The curse of the hater players
I was listening to the Black Star album the other day. One of my favorite tracks was ‘Hater Players.’ If you’re not familiar with it, give it a listen or a read.
The knee jerk reaction to negative criticism aka labeling the accuser a ‘player hater’ is doing a great disservice to Hip-Hop. Not only is it silencing those offering constrictive criticism it is hurting the content producers themselves. Rather than taking the criticism and re-thinking the product or approach artists, writers, executive throw the ‘player hater’ label out and take no as a vitamin, as one of my guys used to say.
Now I am all for confidence and not allowing yourself to be discouraged but people sometime you (we) make mistakes. Thinking you are perfect is a sure way to expedite your demise. I have seen this time and time again. Artists and managers adopt this juvenile approach, that they think is Kanye-esque confidence, and try to force their way. They give you two options. Yes or no. And if the answer is ‘no’ the other side just doesn’t get it or are bourgie gentrifiers, or not real supporters of Hip-Hop. All ridiculous claims at the end of the day.
If you take the feedback and access its validity, revise your approach you may just get what you want.
Back when 7H Recordings was still active we released a record from El Da Sensei. Right around the same time the Little Brother buzz was exploding. LB was written up in The Source and El expectedly wondered where his review was. Before asking any questions the assumption was made that the label had not tried, did not care, and was incompetent. When given the answer that ‘they just didn’t like the album’ we were completely dismissed. Then began a series of events that led to the end of the relationship. I always think that if he had been more diplomatic in his question there could have been a simple solution. Re-submit, call in a favor, release some exclusive tracks. And on and on. Instead the player hater approach on El’s part limited the discussion. Right or wrong, our response was we tried, they passed, done. Looking back what a wasted opportunity
As far as the Festival people are always telling us how we need their artist on our bill. Submitting year after year getting more belligerent and obstinate as the years progress. We all know who I’m talking about, our friend and yours Jo-Ell Quikman. Sadly that strong approach weakens the argument. In year one Joell submitted music we just didn’t like. No judgments. We just didn’t feel it fit. In year three his music had improved in our eyes. That ‘Bodega Chronicles’ album had some joints, his buzz had grown. Adding him to the bill made a lot of sense. But the hard line approach, the threats, the accusations compelled us to pass once again. If he had just taken the ‘L’ graciously in year one and kept the lines of communication open I think the results would have been markedly different.
Our homeboy Fresh Daily is a great example of how you do it. Fresh had been wanting to rock the BHF since year two when his compatriots Tanya Morgan got the nod. He submitted and nothing happen. Did he get mad? Pop sh*t? No. He learned who the decision makers were, kept releasing music, built his brand and not only did he get a slot on the main stage we put him on the opening stage as well. He resisted the urge to hate and took the ‘criticism’ in stride. Kept improving his product and today he is better for it.
So let’s stop the hating on both sides. Sit down like adults and work out our differences even if that means parting ways. So endeth the lecture.