Mike Chianese is a painter and print maker, residing outside of Philadelphia. You can find his work below. MIKE'S WORK (Follow him on Tumblr)
Lately, we've explored the value of participating in "forum" based discussions about art, the creative process, society, and nature. The main point of these discussions is to allow thoughts to resonate within the circle of guests in a variety of environments and give everyone the opportunity to speak their minds about the various topics that might circulate. When allowing ones ideas and opinions to be heard and contemplated in an alternative landscape, one may be surprised by the depth of detail invoked by the participants.
When we allow our body and mind to reach levels of relaxation not typical in the usual environment, and by breaking the cycle of what is commonly discussed, there are some important opportunities to reach for new ideas and unique content that may have usually been overlooked or left unexplored. It's amazing the opportunity that one has to produce a heightened sense of awareness by simply taking a step outside of the ordinary.
This exposure may aid minds of any kind to experience an awareness that is integral to the creative process; spurring the beginning of a new creative cycle.
We call this cycle, The Path of Us - a journey everyone can take by removing themselves from their routine way of thinking. This way of thinking is symbolized in our logo. We will dive deeper into our logos meaning during a future post.Some Background
Mike and I caught up a few weeks back over coffee to talk about art and various other topics that stemmed from our conversations. We've done this periodically over the past year and I've always enjoyed his perspective, mostly because of how uninhibited his train of thoughts on life are. Last week, we met again over breakfast to continue our conversations. Afterwards, a few days later, we took those thoughts to the forest to conclude our discussion.
Mike is an artists, and I'm more of a branding guy who has some various modern art skills. Naturally, we have two different perspectives because of our backgrounds. To find alternative perspectives is important when trying to come to a higher level of understanding of any more general topic. Even though we have different perspectives, there's still a lot of common ground. We ended up seeing eye to eye on almost all the ways we were thinking about society and education, and a lot about the way we see creating art. The Concept of Controlled Chaos in Nature: How it helps us create
Everything originates from nature and how we interpret that which is happening around us.
The best way to create is by reflecting on your own state of being first. Then by looking around you to see how it relates to what you observe. At a glance, most of the things around us can be perceived as chaotic from the flora and fauna of a natural setting to the hustle and bustle of an cityscape. When we took the time to observe these things in depth, we observe patterns and order. This observation allows us a certain level of peace with our follies, knowing there is generally greater order and that these mistakes provide opportunities for change. This applies to art as much as it does to any life experience.When discussing the rise of social media and the influences that are readily available to you as an artist, Mike Said:
"Often one can lose the ability to reflect on their own life, instead you're drawn to always reflect on someone else's. It's becoming easier to immerse yourself in the output of others and to ignore your own"
We agree with this, and it seems natural, that as an artist, when this situation arises - one where you're overwhelmed by what other people are doing, to find yourself in a state of confusion about the true identity of your work. How do you differentiate? How do you remain you?
Mike suggested this: Exercise a meditation.
What does Mike mean by, Exercise a meditation? By finding a medium, or even simply a creative task to explore, you are not only exploring the medium, but yourself through this medium. Anyone stands to benefit from this kind of creative outlet or simple repetition. It will allow for an introspective state - uninhibited by the familiarities of ones every day life. He has gained a level of introspection over the years, allowing him to create within the context of himself.
The best way to do so is to find a creative outlet or medium, and simply practice it. This task can be essentially anything and is most likely something the average individual is already doing every day. By examining it more thoroughly it creates an opportunity to transform a everyday task into a meditative practice. We have identified this practice as "Becoming whole through art"
Mike and I talked a lot about why he creates art, and what inspires him to do what he does. There was some back and forth about what motivates people to do things - especially when money isn't the driving factor at first.
"You don't get into something to get paid, you get into it to send a message; to create an extension of yourself - to find your voice."
2. Extension of Self
This seems like an excellent framework to us - one that we identify with. It's similar to something like advertising, branding, or marketing - but with art it's less intrusive. With art, it's more inspired by the voice within and the things all around us.
