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  • Hinx Jones – “Soul Hop” (Release) + “Nothing” (Video) | @HinxJones @Lonegevity @ItsGritts

    Indiana’s own Hinx Jones, the duo of Lonegevity and Gritts, have released their brand new Soul Hop album today, as well as a new video for their “Nothing” single. The ten-track project features production from Lonegevity throughout, but also from ILL Brown, Maja 7th, Slot-A, and Mandog. There are features from Sirius Blvck, Neak, Skittz, and Pope Adrian Bless. Read a bit more below, check out the video above, and listen to their newness down at the bottom. They also have a limited edition CD for sale on their Bandcamp page, which will have lyrics, a digital download code, will be signed and numbered, and is an alternative version of the album that includes interludes and transitions not available digitally. So yeah, cop that. The video was directed and edited by Brand-It.

    “Soul Hop” was made with a different approach than their previous projects, as their new themed album incorporates a lot more direct focus of intent, singing, and more so than ever promotes vibes and thoughts around bettering oneself. The production is a bit more heartfelt than aggressive. The goal was to mesh soul and hip hop together to form something of a new genre. Think Foreign Exchange’s Connected meets The Roots’ How I Got Over, with their own personal touches added to it.

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  • Lonegevity Launches NO COSIGN RECORDS | @NoCosignRecords @Lonegevity

    Today marks the day that NO COSIGN RECORDS is born. Read the statement that Lonegevity gave us below, that talks a little about his new endeavor. BDTB is still pumping strong and isn’t going anywhere, so no need to worry about that. Consider this an extension of sorts. Their sampler is also below, and can be found on their new website.

    It’s no secret that I’m involved in a lot of things, and today marks the launching of my newest expansion: NO COSIGN RECORDS. I started BDTB back in 2009 with the idea that I knew a lot of talented musicians, artists, producers, rappers, and/or whatever you want to call them, and they weren’t getting the pub I thought they should be getting. I wanted to help artists get heard that I thought were dope, especially in Indiana and the Midwest (including myself), and it was the best way I knew how to do that at the time. I think we’ve done a great job at that so far, and we will continue to strive in that area as we have new things coming in the future as well.

    With that being said, it was time for me to do what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: start a record label. Kind of with the same idea behind BDTB (as far as helping artists get to where they deserve to be), I’ve been sitting on the idea for a long time: watching the great ones, up and coming ones, and I learned the best way for me to position myself and my ideas in with them. NO COSIGN RECORDS will act as a full service global music label, based out of Indianapolis. Our motto is something along the lines of “we don’t need your cosign” and “we don’t create artists; we nurture them”.

    So, today you can see the beginning of what’s to come. I have started with five producers, four emcees, three engineers, a multi-instrumentalist, video and media professional, and am looking forward to jumping right in. We have a huge goal to work on a major artist development project in 2016, so this isn’t just your typical label push. We’re going for the full circle. Please take a listen to our sampler, and if you like it then please share it to your friends. Check out our website too for more information.

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  • BDTB Presents: Slot-A – “Shades & Flavors 2” (Release) | @IAMSLOTA

    We at BDTB are proud to present Slot-A‘s latest musical release, Shades & Flavors 2, a collection of remixes with their accompanied instrumentals and various other goodies. Over the last month, Slot-A has been putting out various maxi-single-like releases of his remixes, titled March to Shades & Flavors, which include a couple handfuls of remix releases that we shared earlier this month (check those out here).

    With the full release of Shades & Flavors 2 given to you today, presented by Bringing Down The Band, DrumsBang and Air Playd, Slot has an assortment of remixes with artists such as Nas, Dr. Dre, D’Angelo, Common, Aloe Blacc, Mary J Blige, OT Genasis, and others. The music range is from Funk to Hip Hop to Juke, and the release consists of 14 remixes in total. But, if you purchase the deluxe version of this project you will get all of the instrumentals, a zip file of Slot-A’s High Tide drum kit, and a discount code for 50% off anything purchased digitally from the Drums Bang store. That’s a pretty hefty value right there. Listen and select your option below, and you can also save Detroit from aliens by reading this:

    You can hear more production from Slot-A in music by LEP, Chuuwee, Add-2, Neak, Ghostweidah, The Black Opera, Jamall Bufford, or by checking out *Detroit Sound Defense* currently available on Android devices and coming so to iOS users. The app features tracks from 14KT and Nick Speed, but play as Agent 313 and Slot-A will provide your soundtrack as you defend Detroit from Aliens. Those who reach level 4 get the deluxe version of “*Shades and Flavors 2*” for free.

