Play On Words Talk About Leather CD Jackets for "Suns Of God"

For those that are not familiar with your work, how did Play On Words become a group?

It was really just law of attraction, everything has been organic since we met. In high school we were two individual artists but through features, we built up chemistry and really started pursuing the sound you hearing now.

What was the inspiration behind "Icons"?

The track (ICONS) made us think about our day-to-day lives and everything we’re working towards. Even the instrumentation of the beat felt iconic, and it painted a perfect backdrop for what’s to come, which we wanted to foreshadow through our lyrics.

Early this year you guys dropped Suns of God. What inspired this release?

Innovation and individuality were the intent for the Leather CD Jackets. The music was the inspiration. In collaboration with Lvxwa, we created a timeless avant-garde accessory to match the lasting impression of the music.

One thing that stood out to me was the unique packaging of Suns of God. We live in a digital age yet Play on Words decided to defy the odds and present music in a leather cd jacket. Would you mind sharing the mindset behind this innovative packaging move?

The Leather CD Jackets were a seamless illustration of the music. Honestly, the designing of the case and production of the music was brought together through a unique creating session between the artists and designer. It’s amazing what a group of high-minds can achieve in the right environment.

What is on the horizon for Play on Words for the rest of 2014?

The rest of 2014 is all about growth. Traveling is definitely a top priority in expanding our audience, as well as building a strong foundation for Las Vegas hip-hop. All while we continue to give people nothing less than useful music.

The Truth About Music PR by Quin Marshall

You have a booming fashion website that is niche centered. When did you decide to start handling PR for musicians?

Why thank you! Ok, bear with me. I don’t meant to be long winded but I believe in being clear and concise. If someone can learn something valuable from this interview then I've done my job!

So, I’ve worked for huge corporations for over 10yrs before I started my PR firm and my fashion website, I left corporate in 2010 after working for for 5yrs as a successful marketing and public relations executive. At the turn of the year in 2010, I decided I wanted to be more fulfilled and make a difference in lives. So I went on a limb and decided to start my business and help people directly and be rewarded by the outcome of the feeling of helping an individual get from point A to point B.

There are so many entrepreneurs that could be super successful with the right person backing their project. The fashion website actually came after the start of my company, TracyCain Media Group. My fashion website came second, solely as a hobby. I created Things Fab and Fly, in 2011 to, once again, help people. The goal was to develop a platform for emerging brands to showcase their fab and fly brand to a niche audience that wouldn’t necessarily have seen their product otherwise. I didn’t realize my hobby would turn into a success! The great thing about it is, it allows me to have an additional platform for my PR clients.

A lot of artists are confused in regards to promotion. The concept of making music is easy yet the process of promoting it is difficult. How are you able to balance their needs with the harsh realities of promotion?

You know what? Good promotion and a good product go hand in hand. This is a harsh industry. Many artists confuse the duties of a manager and a PR rep. First, the artist needs to understand your job duties and description of your profession. Your publicist is there to promote, persuade and keep your music or brand relevant. I love to see an artist with drive, patience, talent, determination and thick skin. The artists job is to create a great product for the listeners. My job is to promote and publicize it. This is a true partnership. A marriage of two crafts.

The artist had to trust that I have their best interest at hand and I have to trust the artist will follow my lead. The harsh reality is, there are thousands of people out there doing the exact same thing that you are. Therefore, you have to stand out and be different. Think about what makes you different from the other millions of artists doing the same thing? It’s so important to provide the media with something interesting and innovative to share with their audience.

A lot of artists expect coverage right from the start due to a sense of entitlement. How do you deal with entitled clientele?

OMG! This is such a great question! Even though I have run across that only a few times personally, I have received tons of inquiries in which I had to turn down because of that unrealistic expectation. I lay everything out from the beginning. I want my client to succeed. Their success is my success. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees to this. A good publicist will explain that from the gate.

Some artists feel like just because their friends said their music was great means that the whole world will thinks so as well. Not true. Everyone should come into this game humbled. Understanding the fact that, for some artists, it takes years to break thru. I don’t deal well with the sense of entitlement. Because to do this effectively, you must have patience and have a realistic expectation. It takes time to beat down some of these doors, and when you do, who’s to say that media outlet will even feel your product? But a good publicist will keep trying until someone says “Yes”

I offer 90 day trial contracts so that my client and I can get a feel for one another and see if this will be a good fit. I’ve only had one client that was so extremely impatient that we couldn’t further the contractual commitment. He felt his product should have been in the media after 6 weeks. Which is a very unrealistic expectation to have. Does it happen sometimes, absolutely. But not to be expected. You have to invest in your future and look at this as a business plan.

