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Best Kept Secret Red Bull Big Tune Profile

January 6, 2009

Production Duo Best Kept Secret takes us inside their D.C. basement production facility.  They cover inspiration, the creation of a track, and their views on the current state of production.

Their story, while inspiring, does have some rather disturbing elements with one member stating, "I make music because for one I have a passion for it and for two… I’m broke.  I need to get my family in a better position."  He also goes on to add, "The music business is definitely not the same anymore, but I still think that there is plenty of money left there for me to come get."

Sadly this is exactly the cause of the biggest issues in hip-hop and urban music in general.  Far too often artists are primarily motivated by dollar signs and grandiose dreams of false stardom.  We all love music, however, if financial stability is the main concern, there far better paths to take with a much higher likelihood of producing truckloads of money.

Do I even need to mention the negative effects that commercially minded releases have on music?  Lest we forget that it’s attitudes such have this that are responsible the empty-hearted, gimmicky use of Auto-Tune that has come to dominate production and radio playlists.  

Please leave the art to artists and commerce to the MBA’s.  Make music with the sober knowledge that the only payment you’re likely to receive is the joy itself of making something totally creative and unique.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

80' Baby January 7, 2009 at 10:04 am

I see your point. But why can’t a musician strive to be successful in music? In any other profession it’s okay to want and strive to have a lucrative career.But when a musician wants to make money by doing what he loves people take it the wrong way. It’s obvious these guys love what they’re doing. The beats are great. True, it might be a hard task to tackle but it’s their choice to make. As far as commercially minded releases ruining music. The record company executives, big business radio and television companies who fund, market and saturate the general public with this music are the main culprits.

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Semantik January 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

80′s Baby,

Your right, we should all be striving for success whether it be in music or any other industry, but it’s a terrible trend in music that seems define the formula for success as money plus sales. We could probably debate the definition of success, but it’s the attitude of entering this business solely for tons of money and to lift families out of poverty that I primarily take issue with. Success, especially when pursing a career in the arts, isn’t necessarily measured by how much income you produce.

Others are certain to disagree, but I’ll make that argument that music is a method of self expression and should be treated as such. Artistic decisions should be made independent from notions of what may or may not be commercially successful. If income is the primary concern, then perhaps a different part of the business is more suitable (accounting, entertainment law, etc). Contrary to what many may have us believe, the success and value of an album is not measured by how many units were sold.

What I found most disturbing about the video was that it’s implied that he’s looking to the music business for a way out of whatever financial predicament his family may be in. I’ll argue that this is probably a bad plan. I’m certainly not trying to squash anyone’s dreams, but there are much better ways to make money with a higher liklihood of sustainable success. This goes back to a much larger conversation concerning the mentality where entertainment and sports are perceived as the only way to uplift one’s family from undesirable circumstances.

I wouldn’t totally agree with assessment that company execs, radio, and TV are the main culprits. They certainly play a large role, but at the end of the day it comes down to personal responsibility at the artist level. Nobody is putting a gun to the head of these artists and forcing them to produce embarrassing nonsense. Yes, their financial success may be threatened either directly or directly, but an individual with integrity who does not rely on music biz related income wouldn’t need to succumb to that type of pressure.

From the standpoint of someone who is deeply dissatisfied with the current trends in hip-hop, I can see many examples of how artistic integrity has been sacrificed in the unrealistic pursuit of dollar signs.

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Neal (Daysun) January 7, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Semantik,

I agree with you and I disagree with you. Not everyone hopping for financial prosperity through music is trying to ruin the fabric of hip-hop. Some people are pursing their musical dreams in hope that their sound will be the new trend or thread that is woven into this quit that hip-hop or any genre of music has made. I know there are many of us who have been turned off by the plethora of garbage music that has been churned our over the past 8 to 10 years. Some of those people genuinely thought they were adding something contributable to the culture. Regardless if I thought it was hot or not.

I happen to think there is a love for music between these two. I just think like every other young producer, you think you have a sound that will catch the ears of the masses. My problem would be putting all of their eggs in one basket. The industry is fickle and so are the ears of listeners. These kids need to have a “plan B”. I wanted to be in the music industry since I was 15. I am now 33 and nowhere near that but I have a job making good money. The problem is the fascination or should I say mirage of being the next great (whatever in music) has clouded the mentality of the youth and anyone that wants in this industry.
At the same time I don’t think we should beat down the aspirations of people. I just think there should be someone to encourage them as well as get them to look at reality. I loved videos. My mother would always tell me to get out of video land. There is a cruel world out there. I also have to say this, life is about risk. How much are you willing to take. Some have rolled the dice and became successful while others have rolled craps.

I hope this is received well!
Daysun (Civil Ill Entertainment)

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80' Baby January 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm

great points Daysun and Semantik. I’m glad you both decided to share your opinion. I’m a young(er) cat that wants to be a “pure”musician.But I also want to do it for a living and have been for the last two years.I’d love to chat more about the topic to both of you. What’s your e-mails?

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Theressa Stahl September 16, 2011 at 2:43 am

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