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January 02, 2007


We made it. Hip Hop gets another shot to step up to the plate and continue to grow in the revolutionary fashion that has had it featured in General Motors commercials to selling Vitamin Water. We have taken the blueprint of the sound of struggle music to become an industry that transcends music and is a lifestyle in every sense of the word. The music business is under assault and we have to look to expand our business in a smarter way as the digital era not only brings growth but brings a trend that has made children,adults,everyone look for music and not have to pay for it. Obviously this format will not work but we have to make the music experience even more potent so that everyone will pay the artists and companies that bring this form of entertainment to the world. Look for more "Brand" entertainment to take place and understand that the world is no longer your block but truly a world wide digital experience.

We saw greatness past away in the last part of 2006 with the loss of "Gerald Levert" and also one of the founding fathers of hip hop even though we don't always acknowledge him "James Brown". James played to his own drum and then allowed hip hop to borrow it!! Lets continue to make a funky drummer out of the new records and sounds inspired by his greatness. I look foward to making new trails and the impossible possible for our culture. See you in the 007!!!

Posted by chrislighty at January 2, 2007 08:57 PM


Hello and Happy New Year Mr. Lighty,

My name is Parul. I'm a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Ottawa, Canada, and have co-written and recorded demo tracks with one of Canada's renowned producers, Justin Gray of Big Boom Entertainment (who has worked with artists including Joss Stone, Snow, Emma Bunton, etc.)

I believe that I'm an extremely marketable product that would be well-received by consumers:

I have a great singing voice and songwriting abilities and have won a number of large singing competitions. I am attractive (Miss India-Canada 2004), high energy and engaging on stage, and am different from any female performer already out there (by virtue of my Indian heritage). I consider myself among the hardest working and most determined artists you will encounter, and am constantly seeking to learn and improve and perfect my skills. I'm willing to put 110% of my effort into all of my projects to maximize the benefits for all parties involved.

I believe my target market is primarily the American market (whose interest in artists of various ethnic backgrounds is increasing), as well as the worldwide South Asian market whose love of music, entertainment, beauty, and their heritage can be seen by the booming success of the Bollywood industry. India alone has among the largest English-speaking populations in the world. The South Asian market is huge, with over a billion people, and has enormous potential because it is still untapped by artists similar to myself.

Right now I'm in need of management who can help me break into the industry in a big way.

I would really appreciate if you could take a moment to read my bio and listen to my demo tracks either at




I would be happy to receive direction from you. Your feedback would mean a great deal to me!

Thank you kindly. I look forward to your reply,

Parul Sharma


Posted by: Parul at January 3, 2007 12:59 PM

i still remember when hip-hop didnt get played on the radio all day. You had to wait until late at night...get your box ready to tape Red Alert...NEW YORK...NEW JERSEY,...CONNECTICUT...ARE U READY??!!! Lil Red would set it off every week. I just met Red in Atlanta about a month ago, he told Lil Red is in his twenties now..Damn at first I felt I was gettin old, but now I see that the elder statesmen in hip-hop made the biggest contributions this year. We need this maturity in the game to let the younder emcees know its all right to be yourself and talk about real life and real struggles..Thats what got us here. One love to the real black heroes who died representing the struggle..Malcolm, Martin, Huey, Scott la Rock, the list goes on. James Brown said he was Black and Proud, that didnt make him less street, he was a ghetto preacher from the hood and fresh outta jail

Posted by: VERY SERIOUS at January 5, 2007 10:03 AM

I've been getting downloads from all over the world. My songs "Stereotypes", "Loose Screws", Aint No Stoppin" and "Controlled by the Pussy" have gotten the most. It looks like major record companies aren't smart enough to sign me so i'm gonna have to think of a master plan to become the first rap artist to become a self made million aire through digital sales. The war is on.

It seems like major record companies are trying there best to block out artists like me by locking down radio stations and anything that could cause independent artists to compete. I know that the right money being put in the right hands can enable me to break through but the major labels are playing hard ball. It's a thinking game and I will win. Even if it comes down to court cases with the FCC. Dont think I wont bust this on going payola thing wide open. Somebody's paying off the FCC. It can be stopped. I will destroy the game if I can't get in it. You people are being totally unfair and you know it. So dont think that i'm one of those artists that will just give up. I will start a war before I quit. You and your staff rejected a monster. I'm that monster and I will remember every person or staff that rejected me knowing my music will make it. Have a good day.