    Shades & Flavors 2 – FREE or Name Your Price – includes just the remixes.
    Shades & Flavors 2 (Instrumentals) – $5 – includes just the instrumentals.
    Shades & Flavors 2 (Deluxe) – $7 – includes remixes, instrumentals, drum kit, Drums Bang coupon, & email from Slot-A.

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  • BDTB Interview w/ Blake Allee About “Toxic Flowers” & Other Things | @blakeallee

    We sat down with Blake Allee for an interview about him and his new Toxic Flowers, which is the first sound that we have heard from the Indy producer / emcee in over a year. But, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working in the studio. The artist has just been steering his sound into a new direction: his direction. He took a break from the scene to really put himself into his sound and has started making music for himself, but thankfully, is willing to share it with us.


    BDTB: So, where ya been?
    BA: I don’t wanna say I’m gone or still in it, I don’t where I am exactly. Man, I just got tired of promoting stuff, and playing shows because you had to promote them. I enjoy playing shows and enjoy making music, but I realized that if you don’t promote or have other people help you promote it just doesn’t work out. I just got to a point to where I wanted to do it for fun. It’s a lot of work when you just want to make music. I’m not saying that I won’t be doing any more shows or making any more music, but I want to make it for myself, and if I release it, I release it.

    BDTB: Kinda like how you released, Toxic Flowers. (Referencing the 24 hour before Facebook post)
    BA: Yeah, I had the album done for a few months, but I really struggled with if I wanted to do a video with it. I had always worked with Digital Rabbit on my videos, but he’s gone now. It was always part of the promotion and I had to stay up every night and get to blogs or whatever and it just became what you had to do, but I was just like, “Nah, I’m just gonna drop it tomorrow.” (Chuckles)

    BDTB: Do you plan to do any videos at all with the new tracks?
    BA: If I do a video I am going to do it myself. I’m not sure how that will go (chuckles), but since Digital Rabbit is a very talented director, to compete with him is not going to be easy. But, I guess I don’t really care as much. I don’t mind if every angle is perfect or if I don’t have the best camera or correct lighting. It just needs to be an idea and just doing it myself because I can edit, but if I did another video it would be that way. Focus more so on the story of it.

    BDTB: It should just be simple, it should just be, “Here it is. Enjoy it.”
    BA: Yeah, exactly. I know it can be hard to standout and I know that it is part of the game, I understand that, but I tried.


    BDTB: With Toxic Flowers were you trying to tie together a certain theme or were you trying to get a point across? It seemed like a lot of the album dealt with looking for and finding something.
    BA: The album is not necessarily personal because I know it is off the wall, it’s not in plain English and you have to decipher it. I just felt like really comfortable in saying what I needed to say.

    BDTB: I noticed a lot of supernatural themes within the production and “Laser Beams” kinda sounds like an X-Files sample? And obviously in “Missed Calls” you use Godzilla in the background? Was there anything that lead you to use that?
    BA: Nah, it was a sample. It was just a sound I found from OmniSpirit, but can see the X-Files in there now. Supernatural and weirdness is something I have always been drawn to. I don’t even know where the Godzilla came from. Sometimes I like to look around for weird sound fx and someone on YouTube had every roar collected from the early movies to the new one. I recorded them and mapped them on the keyboard and found the one I liked the most.

    BDTB: And in “Shamrocks” you have the voice over interlude. Where was that from?
    BA: It was from a documentary called Comic Book Confidential. What I do is when I watch movies sometimes I will have a recorder going with it so when someone says something cool I have it on tape to use.

    BDTB: We talked about you making the album just to make the album; does that make it any easier to decide who to bring on? Or who to ask for a verse? I guess, how did you decide to put Tony Styxx in for a track?
    BA: There are some people in the city that I have always worked with and man, he just fit the song and what I was doing with it. I felt he had something special to bring to the track.

