RAYDAR ELLIS

 |  January 17, 2007
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Artist/Group Name:

 

Raydar Ellis

 

Reppin’ (What city you reppin’?):

 

CT, Boston, NC, ATL, NY

 

Affiliation (What crew or artists you roll with?):

 

Short Bus Alumni, United Crates, The Elite, Vinlyiquists

 

Influences (Who inspires you? Not limited to just hip-hop):

 

J4DA, The Fundamental, D&S, Marty Macfly, Anjuli Stars, etc.  Mostly people I know because I get to see more sides of their art besides shows and releases

 

Backstory (How’d you get in the game? How did the group form? What work did you put in before getting signed to a label?)

 

My earliest brush with the industry was when my friend got me picked up by Lizzie Grubman and took me to Steve Rifkind when Loud was still around.  My group didn’t have their thing together so a deal never materialized.  I also worked at WNAA 90.1 when Terrence J was still there while I was a student @ NC A&T.  I left A&T and did an internship @ Motown in the summer of ’02 (I count the internship cuz they had me WORKING.  I never got coffee or ran errands.  I was making phone calls, setting up meetings, and collecting W2’s.  The REAL shit!).  I then went to Berklee College (not school) of Music and did the “Beats for Peace” Tour as part of JHO with Slum Village, Medusa, Cee-Lo, Anwar Superstar, & Pharoah Monch.  I spent the rest of my Berklee career performing alongside artists like George Duke, George Porter, Shiela E., & Michelle N’Degeocello.  I started as an intern for Brick but left when I recorded the first version of “Late Pass”.  I performed around the Northeast  with my band, The Fundamental, and hat led us to performing in Denver @ Club NBA for All Star Weekend.  Brick signed me after they heard the 1st version of “Late Pass”.  Then my album dropped

 

Current project (What are you pushing right now? What can people expect from it? Feel free to just hype your album here…why did you name the album that name? Was there a theme? Any funny stories during its creation?)

 

My album is called “Late Pass”.  People can expect a variety bag of topics, moods, and styles that are all held together by the theme/story on the record of me needing to get an album into my label (It’s already Late, hence he title).  So basically, it’s an album about an album.  There is a story for every song on there so for anyone who wants to know…you’re just gonna have to get the record aren’t you? : P

I’ll leave you with this about when it came out..  while rehearsing for my instore performance with DJ Wreckineyez I looked in the corner of the room and saw my roommates flute.  We joked how we’d have a flute solo in the set but Wreck didn’t really think I would do it.  So @ UGHH, on my 1st instore I stopped mid song and had Wreck beat scratch while I sat indian style in front of the crowd and took a flute solo.  PS-I can’t play the flute

 

Purpose (What kind of impact do you hope to have on the game? Do you just want to go platinum or is there something more?)

 

I don’t care about the game because it’s a game.  I care about trying to           find peace and comfort inside of music way more.  I care if I’ve left a legacy or inspiration to the people who listen to or have met me.  I’m not going to lie and say I don’t want to sell records because I do.  I want to sell as many records as possible.  Selling isn’t enough to me though.

 

Is hip-hop really dead? (Wax philosophical here, break down what you think of hip-hop today or compare it to when you were coming up. Good? Bad? Break it down!)

 

Hip-Hop isn’t dead.  People and their ideas are.  There are a lot of ways to look at it but I’ll just break it down into 4 segments for now.  This isn’t everybody, but to me it’s a good majority.

 

Labels: Still try to push records instead of molding careers.  They look for hits, not a catalogue and try to conform to the entertainment businesses sped up metabolism instead of check and balance it.  They don’t control where there product ends up well which helps result in leaks.  They blame consumers & P2P sites for the state of the industry

 

Radio Stations: This is to DJ’s especially.  We all know about the fact that they play the same songs over and over, but some of us remember when the DJ was the tastemaker and actually broke new artists whether indy or major.  If it was dope it got played.  Clear Channel came and put handcuffs on the playlist.  DJ’s didn’t stand up for themselves because they knew they could lose their jobs.  On air personalitys (this goes for television and written publications too) for the most part don’t ask the hard questions and really get into an artists story.  They just go through the motions between songs.  College radio didn’t realize their true value and started playing what commercial radio was playing which further pushed out the diversity.  Everyone is this arena’s excuse is that they are playing what the people want to hear.  But it’s easy to say that when you haven’t given people options. Who do radio stations blame? Labels and the consumer.

 

Consumers:  This group used to just want to hear the music.  Now they want to be A&R’s.  Everyone wants to know your first weeks numbers like it’s really going to effect how good the record is artistically.  Some of them buy records but a lot more download instead.  They don’t realize their value and don’t see that them buying a record is like voting.  If their favorite artist doesn’t get enough votes then he’s gonna get dropped.  A lot of these folks do or don’t know that there’s something better out there than what they’re spoon fed, but many don’t savor the music anymore because all they have to do is click to get it.  Example: Thousands of mp3’s that you downloaded but haven’t listened to yet (except previewing to make sure you got the right song).  They care about what’s hot more than what’s quality.  They blame the radio for not providing more options and the label for signing crappy acts.

 

Artists: This group acts like a new born baby thinking that they can’t help what’s going on in their own careers.  They expect the afformentioned groups to be waiting for them like they’re the second coming of Christ and tend to copy each other instead of going off into their own world.  They lost they’re step the minute someone took the “No Biting allowed” sign off the door.  This is due to the fact that a lot of them didn’t have to work from the ground up.  Many of them just got put on by their famous homie or got picked up because someone who knows someone important said they were hot.  This group also cares more about what’s hot and not what’s quality.  They blame everybody.

 

So after all this what’s the ultimate thing that keeps not just Hip-Hop but this whole industry in danger?  It’s the fact that out of all these groups I mentioned, nobody looks at themselves or sees where they might have went wrong.  That’s a danger no matter what business you’re in.

 

Three wishes (If you had three wishes to change anything within hip-hop, what would they be? Bring someone back to life? Get a Kanye West beat? Make snap music disappear?):

 

1.        I wish Graffiti & Breaking were as big as Rap and Djing

2.        I wish people would appreciate older Hip-Hop like they appreciate older jazz.

3.        I wish there was a more organized & reasonable way to clear samples based on your budget, distribution, and usage.