Posted by: charlie at January 5, 2007 10:40 PM

"I believe that I'm an extremely marketable product that would be well-received by consumers" - PARUL


Posted by: DA TRUTH at January 10, 2007 11:12 PM

Hi, i have met your brother Michael in Paris, who gave me his and your contact but unfortunetly i have misplaced them. I represent an Artist-producer-songwriter "saga-boy" from harlem (born french/Senegalese but grew up in USA). As i mentionned earlier i would like your comments help and/or advice for him. Please take a minute of your busy schedule to check his profile.

Posted by: CHRISTELLE at January 14, 2007 08:33 AM






Posted by: Bless One Beats at January 14, 2007 09:27 PM

First off, Happy New Year Chris and the rest of the Violator family. We met in July at your office and it's time to reconnect.

I'd like to comment on part of what you wrote about the state of the music industry. The issue at hand is essentially the same that all content or intellectual property owners face, the exploitation of their hard work without compensation. The beginning of the end was Shawn Fanning. If someone picks up a CD at Tower Records, oh yeah I forgot they closed...., and put it in their pocket, they'd be stealing. The lack of a physical object makes people feel like music is worthless as their is nothing tangible for them to own. The general public has too many avenues to obtain the true product, that is the experience, entertainment, the feeling that an album provides the listener. That is what an individual buys. The CD is only the tool we use to deliver the experience. Without the CD, the perceived value in the object is lost. The average 40GB iPod owner is walking around with tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid for music. There is no guilt...

An effort must be made by the industry to align itself with the proper technologists to allow for a new business model that fits with the digital exploitation/distribution. An indie label such as ours (Riot Life) has much to gain with digital distribution, however there is a limiting return as proliferation of the music leads to stealing of the songs and a revenue plateau is reached before the legs of the record are fully developed. It's too late to change it, we need to find new and technical ways to leverage what's happening and regain ownership of our hard work.

The music industry is in trouble. It's great for the indie artist at first, but a successful indie artist will face the same issues that majors now face. How many multi million dollar deals are left for artists when anyone with an internet connection can go online and get the entire album in minutes?

Hip Hop is used to sell products and make millions but how much longer can millions be made selling Hip Hop?

:e:PRENEUR (A man trying to make millions selling a Hip Hop brand!)

Posted by: :e:PRENEUR at January 15, 2007 11:02 PM

Hey, :e:PRENEUR your an idiot! People aren't buying records, especially Hip-Hop, because it sucks! Hasn't been good for more than a hand full of albums this decade alone. People like Chris Lighty have profitted from Hip-Hop and done very little to ensure its creative survival so others can come behind him and have careers too! Their business (profits) are dying and nothing will save it (its like dial-up internet)...If they're honest with themselves they wouldn't buy the sh*t they sell us either!

Posted by: Truth Hurts at January 16, 2007 11:26 PM

What up Cuzin? Yup we made it another year. Lets get this money...


Posted by: Larry P. at January 18, 2007 03:37 PM

Truth Hurts - Actually, one of the issues this generation faces is irreverent and ignorant individuals like yourself with an internet connection.... You are probably downloading an Insane Clown Posse album right now...

Posted by: :e:PRENEUR at January 21, 2007 09:39 AM

hey whats up chris im an excellent songwriter and the great part about it is that im not trying to come out like an artists i love just being in a studio and making music. but because im not an artist how would i go about shopping my work?
most people look for a complete package but i just want to place my songs and not myself anyways if you can give me some directions that would be great .
p.s i will be at the violators building real soon for a meeting with one of your artists assoicates in regards to working on there album so i would love to get the chance to meet you in person

Posted by: luchia at January 22, 2007 02:18 PM

Yo! 2007 and we are still standing! always remember the O.V. Twenty years and still going strong.

Peace my brother. Lets make things happen this year.

Posted by: Chris Ali at February 1, 2007 01:47 PM

Hello Chris (If I may),

I read the daily news article featuring you (2/19/07) I just want to say WOW! You and I are the same age, we probably went to the same schools! I too grew up in Bronx River and I agree it was not easy (1455) My Mom is still there! I remember seeing Scott in the jams back then, along with Red Alert. I used to work for another DJ (my 2nd job) - I was a single Mom too. My daughters (23 & 21 yrs old) are going to be very proud when I share your article with them. Blessings to you and your family!

Posted by: Regina at February 20, 2007 12:02 AM

Hey, Mr. Lighty...

Wow. I guess it's goin' down.

This whole digital thing is causing mass hysteria in the music world.

