Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Professionals vs. Amateurs

So yesterday I happened to have two interviews with rappers. Weird how my schedule works out sometimes.

It turned out to be an interesting showcase in professional vs. amateur demeanor.

On one hand, you had a street rapper with a small, successful independent record label. On the other hand, you had a local artist with some credibility as a freestyle battle rapper and a few national titles under his belt.

My first interview was with J-Diggs of Thizz Entertainment, the record label started by Mac Dre. Now, Thizz is a popular brand in this area. Lots of kids bump their artists.

J-Diggs, who serves as both an artist and label president, is in charge of a lot of artists on his record label and, to an extent, a portion of the Bay Area rap scene. He's performing Friday night at The Castle, 140 Oak Street, in Soledad. Show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Diggs is a busy guy, but not too busy to take time to talk with a journalist from a small community paper. Our interview got off to a bit of a late start, but his manager kept me posted and Diggs was apologetic for the delay. The interview went smooth and the story is set to run in Thursday's GO! section of The Monterey County Herald.

An hour later, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for my appointment with the local guy (who shall remain nameless).

The time of our scheduled appointment arrived and he was a no show. I continued to wat. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. No sign of him at all.

I tracedk down his cell phone number, call, and get the voice mail.

"Hey, this is Marc from the Monterey Herald. I thought we had a 3 p.m. appointment. I'm here. Where are you?"

After 45 minutes and no call back, I gave up. I was on deadline with other stuff. I just didn't have time to wait around. Not sure I'm going to have the time later on.

The point of this post is in part to complain about how I was stood up (which has never, ever happened to me before), but also to show what I thought to be a wide disparity between artists who know how to handle their business and those who seemingly have no direction.

Diggs was professional in his demeanor, open and giving of his time, humble and focused. He's overcome a bid in the penitentiary, the murder of his childhood friend Mac Dre, the burden of helping run a record label in the wake of Dre's passing, and the responsibility of keeping both the legacy and growth of the label in focus. His label is successful. He's making money. He's a true professional.

The local artist, however, expressed his eagerness to be the focus of a newspaper feature, but did not respond to subsequent requests for time for several week. He finally agreed to an interview after one last-ditch request, then blew off the arranged meeting.

Amateur status, point blank.

I understand things happen, and perhaps a serious emergency or event prevented him from showing up, but that's what cell phones and professional handlers are for. If you can't take the time to be courteous to those interested in helping you succeed, then maybe you aren't serious about what you're doing. Maybe you should look for something else to do.

Just a lesson to artists out there: stay focused and take every opportunity for exposure seriously. I now know the difference between a professional and an amateur: the professional handles the job with precision and grace. The amateur leaves things up in the air and doesn't care what happens in the end.

And I'm still waiting for a phone call or explanation.

1 comment:

DJ Kazzeo said...

Every artist I have ever worked with, I always tell them one thing. If you want to build a name, you have to commit 100% to being accessible for anything (radio interviews / recording promo's for stations & dj's / meeting for print interviews etc.) When something like this happens it shows why some people remain local and others go national.