    BDTB: So do you have anything on deck ready to release or is it gonna be a while before we hear from you again?
    BA: I honestly don’t know. I will say that I haven’t been writing music as extensively as I used to. I felt like I didn’t have another life. I was working at the Post Office and then coming home working on music until I slept. Only to wake up in time to go back to the Post Office six days a week. And while I still love making it, I feel like once you lose that desire to be the best you will still create and put out music, but I don’t think I will try to be the best. The goal was always to be the best producer or be the best emcee. I’m not saying that I am or that I’m not, it is just not the goal any longer.

    BDTB: Now it is more about you making music and making sure that you are getting across what you want and that you get your art out there?
    BA: Yeah, if I want to work on something I will and if I don’t, I won’t. I don’t feel the pressure to anymore.

    All being said, it’s safe to say that this will not be the last time that we hear from Blake Allee over at Bringing Down the Band. How soon we will hear from him is up the artist himself. Until then, make sure you check out his newest work, Toxic Flowers, which is out now. You can listen below.

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  • Oddisee – “That’s Love” | @Oddisee

    Not only has Mello Music Group’s Persona compilation dropped today, but we also get “That’s Love” from Oddisee. The song is a nice jam that is the first offering from his upcoming The Good Fight album, which will be dropping on May 5th. Listen to the song below, and below that I’ve added the official press release for the song that describes Oddisee’s upcoming album. Can’t wait.

    Oddisee makes music that rattles in your bone marrow. It’s imbued with love, honesty, and selflessness. It’s virtuosic in its musicality, direct in its language, and infinitely relatable.

    In a landscape overrun with abstract indulgence and shallowtrend-chasers, the Prince George’s County, Maryland artist has created “The Good Fight,” a record that reminds you that it’s music before it’s hip-hop. Released on Mello Music Group, it’s for the fans and for himself. It finds the musical heavyweight balancing between craft, career, and successfully growing into the world around him.

    For Oddisee, “The Good Fight” is about living fully as a musician without succumbing to the traps of hedonism, avarice, and materialism. It’s about not selling out and shilling for a paycheck, while still being aware that this is a business requiring compromise and collaboration.

    It’s music that yields an intangible feeling: the sacral sound of an organ whine, brass horns, or a cymbal crash. It’s not necessarily the syllables, but rather what they evoke. A song like “That’s Love” is more than a declaration; it’s a meditation on our capacity to love and the bonds binding us together. Ambition and greed war with our sense of propriety. “Contradiction’s Maze” offers a list of paradoxes we all face (“I want to tell the truth when it hurts/but when it comes to me, I want the blow softened.”)

    Oddisee’s production simmers in its own orchestral gumbo. You sense he’s really a jazzman in different form, inhabiting the spirit of Roy Ayers and other past greats. The Fader’s compared him to a musical MC Escher, calling hailing his “grandiose and symphonic sound” and “relevant relatable messages.” Pitchfork praised his “eclectic soulful boom-bap.”

    “The Good Fight” acknowledges the stacked odds, but refuses to submit.

    It’s both universal and personal. The child of a Sudanese immigrant highlights the rigors of his own upbringing: his pregnant mother working the register until she was about to burst, his pops’ shuttered diner that couldn’t survive Reaganomics—the one that Oddisee drives past every time he returns home, just to remind him how quickly the world can turn bad.

    It’s these minor details that add into something major. It’s testament to the indelible nature of art: when you can turn what you love into something that lasts.

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  • BDTB Presents: DJ Ves 120 x Tomahawk Gang Music “Year Of The Gang” Release | @tomahawkhiphop

    We’re proud to present a compilation mix from Chicago-based Tomahawk Gang, which is a multi-track release mixed by Chicago’s Ves 120. There are tracks on this mix from the crew, which consists of ILL Brown, Maja 7th, Papi Jamon, Mike Schpitz, Waterr, Preach, Visual, Elementz Emcee, and others. Read more and listen below.

