If you don’t know about Rawkus Records, you need to start listening to Polka music because you damn sure aren’t Hip Hop. If you don’t know about the Rawkus 50, you are about to find out. A couple months ago Rawkus Records launched a unique campaign searching for who they call “the 50 Next important hip hop artists.” Timid (yea 3rd person reference, so what) being the dope insider that I am chopped it up with Slopfunkdust, the man underneath the mountain of CD submissions from hungry artists looking to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Tell me about how the whole Rawkus 50 thing came about. Where did the idea come from? It’s really different idea than the norm in promoting music.
Slopfunkdust: It all kinda came from where the industry is going. We’re basically watching CD’s turn into cassette tapes.
Slopfunkdust: if you look at CD sales… They definitely aren’t what they use to be. Digital distro is where it’s going to be at soon.
I see that. The success of iTunes music store definitely has shown that. Wouldn’t you also say that it has to do with the lower quality of music being release, the monotony of it and flooding the market with more artists out at once than ever before?
Slopfunkdust: man… The music industry is fucked up right now. There’s no other way to put it. There’s good music out there… But now you have to find it. It’s not like back in the early 90’s when good music was good music. The problem isn’t that threes too many artists out… The problem is there are too many wack artists out. [laughs]
I’m sure we could do a whole documentary on just that. So back to the Rawkus 50. How has the response been?
Slopfunkdust: Crazy! I’ve gotten close to 5000 demos in about a month. [laughs]STILL going through the submissions… What’s really crazy is the quality of music that’s come in. At first I thought it was gonna be a nightmare… But I’ve found a lot of good music.
That brings me to my next question. I was under the impression that the deadline was the 15th of March but I still see that submissions are open. Why is that? Is there going to be a cutoff point?
Slopfunkdust: we have our web team focused on getting the programming for the Rawkus 50 page… And there are a few people that are just now hearing about the 50 so we figured everyone should still have a chance to submit.
Ok, fair enough. I know of at least two artists that have been accepted into the Rawkus 50, one being Pizon and the other Atllas; about how many do you have accepted so far?
Slopfunkdust: about 35. Well let me rephrase that, we’ve already gotten back about 35 contracts. Because a few people have said no so… Your boy Atllas is a wild one… [laughs] dude has sent me like 5 or 6 new songs already.
I suppose my contract got lost in the mail? [laughs] Moving on….I actually don’t know Atllas, I saw it by way of Myspace.
Slopfunkdust: like I said homie, we’re still going through the submissions. [laughs]
Now you said 5 or 6 new tracks? So break down how this works. The submission asked for an album of at least 10 tracks which one would assume would be the finished product that’s going to be marketed or is that just to give you a feel of what you are working with and they will be able to put something else into it after the fact.
Slopfunkdust: yeah… I figured out real quick that I don’t need 10 songs to tell if I’m gonna like an artist or not. [laughs] but yes, to be IN the Rawkus 50 you have to have a minimum of 10 tracks for 1 album.
Gotcha. This is somewhat of a marker for the music industry as it’s mixing traditional marketing with digital only releases. I would imagine some of the bigger labels will be looking at this project to see what they can get out of the idea as far as bringing the old business model into the now generation.
Slopfunkdust: definitely. It also gives the artists a good outlet for their music and I think we can all agree… It’s very much needed.
For sure. The technology and lifestyle changes as well as the overall climate of music could benefit from a revamp. Now as far as you go, I know you are an artist in your own right, how did you find yourself in the position of heading this up?
Slopfunkdust: I was working… We’ll I’ve been working for Soulspazm and beat society for the past 4yrs. When studio distro went out of business Soulspazm got their new distro deal though Rawkus / Sony Red. So when the Rawkus guys decided that they were gonna do this, and that they needed help, I was referred by my homies over at Soulspazm.
Slopfunkdust: [laughs] Na… I was actually going to submit something under a fake name… But decided I’ll just chill. I’ll get my turn later.
Probably a good look as people might have issue with it being a conflict of interest. So any projection as to when we will be seeing the finished list and when the whole campaign will be jumping off?
Slopfunkdust: all I can say is very soon… Very very soon. We will be doing a full press release in the next few weeks.
Word up. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Wait one more thing. In the submission criteria, Myspace and YouTube seemed to be heavily weighted factors. How are they going to come into play?
Slopfunkdust: yeah, we’re looking for artists that are establishing themselves… As we all know… There are a lot of lazy people in Hip Hop. [laughs]
Slopfunkdust: [laughs] But yeah man, I just wanna say good luck to everyone out there who submitted their music for this. See y’all at the finish line!