JP Balboa Interview: The Universal Language of Hip-Hop

Hey JP. Can you give us a brief description of who you are and what you do?

Hey y'all! I'm JP Balboa from Rome, Italy. I’m basically a sound nerd. I’ve been making beats since 1991. I work as a Sound Designer, Mix Engineer and Foley artist for companies such as Universal, Turner and Fox as well as independent production companies...I'm getting older!

That's some seriously big names! Have you any features the masses should listen out for or better still may have heard already?

Most of my work is for the Italian branches. Perhaps people may have heard my commissions for "Touch" or "The Walking Dead" on behalf of Fox USA. I also worked on a Serbian Zombie movie called "Apocalypse of the Dead" or "Zone of the Dead" (they changed the name in some countries) starring Ken Foree and Kristina Klebe. I also worked on some Italian Fictions and on a lot of documentaries for The National Geographic and History Channel.

As for beats, I worked on many projects from 1990-2000 when I co-ran an indie label. However the partnership didn’t work out and my beat production began to slow down.


It's clear you have a wide scope for your production. You touch on the fact you had co-founded an independent label - did you have many releases?

I released 5 Albums and a vast array of singles. 4 of the albums contain a lot of my productions – only one is mixed and mastered by myself. Everything I released was between the mid-90s and 2002. Unfortunately my business-partner vanished with the profits and left me with all the debts he had made in the name of our Label. I had to sell all of my equipment in order to stay afloat. I'm now working on beats with an old white MacBook and a set of cheap headphones - but I’m still here!

You can also check an album I produced a few tracks for just a few months back - HERE


Indeed! This seems to be the case with many independent labels. It's a real shame and goes to show that even in hip hop it can very often be all about the money. Your depleted setup doesn't appear to have stopped you getting the respect and love from the fans though. Are there any new projects on the horizon we can look forward to?

Yeah, it's a shame but unfortunately that's how it goes. I think "fans" is such a big word (hehehe) but I’ve been amazed by the feedback I’ve received – particularly through SoundCloud. That feedback is my energy. I make music for music lovers so it’s a real treat for me on there.

Right now I’m finishing a beat tape inspired by the Delfonics. It’s a project with only Italians beatmakers. It should be available in mid to late May.

Here's a teaser of the project:



I'm also working on an album with two Spanish hip hop artists, Wane DJ and Big Pancho. We’re in the pre-production phase as speak. Lastly, but perhaps the most important is my collaboration with a great (in my opinion) MC from Glasgow called Hosie. We are both driven by the same passion for hip hop music – we believe hip hop is a universal language and the music belongs to people and the streets - I know I’m a little too purist :)


You say The Delfonics were your inspiration for your Beat Tape project and touch on the fact you are a bit of a purist but what or who inspired you to first start making beats?

That's a long story...hehehe The main culprits of my early love for the black culture were my father's passion, or better addiction, for Jazz, Blues and Gospel and my brother's couple of Technics 1200. He was a DJ and played 80's disco music...But one day, I think it was 1988, he put a record that left me speechless...I felt in love from the vinyl crackle. It was Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full album! I consumed that record! At that time there was no internet, no YouTube....

There was only the radio and the record store. Hip hop in Italy was almost unknown and it wasn't easy to find all records you could have heard about. And from that crate digging i began to find ideas and samples. I was inspired by Eric B & Rakim, by Public Enemy, but most of all by Sir Jinx and DJ Premier.


From all your years of digging what is the one vinyl you treasure most?

I don't know...I consider my entire collection as a treasure. If I had to choose one maybe it can be one of the first Thelonious Monk recordings with Coleman Hawkins quartet - I think it was released around 1948. In regards to hip hip records I think my treasure is The 45 king - The 900 Number.



What do you think makes your beats/production unique?

I prefer not to talk about uniqueness in my productions. I think you can find in my beats some knowledge. I believe that hip hop should sound a certain way. As I said I grew up with this music and have been listening since the late 80s – I think can still hear inspiration in my music from the likes of NWA or Gangstarr. What can I say man I’m old school in my ways!

How can people connect and contact JP Balboa?