The temperament of an Artist
Over the years of working with different creative minds, we've found that the process discussed has much to do with the quality of ones art and how its perceived by others. Though, this process is not etched in stone and comes differently to everyone. Its often difficult to find inspiration or to feel inspired by the things in front of us. Even with a change of setting and through practice we hit road blocks and have our creative energies driven away by numerous outside influences. With familiarity breeding contempt one must attempt to cleanse their means of perception from time to time. There is a wealth of inspiration around us even if we cannot see it.
One thing that seems to be killing the creative influence, is the standardization in school systems.
When Mike and I discussed education, he was passionate about how in the creative world and beyond, going to school should teach you how to live better, instead of trying to make you focus on how to make more money and quantify yourself through testing.
"Everyone has their process, sometimes it's driven by a psychedelic awakening, weed, sobriety, Bi-polar, etc. But it is what it is, and at the end of the day, the art either speaks, or not - and these things are driven by individuality."
Expressing oneself is paramount to a healthy life, regardless of the source of inspiration. This lesson should be applied to our daily lives in any way possible.
Etching, 6”x6” - 2012 -Michael Chianese
Perhaps we should start doing things because we love them, and even with a small chance, because there's a very real possibly of making a positive impact through doing that thing you love.
Maybe art is meant to show us that the creative process has value in everyones life - and in allowing people to remain individuals.
Perhaps, we should focus on continuing to improve our process of living.
Becoming hole through Art.
Written By: Ryan McKenna
Edited By: Mike Chianese
Phil Mickelson dunks it from 75 yards out. Sometimes you just have to dunk it like a boss.
He didn't end up taking it down, but he played a hell of a tournament.
"Use what you got"
We started following Ment Nelson, the artist from the music collective OXYMORON, a few years back (OXYxMoron on social media channels). The group is made up of three talented artists named Ment, Omar, and Tony - all South Carolina residents. When we first spoke to them, they were just starting to discuss getting together some sort of studio release. Since then, they've successfully released their first album, The Woods (Below).
When I first discovered them on Facebook, the raw talent was what impressed me the most - they were definitely creative enough for me to know that something would eventually happen for these three if they kept after it. In one shape, or another - these guys were going to get their story out there.
I've kept them on my radar over the years, and the story that I've seen develop is positive for music as a whole. The natural talent that they bring to the table as artists, and the approach they're taking to market themselves lately is unique, but relevant. It has me asking myself a lot of questions about the different creative communities forming across the country.
These questions are something that I'm trying to address almost daily at this point in my professional life.
Being from Philadelphia, close to New York City and Washington, DC. (Two major music HUBS that I've gotten to know well over the years) the obstacles I see facing creators, and the story of how most of these artists in the area have transitioned from traditional hustle/guerrilla marketing and street team promotion, to integrating themselves into the rising structure of social networks is interesting. Everyone needs to address these branding outlets, and figure out how they will impact the emphasis they have to put on their content release strategy. If you ask me, it's definitely a tipping point for creators. Among other intangibles like networks, management, and team, the creative process has definitely been in the midst of a major shift over the years.
What's happening now was expected by many technologists, but it's still hard to make sense of. More tools, more options, less clarity on a go-to promotion strategy. It's still a pretty confusing time in music and branding, and for those who survived the chaos by improvising, I can see positive things coming in the future for them.
That's where Ment really shines. He's done a great job improvising over the years with the greatest tool he has at his disposal - his mind. He's worked hard to train it, and to hone his skills in a time of great uncertainty.
This is what matters in art. When you decided to invest in yourself. When you decide to become more solid. It impacts what you create.
"We always wanted to try something different, but it's not like New York. You can't always find what you need, so you have to improvise."
The chaos that we saw back in the beginning stages of this content transition, put a heavy emphasis on improvising in order to achieve success. When there was no clear path on the tactical side, it was most effective to set a strategy, and get creative. As a company, the more that we talked to people and discovered what problems they were having with their creations and getting them out there, the more clear it was that we had to continue to understand this landscape.
For some artists, they just weren't any good. For others, it was an issue of tactics and strategy - of seeing the right parts of the field.
When you're under the universal restraints of time, and capital, the ones who are the most resourceful win. From what we found out, almost all early stage musicians are capable of creating the music they want with the set of tools that are required to do so (garage band, or a local recording studio), but when it came time to figure out how to position the product online and get it out to the right people, most of us are baffled by the complexity of understanding these road blocks.
