One year ago, I created this blog for a number of reasons and since I have been on the most incredible journey – I thought I’d share my experiences of the past year in the hope that you get to know a little bit more about my personal life and understand why it means so much to me that I’m throwing a ‘one year anniversary party’ for TheRootMusic.
It all started when Joe Budden‘s “A Loose Quarter” leaked early December and after recovering from depression thanks in huge part to Joey’s “Mood Muzik 4.5” mixtape I thought one way in which I could repay him would be to write a review (read here) and explain to my friends, why they should listen to my hero. It also happened to be a time in which I was going overboard at college, writing more essays than anyone ever should purely because I could. A close friend of mine and the teacher – neither of which read this blog as far as I know – tried to convince me to stop working so hard and to have a life. So rather than concentrate all of my time on writing essays on the media (Watch The Throne at the time) I split my time into blogging too.
Those first few reviews were awful, laden with spelling errors and worst of all making mistakes within the music e.g. thinking Joe had ghostwritten “Dreams” for Trev Rich. In a way though, they were the greatest fun. There was no pressure to give positive comments, no impatient artists demanding to know how long its going to take but there weren’t many readers either. That was until a producer who worked on “A Loose Quarter” retweeted a link and for that, I am forever indebted to Blessed By The Beats. After that retweet a load more happened and those viewing figures shot up. Now I realise that 100 views in an hour isn’t even that good, but back then I was ecstatic. Overwhelmed. That’s not to say I don’t get that rush of adrenaline every time I’m acknowledged because I do, it was just alien to me back then.
I was already a member of www.rap-royalty.com when I started the blog. Mainly I was there for the fun of it, hoping to find some new music I could enjoy but for the first time in my life I feel comfortable with publicly admitting that back in mid-2012 it was my dream to be a rapper. So I posted some awful lyrics up on the forum which have since been deleted at my request to avoid embarrassment. When I realised that my talents did not lie behind the microphone and turned to blogging, Rap-Royalty co-owner Disputer (to this day I don’t know his real name) contacted me and asked me if I would write reviews for artists from the site. Best decision I’ve made in the past 12 months as I have some genuinely amazing projects, Loose Logic‘s might be my favourite review (read here) I’ve ever written. Since then I have lost contact with Disputer and most RR rappers but I still remain confident in my promise that I’ll never forget what they did for me and if I do ever make enough money to own a record label, the top rappers of the site will be getting signed.
A month later, came probably my biggest step up. I began making new connections. After “A Loose Quarter” I became a massive fan of Trev Rich and consequently the rest of Squizzy Gang. I now had a secure relationship with a group of artists who had a cemented fan base and this meant I was getting a steady amount of traffic which still read today. As a result of my “Heights” review (read here), I came across a website by the name of MileHiMusic.com and the author of another review of Trev’s mixtape. Demi and I spoke and I forget how but I ended up becoming a writer for the Denver-dedicated site. I have to say at this point, Johnathan Jamez is the best boss I will probably ever have, such an easy-going, understanding man but still brings out the best in my posts making them appear professional etc. At first I joined the site under the search for money, but now – though I wont turn it down – it’s no longer important. I’m much more interested in remaining on the MileHi team and taking part in seeing something built from the ground (almost) up, become as successful as it deserves to be.
In February, I met (via the internet) the most important contact I’ll ever make. I shouldn’t call him a contact really, but that’s all I expected it to ever be. Another musicians manager who used me and then never got back to me after I did what they wanted. Tim Katoga is something much more than that though. The man is an absolute legend. I’m not even sure what his role is with Marvell, but without him I’d never be having casual conversations with Shocka – one of my favourite emcees. The email in their twitter bio never got back to me, but Tim did. And ever since that moment, he has been a blessing in not only my career, helping me attain emails of big stars I’d love to interview amongst writing reviews for me (the only other writer to feature on this site) but also on a personal level. He’s constantly tweeting messages of support whenever I’m complaining on Twitter when I wouldn’t blame someone for unfollowing me. If I ever become half the man Tim Katoga is, and achieve a quarter of the things he has in his life, I’ll be the happiest man alive. (Read my review of Marvell’s “Greatness” EP)
At some point between February and March, I started charging for reviews. That’s right, the same person who was barely known throughout high school and college from the other kids, was getting paid for an opinion. Crazy. I realise in hindsight it might have been a bad decision for my credibility because a lot of people I follow on Twitter constantly degrade people who do so. At the same time though, I believe people should pay for blog posts, it’s a form of promotion and most of all, people like myself need that money. I’m not exactly the worst-off person in the world, I’m very appreciative of what fortune I have but I could be a lot better off too. By this time I had began to realise I could use my talent to put my family in a better situation and isn’t it everyone’s dream to be able to allow your parents to retire early?
