Tag Archives: Drake

Celebrity schlebrity. Vita Chambers has a guardian angel.

vita_chambers_fix_you

I’ve never been used to the concept of celebrities.

Folks treat them with such…reverence…as if the fact that they can sing or dance or dribble a ball makes them somehow, better?

I find cats fawning over pure strangers…odd and distasteful.

I just don’t get why girls swoon over Usher, or Michael Jackson or Justin Bieber.

Falling out, really?

Perhaps it’s because I’m Nigerian.

Or maybe it was being born into a diplomatic family.

It could be pure vanity.

I can’t sweat you if I think, I too, am fabulous.

But most likely, it was my cousin, Stevano.

You see, growing up, I had this younger cousin who was a rapper from DC.

During the summers and every Howard homecoming, I would make my sojourn to DC to chill with him.

Hanging with my cousin usually involved tooling around the city in a 911, Beemer or Benz.

It meant VIP access to any and every party spot or event of note.

More importantly, it meant unbridled access to a butt load of celebrities.

I was routinely in the company of Nas, Mary J Blige, Biz Markie, A Tribe Called Quest, Jay Z, Herbie Azor, Wu Tang Clan, Davina, Eve, Brand Nubians, Cisco, Drake, Sean Kingston, Marlon Waynes, Michael ‘Blue’ Williams (of Violator), Talib Kweli – and that’s just off the top of my head.

Don’t mind the generational jumps – I’m talking past and present.

We’re not even going to get into the models.

Although most people outside of DC have never heard of my lil cousin, he is a don in the music industry.

Limos would routinely pull up outside of the house on Rittenhouse (the house he bought at 18).

And we would be whisked off to some private party being hosted by Marc Barnes or some other DC night life luminary.

His phone stayed ringing, and I would hear him giving heavyweights – heavyweights – advice.

I used to get so annoyed with him.

Usually because these calls came at the most inopportune moments – like when I wanted his introduction to some hot dancer, back-up singer or groupie thinking we were famous.

I had no problem with sloppy seconds back then.

But what drew my annoyance – beyond missed booty conquest – was the fact that he just gave away valuable information – for free!

The stuff he knew about the entertainment industry – getting labels to come off that dough, securing video budgets, working with established producers, touring – were things I felt he should be getting paid for.

And things that most cats his age (and older) just didn’t know.

For years, I urged him to flip the paradigm, set up shop and get paid for his services.

When Aftermath wanted him to write for Eve of Destruction (aka Eve), this new artist they were grooming from Philly, I prodded him to get a fee for his services.

When Fela’s daughter invited him to talk about bringing her late father’s music to the stage, I urged him to confirm that the deal was on the up-and-up.

When <name of artist/label/producer> came seeking his help, I implored him to get paperwork to secure his stake in the transaction.

Invariably, his heart controlled his head, and he rarely took my advice.

Time after time again, I watched as countless artists benefited from his immense creativity and lackadaisical business attitude.

As he moved from DC to LA, to the UK, to Miami and then to Vancouver, Canada, I would infrequently hear about these instances.

And as my life turned increasingly from the entertainment industry to technology, and being separated by time zones and distance, I heard about them less and less.

Recently, however, he reached out to me to talk about the latest artist to have found a way into his heart – Vita Chambers.

If you haven’t heard about her, it’s okay.

She’s only 19.

She was discovered by SRP (the same label that found Rihanna) and signed by Sylvia Rhone in 2009.

Vita soon found herself on tour with Justin Bieber, performing at Lilith Fair in 2010, the Bamboozle Road Show, PopCon, touring with Forever The Sickest Kids, and performing with Estelle at the 2010 Soul Train Awards.

But she’s spent the last two years on hold as Universal Motown’s reorganization worked itself out.

Fast forward to 2012, and SRP finds themselves without the momentum that accompanied her initial signing.

Enter cuzzo, stage left.

Working with Vita’s parents, her de facto management, he took ‘Fix You’, remixed it, and the girl you’ve never heard of is taking off with a chart climbing single.

Now since I’ve been here before, I know how this plays out.

Stevano goes balls to the walls for Vita and her team.

Vita gets back on the trajectory she was before the Universal debacle and achieves untold success.

And cats bid my cuz auf Wiedersehen.

This time, though, I’m helping cuzzo get the biz right.

I plan to be the guardian angel to Stevano that Vita is the poor child in the Fix You video.

They’re going to be in LA for the Grammy’s.

And then a quick stop in NY to sit with the folks at Universal Republic.