    Chicago. New York. LA. Las Vegas. Germany. They have been all over the place but one thing is for certain, they all have Hip-Hop in their blood. Tomahawk Gang Music started as the brain child of ILL Brown (from Chicago, now residing in San Diego) who had a vision of uniting Chicago artists. With groups and labels such as The Juice Crew, Wu-Tang Clan, and Roc-A-Fella giving the blueprint of how powerful a united front could be, he decided to make a change in Chicago Hip-Hop culture.

    With the help of artists such as AOK, Papi Jamon, DJ Ves 120, and Elementz Emcee, they gathered their talent and resources to make Tomahawk Gang Music. With the stable of artists ranging from Producers to Emcees to Engineers, they have become a self contained force that is ready for anything that the music world will bring. Sticking with the classic formula of beats to the rhyme, they have incorporated the old school and new school without compromising sound quality.

    With DJ Ves 120 on the wheels, Tomahawk Gang Music brings to you ‘Year Of The Gang’ Mixtape. This mixtape combines some of The Hawks current singles (Borders, Her, Jumpin In) and previously unreleased material to keep the speakers on blast.

    So be aware, Tomahawk Gang Music is here, and they’re about to make a big impact. It’s the Hawks…Sucka. #JoinTheGang

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  • BDTB Presents: 2014 Indiana Wrap Up Results & Winners

    Our third annual Wrap Up has concluded, and here we’ll share with you our personal picks, the winners in each category, and the top fan votes. You can still go and check out all of the music and projects if you haven’t yet, and we suggest you do if you haven’t. Click here for the total tally of votes and results.

    2014 BDTB Winners
    Favorite Full-Length: Bivienni “Everflowing Meditation”
    Favorite EP: Blooded The Brave “Born 2 Rebel”
    Favorite Instrumental Project: Nevi Moon “Nevi Moon”
    Favorite Video: Pat App x Levi Turner “Beautiful Mind”
    Favorite Single: Sirius Blvck ft. John Stamps & Oreo Jones “Bill Murray”
    Favorite B-Side: John Stamps “Boom Bap”
    Favorite Emcee: Sirius Blvck
    Favorite Producer: Nevi Moon
    Favorite Director: Levi Turner

    2014 Top Fan Votes
    Favorite Full-Length: Bivienni “Everflowing Meditation”
    Favorite EP: Blooded The Brave “Born 2 Rebel”
    Favorite Instrumental Project: Nevi Moon “Nevi Moon”
    Favorite Video: Pat App x Levi Turner “Beautiful Mind”
    Favorite Single: Sirius Blvck ft. John Stamps & Oreo Jones “Bill Murray”
    Favorite B-Side: John Stamps “Boom Bap”
    Favorite Emcee: Kid Quill
    Favorite Producer: Nevi Moon
    Favorite Director: Levi Turner


    Our Votes for Favorite Full-Length:
    baby d voted for: Light in the Attic, RITB Book 6, Gateway 5
    jay diff voted for: The Overdu Demo, Light in the Attic, Napghanistan
    seangevity voted for: Pinata, Naked Lunch, Light in the Attic

    Our Votes for Favorite EP:
    baby d voted for: GRAND
    jay diff voted for: Elroy Preston
    seangevity voted for: Joe Louis EP

    Our Votes for Favorite Instrumental Project:
    baby d voted for: Nevi Moon
    jay diff voted for: Harsh Winter
    seangevity voted for: Rare Science

    Our Votes for Favorite Music Video:
    baby d voted for: Yung Vultures, I Wonder, Dream Babe
    jay diff voted for: Beautiful Minds, The Aura, Vice City 2
    seangevity voted for: Beautiful Minds, I Am The Dopest, The Aura

    Our Votes for Favorite Single:
    baby d voted for: Bill Murray, Measured in Weight, Machine
    jay diff voted for: Look Out, Bill Murray, Blozart
    seangevity voted for: Beautiful Minds, Glass House

    Our Votes for Favorite B-Side:
    baby d voted for: Project Pegasus, Feels Good
    jay diff voted for: Tribe Quest, Whatyouknowaboutdis
    seangevity voted for: Boom Bap, Tribe Quest, The Error Era