It seems prophetic somehow...I would be the last person to be able to tell you just how that is so, but man, it just seems like "we" have joined the capitalistic ideology just in time for it to start crumbling. However "the man" is still getting payed, that's how the artist needs to figure out how to get theirs, too. I don't mean to sound like a nutcase who subscribes to all of the conspiracy theories, however I don't only think of hip hop as a culture, but as an American subculture sadly enough similar to the prison subculture. When we got here, we learned the plantation system and that's all we knew...what we were taught...capitalism...remember when we were the commodity...oops, i'm too late for Black History Month. You know when there was a back to Africa movement to Liberia, the ex-slaves from here...what'd they do? The Americo Liberians enslaved the native people of that -their motherland. And they have since been overthrown, only after much bloodshed. I thought that was just amazing when I first learned that, but I guess as humans it's hard to break out of the ideology that we're indoctrinated under. I mean, what choice do we really have anyway? Going back to using shells and livestock as currency? I don't know.

I really wonder about this and how far up folks are suffering or if they have diversified portfolios with "hip hop" just being one of the accounts that they can close and move on unscathed.

Can't get past the raisin bran comment...good one, DA TRUTH. Although Ms. Canada is really trying to market herself, I can't knock her at all...you should find out if she can sing.

Oh, and that mad rapper charlie's aggressive energy could definitely be better focused than on being pissed at y'all...but damn it sounds like y'all betta watcha backs.

Looking Forward.

Posted by: Jacqueline at March 1, 2007 11:21 PM

What now? 2nd Renaissance of Hip Hop has begun.

Square Biz,
Drew Diggs


Once again, it’s time to fasten your seatbelts and get ready to make a lot of changes to your Rolodex, electronic or otherwise. As many of you already know, EMI Music merged Capitol and Virgin into The Capitol Records Label Group with Jason Flom named as the new CEO of the newly-created entity. Over two-hundred of the two-hundred, fifty people who worked at Capitol were let go including President Andy Slater, Ron Lafitte, Laurel Sterns and Wendy Goldstein from the A&R Department. At Virgin, Don Rohr and Brian Postelle both have left the A&R Department. Word has it that Brian Postelle will be joining Jermaine Dupri’s new division at Island. So, stay tuned! Look for Virgin to move into the Capitol Records Tower this month. We’ll be tracking all of those changes so you don’t have to.

Just as we have been saying for the last couple of years, ‘The revolution has begun’. This latest merging and downsizing is just another clear indication of just how the entire Major Label paradigm truly is over. In a world where the corporate parents of these labels are going to be seriously evaluating whether or not to remain in this business over the next two to five years, the question keeps arising, ‘How do Major Labels remain financially viable in a marketplace and culture that is increasingly becoming geared (with rare exception) toward the individual song rather a whole collection?’. The answer is simple. They don’t; at least not in the way the Major Label infrastructure exists today. The system is maintaining an infrastructure that is way too bloated and top-heavy with extremely expensive personnel that cost the labels tens of millions of dollars in salaries, bonuses and other perks. That system worked fine when the Major Labels dominated the marketplace and controlled the entire infrastructure that went with it (radio, sales, retail, etc). The only problem now is we don’t live in that world anymore. It’s a remnant of a time and place of a bygone era that is unlikely to return anytime soon. Cannibalizing more and more income sources of their acts won’t work either. The only way those deals make financial sense is with platinum acts that have large record sales, touring and merchandise bases. And as we all know, that takes years to achieve. Once achieved though, why would any act that is in that position ever give up those income sources? The only answer is if they were desperate for cash. Besides, how many of these acts even exist today?

The crux of the issue is that Major Labels can no longer operate (and haven’t been effectively able to for some time) the way they used to in the business they helped to create over the last forty years -- the discovery, signing, and development of musical talent. Today, the Major Labels need to be in the marketing and distribution business. The only problem is,as the last five years have so vividly illustrated, there aren’t enough viable acts sales-wise for the majors to market and distribute. The majors – that are left -- will either become catalog/content companies (which is where their real value lies) and get out of the front-end business altogether; either that or the parent companies will sell off the assets to a new generation of investors who can reinvent the business for the new music economy in which we’re living. A recent illustration of this point was the closure of V2/Artemis Records in New York. The parent company decided that these labels were no longer going to be in the front line business i.e. the signing, developing and distributing of new artists. They will be a catalog-only company with the exception of some gospel releases. The entire staff was let go and the NY and Nashville offices were closed. The artists on the label were left as Free Agents. The White Stripes look to be going to Warner Bros. while Moby, the other signature V2 artist, has not made his future label plans known. Interesting times we live in! Very interesting indeed!

