On a Monday night, you wouldn’t expect me at a nightclub listening to local independent artist rhyme their hearts out. Let me stop, of course you would! However, this was no typical night filled with networking and rubbing elbows, I came to the Ground Up Showcase with one purpose in mind, and that was inspiration. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the testimonies of all the people we interview and work with and how many of them don’t want to tell the full story. It’s not because there is no story to tell but because, with so many different fans from diverse backgrounds, I don’t think they know which story to tell. It’s hard building a brand and still trying to get people to pay attention, often times I see people pretending to be something that in real life would get their asses stomped. I came to this event to find the truth, words spoken in forms of rhymes that told me stories that most of us don’t want to hear. Life is not always gravy, most of us only wish we were stunting on others, and that every single person with a voice and some ears is hungry for just a little more.
If you aren’t into hip-hop music, especially independent and underground artist, then you definitely had no business at the Paradise Lounge last night. Its one thing to want to hang out with your peers, drinking and bobbing your head to the beat, but the atmosphere is for those who want to immerse themselves in the culture, not just be a fly on the wall. You have to soak into the music, and breathe in the energy of professional lyricist and wanna-be sensations. This life is not for the faint of heart or the pretty girl looking for attention. Yes, fashion plays an important role in music, but in a room full of ex-street hustlers turned rappers, and ghetto minds trying to make a way out of no way, like Artik Phreeze says in one of my favorite tunes “Fuck your Swag!!” No one cares what new Air Jordans a dude has on, or whether or not you got a fresh line up before you got on stage. Everything boils down to whether or not you’re good. The only thing that matters is talent, and that can come from more ways than one.
Its crazy how people often only clap for the person they came to see. Not flinching to overly-support a stranger, the host yells for more crowd participation. This is Richmond, Virginia all day, whether you or him make it. Although, his words are loud and clear to me, I’m almost certain most of them didn’t get it. Nowadays, the true talent lies in the artist who cannot only earn your respect, but your accolades, even when their family/friend is competing for the same attention. It’s about converting a “nobody” into a fan with seven minutes on the clock, a feat most of the artist last night struggled to accomplish. Although the mastery wasn’t there, the heart definitely was, inspiration was so thick I could see it right in front of me. I stopped myself several times from pulling people to the side to tell them how their performance made me feel, hoping to ignite some creativity in what I knew could be an amazing performer, but I refrained. Our people need constructive criticism but at the right place and time. Liquor induced advice from anyone would only result in animosity and not progression, and that’s not building – it’s breaking down.
Out of the entire artist roster, only two really stood out to me. Out of those two one was the overall winner. A female artist by the name of Dutchess graced the stage with a combination of beauty, talent, and drive. She lost her voice a couple of times, allowing her desire to destroy her male competitors to take over her breathing, but she held it down. Bringing with her a huge fan base of people singing her songs right along with her, I was an instant fan. I only hope that when I talk to her the talent and charisma I saw on stage, resonates with her everyday personality. We need more examples of females in this industry uplifting our gender, but that’s another post for another day. I know you will like her, as I did. Her energy was amazing, and it was extremely impressive that she held it down, which to me was no surprise at all.
I was truly inspired by the artist. Because I try to maintain positive motivation on this site and with GaptoothDiva as a whole, I have to include the following message:
Rappers don’t need to lie and pretend to live a life that is not true to form. Your fans, the true followers of your words, want a message. We all can’t pop bottles and pop tags everyday in the current state of the economy. Moreover, from the background checks of many of you (Yes, we do our research) neither can you. Real fans, people who will support you want to relate to you, learn something from you, or feel connected to you. I saw several people lying about their lifestyle to impress folks. As this may get you a couple of head nods and pats on the back, I can’t in good conscious say you did anything worth talking about. Tell your story, talk about your feelings, struggle, experiences, or challenges, but whatever you do – don’t take your potential fan base for granted. Anything with out purpose is just noise.
Shout to Ground Up Entertainment, The CEO Cornelia Gail, the judges, and everyone else involved with the event. If you are looking for a great place to perform, connect with independent artist, or just hang out amongst your people. I would definitely suggest you check this out. Last night, we heard some great information about what they are offering to independent artist who are serious about their careers. So get into it, before it’s too late. Someone from RVA is going to win big!!
Check out their website www.TheGroundUpEnt.com
Addition as of 9/21/2011:
I was contacted by the wonderful and very professional, Joe’i Chancellor of Writer’s Block Publishing about this post and the coverage on the event. I would like to add that she was also involved with the creation of the great project and this is what she had to say…
“Thanks for the Blog we much appreciate the support! I’m Joe’i Chancellor of Writer’s Bloc and Cornelia Gail of Ground Up Ent we linked up to do the “Rock The Stage” Event on Monday night, realizing that teamwork is the best work, especially when you have a positive common goal. We are both from Richmond we discovered that there were very few promoters coming thru to genuinely support the INDIES in the Richmond Market. So we decided to give them something out of the Norm to look forward to when it comes down to exposing their talent. We appreciate you coming out on Monday and sharing the first celebration of INDIES talent and we look forward to seeing you in the future as we organize even bigger events. Sorry I missed you, but I’m sure we will get the chance to meet real soon. Much success to you!”
Yes, we definitely will! This Richmond Style Weekly Top 40 Under 40 Recipient, has truly made it possible for those creative minds in the inner city to have their voices heard right from where they stand. We appreciate everything that her, Writer’s Block, and Ground Up Ent are doing for independent artist in the city of Richmond, Virginia. Keep it up, we need it. Check her out at www.iamthebusiness.net
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