People can check me on SoundCloud
Facebook

On my YouTube channel you can find some of my old remixes and some examples of my Sound Design work.

For beat inquiries or production you can contact me here JPBalboaBeatz@gmail.com


Thanks for taking the time out from your busy schedule JP. Have you any final words?

First of all thanks to Praverb.net for this interview. I feel honored!

To all the beat makers, DJs, MCs, writers, breakers or simply hip hop lovers: keep doing your thing and keep it real. Keep this culture alive! And last but not least thanks to all those who support my music...thanks a lot! Without those people I probably would have stopped making beats...

Just want to thanks to my wife cause if we have to go out, she's all dressed and beautiful, but
I'm stuck in the right sound for a snare, she doesn't get mad but patiently waits or even she waiving...
That's love!!!

"I never even thought about whether or not they understand what I'm doing . . . the emotional reaction is all that matters as long as there's some feeling of communication, it isn't necessary that it be understood" - John Coltrane


This interview was put together by Craig Hosie CEO of Belive Records.


The Ultimate Hip-Hop Blog Directory

This post was inspired by the 6 Must Read International Hip-Hop Blogs post that I put together earlier this month.

Originally I put together this list because I felt like artists were relying on a handful of hip-hop blogs. Putting together this list allowed me to research various hip-hop blogs (indie and mainstream hip hop blogs). This is an on-going post and the goal revolves around providing a Hip-Hop Blog directory.

As an artist I know how hard it is to market your music. Hip-hop blogs were created to ease this process.

I am a big advocate of relationship building and I believe that it is beneficial to communicate with a handful of sites and establish rapport with them (network).

This post will examine hip-hop blogs that accept music submissions. These hip-hop blogs are operated by people (not robots haha) that will listen to your music and offer feedback based on your submission (given the site of course).

Now of course your chances of being posted will increase if you establish a relationship with the bloggers/website. It would also be beneficial if you read 5 Tips for Getting More Blog Coverage.

If your favorite hip-hop blog appears on this list please let other people know. [click to tweet]

Artists we need to be realistic in our approach; build the relationship first then watch the fruit of your work grow!

Your music will at least be heard (given that the submission fits the site). The submission information can be found on each website. (And now the blogs are in alphabetical order, thanks to advice from Josh!).

This list will be updated often (so please check back). Good Luck!

100 Grand On My Wrist
12001520Culture.com
1st Class Citizens
210Presents
256Up
The 273
2Dopeboyz
2KLife.net
2L's on a Cloud
321HipHop
40's and Phillies
457fm
The 65 Connection
718Unlimited
7th Boro
808Crate
84Area
the9elements
94Twenty.com("Featured Blog Posts and Forums to submit music for critique")

A3C Hip Hop Blog
Act Live
Actual Facts
Adramatic
Advent Outpost
The African Hip Hop Blog (For African Artists Only)
A Girl and Her Hip Hop
allaussie
All Hip Hop
All In a Days Work
Al Lindstrom
All That Dope Sh*t
All Things Deluxe
All Unsigned
AllWeGotIsUs
Ambrosia for Heads
Arena
Argonautix
Artistic Manifesto
ArtistsOfHipHop
Ashes and Drinks
Ashley Outrageous
Associated Fresh
As We Proceed SD
ATLjunkie
Atrilli
The Audacity of Dope
Audio Castle
Audio Feign
Audio Politics
Australian Hip Hop
Authentic Hustle
AYEBRO Blog
AvaTheAnarchist

Back2Pluto
Backpacks & Traps
Bad Magics
Bad-Perm
BarrelhouseBKLYN
Bbarak
bdtb
Beat Apes (For Beatmakers Exclusively)
Beatmecca (For Beatmakers Exclusively)
Beats And Blood
Beatspill
Beat Tape Co-Op (For Beatmakers Exclusively)
Beat Trotterz
Best Rapper Alive
Bigspin
Birthplace Magazine
Blackout Hip Hop
BlackSheepSound
Blazin Streetz.com
BLKDMNDS
Blog or Die PGH 
BMMMBNHH
Boi-1da
Bombay Knox
Bonafide
Boom Bap Nation
Boombap.org
Border Magazine
Bound 2 Hip Hop
Brain of BMW
Bread Over Bed
Breal.TV
Brick To Ya Face
Brightside Live
Bring Ya Eh Game
British Hip Hop
Broke2Dope
Brosymusic
The Brown Kid Blog
B's and 3's