    Our Votes for Favorite Emcee:
    baby d voted for: Sirius Blvck, Ace One, EJAAZ
    jay diff voted for: Sirius Blvck, Maxie
    seangevity voted for: Sirius Blvck, Skittz

    Our Votes for Favorite Producer:
    baby d voted for: Nevi Moon, Maja 7th, LONEgevity
    jay diff voted for: Harry Otaku, Maja 7th
    seangevity voted for: Maja 7th, Harry Otaku

    Our Votes for Favorite Director:
    baby d voted for: Red August
    jay diff voted for: Levi Turner
    seangevity voted for: Sam Mirpoorian

    Read More »
  • BDTB Presents: Favorite Releases of 2014

    As we’ve done the last two years, below is the list of our favorite projects from 2014. This includes both local and global music with a mixture of hip hop, eclectic sounds, singing goodness, and even strictly instrumental works. This year we selected five favorites each, but listed quite a few other projects we suggest checking out.

    We also want to state that this is by no means a “best of” list because there is no way to listen to everything, but these are the projects that Jay Diff, Baby D, and myself were bumping and/or feeling the most in 2014. Of course we suggest you check out anything we post, but with that being said, we highly suggest checking out these projects:

    favreleases 2014

    Phil Beaudreau – Ether
    Killer Mike x El-P – Run The Jewels 2
    Freddie Gibbs x Madlib – Pinata
    Sorceress – Dose
    Taylor McFerrin – Early Riser

    Jay Diff:
    Killer Mike x El-P – Run The Jewels 2
    D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah
    Mick Jenkins – The Water[s]
    J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive
    Freddie Gibbs x Madlib – Pinata

    Baby D:
    Killer Mike x El-P – Run the Jewels 2
    MF DOOM x Bishop Nehru: Nehruviandoom
    Jhene Aiko – Souled Out
    Childish Gambino – STN/MTN Kauai
    Freeway x Girl Talk – Broken Ankles

    Isaiah Rashad – Cylvia Demo
    Big K.R.I.T. – Cadillactica
    D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah
    Mick Jenkins – The Water[s]
    Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron

    bestofrest 2014

    = we all selected it
    s = seangevity chose it
    j = jay diff chose it
    b = baby d chose it
    m = mike chose it

    Apollo Brown x Ras Kass – Blasphemy (s)
    Big K.R.I.T. – Cadillactica (j, s)
    Black Milk – If There’s A Hell Below (s, j)
    Chronixx – Dread and Terrible (m)
    Dag Savage – E&J (j, s)
    Diamond District – March on Washington (j)
    Dominique Larue x Maja 7th – GRAND (s)
    Flying Lotus – You’re Dead (s, j)
    Freddie Gibbs x Madlib – Pinata (j)
    ILL Brown – Return of the Hardcore (s, j)
    J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive (s)
    Jesse Boykins III – Love Apparatus (j)
    WhoisLouis x Joe Harvey – The Joe Louis EP (s)
    Johns Stamps – Naked Lunch (s)
    Lion Babe – Lion Babe (b)
    Logic – Under Pressure (s, j)
    Majid Jordan – A Place Like This (j)
    Mayday x Murs – MURSDAY (b)
    Phantogram – Voices (b)
    Pharaoahe Monch – PTSD (j)
    Phil Beaudreau – Ether (j)
    Prhyme – Prhyme (j)
    Rapsody – Beauty & The Beast (j)
    Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron (j)
    Skyzoo x Torae – Barrel Brothers (j)
    Sirius Blvck – Light in the Attic (s)
    Step Brothers – Step Brothers (s)
    Swarvy – Scotch (s)
    SZA – Z (j)
    The Roots – …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (b, j)
    Wale – Festivus (b)
    YG – My Crazy Life (m)

    Read More »
  • BABA: You Really Must Have Great Music & Great Perseverance

    It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for our Be A Better Artist series, and today I wanted to touch on something that most of us artists tend to overlook. Well, it’s really a rambling of thoughts that I’ve collected through my 12 years as a hip hop artist and producer, mixed with my last five years as a blogger, kind of focused with a general point, but you know what I mean. The main point: you really must have great perseverance at what you do to have longevity in the music business…as an artist. I hate even calling it “the music business” because quite frankly, most are nowhere near the etheric plane on the business aspect. I know this because I’ve lived it. Let me rewind a bit first.

