*It is absolutely amazing to me the number of “flops” that are put out year after year by the major recording companies.

With all the money and resources that are available to these corporations, how do they continually screw up nine out of ten releases they put into the marketplace?

Are the vast majority of these executives behind these desks THAT ILL-EQUIPPED TO DO THEIR JOBS, or are they simply out of touch with the consumers they are targeting? Unfortunately, the answer is YES to both!

Most of the record company Presidents who are in power these days depend upon their Rap and R&B Divisions to bring in approximately 40-50% of their bottom line income, yet they hire people who have lost touch with the buying public. Please understand, I am not sitting here criticizing these individuals with no personal history of success to back up these claims.

I started out in this music industry as a “Quiet Storm” writer and producer of R&B Music and GOD blessed me with a great amount of success in that field of music. I wrote and produced two “# 1 R&B HIT SINGLES and 5 TOP TEN SINGLES while I worked at MOTOWN and ISLAND RECORDS in the 1990s and then I entered the field of “RAP MUSIC” in 1996 where my artists and the producers I managed went on to sell “over 25 Million Units from 1996 to 2006.

During this ten year time period, I am extremely proud to say that my company and producers I managed NEVER PUT OUT A COMMERCIAL FLOP! How did we accomplish this? It was very simple. Before we signed, recorded, or released a record we did “market research.” If we put out a so-called GANGSTA RAP SONG, we went to the guys in the streets and asked their opinion. If we were thinking about putting out a song for “the ladies,” we went to the young women to get THEIR INPUT. If the women were not feeling the song, it never was released! After that phase was over, we then went to the RADIO PROGRAMMERS to ask their opinions. If they weren’t feeling it… FORGET IT!

The people who worked with me NEVER told me what they THOUGHT I WANTED TO HEAR. They told me their true feelings, because THEIR INCOME DEPENDED UPON OUR SUCCESS. NO HITS. NO PAYCHECK! If they heard some whack music, they’d say STAN…I KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THIS CD… USE IT AS A FRISBEE! And then they would just STARE AT ME. After I heard THAT, I would tell our creative people to go back to the drawing board. We NEVER went against their
opinions just to please OUR EGO’S.

In Los Angeles at POWER 106 FM, a young man who I guided and basically trained in this business came from a “beach front community” in the city of Santa Barbara California, to go on to be one of the most powerful and successful Rap Music programmer’s in the country not only programming POWER 106, but HOT 97 FM in New York as well. His name is DAMIAN YOUNG. Damian knew he was new to the game, so what did he do? He soaked up all the information he could from me and my staff and then he made his moves. As time passed, he took that information and his own God given talents, and he basically made POWER 106 what it is today. When he came on board at POWER 106, it was a DANCE MUSIC STATION! But in a few months he was rockin’ the city with Rap Music and shut all the competition down.

Unfortunately, most of the people who sign the checks at the major labels today do NOT tap into knowledgeable people who have a history of success marketing and signing Urban talent. They hire “friends” and “yes people who they can control.” Please understand, I was raised in BLACK MUSIC ROYALTY and I learned from the BEST IN THE BUSINESS. My family and our close friends STARTED BLACK MUSIC IN AMERICA. I saw VEE JAY RECORDS grow from infancy. I also remember listening in my basement in Chicago as my father produced the record THE DUKE OF EARL with GENE CHANDLER. I then witnessed the birth of THE ESQUIRES, THE DELLS, THE CHI-LITES, DEE CLARK, CHAKA, THE STAPLE SINGERS, BARRY WHITE, LEON HAYWOOD, STEPHANIE MILLS, CARL CARLTON, DOINNE WARWICK, LIONEL RITCHIE & THE COMMODORES, THE JACKSONS, THE DAZZ BAND, THE IMPRESSIONS and the list goes on and on. I was TRAINED by EWART ABNER, BERRY GORDY, BUNKY SHEPPARD, CARL DAVIS and GRANNY WHITE. These people were the GIANTS of BLACK MUSIC. Do your research if you have any doubts.

So please, miss me with your excuses if you are a person in a position of power at a major label, and you are complaining about the lack of hits at your label. In my humble opinion, “IT’S NOT THAT HARD TO GET A HIT RECORD.” Do your market research and hire some people who know what they are doing. Don’t hire a ROCK ORIENTED PERSON TO GUIDE A BLACK MUSIC DIVISION and DON’T HIRE A PERSON WHO SPECIALIZES IN ALTERNATIVE MUSIC TO RUN A RAP DIVISION. It doesn’t take a mental giant to figure out that there is a great chance for FAILURE if you contemplate doing that type of business.

On the creative side of things, I heard a BADDD young Rap artist out of Milwaukee who is only 16 years old and he records under the name of “QUE.” This guy can FLOW! He is being promoted by MR. LEE FORD, KB BARRELL and DEVON DENT of 3D ENTERTAINMENT/TONESTRUCK RECORDS. They seem DETERMINED to make this young guy a STAR. He’s got a song out called “GET TO THIS PAPER” that is really kicking up some dust in the Midwest. DON’T SLEEP! TONESTRUCK also has an act out of HUNTSVILLE ALABAMA called THE PULL-EM BOYZ and their song “JIGGIN OUT MY SHOES” has a great possibility for success with the youngsters across the country. I gotta say… LEE FORD & HIS CREW ARE DOIN’ IT BIGGG!

I also heard an INSPIRATIONAL RAP ARTIST named “BIG UNC” who is MONSTROUS! PLEASE CHECK THIS GUY OUT. He has a project coming out on BATTLESHIELD RECORDS called “WEATHERED THA STORM” and I’ve been rockin the song entitled “GET DOWN” for the last week and now I’m HOOKED.

On the R&B tip, check out this HOT new artist called “LENA J” who is just simply AMAZING VOCALLY. She sounds like a mixture of MINNIE RIPPERTON meets THE EMOTIONS. She’s being produced by the Multi-platinum Producers “DJ BATTLECAT,” “BEATMASTER WES,” “KIRV” and “AMPLIFIED.” Her music can be purchased on iTUNES and other digital outlets. She’s breaking out of LAS VEGAS (POWER 88-FM) and in CHICAGO by “DJ FRESH.” The new album is entitled “PLEASURE, PAIN & PASSION.” GET IT. YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED.

On the FILM side, Check out a new DVD called “A GANGSTA BETTA KNOW … COLORS … THE PREQUEL” which was directed and produced by a young film director out of WATTS CALI by the name of MR. FRANK PALMER. It is also being pushed by the famous actor GLENN PLUMMER who also is in the film. I’ve watched it TEN TIMES ALREADY. You can purchase it by going to www.thirdanglegrp.com.

Until the next time, Stay safe, Stay focused and Stay with GOD.

You can reach STAN SHEPPARD at: [email protected]