Cabezas Underground
Carbon Rose Magazine
Carolina On The Rise
Ceez World
Chan Lo
Chi-Bangerz
Chi-City Hip Hop
Chineur De Sons
Chops and Kicks
The Chronicles of Aqua
The Chuckness
Circa 85
City On Clouds
City On My Back
Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes
C.O.B. XII.
Cocaine Phre$h
Collectors Item
College Dj
The Come Up Show
Tha Commonwealth
Complex Music
Connect Da Dot
Coolest Rap Blog
Cool Hype Radio
CrackedAtoms
Cratescienz
CrayonBeats
Cream Magazine
Creative Beach
Crunk Atlanta
The Crypt
Culture73
Culture King
Curb Weight

Daily Chiefers
TheDailyDose
The Daily Loud
Daily Rap
Da Leak
Damaging The Streets
Dats Dope
Da-What.com
Day & A Dream
DEAD Magazine
Dead End Hip Hop
Deadly Beatz
Death Chamberz Music
Definition of Fresh
Def Pen Radio
DelCity Radio
Desi Hip Hop
Digiindie
Digital Dripped
The Dirty Bodega
Dis Is Hip Hop
Diverse Hip Hop
Dj Booth.net
DJs Doing Work
Doble-H.com
Doing JusticeiShine
DopeClusive
DopeDC.com
DopeFuture
DopeFuse
DopeMinds.com
Dope Music Blog
Dope Muzik Addict
Dope Raps
DotGotIt
Double Cin
The Double Truth
Droptops & Stacy Lattisaw Tapes
DubCNN

Earmilk
Ear Patrol
East Coast Digital Radio
Eclectic Relaxation
EgoTripLand
El Cuaderno
Elevator Mag
Elite Muzik
embassy730
Emcee Enthusiast
Emerald Culture
Emilio Sparks
Endless Hip-Hop
The Essence of Rap & Hip-Hop
Etalon Hip Hop
Eternal Cadence
European Hip Hop (Veni Vidi Vici)
EveryDejaVu
Everyone Loves Hip Hop

Faded Off
Fake Shore Drive
Fashionably-Early
FashodoeMusic
Female RapStars
The Find Magazine
Fist In The Air
FlowDVD
Fly Definition
Tha Fly Nation
ForDaFresh Magazine
For the DMV Only
FreshHipHop
FreeHipHopNow
Fresh Freespace
The Fresh Heir
FreshNDef
Fresh News By Steph
Fresh New Tracks
Future of Rap Music
FUXWITHIT
FWMJ's Producers I Know (For Beatmakers Exclusively)

GetMoneyMusic
Getspinz
Get That Paper Son
Gettin Up
Get Your Buzz Up
Gimme That Beat
Ginger Slim's
Glitter and Stilettos
Global Grind
Good Music All Day
Good Tunes
Got Hip Hop
Gowhere Hip Hop
Go Ill
Grand Smack
Grassroots Grind
Great Music All Night
Greedmont Park
The Greener Side of Hip Hop
Greenhitz
Grime Culture
GrindinGrip Squad
Grndgood
Groove On Fire
Groovisionary