    Most of us that have been making music for a while understand the levels of our growth. I remember when I started making beats and rapping, and how good I thought I was. I remember thinking a couple years after that how bad I was before, but how good I was then. This cycle recurs and continues to do so to this day for the most part. Granted, there are always gems, but the process and knowledge behind everything becomes advanced to the point where I understand myself and path more than I did before. This can only be accomplished through time, in my opinion. You know, that whole “find yourself” as a musician thing.


    It’s important to note, as I have in the past, that I’ve lived through a couple different eras in the music business. I was “coming up” when the digital age was taking off. I started making music in 2002 and didn’t put anything out online until 2005. That’s three years, and although it seems like a lifetime in today’s standards, I really wasn’t shit until about 2006 (just as much of the music that is submitted to us at BDTB today seems to be so). Sure, I had flashes of genius, but I didn’t truly know what was good and what wasn’t, and most of the time I didn’t even know how I was making the stuff that was good. It was just like, an accident. Sure, I liked stuff I was doing, but I was kind of oblivious outside of my bubble. Granted, not everyone grows the same as me, but not everybody has my understanding because of the way I chose to grow. I remember when all I did was make beats and try stuff out with my homies, and it’s cool to see some younger cats I know do the same stuff that I was at their age. I was that Kanye West “lock myself in the basement for three summers” beat maker. I had thousands of beats (before that fatal dropping of the hard drive thing back in 2008). I was that guy. I think that I’ve probably officially put in my 10,000 hours 12 years later.


    Why do I say all of this? It’s not to boast, as it’s nothing to boast about; it’s to put things in perspective.

    It was literally three years of nightly work before I paid any real attention to trying to get my music out of my apartment, and a couple more after that before I really took it semi-serious. Sure, it was in the back of my mind, but I never did anything to actually pursue it. That simply will not ever happen again because of technology. Before Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and modern day Facebook, there was just MySpace, Soundclick, and college Facebook. I remember trying to figure out the next big thing and how to get my music out there. I started doing remix contests online. I was in forum beat-sample-flipping-battles on Stones Throw’s website back in the mid 2000’s, and I joined many message boards including ones where I’ve created some really cool acquaintances (shouts to all of my Access/Ban’t homies). This was before blogs were “the thing” to allegedly get on for independent artists. I was feeling around for the best way to get my music out because I honestly had no idea how to share my music moving forward, and I wanted to figure out what the new way was going to be.

    Then blogs really started to strive. I remember the first blog I got on was in 2007, and it had no relevance of importance for me. I was just like “that’s cool.” This was all around the same time I had the idea for BDTB. From there I moved to Indianapolis in 2008 and went to every single hip hop related event that I could find. I tried my best not to be that “thirsty” artist (a topic for another day) that demanded a conversation, but I wanted people to know I was around. I passed out my latest project and ended up striking some good conversations with some likeminded folks. Eventually people heard my music, liked it, and then things evolved. I only started doing this because it was the next logical step…I didn’t know what else to do. There was no “guideline” to success in this new digital era. I learned that regardless of that fact, that speaking face to face with people was one way to create fans and respect. It was necessary to succeed in my world.


    From 2009-2011, my group Hinx Jones was doing some really good things in Indianapolis, but we were struggling outside of the city. We were 1 of 5 acts selected to perform at the A3C Festival on their Sonic Bids stage. We actually performed there the year before too. We were in the green room like flies on the wall with Rhymefest, Tanya Morgan, DJ Booth’s DJ Z, the fellas at 2dopeboyz, Homeboy Sandman, 9th Wonder, Statik Selektah, and you name it. We did multiple festivals around Indiana too. We were travelling and performing in Chicago. We were featured on a national mixtape by Fake Shore Drive. We were getting booked left and right and had lots of local anticipation for our next album, “Frozen Liquor.” On the surface, that looks amazing, yeah? Well, there’s more to it than that.

