Monday, December 19, 2005

There are two places in the city that I really hate walking past — the east side of Sixth Avenue, between Waverly Place and Eighth Street, right in front of that FYI music store and 14th Street, in front of the Virgin Megastore — because there's always these thug niggas hanging out there, peddling their self-recorded hip-hop CD's. Apparently, they're colorblind, cause out of all the people on the street, I invariably get singled out as the one they're gonna make their pitch to. So, guys, first of all: do you see how white I am? Do I look like I have ever bought anything from a scowling, unshaven black dude in the street wearing a State Property jacket that's like five sizes too big? It doesn't matter if you're selling tulips and Furbies: salesmanship, guys. Would it kill you to smile, or wear a tie, or something? Bring out a boom box and share some sample tracks, take lessons from that guy selling bootleg DVD's, three for ten bucks — he's doing a brisk business.

I don't know: maybe I look like a record executive?

It's all about knowing your audience, which I think is an important skill for anybody trying to break into the music business. Rich white kids in a college neighborhood don't buy rap music. We download it illegally. No, we go into Urban Outfitters, impulsively buy a quilt and a Nada Surf CD, and head back to the dorm, brew tea, and pretend we know what speedball is cause it makes us look cool around our roommates. I could go up to Washington Heights and sell crack if I wanted to, and there's no reason to be a phony when you can be the real thing.

What you have to do is go out into the suburbs, set up a table maybe outside of Stan's Used Records and CD Outlet. White kids out in the sticks eat that gangsta shit up precisely because they'll never get to play with the real thing. I bet if these guys stood outside the middle schools in my town playing their self-styled urban rap, they could make a real business out of hanging out on the streets during the day and living with their moms at night... I mean, until the police carted them off, anyway.