HappyHard In The Paint
HashOutLoud
Hear-That-First
Heatcasters
Heat Identity Patrol
HHND.org aka Hip Hop Never Dies
HHNS.se
Hip Hop Renaissance
High Yellow Soul
Hillydilly
HipHop360
Hip-Hop 4 Black Unity
Hip-Hop Amore
HipHopCore
HipHopClub.biz
HipHopCanada
Hip Hop Certified
Hip Hop Club
Hip Hop Colombia
Hip Hop Dependency
Hip Hop Din Romania
HipHopDons
The Hip-Hop Dugout
HipHipDurso
HipHopDX.com
HipHopEarly
HipHop Encounter
Hip-Hop Feign
HipHopGame
HipHopGiant
Hip Hop Has Soul
TheHipHopHead
Hip Hop Headquarters
HipHopHundred
HIPHOP is AWOL
HIPHOPISSOMESMO
Hip Hop Is Read
HipHopKing.nl
Hip-HopKings.com
Hip Hop Lead
HipHopLeague
Hip-Hop Life And Times
Hip Hop Life Magazine
HipHop LT
Hip-Hop Made In Ita
HipHopMatome
The Hip-Hop Mafia
HIPHOP Metropolis
HipHop.mu
Hip HopMula
HipHopND
HipHopNometry.org
hiphopOMM
HipHopOnDeck
The HipHop.org
HipHopPulsacao
Hip Hop Push
The HIP HOP Realm
HipHopRec.com
HipHop Reviews For Dummies
HipHopRuckus.com
HipHop-R-US
HipHopScope
HipHop Since1987
Hip-Hop Site
Hip-Hop.sk
Hip Hop Sou Eu
The Hip Hop Speakeasy
HipHop-Today
Hip Hop Trending
Hip Hop TV
Hip Hop Update
Hip-Hop Vibe
HipHopVip
Hip Hop Worldwide
Hipstrumentals (Instrumental Website)
Hitstape
Holy Culture
Hood Representer
HotNewHipHop
House of Aura
House of Hip-Hop
Houston Hip HopFix
HTPdotCalm
HumanFankind
Hypefloats
Hypetrak

i75 Magazine
I Am Feed Me Kicks
I Am Hip Hop Magazine
I AM NOT A RAPPER
I Am Somebody Lifestyles
iHeartDilla
iHipHop
Illegal Promo
illfrequency
The Illixer
ILL MateriaL
ILLSocietyMAG
iLLVibes
Ill Will
I LIVE HIP HOP
InboxEight
Indigalaxy
Indie360.TV
Indie Castle
IndieHipHop.com
indiehiphop.net
IndieRapBlog
InFlexWeTrust
Internet Kills Radio
Intrigued Music Blog
ItsBizkit
It's Rap
I Still Love H.E.R.

Jack Thriller
Jam The Hype
Jams.to
JayForce
JoeHova's Mindframe
Juice Magazin
Jukebox:DC
JustWhooKid

Kara Khaotic
Keep It Classic
KEYB2LOCK
KickBackTV
Killer BoomBox
Killer Hip Hop
Kill The Rave
Kingsize Mag
Known Unknown
KOG Worldwide
The Kollection
KYITL

La Casa Del Rap
Land Ground Under
Le 16 Bar
LeakedEarly
Leakrew
TheLeftHandSide
LeftOver Cake
Le Hip Hop Sur Ecoute
Le Tourne Disque
Lil Hip Hop
Lily Mercer
Tha Lookout
Los Angeles Leakers
The Lost Tapes
Love Gabby V
Lozza
The Lunch Line
Lunch 'N' Leftovers
Lyrically Fit

Magazine Rap Swiss
Malodious Song
Mandiie Martinez
The Masked Gorilla
Mass Appeal
Match Musik
The MC Report
MeanCulture
Medina Ink
Mega City Hip-Hop
The Microscopic Giant
Midwest Monstars
Mighty Burners
Mike Trampe TV
Mimesi Society
Mina Say What
MindBonics
MixKings
MixtapeFM
TheMixtapeKids
MOOVMNT
The Motiv
MrOneHundred's Muzic Corner
Ms Dynasty
Music & Strength TV
Musically Trapped N Thought
Music Imperium
Musicnotch
Music On The Dot
The Music Reform
The Music Stash
MusicxInfinity
Muzic Junkies
MusikReform.com
Muzikos Virtuve
Muzik Spirit
MyHipHop.it
My Word Is Vinyl

Nahright
Nanci O Is Hip Hip
Nasdank
TheNeedleDrop.com
TheNEHipHop
Neighborhood Watch World Wide
New Cultura
New H2O
That New Hip-Hop
New Hip-Hop Music Shop
New Noise Hip Hop
NikkiSiixx.com
No-Buzz.net
Nodfactor
Northstar HipHop
Now Hip Hop
Not Quite Millionaires
Nuu Elementz