How important is relationship building and maintenance in the PR world?

Relationship building is super important. Having a good relationship with a media outlet means getting your request to have your clients music listened to before the other 75 submissions for that day. Now, the kicker is, the owner of the media outlet still has to like what you are presenting. So, that’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place. Your image, your product and your goals. That media outlet may not be a huge fan of your music, but may love your image! That could be your in. How many artists out there have very mediocre music but a fly image? MOST of them. And on the flip side, there are some phenomenally talented artists that didn’t have good promotion.

Would you mind sharing some common PR myths?


Myth #1 - Now that I’ve hired a publicist to represent my brand/music, I am going to be a celebrity. FALSE
Myth #2 - A publicist should do the same thing as a manager. FALSE
Myth #3 - My publicist has a relationship with media outlets so I am guaranteed to get a publication. FALSE.

If you would like me to expound on those myths or anything else, tweet me! @MsQuinMarshall.

5 Artistic Personalities That Can Curse a Collaboration

Collaboration is an awesome tool when executed effectively. The benefits to the parties involved can make a huge impact on their individual careers but occasionally, they can go wrong. Sometimes things just happen that can throw off planning, other times people just happen.

When “people” happen, it is not due to anomalies but rather reoccurring habitual actions that lead to expectations not being met. Some of these characteristics can leave a bad taste in the mouths of collaborating artists, producers and promoters, potentially causing social backlash.

If you recognize these traits in anyone you have worked with, are working with or desire to work with you can make adjustments accordingly to spare yourself some headache. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, reflect on it and take the opportunity to become a person people love to collaborate with.

1) The Unintentional Absentee
It seems as if this person has an excuse for everything and nothing is ever their fault. Somehow circumstances always tend to get in the way of their good intentions and the only thing you can count on them for is their inconsistency, be it accidental or willingly. They haven’t written their verse yet because they worked 33 hours a day for 9 days at their job last week. They missed the studio session because they had to take their aging grandmother to the casino for her birthday and they were the only one that could do it. They haven’t come up with their portion of the money yet because they gave their check to a lady in need in the grocery store parking lot. They missed sound check because the cable guy didn’t show up when he said he would, etc.
 No matter how legit or far fetched the excuse is, the fact is the job didn’t get done. Curve-balls do get thrown in life, that’s undeniable, but reliability is important if you wish for your business relationships to flourish.

Know This Artist? Cover yourself with conversations and contracts or simply work around them.

Are You This Artist? Evaluate what’s happening. Is there a reason why everything else takes precedence over the task at hand? Bad timing? Fear or anxiety? Is your heart really in it? Reflect on it and be upfront about it when you are discussing collaborations.

2) The Self Admirer
This person is rarely on time for anything and when they do come through, they act as if you should be honored they chose to do what they said they would do. Though this person is extremely talented, often it feels like the headache included doesn’t make the end result worth it. People may deal with this temporarily, but patience is likely to wear thin, negatively impacting career longevity.

Know This Artist? Decide exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve. In the long run, you may be better off working with someone who understands the value of what you’re trying to do as opposed to someone who is only concerned about their personal agenda. If you feel you must work with this person, cover yourself with conversations and contracts to be sure you can keep things moving.

Are You This Artist? Know your worth, but remember your humble beginnings. Be sure to remain professional so that you don't alienate the people who can help you maintain the level of success that you presently have or desire to achieve.

3) The Perpetual Procrastinator
This person acts as if everything is a big surprise. As if you hadn’t asked them to be ready months or weeks prior. They didn’t write or practice before the studio session. They didn’t bring their CD or flash drive to the show, wasting precious time and/or money.

Know This Artist? Check with them ahead of time to see how they’re coming along. Arrange a meeting and/or rehearsal to check their progress at which time you can also collect any CDs or flash drives you may need from them.

Are You This Artist? Do everything you can to stop. Procrastination is a real issue for many people, but if you wish to continue to be contacted for opportunities, you must put forth your best effort. Be mindful that bad experiences travel rapidly, so if you have unsatisfied clients your reputation could be quickly damaged. Give attention to detail to everything you’ve been asked to do as if your career depends on it because in reality, it does.

4) The Project Snatcher
Even though It is not their project or show, this person knows exactly how everything should go down. While input can be helpful, this person takes it upon themselves to insert their views into every aspect of the collaboration whether it fits the originator’s artistic vision or not.

