Hip Hop Poison: How Jermaine Dupri is killing “The Rap Game”

How Jermaine Dupri is killing “The Rap Game”

The Show

Jermaine Dupri, Atlanta based producer famous for introducing child rappers such as Lil Bow Wow and Kris Kross to the world, has a new show on Lifetime called “The Rap Game.” The premise of the show is this:

5 kids, ages 12-16 whom have already achieved some type of Internet stardom, compete against one another each week. In lieu of the traditional challenge-elimination reality show, the young artists are ranked from one to five each week corresponding with how JD feels they did on that week’s task. The challenges, so far, have ranged from intern work to styling themselves. The ranks are to keep a kind of scorecard, according to Dupri, of how well these kids do each time. Ultimately, one of them will win a record deal with So So Def records.

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5 young rappers compete against each other weekly to win a record deal with So So Def Records.

The Problem

Firstly, why are all of these kids in one lumped category? A 12 year old certainly hasn’t had the life or scholastic experience of a 16 year old. There are times when each rapper is tested on their lyrical flow but I see an issue in judging a 7th grader against a junior in high school. There are so many different aspects of maturity to consider, it simply doesn’t make sense.

Secondly, there were no auditions for undiscovered talent, a lazy shortcut in my opinion. Not saying that these kids haven’t worked hard on perfecting their art, but Jermaine Dupri clearly took the easiest route. He scoured the web for minors who already had millions of video views, fan bases and whom were already booking shows before he called them. Where was the work on his part? I feel like he simply wanted a ready-made act, therefore bypassing putting the necessary time it takes to develop a child artist. Too bad for the kids whose parents aren’t exploiting them online (a father of one of the younger contestants actually had an issue with children services because of the sexual inappropriateness of the child’s video).

Third, JD is stifling the creative artists that these young minds are trying to grow in to. A recent challenge was to find an outfit out of the Goodwill for $30. While this seems humbling, the kids were harshly critiqued on what they chose and then shown a “more suitable” look. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a large part of being an artist the freedom to express yourself. I truly think he’s dead wrong for telling an adolescent that their look is too ‘boring.’ Their look is their look. And they’re the youth, by the way; they set trends. I guess they should take advice from an old dude who was never known for dressing well.

Also, the parents don’t contribute any positivity to how these kids are going to contribute to the future of hip hop. They tend to their every want and simply feed their egos until neither parent/manager nor child can tell reality TV from actual reality. The moment a parent lets their child give them directions is the same time that they create adults with destructive habits. You’ll hear the kids say things like, “My family is counting on me so they can move to a better place.” Why are these parents placing such adult burdens on their children? No, paren-gers – YOU need to be the provider and the reason your child doesn’t have to support themselves, not the other way around.

The last thing I’ll touch on is the fact that we live in a time of independent musicians. Being signed to a record deal is no longer the determining factor of success in the music industry. These rappers are on the fast track to having all their money eaten up by So So Def and their parents. Haven’t we all seen this play out before? Shit, we’ve even heard some of JD’s past artist admit that they led lives they shouldn’t have before they were ready only to regret it later. These kids are entering into the same world of manipulation. One of the girls was already booking shows and making money on her own. I guess now she’ll be sharing those publishing royalties. For what though? She was already getting it on her own! I wish these artists could take a page out of someone like Chance the Rapper’s book and learn how to be entrepreneurs and business people. This should be a show teaching them about owning their publishing and how to collect royalties,

style jermaine dupri jd style kids rappers lifetime the rap game lil poopy young lyric supa peach niqo

Yeah, you’re really the king of style JD.

book shows, and stay focused. NOT! They’re about to get robbed, so to speak.

In conclusion, I do not enjoy this publicized example of children being critiqued harshly, spoken to and treated as adults, and being molded into something they weren’t naturally becoming on their own. It’s not fair to them, their art or the future of our genre. These are the voices that we’re looking to to create a new message and sound for our future. I feel like I’m watching “The Rap Game” show our youth how to play instead of how to rule.