The most important way you can overcome those roadblocks, is to start doing - to start chipping away the ice. This was another huge shift, where before, you had to create the perfect product, then pitch it. Now, it's about utilizing what you have, and getting it moving.
Now a days, the most important way to do this is though a well executed audio visual presentation. Essentially, the rise of visual music.
The new entertainment business, at least when we're talking about the process of becoming recognized, is all about resourcefulness. I haven't really met another guy like Ment. Someone who has continued to display these characteristics over the years. When I asked him about it, he told me "It's how I grew up. I always thought of it as using what you got. Making the best of what you have."
Many people don't have access to high quality production equipment, so in order to stand out and make due, creative teams have started forming around the country to take care of these issues. Simple and budgeted, these quality "concept first" videos are becoming the right of passage into the business. They don't have to be flashy, just well thought out - well executed.
I really like this video Ment put out last week, and it's a good example of what I'm talking about.
MENT Nelson - Ain't Much Going On
I've seen tons of musicians go about the creative process incorrectly. You know how I know they did things wrong? Because they're not here in the creative world still to prove me wrong. And that's a shame. The worst, are the ones who borrowed everything from everyone in order to get somewhere, and in the end, they ended up getting nowhere fast and burning bridges. It would have been better to just slow down, focus on consistency and quality - but not perfection.
Within the context of these natural roadblocks, you always here people complaining that they don't have this, or making an excuse because they don't have access to that - or, trying to blame other people when their music doesn't hit the ground running. To be clear, these roadblocks are not other peoples problems. If the artist is determined, realistic, talented, and resourceful enough, they'll gain a loyal following that will work for them overtime as they grow as people, and as their audience grows as people too.
I get that vibe from Ment. Meaning, he has the right make up to persevere - to last out there.
When I spoke to him this past week, we talked a lot about his last project, The Woods (below), his creative process and how it's changed over the years, and a little bit about his thoughts on the state of South Carolina as a creative community.
Being a true artist in every sense of the word (He's a very talented visual artist too - specializing in drawling with colored pencil) he has moved the bar forward over the years on a shoe string budget and by surrounding himself with other passionate musicians. He hasn't made excuses, and neither have other members of his group. Another member of the OXYMORON crew, Omar, is set to release his first solo project later this summer, entitled Sail Fast Live Slow.
You can find a sample of Omar's music below.
So, why do I think Ment is such a great example of what creating music within the confines of reality means, and why "The Low Country" is such an appropriate place for an artist to come out of as a creator? It's a good example because he's not doing this through some secret ingredient, or powerful form of voodoo. He's doing it through trusting his gut, being intuitive with his creative process, and surrounding himself with other talented creators. All of this is helping him grow.
We talked a little bit about the "Low Country", and both of us agreed that it has something special cooking. He feels it, and so do I. After all, it did produce Candice Glover, the winner of the 2013 American Idol competition.
Maybe the notion of creating within reality is something people can relate to - a story that people want to hear. Maybe this is the start of something new. Something that's rooted in resourcefulness. Something that feels authentic.
Omar's project - (Omar will release a solo project entitled Sail Fast Live Slow this summer: Preview)
One of the best parts of our discussion involved self discovery and how it will aid in finding your voice. This was something that I identified with a lot, and thought it would be appropriate to share a part of our conversation with you.
When we first started out in the creative fields, we expected a lot. Both of us had been disappointed by the way things had panned out on numerous occasions - broken down sets of promises and other let downs. As a new creator, when you first start out, you want to blame other people when this type of thing happens, but overtime you learn to realize that it's not actually about other people doing things wrong.
It's more about finding out who you are, and turning it into the right thing. Sharing the true you with other people. This takes time and perseverance to get there.
Ment Said, "We discovered what we were about personally. As young adults and as people. That's helped us with our music"
To me, there's nothing more important. If you want to create some sort of positive impact, you have to know yourself. I've been there - questioning who I am, what I have to offer. Everyone has been there at some point, but it takes a lot of heartache sometimes to move things forward. A lot of let downs. A lot of detours.
In the end, it's important to get there - to understand what you're made of.