Know This Artist? Be upfront that you do not wish to stray from your original plan. You know exactly how you want things to go and although you appreciate their experience, they can just come along for the ride, focus on their art and not worry themselves with planning.

Are You This Artist? Understand that the person you are working with has a specific goal. This is something they have dedicated time to and have asked you to be a part of, not plan. If you have suggestions, ask if you may offer them. They may be receptive to listen, or they may wish to stick with the original’s their choice.

5) The Dream Dealer
This person has tons of brilliant ideas that never seem to come to fruition. They know all the right things to say to get you high on the possibility of what may be before they fade away into one of the aforementioned personalities or simply off the map.

Know This Artist? Talk is not cheap when you start putting money behind someone’s ideas and they’re not serious about making it happen.  Cover yourself with a contract before you move into anything serious with this person so that you’re not left trying to pick up the pieces alone.

Are You This Artist? Be open and upfront. Let the person know if you’ve got a lot going on and you’re just throwing ideas out. There’s no benefit to you to get someone’s hopes up to let them down. Perhaps work out a deal for them to collaborate with someone who can help carry out your ideas and just get a percentage of the action.

Whether you’re working with any of these personalities or happen to be one of them, honest communication from start to finish will make it a much more pleasant experience for all parties involved. Are there any personalities you’ve come across that have caused challenges in the collaboration process?

Image Retrieved from Alley Watch

Take the quiz: What's Your Artistic Collaboration Style?

Share your Artistic Collaboration Style in the comments section below.

Ace Dizzy Flow Talks About Formation of NQM & Production

For those that do not know you, who is Ace Dizzy?

Ace Dizzy is a blogger, beat maker and occasional tweeter who gets blocked from celebrities. and a Yoo-Hoo drinker. Lol.

You are the co-founder of NQM, would you mind sharing how NQM was formed?

NQM started out as a rap group with me and my lil tall sis Junie P, we were originally called "Get Fresh Kidz". Lol. I occasionally rapped but mostly I did the production. But one day, Junie called me up one day, (we both went to the same college), and was like "Hey let's start a music blog". I didn't know what the hell it was but I agreed to it. Lol. Five years later we're still here and relevant. Thanks to everyone.

You also produce beats. What do you enjoy the most about making beats?

I started making beats in high school of 2002, but didn't get serious about it until my sophomore year in college. The enjoyment I get from making beats is the challenges from creating them. I love a challenge. Especially when it comes to sampling, I sample 90% of the time, but I also just began layering strings, and chords over my beats. That's a challenge because I refused keyboard lessons at the age of 12. (insert facepalm). Lol. Also I'm working on a new instrumental album Ace Dizstrumentals Vol 4 which is coming soon.

You can check out Ace's beattapes here.

Bloggers are notoriously known to get bombarded by music submissions. How do you manage your inbox?

Yeah, we are. It's humbling but frustrating at the same time. I'm having to clear out my inbox every week due to the amount of submissions we receive. Don't get me wrong I'm thankful, but some submissions aren't really post worthy because they don't catch my interest. It's nothing personal, but I've received hate e-mails and slick talk on twitter from not posting the submission. Lol.

A lot of artists believe that they are entitled to blog posts. What are your thoughts on this and how do you deal with artists with entitlement issues?

Some artists are entitled to blog posts. Some aren't. The consistent artists with the quality of music we're looking for are the ones you will see posted. I try to reply to each submission and give the artist some sort of criticism. Everyone who hits a studio, records a song, and has a PR send out e-mails aren't automatically gonna get a submission.

Some artists sometimes don't believe in the "quality" when it comes to recording. If you go to a home studio, you'll get home studio quality. If you're serious about your craft, work hard to get official studio time so you can get the quality record that labels, listeners, fans and bloggers are looking for. I don't want to sit through 3 and a half minutes listening to un-mixed music. I know I'm not the only one Lol.

New Record Label Flip Recipe Releases Beatowski's New Album

My homie Sourface has been relatively quiet since we last collabed on "Super Saiyans." Matter of fact we both have been quiet haha.

He usually disappears for months at a time and then hits me with new material out of the blue.

A few weeks back he told me that he was starting a record label and of course I chuckled a bit. I thought to myself, "everybody has a record label." I am pretty sure you have felt the same way.

Am I correct?

So I decided to check out the material and I was blown away.

Flip Recipe is an in-house production team/record label that consists of Sourface (of snaresallday fame), Tallen, Riddle and Beatowski.

'Hand Crafted' from Beatowski is the first release from the record label. You can check out a sample from the record below and listen to the project HERE.