BeatFreaka.com Featured Artist: Bianca Clarke

BF.com Featured Artist

Take a look through the eyes of a talented musician in BeatFreaka.com’s unique Featured Artist Interview.

The Basics:

1. Name: Bianca Clarke a.k.a Queen
2. Age: 23
3. Hometown: Mobile, Al
4. Current Project: Direct Message  (click to download mixtape for free) and another EP in progress.
5. Favorite song (yours): “Tattoo” (on Direct Message)
6. Favorite song (another artist): “Rider” by Future
7. Biggest musical inspiration: Nicki Minaj (inspired by her drive)

Follow Bianca Clarke

Let’s Get Weird

Who is your most hated cartoon character and why?

Squidward cause he’s always negative and mean to Spongebob.

What is your favorite candy?

I like strawberry Now and Laters.

Most disappointing purchase you ever made?

I spent $2500, years ago, for an Isuzu Trooper Truck. The transmission ended up being shot and ended up having me on the side of the road. I had it for 6 months and I was so mad.

What’s the weirdest sandwich you ever made?

I actually eat this sandwich often. I toast 2 pieces of bread and then put syrup on the inside; pretty much a toasted syrup sandwich. It’s good though. It tastes like pancakes.

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Bianca Clarke’s mixtape, “Direct Message” is already doing numbers. Download it free at DatPiff.com


The last time you dressed up for Halloween, who/what were you?

I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in so long, I don’t even know what age I was when this happened, but I dressed up as one of the Powerpuff Girls. That’s how long it’s been! I really want to dress up this year though, just to do it.

Most embarrassing moment in high school?

(Pauses for a long time) I can’t really think of any! I was kind of popular so… I don’t think I had an embarrassing moment, honestly.

What movie did you re-watch as an adult and realize you probably shouldn’t have seen it as a kid?

Boyz N the Hood. I watched that again when I was grown and just realized how much cursing and craziness was in it. I was thinking, “Damn, I shouldn’t have been watching this so young.” It’s kind of a bad influence cause when you’re little it seems so cool, but as an adult, I realized I can’t have my kids watching stuff like that so young.

What Thanksgiving food does everybody try to put on your plate but you really don’t want it?

I don’t like squash. You know what, I don’t really like cranberry sauce either. 

Who is your least favorite teacher of all time and why?

I had a history teacher in high school, Ms. English, who was just miserable and didn’t want nobody to talk at all. Like, it was always dead silent in her class for no reason. If she saw you laughing with your friend, she would just get mad. On top of that, her classroom was right across from the office, so you really couldn’t play with her. I don’t know why she was so mean though! And we were seniors!

There was a time when you were about to eat something good as hell… and you dropped it and got mad as fuck; what food item did you drop?

There’s a place in Mobile, Foosackly’s. It was the first job I worked at too. They pretty much just sell different kinds of chicken and fries, but it’s fresh and fast. I just recently ordered some buffalo chicken from there and before I got to eat it, I dropped it in my car. I was so mad!

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Bianca Clarke, a.k.a. Queen, has unbelievable stage presence and a business sense to go with it. It’s no wonder she’s taking over Mobile, AL.

If you could choose one historical figure to go back in time and smoke with, who would it be?

I think I would bring Tupac back to smoke with. I would have so many questions for him, but the first one I would ask him would be, “What made you go bald at such a young age?” For real, I’ve just always wanted to know that. Like, it takes a certain kind of confidence to just shave your head. I would ask if he had been losing hair or what. I just really want to know that.

What is the craziest experience you’ve ever had with a fan?

The craziest fan situation: this woman walked up on stage like she wanted to fight me because I wouldn’t speak to her – in the middle of my performance! Another time an award show I was in got shut down over the same thing. The most recent weird experience was when a homeboy who I knew from high school got hard when we were just chilling. I had a thermal outfit on, nothing cute or anything, and he said something like “You getting me hot.” And we weren’t doing anything. Then I look over and saw that he was hard. That shit just creeped me out.