One of MENTS drawlings - (Pulling directly from Instagram)
I'm excited to see what these guys can do in the future. When you see genuinely good people creating for the right reasons, making this much progress, you can't help but root for more success over the coming years.
Their story has so much depth that I can't tell the whole thing in one post - I can't wait to continue writing about these guys in the future.
OXYxMoron - The Woods
Have you ever thought about religion, and for whatever reason, not really have been able to justify your belief in any one system of thought? It's not that you're lacking a deep connection to what you believe, rather, it was more about not knowing where to start in order to educate yourself on the origins of that system of thought in the first place.
When you start looking into the popular modes of religious thought in Western culture, you'll probably be slapped across the face with a daunting task of discovery. A task that even looking at in the academic "Truthful" context, will make most of us feel like we're about to undertake a religious studies double major at some pristine college, with an extreme curriculum.
For a long time, that was me. And to a degree, I still find it deep. For most of us, it's a NO THANKS.
Now, I'm no expert, but I do know what I've discovered on my own. A lot of what I've discovered has come through communicating with people of various belief systems. Other information has come through reading related, or unrelated material both online and through traditional outlets at the library and in books stores.
After all, there are 39-46 books in the Old Testament depending on how you're evaluating "the book" (The Bible), and from what time period of publication you're digging at. Cooperation gets some applause here when you realize that Jewish and Christian scholars can relate on most of those Old Testament texts. If we're talking about Muslim culture, it would be appropriate to take a deeper dive into the time period of Muhammad and the surrounding tensions that he settled through his campaign.
After the "Big Three" - even though that's kind of ignorant to think of it like that because half of the world doesn't believe in them, it's worth noting some of the other modes of thinking before we move forward. We have Eastern philosophy, enlightenment, nothingness, and others beyond the "Mainstream" religious contexts that are discussed during everyday life in Western society. Yes, when you start thinking of Eastern Vs. Western religious context, I guess it would be easy to start crossing between spirituality and religion like they're one in the same. The reality is, that they really aren't. I guess that means we're going to have to dig a little deeper, and talk some of them through with a little bit of a light background.
I'm going to try to do this in a sweeping manner, instead of a micro-sensitive/nitpicking way.
The popular framework that I was able to find out there in the land of the internet is as follows.
- Agnosticism, is the view that the existence or non-existence of any deity is unknown and possibly unknowable. More specifically, agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable.
- Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one d
eity exists. In a more specific sense, theism is commonly a m
onotheistic doctrine concerning the nature of a d
eity, and that deity's relationship to the universe.Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe.
- Gnosticism is the d
ualistic belief that the material world created by the D
emiurge should be shunned and the
spiritual world should be embraced (God's world). Gnostic ideas influenced many
ancient religions which teach that gnosis (variously interpreted as enlightenment, salvation, emancipation or 'oneness with God') may be reached by practicing philanthropy to the point of personal
exual abstinence (as far as possible for healers, total for initiates) and diligently searching for wisdom by helping others.
- Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
To me, this seems like the best place to begin. A Matrix, encompassing these four modes of thought.
Another step in the framework, would be filling these in with a little bit of background logic, and thinking. This next diagram is important in understanding the context of the matrix above when you factor in the modes of thinking that we talked about before. Take a moment to review this diagram.
At this time, I would like to think about a few things in a little bit deeper way. For instance, in America, we're focused primarily on one square in the diagram above. That would be the one in the bottom right. Or the, "I believe in God. I know he exists and that he loves me." box. To prove this, we found a nice diagram showing the break down of how America's Governors describe their religious identities.
Pretty wild, isn't it? The fact that there's all these other squares to take into account, and the decision makers in America are almost entirely stuck in the lower right quadrant. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I'm just saying it's a thing, and it's probably good to think about moving forward.
So what happens if their is an evolution of thought in America, and this map changes
That's a good question. We can begin our discussion here. Perhaps, an even better place to start would be by asking another question. When did the origins of the Protestant and Catholic modes of thinking become prominent, and what was the earliest known inflection point for those modes of thinking?