    We wanted more people to hear our music. I submitted our music to blog after blog, but really didn’t take the time to do it the right way. I’d find emails and send music to a bunch of people (never do this). I didn’t know anything of formatting emails or how to appropriately create relationships (learn this). This was before BDTB was really jumping; I learned it all on the fly. I remember thinking “we got a video on Kevin Nottingham a year ago so we’re good there,” yet they wouldn’t post any of our new stuff. It was a trying time because we thought we were making great music, and doing everything we should be, but couldn’t get anybody to really pay attention to us outside of Indianapolis. That’s the musician dilemma, isn’t it?

    In retrospect, years later and thousands of music submissions reviewed by me, myself for BDTB, maybe our early recorded material “quality” should have been better if we wanted to reach a larger market. Sure, we were the new guys to like in Indianapolis, but we weren’t just competing with Indianapolis anymore. We were competing with the world. We were competing with hundreds of thousands of submissions and people just like us, and nobody knew who we were. We were competing with media outlets, individuals with lives, time, and so much more. We all want to be heard. I’ll touch more on this later, but what we artists don’t initially understand is that we bloggers have lives too.

    It’s important to read that a few times and let it sync. I am an artist and musician, producer, entrepreneur, boyfriend, friend, son, and I have a job on the side. I have a mortgage. Artists like to assume that it’s the job of the blogger to share great stuff the moment it’s given to them, but that’s just a pipe dream at best. You might get lucky and I might have a Wednesday where all I have to do is go out and search for the greatest talent abroad and find you, but it’s more likely that I’ll go through our submissions, delete the stuff I don’t like, forward the stuff I do to the queue, check a few sites to see what just dropped, work on my business, and if I’m lucky be able to make a few beats before I cook dinner. There are certainly blogs where the owners can truly dedicate most of their work-space-time towards these things, but the point I am making supersedes this. It’s important to keep in mind that you are not living in a utopia, and that no matter the blog, person, store, producer, artist or whatever – people will always have other things to prioritize. Let me simplify this a bit.


    Why should I pay attention to you more than someone else, or hell, even myself?

    I mean, really ask yourself: what are you offering that will make me want to stop what I am doing and focus on you? I’m not talking about me per se, I’m talking about anybody that you want to pay attention to you. I’m not talking about money either, I’m talking this: is your music really bringing value to the website you want to be featured on, or to the person who is listening? You need to stop thinking as if you’re deserving of a charity post from these sites, and that people are blessed to be able to hear your words. How about a step further: is your music going to stimulate me to a point to where I really want to know more about you? A decent song is not good enough because anybody can make a decent song, and the web is OVERSATURATED with decentness. Not everybody can make a great song that you can feel. Ask yourself: seriously, is what I am doing forgettable?

    That’s not all. Let me take it a step further and a bit to the side: what do us as people do when we are overwhelmed? You know, you want me to check out your stuff, but I’ve got bills due, hours to pick up, and this article to write. I would either completely ignore the extra stuff or, perhaps, really focus on what is really worth my time. Where do you fall in that situation? Keep these things in mind.


    We at BDTB realized that the submission and music race was one that we were never going to win. We can’t nitpick between handfuls of “decent” songs; we simply must make it so that everything shared is something we absolutely enjoy. That’s why we have the submission guidelines and form we have. We eliminated email for a reason. We want to cut all of the guess work out. We press play, and if there’s a hint of doubt of if we like it or not, we delete it. It’s that simple now.

    It has to be like this.

    It has to be like this because otherwise we are not doing the submitter, ourselves or our fans and followers justice. You need to feel honored to be shared. Not because of any type of power trip, but because we as artists need to know what we are doing is appreciated, and that what we are doing is going down the right path (for a lack of better terms at the moment). We need to be held accountable if we put out subpar music. We need to be told about ourselves from people that actually have taste. That can be a friend, blogger, producer, DJ, or anybody worthy of such in between. It’s up to you to determine who that person is, and if you submit music to a blog that you do not respect, your selection is the main problem. At that point you are not doing yourself justice.

