was no doubt my dude and helped me navigate through it all – from episodes like stumbling out of cabs LIT throwing up in front of label offices in London, to trying to explain to me that Capitol Records was not a conglomerate of the CIA.
Get Him to the Greek ..
… had nuttin’.
Big C was my chaperone and ‘watcher’ during the campaigns for Joyful Rebellion and Atlantis. Without him i would have been… well ….much crazier. If that’s even possible. I miss those times and all the raw energy but i also feel lucky that i was able to be a part of a reality that in the words of Biggie Smalls ‘was all a dream’ to me as a teenage boy. The dream is always more iconic than the reality and the journey much much sweeter than the destination. At least that’s what i’ve seen in this rapLife and maybe from life in general
Today – the internet has made the world flat. Most artists are their own judge and jury and the infamous AnR dude aka the middle man has been terminated, eliminated and become virtually extinct. I guess this is a great thing for artists on the come up who are beyond the comprehension of the corporate money hungry fascists or .. for the bedroom music nerd introvert that doesn’t want to schmooze and play the political music industry game – and even for the band with integrity that wants the direct current to plug into the buzz of their fans without a buffer. However, what does the death of the modern day AnR Man & Record Label mean for the state of music on planet earth at large?
Are pop culture musicians important to the evolution of humanity?
Are platinum selling artists in some way civil servants?
Do they need to be developed towards their full potential?
Or are they just born as stars?
Was Kurt Cobain a social psychologist?
Was Bob Marley a herbal spirit physician?
I mean… What if any Tom Dick and Mary could become a physician .. a doctor?
What if there was no hippocratic oath and anyone could just sign up and get a medical degree on-line and start a practice as easy as it was to start anew Tumblr?
Would our society be better and more fair for it?
These are the questions i ask when i consider not only how easy it is these days for anyone to put music out but also how easy it is for music to be consumed and then discarded.
You’re only as good as your last ‘hit’ needs to be updated to You’re only as good as your last ‘click.’ … On the computer screen
Maybe Blogs are the new record labels?
Maybe the people who create content for blogs are like the AnR guys of the past.
It seems to me that most of these Blog Record Labels continually choose to play it safe and make moves from a place of fear. The anxiety about selling records has just been replaced by anxiety about how many retweets comments and likes their offerings might get. Its really the same as it ever was. As a result they all end up playing into and pandering to the necessary sought-after prefabricated audience instead of taking the risk of challenging young minds by presenting art for arts sake
In the end human nature dictates behaviour.
If comparison is the thief of joy
Then a whole entire generation is embezzling funs for the social climb olympics.
What can you do…
Self knowledge & self awareness is key.
I feel pretty self aware.
When I was a youth and I complained about the music industry people said I was bitter cause I had no success yet. Now I’ve got platinum records, hit songs and a career brand new at 10 years in and people don’t know what to say ..
But I do …
Art should not be therapy for the people that work in the art industry
Do – ya – job
You are fedex ..
Deliver art packages
Don’t mess with the contents.
Don’t get high on ya own supply
The 10 Crack Commandments.
Just because someone looks like you doesn’t mean they are the chosen one
Just because someone you decide to make famous makes it easier for you to feel cool doesn’t mean that puppet is actually cool.
Cause you’re the puppet master
and what if you’re not? Cool that is.
it’s ok not to be cool
Beck accepted it so maybe you should
That’s punk rock.
There are a lot of people out there that i have sat back and watched over the last 5 years, encourage and enjoy watching the art of Hip Hop become gentrified and turned into some kind of cheap acting game. These are the same people who do the one same dance move at a party and really don’t love hip hop at all. Its been this way for the last 400 years in the North Americas.
Black people make up a music
Humble people love it and live it
Others remain outsiders because they can’t see themselves
in the blackness
So they wait
and when they find an artist white enough
They gentrify the art so they can participate in it
Pretending it never came from an oppressed people in the first place
That’s their game.
and i love it.
Cause without it i would have nothing to write about
you have thank your oppressor
its a must.
For without them your fire would have no fuel
Remember.. its all entertainment
Everything written here today is for the sake of your entertainment
Except for this one thing :::
All of life is a game to figure out you’re not your personality
To transcend duality and become aware that you are the whole universe
So that when death comes it finds no one there to kill
you have your whole life to realize this
If you don’t succeed
Then you come back and start again but with a memory wipe
For another life chance at ‘total recall’
It’s all up to you to remember the thing that you already know
This ‘remembering’ transforms you into the ultimate artist
it gives super powers
so be careful.
people will envy.
now back to watching Seinfeld.