Part II of writer Chris Shaban’s piece on brand development is after the jump. If you’re not already, definitely check blog.farbeyond.ca; not only cuz they’re doing good stuff over there, but you get to read his industry editorials with the full ‘pop-up’ experience.
Famous: The Building of A Brand – Part II
Did I try and create some level of anticipation in Part I or what[iii]? I know that most people really have no idea that I work with the Kid[iv], so maybe I was just hoping to get your attention. Now, to that point, it’s fair to say that there has been a very concentrated effort by me to stay behind the scenes for the last year and a half[v], so I still feel a little weird about writing from my personal perspective. But, truth be told, I’ll probably be even further in the background by the time anyone cares about what I’m writing so… Hopefully you at least find it interesting[vi]. Now even though I say all that stuff, holy dog crap, I can’t believe how much of that first piece I actually just yapped about myself[vii]. This really is a self-serving site eh[viii]? Good thing that the overall topic is Famous, because, at least next to him, on the subject of talking about ones self, he makes me look like the Buffalo Bills[ix]. I told you this one was going to be personal… Lastly, I’ve also decided to break this bad boy into four parts, there is just way too much information[x]. Moving on…
So it seems that The Biz was successful… I truly appreciate the feedback[xi], so I decided to wheel it up a little earlier than originally planned. And right on topic too… I have chosen to post the first ever video on footnotes*[xii], 1. Because, when studying Famous, this video pretty much worked as additional bait that had me swim to the line[xiii] and 2. There are some real gems in here that are delivered in a much more clever way than I could spit it[xiv], so, sit back, feet up, hit play and enjoy ‘4th Biggest City’[xv].
I actually have to say, that is one of my most favourite documented breakdowns of the Canadian music business[xvi]. If this was your first time hearing that joint[xvii] and you either, don’t have Goosebumps[xviii], or didn’t learn something new, then, get ready, wait for it, wait for it…. YOU’RE HATING[xix].
Now, let me tell you bout Ashton James Bishop…
When we left I was heading home to do a little research on the Kid they call Famous[xx]. Well, actually, I was heading home to sleep off the Vodka/Soda festival swimming in my liver, wake up, and then research. I have to admit that I was excited to get back into the mix and see what sorts of branding techniques rap cats were using in this new viral era we lived in. I also had to remember something very important before diving in. “Shabby, you are not looking to work with a rapper.” I said to myself[xxi]. “This time, make the smart choice and look for an establishing brand…. who can also make good music[xxii]”. With that in mind, I hopped online with the intention of beginning on Famous’ MySpace page and looking around a bit. From there, I would start clicking his friend links to take me through the new world of Canadian Hip-Hop that I didn’t know. But something strange happened on my journey through the web… I never left his page.
As I opened it up, I was immediately turned-off by the wallpaper of bright colours, consistent repetition and uncenteredness[xxiii] of what I was about to learn was the cover of his debut EP, ‘I Rap Now’[xxiv]. I made a small concession here. I told myself, it’s about the music AND the brand, so I scrolled down to ‘give it a chance’. 225,000 views, not bad. I passed by the videos that I had already seen on MuchVibe[xxv] and, bumped into a 2:45 clip entitled, ‘What I Wrote While I was taking a Shhhhhh…[xxvi]’
Okay, so let me break it down very meticulously[xxvii]. There was a little chatting at the beginning of the video between Famous and a voice that I recognized. It was too quick for me to sit and figure out where I knew it from, so I just let the clip run[xxviii]. Next thing I know, the video starts and this guy is on the can reading a magazine article with his picture on the opposite page so that it’s facing the camera. I cracked[xxix] a smile. Then this incredible beat comes in, the rag is dropped to his side and, “The reason I say I Rap Now…Dropped 4th Biggest, Had the city on smackdown, like ‘Yo, what is this?’.” RRRRRRRRRR… wait a second, wait a second, did he make this just for me to learn from or was he really about to get into his career resume? The stop button was hit, the clip was pulled back, the pencil and paper came out, and here are the point form notes I took[xxx]:
- I Rap Now
- Dropped ‘4th Biggest’ (watch this video next)
- Hooked up with Whoo-Kid (calls him Woo-Kid… haha)
- Linked up with Drama
- Dropped ‘Big Man Things’ (I think it’s called Tings)
- Month later released another video (‘I’m Here’)
- Opened for Nas (think that was a Ramos show)
- Only rapped for six months?
- Lyrics are witty and clever
- 2 sick punchlines – just picked up a different magazine, he’s featured again
- ‘Check the resume, people like me’ (seems that way)
- Ahhh.. Rez from OTA Live is the voice at the start – just name dropped him
- EP’s coming out with Clinton Sparks
- Crazy amount of live show clips
- I have seen 5 different ‘I Rap Now’ T-Shirt already
- R.I.P. Beats (that T-Shirt has to come out)
- New Magazine again, another article on him
- WHAT??? Writing for Jigga? (there’s no way)
- Find out who did this beat (is it an original or a Dubplate?)[xxxi]
- Mad online and mag clips just appeared on the screen (read them all later)
- Working on the street team? (I think that’s Flow, but find out)
- Coulda done without the ball shot at the end, but still funny
Okay, so I was 5 minutes in and I already had 22 points down[xxxii]. I had found my brand.