    This whole segment I’ve been talking about is bigger than blogs. In the last few months I’ve witnessed the stronghold of blogs seemingly fade a bit, which is great in my opinion, as artists (for at least a good 2-3 years) were depending on blogs (and only a few of them at that) to get their music out. This is backwards because the focus is then not based around building a fan base themselves. They are then relying on people to randomly “happen upon” them on a website. You really have to stop that.

    sheep zombie

    This confusion is/was like a deadly zombie apocalypse. It spread really fast and convinced nearly everybody of its importance. Getting on blogs is/was like the old being signed. Sometimes it’s hard for an artist to switch his/her mind from art to business because when their main focus is “make good music,” all they want to do is “get people to hear it” as soon as possible. Let me tell you, I had two different remixes that had nearly 25,000 plays in a day because it was featured on a major blog(s). I woke up to the numbers the next day and felt great, but my life has not significantly changed because of this. There are a couple bumps to the ego, but otherwise it is really still business as usual and you have to keep the momentum going.

    You must realize that to keep that momentum going you have to actually have fans. Sure, I have fans, but I didn’t really have any in that aspect. I was just the producer in this case, and a remix producer at that. I then realized how finicky this whole thing is. The success fairy didn’t just drop out of the sky and scoop me up; I’ve been and still am working at it. All that it did was help me understand another level of what I was pursuing. It was a great feat accomplished, but I’m not playing the short game. I’m playing the long game, and most of you reading this are too. Don’t get caught in trying to play the short game if you are a long game artist. Sometimes the homerun isn’t available and you have to realize that a base hit can eventually accomplish the same outcome.

    All being said, having blogs share your music is great for your career, but it is not where the battle is won. Do not fall victim to “depending on bloggers (you don’t know)” and instead focus on creating real relationships with people you do know (including bloggers). Confusing eh? Well, this is how you get fans. Build relationships. Yes, it’s a long process that you have to work at. Blogs do help, but knowing the blogger personally helps more. Having a cosign does help, but making music with the consignee helps you more in the long run. Don’t get stuck on the surface. Understand why things happen, and understand the levels.

    Let me go back a bit to touch on music quality.

    When I talked briefly about how the music I made could have been better, I was a bit bland. When we (Hinx Jones) were making the “11 Piece” back in 2009-2010, we really just put it out as a feeler to see what people liked from us. We were fresh. We put it out without a lot of expectations, and although we succeeded and grew in many ways, I feel that our recordings were a bit too “raw” for most blogs (it was the first project I recorded and mixed fully in Pro Tools, so I had a bit of a learning curve). One thing you’ll notice is that most people and blogs don’t mind sharing “raw” or different sounding music from people they know, but they won’t from people they don’t know. It’s a popular and familiarity thing. It is not blog specific. Fans from “Blog A” would’ve probably rather heard Blu than us on the particular day we submitted our music, the same way our fans would have rather heard a song by us than some other act from Indiana. It’s relative.


    Learning all of that took time to really understand. We’re dealing with people, not robots. We personally had to go through it to truly get it, and it was still quite disappointing to realize that we still had to play the popularity game. I took it as paying my dues. Sometimes you have to find stuff out on your own. I am close with many artists who are trying to get over that hump, and we’ve all tried (and are trying) different things to get ahead of the curve. I think the one common denominator though, for all musicians that take this serious, is that you need to focus on building relationships. You need to build your own fan base from the ground up and through the relationships you build. You need to build relationships with people that are like you in your field of expertise, and all of the associated fields. You need to go out of your way for people. You might need to take some losses sometimes in order to build in other areas you need to, and you might need to get out and go on tour. It is important for you to get out of your comfort zone and meet people you don’t already know. For example: I have personally thrown shows for artists so that I could have the chance to build with them. I may have come out of pocket, but it was a great way for me to build and become friends with a lot of people I’m close with today. It’s not about the money; it’s about finding those people that are like you and build a valuable relationship with them. It’s different for everybody. “Let’s continue to do cool shit and try to pay our homies.” My friend DJ Castle said that recently when chatting about my Drums Bang project, and it’s exactly what I strive for. It’s what a lot of us strive for.

    To succeed in anything worthwhile, at least in my experience in life, is to tactfully try and do repetitively until something works. Not just try. Try and do. We do not always know the best way to do things, and the processes are changing all around us, but unless you work at these things and improve to the point of one day becoming great, you’re in for a hard time. Good luck.

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