To me, I would go back to Constantine, who in 325AD called together a counsel of roughly 300 religious leaders to determine the best way to carry forth the context of the bible moving forward. I would consider this the end of the "Age of the Martyr". Before this, there is strong evidence that followers of Jesus were almost purely Gnostic thinkers. After this, there is strong evidence that "followers of Jesus" became more Theist in their thinking. The way I'm looking at it, without really knowing it - they all deliberated upon the matrix above, carefully editing the context of the main publications of the time to fit the best mode of control for the ruling class.
The first entire edit of history.
A lot of the politics of the day were focused on control.
What we are left with nearly 1700 years later, is a result that can be seen in modern day America. Heavy Protestant and Catholic cultural impact, both in the way of control on society and the value systems of it's people.
No doubt, this has had a profound effect on rules, regulations, and other modes of thinking as society has developed over the past couple hundred years. Maybe this is why I find this topic so interesting. Interesting in a few ways, but the most interesting to me is the context this takes on when you begin discussing the current state of social unrest going on across the planet.
This unrest stems beyond the Protestant/Catholic mainframe that we've come to except as modern day America.
This unrest stems into the other Quadrants. It incorporates Eastern modes of religious thought, sutra
, thoughts of nothingness, and even more strict versions of the lower right mode of thinking - like Orthodox Russian Christianity. These modes of thought are all reflected in one way or another across the worlds judicial systems. Judicial systems seem to be the cause of much of the conflict happening across different countries worldwide right now.
A sense of skewed justice.
Judicial thinking is intertwined into the fabric of society - in America, and beyond. So what happens when all of the sudden you have something like the internet come along to shake things up? What happens when it becomes such a powerful means of connecting people that it starts to take on a form of universal consciousness?
You begin to see the matrix for what is it.
The complete representation of what can now be expressed to anyone, at any time. The first formal break down of controlled thinking and judicial systems of control.
We've hit an inflection point, and the way we respond to this will determine the positive or negative implications that this has on our future. To me, this may be one of the critical questions facing our generation.
We have such an outstanding opportunity to improve the status quo for everyone with the current state of innovation and technology. However, one could argue that this frame work will potentially cause disruption. Disruption can become an unbalancing mechanism of change. Change can be a scary concept to judicial systems of control. We really have to be careful on how we handle the sensitive crossroads surrounding ideology of existence, technology, culture, and the courts as we move forward.
Now that we've been introduced with the opportunity to discover any form of belief, at any time, we need to make sure that we are careful with the power that it yields.
The goal is not unrest. The goal is justice.
Why is this important? Why should we consider alternative religious context so important in modern society? Because the future depends on it, and if we handle it incorrectly, tensions will continue to rise.
Remember, Justice is whats important.
Is this an easy problem to fix? No - it's not. We shouldn't expect it to be.
But it's time we start thinking about it.
Ideology of existence, technology, culture, and the courts. How will this all play out?
-Venatio Von Drego and Ryan McKenna
Yes, it's the worst. For many reasons of course. We can talk about some of them.
So you've heard it? I'm sure you have. If you haven't spotted one of these frat rapping saps, we're going to teach you how to spot one of them on Facebook, because that's the only place they've gained any "real" popularity - but don't worry, they're sure to be EVERYWHERE. I mean... that's what happens when you have 5,000 friends that you don't know . These phenoms may even be solidifying themselves as big deals by spamming one of their 11,000 photos of themselves partying on a related social media outlet to you. Wow, that really gets us going!! Yes, 11,000 - that's enough to not be able to miss.
Seriously though, how do you spot one of these guys? From what we've seen, first and foremost, by the picture of them smoking a doob that's rolled by their camera guy (the bro that really knows how to roll a good one). Another way, is by spotting the guy acting like a hard ass on the inhale, only to be blooper shot by Jimmy accidentally, who then uploads it to his Facebook (Jimmy is the imaginary fan that every frat rapper has - wow, life is so real out there when Jimmy is following you!!).
Basically, when push comes to shove, you'll spot one of these gentleman (because girls aren't allowed in frat rap) by looking like a complete scared amateur - someone who is extremely uncomfortable in their own skin, but slightly more so than most of their fans.