I plan on meeting this young artist in Stevano’s good graces.

And hopefully convince them to formalize their relationship so that they mutually benefit.

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Made In America (the movie). How agencies, brands and hip hop are a formula for success

Photo Credit: RocNation.com

I just read an article  in AdAge, about Budweiser, Translation and Jay Z partnering up to produce a movie.

My first reaction was “that shit is sick!” (sick=great for my linguistically slang challenged readers).

What’s so sick about it, for one, are the straight macks behind it: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Steve Stout, Jay Z – all titans of their respective fields.

But what’s even sicker is that Budweiser (aka deeeeep pockets) is the driving force behind it.

Who would have thought that combining a beverage brand, an advertising and a hip hop mogul would have made such perfect sense?

Me.  Been trying to do it for years.

But I digress.

Mind you, this is not the first time this combination has come together.

Master of the Mix, the reality show on Centric, was a combined effort of Smirnoff/Diageo (brand), GTM (an Atlanta-based PR/creative agency), Just Blaze and Kid Capri (hip hop).

Smirnoff/Diageo bankrolled the production of the series, which successfully married liquor, celebrity and hip hop in what has become a flagship show for the network.

But there’s a marked difference between a television show on a minor network (don’t be mad Centric, but you’re not BET, which isn’t Viacom) and a feature length film with national/international distribution.

And while Kid Capri, Just Blaze, Biz Markie, and the host of DJs that were contestants on the show, made it one of the most highly rated shows in Centric/BET’s history, it really pales in comparison to Budweiser’s planned effort with Jay Z.

The movie will focus on two days of the Budweiser Made In America concert festival, in mid-September, when Jay Z and 25 hip hop and electronic music artists hit the stage.

In addition to Jay Z, the line-up includes Drake, Rick Ross, Wale, Janelle Monae, and Jill Scott.

You’ve probably already seen the ads featuring Jay Z, promoting the event.

And with the sheer star power of the backers and participants, it’s sure to be a blockbuster.

But it’s also probably going to be a serious piece or art, as well.

There’s talk about submitting the film to festivals, and Ron Howard ain’t no slouch, so I’m very interested to see what the narrative of the movie will ultimately be.

I can already see the film taking on a Decoded type of feel, with Jay Z narrating the lead-up to the event, and the cameras following him, and the various players as they make their way to and from the stage.

I wonder if they’re going to produce an app for it like they did for Decoded.

Steve Stout, get at me! I’m your guy if you want to talk integrated mobile strategy.

I’m definitely keeping an eye out for this, and will update you with anything I learn about it as it comes together.

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Eye candy. Lyricist. Flash-in-the-pan. Who is Nicki Minaj?

I don't recall Wonder Woman being black or quite that buxom.

I’ve been listening to the just-shy-of-gratingly-annoying voice of Nicki Minaj over countless records recently, and I struggle to accept how popular she’s become.

For those of you unfamiliar with Nicki Minaj (and I don’t blame you), feel free to check her out on Wikipedia.

If you can’t be so bothered, and are looking for an abridged version, Nicki’s on the Break Up Remix, with Mario featuring Gucci Mane. She’s also on Gucci’s Sex in Crazy Places, featuring Trina and Bobby Valentino; Shakin’ It for Daddy, with Robin Thicke; and Miss Independent Remix, with Ne-Yo.

She’s also been featured on songs with everyone from Lil’ Wayne, to Drake, Birdman, Lloyd, Beyonce, Yung Joc and Bow Wow.

Since she dropped in 2007, she’s released three mixtapes: Playtime Is Over, Sucka Free and Beam Me Up Scotty. Her current single, I Get Crazy, featuring Lil’ Wayne is all over hip hop radio, and she’s got a growing fan base. She’s got over 265,000 MySpace friends, 361,000 followers on Twitter, and 296,000+ Facebook fans.

Young Money Entertainment and Nicki’s management clearly have a handle on the effective use of social media tools. They’ve created a viral following for Nicki, leveraging tools, such as MySpace and YouTube, to seed the cloud with Nicki’s music and videos. There are over 14,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, and over 425,000 profile views.

In a word, Nicki Minaj is POPULAR.

For critical hip hop aficionados, Nicki may remind you of Lil Kim, Trina or even Remy Ma, but with the absolute lack of female rappers in the game today, she’s got no competition.

So while her voice may be annoying (it really is), she’s got the looks, the backing and (passable) skills to pay the bills.

And if you didn’t know, now you know.

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