Back before I started working in the music biz, I used to run tight with one of my homies that grew up with me in Brooklyn. Dude was mad cool and because his middle class family was higher up on the social ladder than my working class fam, dude was real slick with his talk. Especially with chicks. I had never met anyone who pulled more chicks than dude. Top shelf dimes too. During them years that we hung out, I used to catch mad babes from the overflow of girls that dude used to pull. In between chasing girls, we’d burn trees on the park bench in Brower Park and dream about one day making it in the music industry. I was always ambitious, but dude was super focused. Years later our dreams became reality, I got a gig at Def Jam and he landed a gig as a top A&R at one of the majors. They also paid him six figures. I’m talking six figures for a cat in his early 20’s, back in the early 1990’s.

Soon this nigga was chilling with all the top stars, uber execs, travelling and partying with Toni Braxton, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, L.A. Reid, Sylvia Rhone, Puff, Russell Simmons. Not only that, dude was sexing pinup broads while I was pushing contracts. Crazy shit though, eventually he started snorting mad cocaine with alla them superstars, and some of them cats he was hanging out with was suspect on the teh ghey tip.  Never investing in real estate, spending mad coin on blow, dude started acting a lil peculiar. Rumors started abounding, about how dude’s preference in women started to expand to include dudes. Heard rumors about orgies too. Not believing the hype, I stood up for dude. One weekend, at a music conference in Atlantic City, as we was rounding up two drunk chicks, and high off’a that ‘caine, dude propositioned me to partake in some homosexual activities with him and them said chicks. On some “industry cool” shit. It broke my heart, but after he came out like that, me telling “homie” that his shit was twisted and how I didn’t get down like that, even though I though he knew, after all them years of friendship, it killed my spirit a bit, seeing a former BK soldier get turned out in the pursuit of riches and fame. Forced me to really not buy into all the hype that the game offered.

Getting back to the title of this post, not really. But yeah. I wanted to get your attention on this book review of ‘Put Your Dreams First -Handle Your [Entertainment] Business’ written by friend and music vet Thembisa Mshaka. What I mean by vet is that she’s worked in the entertainment biz for 18 years, covering the areas of touring and management, magazine publishing, recorded music and technology, advertising, music supervision for film, voice over and most recently, television in her role as the Telly Award-winning Copy Director for BET Networks. She’s also a  former GAVIN rap editor who has written for Honey, essence.com, LAUNCH, and has served as contributing editor for The Hotness.com and BLAZE.

She gave me a copy of ‘PYDF‘ a couple of months ago. Initially, I was like “meh”, only because I felt that the book was geared solely for women in the industry, a cautionary tome warning them of how predatory industry cats are, that whole casting couch scenario where the only way a female can get in and move up is by giving up the ass. Not that I don’t care about women’s interest, but sometimes I might not wanna hear all that male bashing. I read the book though, and was mos def impressed with how it flowed. Reminded me of things I went through when I started my career as an attorney years back. And how I’ve seen dudes get caught up, tryna get a gig, being forced to snort mad amounts of that ‘ye, only to be numbed to the fact that they’d have to suck the skin flute, or take it up the coat. Pause. But yeah, mad dudes get “derailed” in the industry too. Trust.

Opening with a foreward by songstress, actress, former Miss America Vanessa Williams, Mshaka highlights the successful careers of a multitude of women who have made it without having to drop the panties. Labels, radio, publishing, film, television, public relations, deejaying, performing, songwriting, it’s all there. What I specifically dug about the book was how Mshaka bigged up all the male execs that looked out for her, and for the several women mentioned throughout the pages. Most importantly, the book reads as an “how to”, even with the backdrop of the music industry looking as bleak as it currently does.

Not a book only for women, ‘Put Your Dreams First‘ is a must have for anyone serious about embarking in an entertainment career, male and female. Well, for those that don’t want to have to bite a pillow to get it in. Entertaining as well as educational, ‘Put Your Dreams First’ is one of the best books out there. Guaranteed good money.

Btw, dude is no longer in the music game, on how he eventually pissed off too many straight cats, for how he propositioned them with cocaine and sex. True and sad story.

You can get a glimpse of the gems she drops in her blog.

BONUS: Thembisa is giving away three copies of ‘Put Your Dreams First’.

Go to Twitter. If you don’t already have an account there, you’d best join now. It’s free. Once you’re set, follow me, Combat Jack by going to http://twitter.com/combat_jack and click on the Follow button that appears under my profile. Then do the same thing for Themisa (http://twitter.com/putyrdreams1st)

The last step is simply write out the following tweet…

Follow @combat_jack & @putyrdreams1st for a chance to win a copy of the book ‘Put Your Dreams First’.

Real simple. Just follow me (http://twitter.com/combat_jack) and Thembisa (http://twitter.com/putyrdreams1st) on Twitter,  get that Tweet out, and you good.


If you are already following me on Twitter – you don’t need to un-follow and then re-follow. Unfollowing and refollowing or following multiple times will get you blocked and make you ineligible for the giveaway.

The decision is final. The winner will be announced on Twitter.com and here on Wednesday, February  17, 2010, before Midnight.

The contest is open to anyone, world wide as long as you live in a country where contests like this one are legal.

*NOTE: If I have a winner located outside of the United States, they will pay shipping for the ‘PYDF’ book and any taxes if applicable.

In the event of an international winner, I will not be responsible for delays in prize delivery caused by Customs clearing.

I will check my @Combat_Jack  Twitter account for a list of followers. I will verify the aforementioned re-tweet. Then a winner will be picked at random.