Offbeat Indie
Oh Dope
Oh Hey Doctor
Oh So Fresh! Music
Ok-Tho
Old To The New
The One Mic
One Throne
OneTwoOneTwo
OnlyDaHotSh*t
OnlyHipHop
OnlyTheRealest
Only Vibe
OnSmash
The Other Ground Hip Hop
Other World Hip Hop
Out Da Box
Oz Hip-Hop

Paeday Music
Pardon The Movement
PatIsDope
PCRockers
Peace Magazine
The Phlash Effect
Plaincut
Plantao Hip Hop
Platform8470
Play This Hip Hop
Poppa Fats' Dlghts
Popkiller
PoundsofSounds
PreciseEarz
Pretty Dirtball
PrettyMenace
Pro City Vault
Producers Unit
Professu
Prophetic Poetic
Province
Pure Hip Hop Heat
Pursuit of Dopeness
Pwr Moves

Randope
Rap4Ever.net
Rap-As.com
RapBasement
RapBlog
Rap Bullet
RapBurger
RapConQueso
Rap Critics
RapDall America
RapDose
RapFix
Rapgasm
Rap GhettoYouth
Rap Is Full
Rapmaniacz
Rap-N-Blues
Rapohelizenz (For Beatmakers Exclusively)
Rap On Air
Rapperr.com
Rappernet.com
Rapper's Delite
Rap Mixoff
Rap Reviews
Rap Riot
Raps & Hustles
Rapswag
The Rap Up
Rapwave
RapXclusive
Rapzilla
Rap$You
RareHipHop.com
RawDrive
RawHustle
Rawroots
RealHipHopForever.com
RealTalkHipHop
Rebels Wit No Cause
The Record Stache
The Redefined
The Red Tag Society
Remixed & Blasted
Respect
Respect This Fresh
REUP Spot
Revolutionary Ink
Rhyme Junkie
Rhyme On Beat
RhymeStreet
Rhythm22
Rise24
RisingHype (Videos Only)
Robots and Bass Drops
RockTheDub
Rookie TV
The Root Music
Royal Gergo
R.R.H.H. (Railroad Hip Hop)
Ruby Hornet
Rudeboyy
Rugged Ones
Rule4080.com

Salute The Art
Sampleface
SC Bonkers
Semtex
SheBloggin
Shook One
Sicker Than Your Average
Sizzle Nation
Sling Theory
SlumLegends.com
Smarter Hip Hop
The Smoking Section
Social8gency
SoleHipHop
SoloBeats
Solo Vibes Music
soulBrother
SoulCulture
Spellcast Radio
Sphere of Hip-Hop
SpitFireHipHop
S*Row Today
Stashed
Steady Bloggin
Stereo Assault
Stereogum
Stimulate Your Soul
Str8OutDaDen
Straight Fresh
Streets Connect
Street Dose
Street Hop Magazine
Street Khemistry
Strictly Beats (For Beatmakers Exclusively)
Strictly Hip Hop
StupidDOPE
Subversom
SugarCayne
Sunete Sub.Sol
The Surface
Surviving The Golden Age
Sway's Universe
Syffal

Talking All That Rap
TalkoftheStreets
TampaHipHop.com
TapeDeck
ThaDrill
Tha Fixx
Tha Produce Section
That Fix
That Loud
Thats Enuff
The Tika.com
ThisIs50
This Is Book's Music
This Song Is Sick
This Is Hip Hop Music
ThisSoundGoesAround.com
This Is Walder
Thoughts.Stories.Life
Tonkonst HIPHOP
Too Chill Hip Hop
Too Good for Radio
TrackBlasters
Tricksta's World
Triller Than Most
Trouble Makers
True Alliance
True School Academy
Tunelinks