What is your advice to other aspiring artists?

“Just do it for the love of it. Nobody can force you to do this cause you’ll never get anywhere.”

A Musical Time Line Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Musical Timeline Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was dedicated his existence to uniting people of all cultures and walks of life, something we should all still be striving for in the seemingly undying battle for peace. There is an endless list of what MLK inspired in his lifetime and beyond. We will never be able to pay him or his family the proper homage that they truly deserve for the mark they’ve carved in history because it cannot be matched. Not only did this great man affect politics, culture and history, but he changed music as well.

Let’s take a look at a musical time line inspired by the late and great Martin Luther King, Jr., may he rest in peace.

  • August 1932Thomas A. Dorsey loses his wife and son during a tumultuous childbirth. In his grief, he penned “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” derived from a 1844 hymn, “Maitland.” “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” would grow to be Martin Luther King, Jr.’s favorite song.

    kendrick lamar backseat freestyle martin luther king mlk i have a dream black history

    Artists like Kendrick Lamar have been inspired to make music to remind a new generation of the great MLK.


  • 1963Mahalia Jackson records “If I can help somebody” after being strongly encouraged to by MLK. He originally heard the song performed by Anna Lee Williams and fell in love with it so much, he insisted on Jackson’s rendition.


  • August 28, 1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Gives the unmatched “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech moved anyone’s ears it touched including, and especially, musicians. His speech would reach so far in the musical world, it would be sampled for years to come. Some notable modern day artists have sampled the speech, including:
    • Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five (”The King” in 1988)
    • Michael Jackson (”HIStory” in 1995)
    • DJ Quicksilver (”I Have a Dream” in 1996)
    • Gwen Stefani (”Long Way to Go” ft Andre’ 3000 in 2005)
    • Common (”A Dream” ft Will.I.am in 2006)
    • The Game (”Life is But a Dream” in 2013)


  • 1981Stevie Wonder writes “Happy Birthday” as a part of a campaign to have MLK’s birthday recognized as a national holiday. “I just never understood, how a man who died for good/could not have a day that would be set aside for his recognition,” he sings.


  • 1986Tina Marie, Whitney Houston, Fat Boys, Menudo, El Debarge, New Edition, Run-D.M.C. collaborate to honor Dr. King for “King Holiday.”


  • 2013Kendrick Lamar crafts his “Backseat Freestyle” and includes many references to his hero, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Musicians worldwide, let’s never let MLK’s memory fade. Every generation needs to be aware of the significance this man has in history. We have a powerful tool to influence those who will one day run our country and even some who already have pull. Use you music as power and contribute to society for the better; strive to be more like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Local Artists Battle at #RunMob Open Mic Night

Local Talent Showcase in Mobile, Alabama

Open Mic Night at Tag Bar & Lounge

Last night I was honored enough to be invited to judge the #RunMob Open Mic Competition at Tag Bar & Lounge, hosted by DJ Oktoba. As ILoveMakonnen would put it, the club was “going up on a Tuesday.” This wasn’t the last Tuesday to go up, either. From now until Fat Tuesday (February 9th), one talented performer per week will walk away with bragging rights and an array of prizes. Last night’s winner, Bianca Clarke, killed it onstage and won cash, free

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Bianca Clarke walked away with last night’s prize, although she’s been winning for awhile now. Download her mixtape, “Direct Message”, free at DatPiff.com.

beats, studio time and a spot in the finals to be held on Fat Tuesday.

DJ Oktoba, Mobile DJ and local personality, passionately praised all contestants and urged them to come back every week leading up to the finals where the previous week’s winners will battle it out for the ultimate prize.

There were no losers at this event, let me tell you. Though only one person could walk away with the prize, others, including Zelly and Yung Lukey of Silent Hustle, put on a show even I can’t forget. These local talents were hungry and it showed.

The night did not go without a bit of “alternative” entertainment, with a few laughs to be had. But let’s be honest, we all watched American Idol for the funny auditions. The mix of raw talent, confident performances and unique genres added up to one hell of a

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Yung Lukey had the crowd on his side to his hit “Rollin.” Apart of Silent Hustle, there’s nothing quiet about this artist’s swag.