Follow Flip Recipe:
Official Website
Flip Recipe Facebook
Flip Recipe Twitter
Flip Recipe SoundCloud

Vakseen Talks About The Music Biz, Art and Optimizing Music Submissions

First and foremost, who is Vakseen and what does he represent?

I’m a creator first and foremost. A lot of people don’t realize I’ve been a producer and writer/artist way before I got my start on the business side of things. I’m a music producer, A&R manager, songwriter and visual artist/painter. I represent determination and perseverance. I represent the underdog that no one wants to give a shot. I represent the people that have had to fight, kick, scratch and claw to get every single thing they have in life. I represent the people working to make their dreams a reality. I represent change.

I gravitated to your presence due to the valuable content that you share on Twitter. How long did it take you to develop your Twitter strategy?

I appreciate you following the movement. I wouldn’t even say there’s necessarily a big strategy behind what I do. I simply enjoy sharing my experiences with people. If I can help someone avoid the same mistakes I’ve made in the past or help them maneuver through this biz, mission accomplished.

You also excel as an artist. Who are some of your favorite artists and how does art tie into your music endeavors?

If I have to name a couple artists that I’m a fan of, it’d have to be Rene Magritte and Salvador Dahli. My work falls into the surrealism realm and I definitely appreciate their contributions to the genre. Both artists changed the game and that’s definitely my intention as well. That mentality is probably how I make the two worlds connect.

Music and art are huge parts of my life so naturally they go hand in hand. They’re both extensions of me and my creativity. I’ve also done a few music pieces in the past. My Jazz collection highlighted some of the greats like Miles, Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Dizzy, etc and was greatly received by the public.

Your accessibility is also something that I marvel at. A lot of industry insiders are afraid to provide their email address because they fear being spammed. What made you decide to share your email publicly?

I’ve never really moved like most execs. Regardless of what I’ve seen or done, I’m as humble and grounded as they come. As sure as it’s given to us, it can be taken away. I also manage talent and my company does artist development so I’m always looking for talent to work with in some capacity. Even if your music isn’t ready when we connect, I aim to help you change that.

I am positive that you receive a ton of music submissions. Would you mind sharing 3 things that you look for in regards to music submissions?

Regardless of it being a producer, songwriter or artist submission, I’m always looking for something specific. First and foremost is professionalism and your ability to follow directions. First impressions are everything and you’d be surprised by some of the emails I receive. Hilarious and sad simultaneously lol. If I ask you to attach 3 mp3’s, that means just that. Do not send wav files, wma files, YouTube or SoundCloud links lol. People really just do what they want and expect to be taken seriously smh.

From there I’m looking for the highest level of quality. Ideally something with a unique sound that can stand apart from the millions of other creators out there. That’s important. Very. Finally, I’d have to say consistency. Consistency is everything. It shows your level of dedication to your craft.

Keith Science Reveals 5 Artists That He Would Collaborate With

First and foremost your bio states that you are a lifetime musician. Would you mind sharing what a lifetime musician is?

Well, I was born into a family of musicians. As early as I can remember, there were various musical instruments around the house such as guitars, amps, drums, etc. My Dad was a blues guitar player and my uncle John was a rock guitarist. I was majorly inspired by them both, and started playing guitar at an extremely early age. I was never really interested in learning how to play other people’s music much; I always wanted to create my own sounds. I knew all the way back then that I would dedicate my life to being a musician in one form or another.

I spent the better part of my early youth either playing music with other musicians, or sitting in my room practicing by myself. At around 8 or 9 years old, I began to learn about the recording/mixing process when my uncle John had acquired a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and a couple of drum machines. I was instantly fascinated by the engineering and mixing aspect of music. At this young age, I learned how to program drum machines and how to operate a small mixing console. I was hooked!

As I had gotten older, I started to learn about underground/alternative music styles that I hadn’t been exposed to as a kid. Learning about alternative music was a major turning point in my life as a young artist. I started to realize that most of the commercial music that I had been listening to growing up really didn’t have much substance. It was then that I realized that art has no boundaries and doesn’t have to fit into a mold. I really started to look down on commercial music and decided to immerse my brain into underground musical forms. Around this time I played in bands for years as a guitarist or bassist, performing live, writing songs and recording.

Somewhere around 1992, I started hearing some hip-hop music that was breaking through at the time such as Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Showbiz & AG, Lord Finesse, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, etc. I fell in love with hip-hop instantly. Although I had been exposed to, and involved with various musical genres in the past, nothing hit me harder than that early 90’s New York sound. I loved it so much that I couldn’t really listen to anything else for years. I remember being in a band (playing a different style of music) at the time and starting to lose interest because hip-hop made me feel so much more inspired and motivated to create.