U Call That Love (UCTL) (Bi-Lingual)
UGOTWAX
UGSMAG
Ugyldigblogg.com
UK All Day
UK Hip-Hop Blog
Uncut HipHop
UndergroundHipHopBlog
Underground Idolz
UniversityHype
UnsungHipHop
Upcoming Hip Hop
URB
Urban And Gospel
Urban Flair
Urban Hype
Urban Leakz
Urban Vault
Urban Waves
uStyles
utmost blog

Va Talent
The Vault
Versed Online
VersosPerfectos
ViewHipHop.com
Vintage Media Group
Violator Djs
Viva La Hip Hop (Nice Site that Post Concerts in Northern California)
Vocalswords
VoteHipHop
VRS Magazine

We Run The Underground
WeAreVa
We Goin' IN
Welcome to Eastvan
We The West
WestCoastRydaz
West Come Up
We Up On It
WhatItDoes
What Is Hip Hop
What Is HipHop?
Whatiz
When The Beat Drops
Where's My 40 Acres
White Men Can't Blog
Whutupdoe
WhyNotOnDemand
WhyTFNot
Wolf Shirt Extremist
Worldstar 
Womazing
Word Is Bond
Wordplay Magazine
Worldcomeup
World Stream Media

XClusives Zone
XXL Mag

Yappari HipHop
Yet Another Hip-Hop Blog
You Heard That New
Your Music Fix

Zillanoise
Zona Suburbana

EXTRA: You can track who is posting your music by using Google search. All you have to do is type in an artist that you mirror (most likely a recent project) into Google Search. Then you can find out what blogs are posting your music. I added a video that I recorded last September to illustrate the point. Please let me know if it is beneficial.

Also check out The Ultimate Online Radio Station & Podcast Directory.

Take the time to get to know the people that operate these blogs/websites and I guarantee that your coverage on the blogosphere will increase.

The key is to present good material and network. Remember that coverage on blogs is good. Develop relationships and turn those music posts to interviews, reviews, and even sponsorship opportunities.

You may not get posted on all of these sites yet I can GUARANTEE that you will be covered by at least one hip-hop blog.

If you find this post helpful let me know by leaving a comment or sharing this post via Twitter, Facebook, Google +, email, and other social media sites.

If this list is missing any sites please drop a link in the comment section and I will add it to the list!

Image provided by Know Life


5 Twitter Profiles That Every Recording Artist Should Follow

Twitter is a social networking giant that gives people a chance to connect with one another using short messages.

If you have never used Twitter before make sure you check out Mashable's Twitter Guide Book.

I like Twitter because it allows me to connect with people easily. There is a wealth of information that is presented via Twitter. I find Twitter to be very useful given that I am a Recording Artist and a DIY artist. Below I have compiled a list of 5 Twitter Profiles that every recording artist should follow.

5. @SJManager
Sarah J is a creative person that handles production placements for big name clientele. She is a producer manager and A&R consultant and she offers a wealth of information that is beneficial for producers/beatmakers.

4. @9thWonderMusic
9th Wonder's Twitter feed is intriguing because it is full of knowledge plus 9th is very interactive with his followers. I like the fact that 9th Does not stray from presenting his personality to the masses. I also like 9th's Twitter feed because he promotes his artists and label (@JamlaRecords).

3. @illmindProducer
Illmind is an awesome producer that continues to get better with each release. The thing that I like the most about Illmind's Twitter feed is his honesty. The tips that he offers are great. Check out his Website.

2. @UrbanThreshold
Jesse Jess's Twitter feed is one of my favorites based on the amount of tweets that I favorite. The insight that he presents is very helpful and allows artists to grow. Jesse Jess is the founder of The Annual Underground Music Awards, The A&R Power Summit and Creator of The Urban Music Explosion.

1. @RevRunWisdom
Nothing like words of wisdom from Rev Run...positive tweets from Rev Run.

What are your favorite Twitter profiles?


Ben Z's 5 Simple Ways to Empower the Youth


First and foremost, who is Ben Z and how long have you been rhyming?

I am a hip hop artist, producer, and change agent living in Madison, Wisconsin with my wife and three children. For the last eight years I have been seriously pursuing rhyming. The last few years have included great opportunities for me to use my craft to work with youth through hip hop workshops in addition to creating my own music.