I spent the rest of my day scrolling through his site reading articles, listening to music and watching video after video, until I came to the one I really wanted to see… The Ghostwriter
You know the drill… Next Friday.
[i] Fellas, when are you going to get the show syndicated so that the rest of the country can be as lucky as we are? Winnipeg’s got the 2nd Urban station (A.D.) in the Canada, StreetzFM. I bet they’d love it. Pete says that the music on there was pretty good and they did a great interview when he and Shaun Boothe were there on Monday.
[ii] Whoops… sometimes the keys just type their own thing you know…
[iii] I guess I must be insecure in my writing or something…
[iv] Or even who I am for that matter…
[v] Mainly because the Kid and Digi do such a good job that I haven’t really been that needed.
[vi] I mean, as interesting as a branding story centred on Famous and I can be.
[vii] When the only people I sent this to with ‘proof read’ as the email heading are family, I guess I should expect that they would like it as much as I do… So with Pete on the road for Shaun Boothe’s Hip-Hop In 3D tour (and actually snowboarding in Jasper with Jen from NAIT as I write), this one is going to Charlie Royal too. Be honest brother…
[viii] Insert tongue in cheek….
[ix] Burns are always better when they are truthful… See how I started by making fun of myself, but then threw it over to Famous and the stinky, never going to win, how is it possible to hire another football executive over the age of 400 that is still alive, Buffalo Bills? I know, I know, it’s a talent. PS – as I’m writing this, the rumours are officially confirmed that the Bills have hired Chan Gailey as their new head coach. Who? Chan Gailey… the guy that got canned as the OC of the Chiefs before the season started… The guy that got clipped in Dallas after two straight playoff one-and-outs. I wish that Toronto was close to another city with a better football team. I cried my way through the 90’s and nearly started mailing bombs to Orchard Park in the 00’s. Can someone PLEASE STOP THE BLEEDING? And FYI – Billboards in town don’t work.
[x] And everyone keeps telling me that these are too long!
[xi] Both good and bad, it most definitely helps to make it better.
[xii] You know from my previous articles how I feel about repeated videos on blogsites
[xiii] You like that Gilpy? Next year my money is on Famous by the way… Quick PS for all new fisherpeople out there… It is NOT cool to have a fish on the hook and continually lift it up out of the water and crash it back down to the lake like some sort of frozen rope yo-yo. I’m not saying that’s what Famous did… I’m typing that’s what Famous did. PPS – Happy Birthday Gilps
[xiv] And not just for the Hip-Hop heads… Canadian music in general… But it is focused on Hip-Hop cause I don’t think that he was referring to Billy Talent when he said, ‘Most gotta go out and sell crack’… hmmmmmm, plus, we really support, or at the very least, understand other genres here in Canada better than we do Rap music. I’ve spoken about that at length already, so go back in footnotes* if you want more. Not a diss… Just a fact.
[xv] Shouts to Mewa doing it dirty on the video tip.
[xvi] I say it like that as to include writing, rapping, talking, whatevs…
[xvii] You’re welcome
[xviii] Or at least had them at some point… I know it’s a long track… I think in total it’s about 3 mins shorter than the Beatles 1st album… Haha… I’m just kidding, it’s 4 minutes shorter.
[xix] Imagine someone hating on a Canadian rapper… I know; it blows my mind too.
[xx] I am going to go extremely off topic here, but for anyone who watched wrestling back when boxing was still good (Manny excluded) you will remember when Big Van Vader left the WCW and headed over to the WWF. Upon his arrival, it was quite funny to hear the announcers refer to him as ‘The Man They Call Vader’… They didn’t really start calling him just ‘Vader’ until months later… Now, I don’t know if this is true, but any chance that was Vinnie Mack’s way of getting around a copyright? I’m going to need Big Fresh to verify that story…
[xxi] See, I had done that already in my past life and it just didn’t fit my MO
[xxii] It always comes back to the music y’all… NEVER FORGET THAT.
[xxiii] That is not a word
[xxiv] To me it looked like a bad computer desktop from about 15 years ago when we all first learn how to ‘set as wallpaper’. I believe messages are more effectively communicated in a clear, crisp manner… Less is more. The good news is, now it’s completely changed to a wallpaper of bright colours, consistent repetition and uncenteredness with the Goddess Girl cover, so…
[xxv] ‘Big Man Tings’ and ‘I’m Here’
[xxvi] I think the only other cockier, more abrasive title possible would be, ‘What I wrote while I was up in your Girl’, but hey, it got my attention… And isn’t that what marketing is about?
[xxvii] And that is totally out of character for me… I never think things through; I always fly by the seat of my pants and worry about the consequences later. (How do you effectively communicate insanely thick sarcasm in a footnote? Read above)
[xxviii] He sounded so radio though
[xxix] No pun intended.
[xxx] Nothing on this sheet is new from the first time it was written… parenthesis included… and remember, this is a 2:45 track, but there is really like 2 mins of lyrics
[xxxi] It turned out to be an original and a Dubplate. It was a beat from the ‘I Rap Now’ EP done by the dude who would soon become one of my favourite producers, Canada’s own Boi-1da. A humble little diddy called ‘I’m the Sh*t’. Funny how both versions of the chune end in the same word…
[xxxii] And remember back in Part I when I said to him, “if you weren’t on allhiphop.com, hiphopcanada.com or had something to do with Jay-Z I wouldn’t know you anyway?” Is it Hip-Hop to say I had egg on my face?