For anyone with aspirations of becoming a successful musical artist, having a great manager is essential. Someone who truly believes in your art, to the point that they will argue, manipulate, and deceive in order to get you gigs that they think are important in furthering your career. The husband and wife team that manage my band are great, they believe in our music and would go to any lengths to get us that "key gig" as they put it.(i.e Fight prompters, offer them loose women who also "believe" in our band, free weed, shit like that) Sure their tactics are a bit "extreme", but I turn the other way because out of all the haters in the world, knowing that someone holds your art in high regard is somewhat soothing.
That isn't to say they haven't made some mistakes, like booking us at a Country and Western festival where we were the only black folks for miles, and our anti-Bush agenda almost landed us on the back of a milk carton. Or the "religious rock" lineup that we found our self in, so you can only imagine the reaction we got when we let a few loose profanities fly out or, possibly, the fact that I briefly grabbed my genitalia and told a beautiful woman in the front row that she was giving me a "serious chubby." But I must admit, that the good times outweigh the bad because of the shows that we had no business being at and the experiences I have had. Like talking to Anthony Keidis of the "Red Hot Chilli Peppers" about the importance of Public Enemy's album "It takes a nation of millions.." album, having Dave Grohl tell me that I was a "good guitarist", or me expressing my lifelong love for Sheila E and that I would be her personal "man-bitch" if she wanted. So all in all I have no complaints, I went into that lengthy diatribe to introduce the topic of the following post.
Are their entertainers out there, regardless of the genre of art that they are in, that you think are rather talented but should be a bigger star in your opinion? A person that you wish you had a chance of managing, to steer their career in a direction that you feel it should be on? Here are a few people who I feel that way about.
Faith Evans: This might seem like a weird pick to some, primarily because most people would consider her quite successful, but let me explain. When I first heard Faith Evans sing I was in some random record store in New York City where she did a in store performance, and she blew me away. Since her first album came out she has made some noise, and I'm pretty sure her fan base is intense, I just think that she should be considerably bigger that's all. Now, I know that fans of Mary J. Blige are as vicious as canines with rabies, but I personally think that Faith Evans can sing circles around the self proclaimed "Queen of Hip Hop". The only reason that Faith isn't doing as well as Mary is because of the material that she has been given, sub-par lyrics and production is quite limiting. I know that she also had a say in what she sings, so she is also at fault, but that's what I am here for! Also, I know talking about a woman's weight is as dangerous as hiding Kate Moss' cocaine stash, but I personally think that Ms. Evans looked better when she had more weight on her.(Hope she isn't doing that "Trim-spa", because I bet you that stuff is just crack in a bottle) Her career is far from over, I just hope she can step out of Mary's shadow and be the artist that I know she can be.
Larenz Tate: I know that this dude is still working, and being a working black actor in Hollywood is an accomplishment, but he should have been bigger by now. His performances in "Menace to Society", "Love Jones", and "Dead Presidents" were absolutely amazing and should have landed him in a position where he wouldn't have to audition anything ever. But as the years passed, I barely saw him in anything and when I did see him in something it was in some monstrosity like "Biker Boys". I can't really be too mad at Lorenz though, because the acting game is so much of a gamble that elite actors sometimes get lost in the shuffle. But still, when I see actors who couldn't give a great performance if you put a loaded gun to their heads get premiere acting roles, I just think about his performance as "O dog" and wonder what could have been. Like Faith, he is still young so there is plenty of time for him to get the notoriety that he is supposed to get. If he needs inspiration, just look at a picture of Jimmy "JJ" Walker, that should get his ass fired up and motivated.