Recently you released an album called 'my mixtape'. What is the concept of 'my mixtape'?

The concept was more of an afterthought to be honest. I had spent a solid year networking and collaborating with artists through SoundCloud. At the beginning of 2012, I had roughly 50 tracks that had no home, so to speak. Rather than let them all sit buried on my SoundCloud account, I decided to create a compilation album with some of my favorites. To round out the project I held a remix competition together with the Upcoming Hip Hop Artists group on SoundCloud/Facebook using a set of my vocals. After fan voting was complete, the runner up and the winner each received a place on the album for the intro and outro tracks.

I noticed that the project features a lot of global talent. Explain the importance of networking and the power of interacting with talent across the pond.

'my mixtape' includes collaborations on every single track with a producer and even some emcees. Over 20 artists had their hand in the creation of the album, and many are from across the globe. If people think hip hop or other genres exists only in one region, they must be living off the grid. Some of the dopest tracks I've heard came from places like Greece, the UK, France, Canada, and China. In this day and age it seems foolish to not tap into international artists and connections for many reasons. The most obvious reason is the fact that billions of people exist outside your own country. Those people include potential fans, collaborators, and future friends. In fact I've had song plays in at least 120 nations over the past year.

To me, working internationally also fulfills my inner desire to interact with people from different places and cultures. Being a dad with 3 kids, I can't exactly hop on a jet and fly around the world, but sites like SoundCloud make it easy to connect with people and experience new sounds. Many artists I've worked with online have gone on to add me on Facebook and continue to build both professionally and personally. Much like Gillespie did with Jazz, I try to use my craft as an ambassadorship which creates positive connections across the oceans.

You can download 'my mixtape' HERE.



As an artist, I know that it is important to make an impact and connect with fans. Your music gives you the opportunity to impact people from all walks of life. Describe the feelings associated with presenting your gifts to the youth.

One of my goals in writing lyrics and creating music is to inspire. I hope that people — especially youth — are encouraged, inspired, and provoked to think about deeper things. I love to think that people are out there listening to a track of mine while feeling like my words fit their moment perfectly. As an artist, I feel the responsibility to present something of value and worth to the listeners. Additionally I go into schools and other organizations to actively work with youth through hip hop workshops. I love sharing my craft and time with kids who are looking for a positive outlet.

How can the masses get in contact with you?

You can find me at www.benzmusic.com as well as the following links: Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, YouTube, and on Twitter @BenZMusic1.

Can you detail 5 Simple Ways that we can use to empower the Youth?

1. Remember your own youth.

Think back to when you were younger. What would have been helpful to you from the older people in your world? Then think of ways you can use your craft and skills to creatively provide that encouragement to the youth in your community.

2. Get connected.

Find youth organizations that welcome your involvement. Often community centers, faith organizations, schools, or even other artists already have things in place that you can become a part of. Ask around to find out if there is some way you can help.

3. Be real.

Young people are already confronted thousands of times a day with phony images of happiness and life through advertising as well as their peers' ridiculous expectations. Often a moment of honest authenticity is like a breath of fresh air to youth who are going through the most awkward times of their life. I've found that sharing stories of my own troubled youth creates openness and hope.

4. Be creative.

I've brought professional breakers, dj's, producers, emcees, and other artists to school assemblies and after school workshops to inspire kids. It is amazing to watch as youth discover their voices through various methods of self expression. Instead of staying out all night with friends or causing a ruckus, kids can be inspired to fill notebooks with drawings, writings, songs, and other positive expressions. What creative things can you spark off for the youth?



5. Give them a platform.

So often the youth are vilified instead of validated. The youth are our future, and we are the current holders of the torch. Drop-out rates, achievement gaps, and crime statistics among youth will not be solved until “the grown people” realize it is up to us to engage the young people in our community. How can we use our skills and artistry to empower, validate, and inspire the youth? One way I have tried is by helping youth produce entire albums with their original beats and lyrics, music videos, and collaborative songs between myself and the kids. Let's use our artistry and expertise to amplify the voice of the youth!