I will be in the building again next week and I hope to see some more familiar faces along with some new and up-and-coming artists. #RunMob Open Mic proved to be a prosperous networking event, interactive show, and all around good time. It always feels good to see artists supporting other artists, especially in towns like Mobile that don’t get as much media attention as some of the bigger cities. Trust me, if the media knew like I know, they wouldn’t sleep on #RunMob.

See you all next Tuesday at Tag Bar & Lounge!

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Zelly was another favorite, with confidence and swag to spare. He had the moves, the confidence and the music.

Love and Hip Hop’s Mariah Lynn: An Unexpected Talent

Love and Hip Hop’s Mariah Lynn: Unexpected Talent

Who is Mariah Lynn?

I know exactly what you’re thinking, at least if you’re familiar with the Love & Hip Hop franchise. The show is a guilty pleasure for many of us, including myself. Although the reality series can be seen as an embarrassment to those in the Black and/or Hip Hop community, it is nonetheless entertaining as hell. Seriously, my 65 year-old mother and anti-reality show friend got sucked in to the storyline on two separate occasions while trying to ignore it. Say what you will, it’s simply engrossing.

Usually the show is full of dramatic persona and drinks ending up in someone’s face. Very rarely is any of the cast musically gifted, even though the show is supposed to be surrounded around the Hip Hop industry and every other scene takes place in a different studio. Under normal conditions, these sessions end up being more talk than rap. Seriously, whoever pays for these sessions is wasting major loot. However, I stumbled upon an unlikely talent watching the new season, which takes place in New York: Mariah Lynn.

Mariah Lynn is one that I did not, and could not, originally take seriously. We meet this thin white girl, joined by New York’s DJ Self, lip syncing her debut single ”Once Upon a Time” and immediately, you don’t have any respect for her.

”Once upon a time, not long ago, I was a hoe. And I’m admitting it. I won’t take you back, cause I did the shit.”
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New Jersey artist, Mariah Lynn, shows that ever “white girl rapper” isn’t garbage.

Her opening lines, along with the now common stripper-turned-rapper story made me discount her as real talent. Immediately you think of Iggy Azalea without the big ass and then you stop thinking of her at all. However, as the reruns continued to play I kept listening. I would sing along to mock her at first until I realized that this was a catchy ass song. Granted, the message is shitty for women who consider themselves feminist and another downer for the struggling Black women who are also talented but often overshadowed by those of lighter skin tone. Either way, I won’t pass up on a talent, even when my own biases tell me to.

If you immediately think, from ”Once Upon a Time”’s lyrics that you’ve heard this before, give her another shot. It’s not that she’s making songs for strippers, but she’s actually telling her story. And honestly.

After hearing her spit a few more lines to another song on episode #2 of this season, I figured I should give Miss Mariah Lynn a quick YouTube search to see if she was worth any more of my time. I was surprised to find that this less than likely raptress has some lyrical talent! Despite what the LHH season previews displayed, she is constantly working on her craft and uploading bangers. Regardless of how you feel about her initially, there is no hiding from the fact that this chick ain’t half bad at all.

This seems like it goes against every reasonable bone in my body to suggest, but give Mariah Lynn a shot. Trust me, among all the bullshit we put up with on the radio today, you can’t lie; the girl has a knack for choosing a beat you can rock to and drawing you in with lyrics that keep you curious about who Mariah Lynn is.


What Customer Service Can Do For Your Small Virtual Business

What Customer Service Can Do For Your Small Virtual Business


Significance of Customer Service in Virtual Businessesonline business virtual business creative commons customer service consumer support

After the long process of figuring out the dos and don’ts in the evolving world of online business, you’ve managed to wade through the discouragements and are now running a profitable enterprise. Congrats! More than likely you now have clientele of some sort, hopefully the loyal kind. So how do you assure their allegiance? With outstanding customer service, that’s how!