I was so inspired that it was a natural progression for me to attempt to produce hip-hop music. I already had experience with composing, recording, layering, engineering and producing. I also had been programming drum machines for almost a decade prior to making my first hip-hop beat. I already knew how to use all of the equipment from my prior experiences, so I dove in head-first.

Hip-hop production instantly felt as natural to me as taking up guitar as a young kid. However, this style of music allowed me to incorporate all of the skills that I had learned over the years, and combine all of my musical passions into one. All of the things that I had learned such as song writing, playing various musical instruments, recording, engineering and mixing could now be combined and used to produce hip-hop music. I knew this was the right path for me.

To this day, hip-hop production is my primary focus and I still incorporate my diverse musical background into everything I do. It’s not uncommon for me to use real instruments to create samples for my tracks. I’m really grateful that I was exposed to many musical genres growing up because it really helped to make me the well-rounded producer that I am today.

You have been making beats since 1992. What inspires you to continue to make beats today?

When executed properly, hip-hop is very exciting and artistic. That excitement and artistry is what had drawn me in over 2 decades ago. And you know what? I still feel that same excitement right now!

But I am also motivated by the fact that the art of sampling is really suffering and/or dying right now and the world needs a producer like me. My stuff doesn’t sound much like what most people are calling “hip-hop” these days, and that motivates me more than anything. I’m here to bring an alternative to the commercial sound, and I’m here to help bring the artistry back. I make music for the hip-hop purists that still want to hear that street vibe mixed with clever use of samples and artistic substance; the kind of intelligent hip-hop that sparks your imagination…

Also, I make all of my beats with vintage gear and try to keep computers out of the beat-making process as much as possible. My music is always grimy and organic. You’ll never hear a Keith Science production that sounds like some sparkly-clean computer sh*t. I’ve always strived to be different and I do now more than ever.

You released an album called Hypothalamus and the press clipping states that it is a "demonstration of sampling excellence." How does Keith Science attack a sample?

“Attack” is a great word to use because in most cases, I manhandle samples. My tracks usually consist of many layers of unfamiliar samples, cleverly placed rhythmically to produce an exciting reaction in the listener’s brain. I’ll take a sample from anywhere. But more often than not, I’ll edit and manipulate samples to the point where they are unrecognizable from their original form. Creating original sounds through sampling is what I am all about, and I feel like I really accomplished that goal on Hypothalamus.

There are so many different ways to edit and manipulate samples, but I think that a lot of producers have gotten lazy over the years. Many fans of real hip-hop live in a constant state of disappointment due to the lack of creativity these days and I’m here to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

A while back, I read a post on Twitter from some dude complaining that hip-hop producers no longer have any “sample game”. I never like to brag but... You want to hear sample game? Listen to Keith Science. I’m not the only one doing it, but I’m one of the dudes doing it right.

The latest song that you produced is called "I Never Fail" by Krumb Snatcha. Describe your relationship with Krumb, and detail what you look for in a collaborator.

Well first of all, I’ve been a fan of Krumb Snatcha’s music for years and years. I’m very familiar with his style and I always wanted to work with him. But, I never really felt like I had the right beat. One day, I made the beat for “I Never Fail” and realized that it was perfect for Krumb. I wasn’t sure if he’d be into it or not, so I contacted his manager and we began the process. Lucky for me, Krumb loved the beat and everything just went smooth from there. He wrote all of the lyrics, recorded them and then sent me all of the vocal files. I mixed the track at my studio and we had it mastered by David Torrey. I’m so proud of that single. I really feel like we generated an exciting vibe on that one and that’s what I was looking for. Evil Dee played it a couple of weeks ago on DJ Premier’s Live From HeadQCourterz Sirius/XM radio show and he cut the sh*t out of it! Shout out to Evil Dee!

I have to say that Krumb Snatcha is one of the nicest dudes that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He is a true professional, and working with him was a breeze. Those are traits that I look for in a collaborator. I like working with people that are focused on what they are trying to achieve and don’t need much help or direction to get things done and be productive. True emcees like Krumb can grab a microphone and make a miracle happen right on the spot. Those are the kind of people that I prefer to work with, if possible.

You have worked with a ton of artists during your lengthy career. What 5 artists would you love to collaborate with?

In no particular order:

1. Nas
2. Joell Ortiz
3. Alchemist
4. Roc Marciano
5. Prodigy (from Mobb Deep)

Thanks for the interview, and don’t forget to create a “Keith Science” station on Pandora! Peace.



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