Over the last two months, some very interesting developments have occurred. Most significantly, was the purchase of Octone Records (James Diener’s joint venture with BMG) by Universal/A&M. Octone is the home of Maroon 5 whose debut for the label sold around five-million copies. The other major announcement is the appointment of Jermaine Dupri as President of Island Records–Urban Division. This was an appointment/deal he was supposed to consummate with EMI, but we know what happened there. Caroline has relaunched its Label with Jeff Rougvie as GM. In other A&R news, former V2 President Andy Gershon joins Epic as Ex VP of the Label, while former Virgin President Matt Serletic has opened Emblem Music with his brother Dean, Mike Bailey joins Manhattan from Back Porch, and John McCracken also joins Manhattan in NY. Jaha Johnson joins J Records as VP A&R–Urban. Down in Nashville, Cliff Audretch III joins Universal South while Joe Fisher joins Universal.

Over in the UK, Peter McGaughryn joins Polydor’s A&R Department, while Valerie Gross joins Decca as VP A&R and Alain Lanceron joins EMI Classics as the new VP A&R. Celia McCamley exits RCA-UK while Chris Pope exits Decca. Back here in the US, Chris Hancock exits Concord (look for Concord to appoint a new SR VP of A&R very soon). Skane exits Def Jam and Vinny Caruso exits Epic.

Posted by: Drew Diggs at March 6, 2007 02:16 AM

Damn, that just hurt my head trying to follow. Drew Diggs, I don't envy you. Thanks for doing all of that summarizing for those of us who would never know what's going on behind the boardroom doors unless Lil Wayne makes a song about it. Now here's something that may hurt your head...

I've been screaming we need our own distribution for a while now...when it comes to movies, too. But I guess in the big scheme of things, it wouldn't have mattered anyway...??? I thought you were so right about the concerts...that's like the only thing that can't be robbed from the artists. It seems that Broadway shows and stage plays have made a resurgence...do you think that has something to do with trying to bring things back to the roots and support the artists or is it more selfish on the consumer end that we want more of a connection with the art that we consume?

This is a total random thought, but I have to let it out anyway...for the sake of discussion...I remember when Suge Knight's evil ass created the Untouchable Death Row Records. At the time, he was holding some of my favorite rappers hostage and I was doing my own local cable TV show in Portland, OR. Well, I was able to get interviews with quite a few artists in the Bay area and wanted to approach the Southern Cali folks, but that is a whole other ballgame down there. Two different worlds. But when they came up to our neck of the woods, I was able to get the interviews. I say all of that to say that there has been this illusion created by labels, artists, etc that they are above us and unable to connect with real people...and it ain't because they were too busy...busy schmizzy...they wasn't too busy to smoke all them blunts.

It's the separation that was partly responsible for keeping the consumers coming back for more. I think that in any other business, customer service/public relations is always necessary...but in music of the 90's it was the opposite. I guess the music industry is so political and since I wasn't a major player, I had no inroads...however when artists came to my turf, it wasn't the political or economic power that I was able to use to my advantage...at that point it was the good old downhome familial connection that gave me the edge. It was like I was their little cousin and it felt natural which is how it's supposed to be...without artificial walls and illusions of grandeur.

I wouldn't expect Pac and Snoop to just walk down the street shaking hands with the "peasants" such as myself, obviously there may be some security concerns, but that IS where they are from and ultimately what took one of them away from us. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is important for people to feel connected with the artists that they relate to especially someone as powerful as Tupac Shakur and a label that wants to keep him out of reach from his people by way of class separation aka "bling bling" is setting up a dangerous situation. It seems to me to reinforce the idea of the haves and the have nots.

Jermaine Dupri on the other hand seemed to keep the mantra of "giving the people what they want" and seems to understand to some degree about connecting with the target audience. Even though he is unaccessible for the most part for us common folk, he gives the illusion of being just a guy at the party with us. I think that's why he has had the longevity that he has had in the business amidst all of these other names that I don't recognize.

Excuse me for my thoughts being so scrambled...I guess the whole thing is a double edged sword, but I think that a very real amount of realness in any artist will guarantee that their fanbase will not feel alienated and will continue to support them. Put it this way: if I see Tyrese on Tavis Smiley's show and I am given the chance to "feel" him as a real person and not a packaged marketing machine...I may buy his album.

It's a matter of real recognizing real...and I think that was why charlie represents the anger and frustration that many people feel toward the people in the industry...we want a dialogue not only a lecture...we feel like we should be able to use our ghetto pass, if you will, to access our brothers and sisters in the industry. They represent and inroads for us in our minds. Hip Hop used to be ours, remember? Then it went mainstream and although that's good for those making money, it took something that was OURS and made it just anybody's.