You can DEFINITELY spot one by the picture of them mean mugging with a snap back from a new wave (their college roommates) "Soon to blow up" (Fail) apparel company. Usually, this is a constant. But hey, loyalty among the frat rap crew is an oath, so I guess it needs to be repppppped son. This will definitely up their level of street cred to Wiz Khalifa when they finally meet - at a random touring function that gets played off publicly as this aspiring frat rappers own show. Everyone knows that they're pre-prepped to start talking bud talk and weed apparel culture with Wiz, like he would actually give a rip about them, or their knowledge of all 76 strains their buddies form Cali grow in their personal magic forest.
Let me be clear, Wiz is beyond frat rap status. He is a star that has embraced a branding style better than most product moguls, like Martha Stewart, or the ShamWOW dude. Just so we're clear...
Another way you'll recognize them, is by the their fan bases, that seemingly max out right around 100k fans. The complete saturation of the current generation of frat rap loyals. Congrats, you've captured a highly unloyal demographic that will buy 10k worth of T-shirts collectively and forget about you and your brand next month. Then they'll think "I heard another guys on the rise?".
"Time to go."
What's the total monetary value behind capturing this demographic?
In our opinion, less credibility within your old group of friends - and overtime, that's probably a lot to the downside.
You were in a cool magazine?
At what expense - probably your reputation with everyone around you that actually has a reputation and a place in this world beyond the college party scene - a scene that you've permanently cemented yourself into.
Good luck trying to escape. Some will, some will not, but that's life.
Principle 1: You're better off having way less fans in the short term by being you, than conforming to the ridiculousness in order to get your 10 weeks of fame in exchange for complete network saturation over the long haul.
Your touring value will spike, for like... 11 days or something. So, if you plan on making the jump into serious stardom, you need to eat that up and be careful not to saturate your personal networks with everything you have to quickly. Pace yourself if you'd like to last.
The rapper who can only talk about getting drunk at college parties that his rich dad fronted the bill for, will quickly lose his ability to relate to the real paying demographic in entertainment overtime. Remember, not that many people go to college, and even less have it all payed for by their parents. To most, this style of music makes them sick with an inability to relate.
The last reason why we dislike the genre so much: Where are the females, fellas? Oh yeah, getting objectified in all the songs of the frat rapping bros on the scene. Classy gentleman... real classy. Chivalry isn't dead - oh wait, in frat rap it is.
Should you hate these guys? ABSOLUTELY NOT, just laugh a bit and move on. After all, they're just entertainers at the end of the day. They're not even close to being gods like Kanye West, or Julius Caesar (If you believe in that sort of thing).
Principle 2: Anyone that puts themselves out there as an entertainer can't be hated, or judged. They need to be embraced for what they are. Entertainers. Either good ones, or bad ones - YOU NEED TO BE INDIFFERENT when they suck and move on.
If we all didn't fail to look past this last principle so much, the world would be a lot more happy, and less consumed by the outcome of material, pop culture. We may even stop giving attention to the bad entertainers all together.
-John Calloway and Ryan McKenna
Back in early 2009, before J. Cole had a fan page on Facebook, we were getting wind of a lyrical force developing out of the underground music community at St. John's
(an unlikely, but fitting place to be for the novelty behind his soon to develop brand - for those closest to his camp, you'll understand this. John the Baptist is a huge biblical inflection point in the story of Jesus. And between us and you, there is about to be something huge to happen in commercial entertainment along these lines. You may have just thought, wtf does that mean? We'll keep you posted when we get to the bottom of this developing trend in biblical rap culture).
The way he's decided to enter mainstream music has confused a lot of traditional entertainment moguls, but the more that his career begins to play out, the more it makes sense to those who were once doubters of his style and approach. We're convinced that he'll be able to get out of the gates moving pretty fast soon.
Let's go back to 2009 - other guys like Rick Ross and Lil Wayne were converting the Rap genre into a "Boss Only" display of excess and simple punch line lyrics that glorified the riches that they were able to be accumulate by simply being themselves and displaying decisiveness - mainly about who, and who not to have in their crew. Although, there was a time and place for this style, it seems to be fading, and the people are now demanding more.
If you can remember, around this same time is when everyone started getting big into the Illuminati undercurrent, and what there plans to take over the world through music were... I'm not sure if this has happened yet, but if this style of Rap continued any longer past this year, there would be a good chance most people that were still listening were already half way in between Zombie Land, and some prescription for permanent satanic behavior.