The vitality of strong consumer support is nothing new to report. You, as a consumer, know the value of keeping customers satisfied. For example, think back to the absolute worst restaurant service you’ve ever experienced.

  • Consider what made that a bad experience. Between you’re server taking forever and not caring enough to update you on delays with your food, to the manager who must’ve put their two weeks in because they certainly didn’t show any compassion for your particular situation, you never returned. Maybe there were chances when the staff could’ve turned the experience around for you, but they missed every one of them.
  • Now think about your favorite eatery. You’re greeted with a smile as soon as you enter, your server is swift and thorough, and the owner stopped by not because they had to, but because they want to acknowledge your patronage. The employees of this establishment made sure to aim for every shot they had at putting a smile on your face, and they succeeded because you went back the following week.
circuit city bad customer service competition out of business

Circuit City is an example of what can happen when you don’t value customer service. Remember, even in the time of online shoppers Best Buy, their competitors, are still standing.

Simply put, terrible service loses potential money while a little t.l.c. goes far for future potential returning clientele.

Companies That Thrive or Die due to Customer Service

Learn from others when it comes to the good, bad and ugly of customer service. While certain industries, such as health care and telecommunication, tend to lag in customer service, fields, like retail, food service and internet based companies, grow vigorously because of the attention they give to their consumers.

customer service starbucks business

Starbucks continues to set the bar for it’s industry with stellar service.

  • Amazon, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks (names I’m sure you recognize) top the Temkin Customer Service Ratings, a research company that bases it’s rankings from surveying consumers. They score big points for accessibility and compassionately handling complaints. It’s definitely not that these companies don’t make mistakes; it’s that they fix them. That’s why you know their names.
  • According to another consumer based survey site, Customer Service Scoreboard, Whole Foods made it to the bottom of the list for providing ineffective customer service while Publix, a well known, competitor, gleams across from it in the top 5 of the best list. Living in the age of “reviews over everything” and unlimited competition, consider how much this affects decision making in where you grocery shop.

Customer Service Necessities for your Virtual Business

  1. Use social media as a customer service outlet.

    Social media is possibly your greatest asset in running a successful virtual business. Handling customers concerns in a timely manner is everything and sites like Twitter and Facebook provide a channel for you to do just that. Follow up is easy, especially with the ability to receive instant notifications to your phone. Also, you’ll have a chance to mention your brand in an arena where others can witness your company’s promptness and personal concern for it’s customers. Plus, it’s costless, a definite advantage when you’re just starting out.

  2. Track every customer experience.

    Since there is definitely context lost in typed words with no face attached, simply using social media is not enough. After any interaction with a customer, make sure to follow up. Every time. You need to ensure that each customer feels heard. This is how you achieve consistency in the eyes of the people who spend money with you and get those dollars to return. Try generating surveys using sites like SurveyMonkey (another freebie) as a way to ensure that every concern is laid to rest finally and to gauge the perception of your company post initial client interaction.

    virtual assistant time management cheap good online business customer service

    A virtual assistant can be a life saver when it comes to your business and your time.

  3. Outsourcing with a virtual assistant.

    Virtual businesses, meet virtual assistants. Besides being able to help with heaps of work, like scheduling and travel arrangements, virtual assistants can help with an array of tasks. The entire point of starting your own business was so you could have more time to yourself, right? Well, there is an affordable way to staff your operation. Try using a reasonably priced service such as Aide-de Camp or TaskBullet. Sure, you have to shell out some cash, but it is well worth it for the stress you’ll be able to divert. Also, hiring a virtual assistant provides more free time to your schedule, the most appealing part of being an entrepreneur.

Online consumers demand immediate and gratifying attention for every need that arises. Whether you have an extra few dollars to shell out for help or are a one-person operation who needs all the dimes they can save (for now), you can’t afford to lose business due to lack of customer service. You will do excellent as long as you remember to strive to be like the restaurant with your favorite server, not the “terrible restaurant that we’re never going back to” that you tell all your friends about.

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