I see this as understandable, but also wrong thinking. One must understand business models and know that things must be handled with a certain level of professionalism and just because we can relate on a cultural level does not guarantee you a record deal or anything else...just the ways of the world. But nonetheless, that is my take on why someone would feel negatively toward a brother or sister doin their thang...they are emulating the same behavior of "others" who have rejected us for jobs and such in the past.

That goes back to my previous postings over the past months of how we just seem to follow the way things are rather than reinventing the business model. Not to take anything from the people who are recognized in various artforms with awards such as grammys, emmys, oscars, stars on the walk...etc, but if that is not how I measure my success then I need to be rewarded in ways that fall within my definition of success - whatever that may be. It seems like "we" are happy with the awards of "them"...but obviously we value the kudos from our own or the BET awards, VIBE, etc wouldn't have been created. I'm just saying...maybe it's time for even more departure from the status quo. Change is good, it facilitates growth.

Now, when I was doing my show, I was no Tavis, but I was a venue for artists to reach out to a demographic that they wouldn't have otherwise reached on such an up close and personal level. Give the charlies of the world a chance to let their voices be heard...what they have to say may change the direction of things.

I had this idea come to me the other day while planning my business...it had absolutely nothing to do with my business...but I needed a break from focusing so hard on my actual day to day efficient way of thinking about the business. I did this little exercise in my workbook that asked me some of my skills. I decided that I was OK at gardening even though I am not even close to being an expert gardener, I do enjoy doing it...so then I thought about all of the neighborhoods I have been driving through and all of the run down homes and who lives there? I then remembered an old lady who came to the door when I was looking at her run down house, wondering why I was looking at her house. I was looking at it from an investor's point of view...she has a nice sized lot and her house looks like it needs more than just a handyman to get it up to code. I don't know her story and how many children she raised in that house...all I know is that I wouldn't want my Granny living there. I didn't know that anyone lived there when I pulled up and it was awkward when I saw her behind the screen door. I did the wrong thing by just going back to my car and taking off, but I didn't have the words to say at the time to deal with the situation...immediately I felt like it was a punk move on my part. So anyway, back to the gardening...I thought about how I am the kind of person who wants my flowers while I am alive...don't treat me like shit while I am here and then shower my casket with bouquets when I am in the afterlife. I will haunt yo' ass if ya do...and it dawned on me how much it might mean to elderly people to have someone come by and just make a little flower garden in their yard for them or even with them. The therapeutic effects of something as simple as that may reach far and goes both ways...the giver and the receiver. I thought more about it and figured out that once I get my business going, that is the way that I will give back. I will just go to Home Depot or wherever and buy some dirt and seeds or plants and take my shovel and maybe a couple of other tools...go around and spot a drab yard or an old lady sitting on her porch and I will ask them if they'd like me to plant a couple of flowers in their garden. Who's going to say no to flowers? I think I will start with the lady who I ran away from the other day.

Posted by: Jacqueline at March 9, 2007 09:19 AM

this is my thing,
this is my spirit my soul,
people can't control my destiny,
So if i believe in something i'm not gonna let anybody tell me anything different
which is what i alway say
if you know whats real you know whats right
i can raise my voice because i'm telling the truth
i never lied.....

i knew i got the BEST RAPPER of all TIME they were telling me i didn't, who was wrong?
but nobody looks at it like that
All i was trying to do was "Yo check out what i got here!" but no one wanted to listen...
they didn't wanna believe in him, i don't know why, and that's how they are about everything.

It's funny cause people dont, generally dont, things that are untraditional or there's no particular protocol for... they don't believe in that, nobody steps out nobody rolls the dice but what they don't realize is that when you know something it's not even rolling the dice it's all REAL..... you can't lose


Posted by: Mainza at March 22, 2007 04:51 PM

Happy New Year I know I'm late but I had one comment to post on your old blog and now I see that I am too late. In respect to your blog about NYC where is the swagga? i must say to you that the problem is that a lot of NY's hottest artists are constantly overlooked because of demographic issues! What I am actually trying to convey to you is that they are all from a small neighboring suburb of Manhattan called NEW JERSEY! Anyway I hope all is well with you and I hope this 50 situation is not interrupting or disturbing anything in your life because it will blow over soon. Just know more money more problems so you must be doing your job right young man!

Posted by: Hollywood at April 26, 2007 11:51 AM

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