Saigon: Even though it seems that I am the only fan of this guy that I know, that won't deter me from shouting him out.(Shit, I'm the same guy that has expresses his prowess for 2 minute love making and a inability to fill a Magnum condom, so I am used to spouting unpopular stances) His career, compared to the previous two individuals, has just started so this might be a bit premature. I guess this is more of a cautionary rant, hoping that this MC doesn't get lost in the same shuffle and be put in the "should have been more famous" category. This is going to sound quite hypocritical, especially since I talk badly about misogyny and violence in Hip Hop, but I don't mind it so much if it is done with skill and creativity.(Fucked up logic, I know) Saigon brings a sort of intelligence and wit with his hardcore sensibilities and tales of street life. That's another thing, in an age where people lie about their background to seem "hardcore", or feel that simply getting shot a bunch of times makes you the new "Scarface", Saigon actually has a history of criminality but most of the time he warns his listeners to not make the same mistakes he did. On his website it says that, "Saigon is an unadulterated dose of reality.", I agree and I hope that he makes his mark in Hip Hop.
Thicke: Sometimes you discover an artist in the oddest situations. A couple of years ago I was getting a root canal, and for anyone who hates dentists like myself will tell you, I would have rather bought a Mike Jones record or paid to hear a black republican speak than to go through that horrifying ordeal again.(Then again, I'll stick to painful oral surgeries) While I was getting my mouth worked on, squealing like the guy in "Deliverance", I hear some pretty good music playing in the background. I immediately ask my dentist, "Do you know who this is?", and he quickly said no in a "Let me operate on you, you dreadlocked bastard" kind of way. When he was finished, still high as a kite, I used the receptionists phone and called the radio station to see who that was. That artists name was "Thicke", real name Robin Thicke, who is a very soulful R&B singer.(I wish I had that name, so when ladies ask "Do you have what it tales to satisfy me?", I could simply respond, "My name IS Thicke isn't it?") Anyway, I bought his album "A Beautiful World" and was amazed at the musical range of it and how dope it was. So I waited for this artist, who happens to be the son of Alan "Dad on the the show "Growing Pains" Thicke, to explode on the public like a nuclear missile. So I waited, and waited, then waited some more, and nothing. Some know about him, but he should have been bigger because a couple of years ago people would have been refreshed to hear a white singer not impersonate Michael Jackson.(ahem..Justin Timberlake..ahem) But, whoever was managing him, I think Andre Harrell, royally fucked up because they didn't know what kind of image they wanted to give him. Again, this dude is still young and has plenty of time to make his mark.
Da Brat: OK, I know that she seems attached to Mariah Carey's left tit nowadays, she did bite Snoop's style for a few years, and she is still being produced by Jermaine Dupree and his production in terms of Hip Hop has been as relevant as a man's penis to a lesbian.(OK, I'm jealous that a troll like that gets to have sex with Janet Jackson at will.) But, I think there is lyrical talent there if she would be comfortable in her own skin and have the creative freedom to do what she wants. I have heard her on a few mix tapes, when she could just be lyrical, and she is pretty nice on the mic. But I hardly doubt that she will turn into the MC that she could, because unlike the previous artists I have mentioned, Da Brat seems to be comfortable living a life of artistic mediocrity. Shit, it doesn't help her case that she has the personality of a bowel movement, based on the few times I saw her on that show "The Surreal Life". But there's always a chance, as long as she doesn't decide to get all "sexy" on us and go with her more "feminine" image again. I mean, she has a great body, but she looked as uncomfortable as Tom Cruise in a strip club when she did her last image overhaul. That's just my opinion.
Royce da 5'9: I have friends who argue this with me, feeling that he has already gained national exposure, but I feel that based on his lyrical talent he should be more famous than he already is. He was once on the fast track to being a household name, being Eminem's partner in crime, blazing mixtapes and creating a street buzz with his 16 bar wizardry. But after a falling out with the Detroit MC, I think based on Eminem's hesitant nature concerning putting out his record, Royce struck out on his own. He has done his thing, but when you think about 50 Cent(a dude who Royce could rap circles around) and his success via Eminem, it is sad to think that he isn't as widely known as he should be. When you think about how Royce is better than anyone associated with Eminem, D12 or any clown in G-Unit, I just hope that this lyrical MC gets the fame that he deserves.