How To Enhance Your Memory With An Iphone App


"Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things." - Cicero

Imagine this, you have a great idea yet you do not have a way to capture it. The pen and pad is not around. You do not want to lug around your laptop. What do you do?

Life usually happens and that great thought that you had disappears. The thought disappears because you become preoccupied with other things. The phone rings, another idea loss. The dog urinates on the floor, another idea loss. The wife or husband starts cooking dinner and you gravitate towards the kitchen, another idea loss.

How can we improve our memory given all the distractions that occur on a daily basis?

What is Memory?

Memory quotes provides an awesome quote by Alexander Smith that suggests that:
Memory is a function of the brain: the ability to retain information. Memory is much studied by cognitive psychology and neuroscience. There are multiple types of classifications for memory based on duration, nature and retrieval of perceived items. The terms "storage" and "memory" may also refer to the parts of a digital computer that retain physical state (data) for some interval of time, possibly even after electrical power to the computer is turned off. Where both terms are in use, "memory" is generally used for the faster forms, and "storage" for the slower forms.

Memory is a man's real possession...In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor.

Alexander Smith's quote suggests that memory relates to the ability to retain and store information. Recalling dates, time, people's names, etc are things that we do on a regular basis.

I learned most of my memory tricks in high school. Remember staying up late at night to study for a test or quiz? I do. High School provided students with the ability to cramp or chunk information in hopes of retaining it for a quiz or test. Did we retain the information? nope. We only focused on passing the test or quiz, memorization of the actual concepts was not a requirement.

What factors affect memory loss?

As we continue to progress in age the ability to retain memory decreases. Nikhil Swaminathan suggests that research has shown that bundles of axons (tubular projections sent out by neurons to signal other nerve cells) wither over time.

Your lifestyle, health habits, and daily activities have a huge impact on the health of your brain (Helpguide.org, 2012). Stress is a big factor that affects memory loss. I also believe that stress affects one's lifestyle, health habits, and daily activities (the domino effect is crazy).

The lack of exercise also increases the potential for stress. Exercise is effective because it increases brain growth and it helps alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety.

The lack of sleep also attributes to memory loss. Helpguide.org (2012) suggests that sleep deprivation also reduces the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus and causes problems with memory, concentration, and decision-making. It can even lead to depression — another memory killer.

How do we retain memory?

+ We retain memory with written devices (pad and pen, etc)
+ We retain memory with audio devices
+ We retain memory by rhyming
+ We retain memory by exercising
+ We retain memory by laughing
+ We retain memory by socializing
+ We retain memory with visual aids
+ We retain memory by chunking

Enhance Your Memory With An iPhone App

Rabison Shumba (2010) suggested that audio recordings have evolved over the years ranging from the old magnetic tapes, into Compact Disks (CDs), and now onto audio files such as MP3 which can be emailed or on the computer.

Actors, emcees, students, professionals, etc rely on the power of memorization. Actors have to memorize lines, emcees have to memorize lyrics, students and professional have to memorize speeches, poems, and more. People memorize things differently.

I found that I memorize things better when I use audio devices. Audio devices are very beneficial for me because it allows me to memorize lyrics quicker. Memorization is very effective especially if you are paying for studio time. Memorization is also effective when you have a performance.

When I switched to Team Verizon and purchased the iPhone, I had to find an audio device that would make it easier for me to memorize things. I decided that the iTalk Recorder Premium app helped enhance my memory.

The iTalk Recorder has made it easier for me to record (practice) my verses on the go. All I have to do is press record and store the recording. Consistent playback will keep the verse or song engrained in one's mind. This is advantageous because it gives the song writer/emcee/singer etc the opportunity to play around and experiment with the delivery.

The iTalk Recorder is effective because:
  • It is a full-featured recording app with a streamlined and intuitive user interface. Press the big red button to record; press it again to stop. You can append to existing recordings, choose from three levels of recording quality (11.025, 22.05, or 44.10 kHz sample rates), and manage your recordings, all with just a fingertip.
  • You can email recordings
  • It is compatible with iPhone models, iPad models, and iPod Touch (2nd Generation and up)
  • There is a FREE version and a Premium version


 

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