In March I had also made a connection with MME rapper Tsu Surf (read the review). A step closer to become known to Budden, I now realise that dream is a lot cause but that’s not to take anything away from Surf. He himself is a great acquisition to the list of amazing artists I have come to known through blogging and I’m psyched that he had agreed to giving me a track to release for this occasion. Whether that happens or not, we’ll see and either way it isn’t too important, I’m just thankful for his friendly attitude to me. Who’d have thought a New Jersey battle rapper and a nerdy kid from Newcastle would get along?
April and May were pretty uneventful months for the blog other than it showed the starting of an increased in traffic which peaked between June and July as a result of 20 posts being published in those two months. My “top ten artists to watch” list (read here) is still number one in my view counts and I still believe in the majority of those artists to make big splashes in 2014. I also got myself into a debate on Twitter with Grime’s godfather Wiley which resulted in an article debated whether Double S should stay in Marvell or go solo (read here). I wonder if my argument helped the flow farda’s decision…if it were ever in doubt.
In the month of August alone, I wrote 20 blog posts and started writing for Matt Whitlock‘s www.dropther.net too. A site I tend to write tips for, and independent artists should really take note of every article on there. Unfortunately after August my posts declined to the point this is my fourteenth post since. This is mainly due to the fact I have started University studying Film and Media. At Uni I also learnt about the birth of Hip Hop from a couple lecturers the main lecturer being affectionately nicknamed DJ Lycra by some of my Uni friends. The people at Uni are surprisingly, very supportive and aware of this blog whereas most people I know don’t understand it. In this time I have also recently began writing for SooDetroit.com and my universities in-house magazine which you can find at www.sparksunderland.com where my first post will focus on local music.
In November, I branched out from blogging and became executive producer of L Oquence‘s “Class President” mixtape. As a result of my lack of internet the last couple of weeks and an overload of university assignments, my public promotion has taken a hit but I had still been emailing blogs. I don’t think any of them have wrote about it but I genuinely believe it is a great tape. Please take the time to listen to it and let me know your thoughts. (download here)
Now it’s December again and I’m getting back into writing more frequently as a result of disappointing Uni assignments making me ponder turning this blog into a full time career but also in order to mark the one year anniversary with twenty four hours of new music, guest articles and a couple surprises too.
I have a few goals, new year resolutions almost for my journalistic career too, that you readers (fans?) could help out with.
- I’m currently at 20,000 views, something I am proud of but I want to do so much better next year. Actually by Friday morning I’d love to be at 25k as a result of the articles I have dropping today (12/12/13). By this time next year, I’d be honoured to have hit 100,000 views.
- I want to start making more money from blogging, which might mean ending this particular blog and focusing on other sites who are willing to pay for writers. If anyone wants to have me on their payroll, let me know! I need to quit my current day job asap.
- More exposure. I’ve semi-given up on Joe or Marshall ever acknowledging my appreciation but I’m hoping that I become a bigger name in Hip Hop in 2014. In that, one post will be for a big name and the next for someone I believe deserves to be.
- I want to create a blog specified for my local areas music. The North East of England has some amazing talents so if any internet wizards want to create a website for me…
I should take this time to thank all of the people who have supported me. In particular the people who I know in day-to-day life without the help of the internet.
My Parents – My Dad reads every post and constantly texts me to let me know he can’t understand half the words.
Adam Cole – My closest friend who appears a complete technophobe. Barely ever on social networks but every time I see him he seems to know what I’ve been up to in the blog world. One day when he’s the owner of Iceland, I’ll advertise the company on this blog when its massive (as though either of those are ever going to happen…)
Liam Turnbull – I don’t think he reads this, he’s told me in the past that he doesn’t but without him I’d probably still be writing essays on Amy Winehouse six months after the exam..
Sam Wood – The one person who has consistently supported this blog and although I can’t remember the last time I seen her, I’ll never forget her even if I do ‘make it’. How could I forget who manned the desk?
Laura Leck – The coolest person I’ll ever meet, who reads my blog and occasionally shares it. Reading it is enough from her.
John Connell – I hate this lad for being a better journalist than I am, but despite our blogger-beef, he’s kind enough to share these posts on his facebook page. (check out blogmusic101.wordpress.com)
Mathew Bull – Can’t remember the last time we spoke in person but he’s one of few personal friends who are fans of Hip Hop and I get the odd text here and there asking how this blog stuff is going too.
“To the people I forgot, you weren’t on my mind and probably don’t deserve thanks anyway” – Eminem.