The people need more.
So they'll get it.
So why did this type of mind set in main-stream Rap culture make it lose so much of its credibility over the years to the general public? It's a good question, and we've found that those who weren't sucked in and consumed by the belligerent style of music out there, saw it for what it was - a top heavy, under talented, debt up the artist type of industry. The type of industry that was controlled by business men who were more concerned with personal power than any real evolution of the music itself, or care for the cultural implications of their backing of this type of music.
To the credit of Rick Ross, adding someone like Wale to his crew makes his whole camp more focused on the music, and we think that this addition has actually made him a better artist.
So, why J. Cole?
Listen to his lyrics. The nature of his delivery. It has truth behind it. Universally.
J. Cole has the opportunity to bring mainstream credibility back to the "Game" because he actually talks bout the story that makes up real peoples lives, and the frustrations they have. This is different than the Godly image that others in the genre are focused on creating - the distancing of themselves from the people. He actually makes you listen and relate. He goes deeper than the one liner, and is able to make you think about his place in pop culture.
We believe that his upcoming album Born Sinner
has the opportunity to do the game some much needed justice. At the very least, it will create a splash in the community for far more than the one liners and club presence that others covet. J. Cole doesn't give two shits about this. He knows he's been gifted with the opportunity to speak to people, so he does it. The people need introspection, and J. Cole will give them an opportunity to reflect on the state of pop culture and musics involvement in it.
Based off of the way Cole has entered the community, and where he is now, still relatively on the underground and not corrupted by the ugly forces of main stream entertainment - we think that he really could do something major here, and in the future.
"In this life, ain't no happy endings, only pure beginnings."
-J. Cole, Runway 1:40
As far as high-growth entertainment is concerned: When what the crowd is doing isn't being done right, or it is still fragmented, orrrr there has been a significant introduction of new technology, there is still an opportunity to make progress as an early stage company and take some market share.
When this opportunity closes, you'll notice that there is one dominant player that has cornered this method of distributing information.
If there isn't a dominant player, and at the very top, one business isn't pushing out all of the content - or perhaps, a handful of businesses - there would still be room for one to come along and take significant mind share. Mind share can = money in entertainment.
Google will make a play to become the dominant music technologist soon. Even with other companies dominating segments of the market right now, it's to be expected that they'll eventually make a play at the entire system for sake of holding their ground on the overall search landscape. I only say this because the internet is quickly becoming a mouse trap to control the time people spend online. It so happens that people spend a lot of time listening to music, and watching videos. Google already does one really well.
If you're after the means of accessing peoples time through searching and aggregating content, Google will eventually be a competitor. If you're looking for peoples time without being the means of them discovering what you're offering, you will probably be in the clear for some time to come.
Basically, the quality of content behind the search engines is where you should focus over the coming years.
Can we face two facts:
1. Music blogs are a dime a dozen, and another one popping up doesn't add any value to the collective entertainment ecosystem - unless you differentiate somehow.
You can do this by:
-Talking about something different
-Talking about something old in a different way
-Taking things deeper than others are taking them
-Creating an engaging information fabric for your readers
-Just being freaking cool
2. Your opinion about music, and your ability to voice it simply by throwing up a youtube link with no context or information, DOES NOT make you an entertainment expert, or a pop culture celebrity. It makes you a Youtube promoter that makes Google extremely rich and powerful.
Now, we can think about three other things:
1. Content differentiation occurs after voicing a deeper version of the public opinion on the status quo. Going beyond your contact with the pool in your dive - going through the water.
Touching the bottom.
2. Music and technology have merged in many ways. These days, you could go as far as to say, they're now, at least from the distribution side, 95%+ digital, flowing through an online technology platform as a medium.
3. People who enjoy technology, probably like it more than music. People who enjoy music, probably like it more than technology.
What's better instead:
Think of number three from the section above.
Don't get confused when you're trying to blend them all together to make a product. As an owner, stake your claim as a music fan, or a technologist - then build out.
Once you figure out what you are first, figure out the other second.
Content, and being able to properly identify the way it carries through a "Music first" , or "Technology First" product will allow you to stand out from the noisy crowd.
Happy Travels -