Everyone Makes Mistakes?


I will make this short and to the point...I think. Like many of you, I watched the American Music Awards, and the "shocking" performance from Adam Lambert. I had kind of kept my musical distance from Adam's material, simply because I had been dealing with my own material & hadn't had time to keep a more keen ear out for new pop acts (plus I have a stigma about the 'American Idol' crowd. Sorry Anwar, LOL). But recently I got a listen to the title track from the album, written by in-demand pen Claude Kelly, and was thoroughly impressed. So it was kind of upsetting to see the over-the-top, admittedly risque show Adam put on to close out the AMA's.

What disturbed me more, though, was the widespread backlash and generally malignant reaction the following morning, including the Adam's performance/interview snub from Good Morning America. It seems that in the Western Hemisphere's gradual acceptance of art & culture, we tend to always take two steps forward and one big step back.

As I've noted on Twitter and Facebook, I hold no qualms in saying that Adam's performance was an unnecessary one, being that he is a genuinely talented man with alot to offer pop music. And from an artistic viewpoint, I feel that a solid band performance with less glitter-stoked sexuality would have opened up the doors much wider for him as opposed to hammering a hinge onto the hypothetical coffin so many artists seem to do on their first time out. Keep in mind I said just a hinge; I don't think that we've seen the last of Adam Lambert at all. In fact, because of all the hooplah, I can't help but desire to take his side, particularly after his interview on CBS's Early Morning show.

I feel what's important to note here is what so many of us have said before when it comes to mainstream music & its consumption: with this craft, for those of us who truly work at it and do it on a daily basis, we are seeking satisfaction in creating art that is to be respected and appreciated. But just because this is the case, it does not dictate that such appreciation was ever meant to be on a level that would be understood by everyone. Nor is it the intention of many of us to cater to a "light" or "Easygoing" audience. Some of us, yes, but many of us, not so. Like Adam put so succinctly: we're not "babysitters," we're performers.

It's always difficult for an artist to be cutting edge without overshooting that goal. But when it happens, if we respect the artist's work as a whole, it is an honorable and fitting thing to be able to let the artist fall down & get up, and be ready to help him/her when he/she is ready to come back on the scene. Such is the case with Adam. If you supported him before the AMA performance, then let him deal with the media fallout and just show him love & support till he can figure out what his next move is. I really do believe everyone deserves a 2nd chance, and if we can't give it to others, how can we expect anyone to give it to us?

Just a few thoughts...


The Fate of a Living Legend...?


Because I spend so much time at the computer - I love my Mac, PS...LOL - I am constantly clicking into the world of entertainment media news & blogs. Truthfully, I'm not a fan of gossip when it delves outside the realm of the music or business aspects of the industry. But who wasn't freaking out when it leaked that Beyonce & Gaga would be working together? I most certainly was, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. By the way, their final cut for the "Video Phone" remix is out as of this week, so make sure to check it out. It's alot of fun, and they look great together.

Still, with all of this "Fast-food style" information (as the phrased was so aptly coined recently) I wonder about the fate of our music veterans who are used to periodic inquiries into their lives & work, who now have to deal with constant questioning and exposure thanks to sites like TMZ, Concrete Loop, Facebook, & Twitter. There was a time when stars like Whitney, Luther, and Prince could at least try and seclude themselves from the prying eyes & ears of the media so as to perpetuate some small modicum of privacy. These days, if you're a hot item, consider it lucky if you don't have photographers hiding in the bushes of your compound. To be honest, it's all kind of deplorable, how we - myself included - have accepted this kind of spoon-feeding of information without respect for the lives into whom we spy. But, it is what it is.

My question comes down to this: How do the stars of yesteryear deal with this relatively new form of public accessibility without either going over the top or being too internal? It may stand to reason that if it ain't broke, don't fix it; if the semi-private world of an artist is what the fans are used to, why change? But that's still a 50/50 shot. We've seen that with certain stars, not being in touch with the fans and basing a release off historic reputation doesn't cut it anymore. But we've also seen that it CAN work if the cards fall the right way (e.g. Whitney Houston, "I Look To You"). So it's really a toss up - possibly the biggest toss up of a living legend's career. I certainly don't have an answer for them, but I do wish them all the love & success they deserve.


$1,000,000,000 vs. 171,476


Today my friend & colleauge AntBoogie posed an observation & question that I couldn't resist to repost and try to answer:

"Hip Hop- A large part of it was built and excelled from composition and battling. I noticed after Jay-Z lost a very big battle to Nas., he has not entered the battle scene the real way since. What I wonder is. IF you make millions or have great bodies of work over the years. Does that excuse you from battling? Since when does making tons of money make you better then the art? ...I love Jay-Z music but I Iove the Culture more, BUT if OG Bboys in their 40's can still get down in battles, what [puts] Rappers above that?"


A sound observation and very valid question, I'd say.

Well, Ant, I could never speak for Sean "Jay-Z" Carter, but I will say this: from my perspective, I think part of the answer lies in numbers, hence my titling this blog $1,000,000,000 vs. 171,476. Per my research, right now the Oxford English dictionary contains roughly 171,746 words with full definitions and references. As hip-hop is originally an art form all about wordplay, poetics, and sentence structure, it's interesting that the art form has been able to create so much out of such a finite number of words; this is, of course, to say nothing of the slang and colloquialisms that hip-hop culture has bred and incorporated into its content. Still, 6 figures is not alot to work with, at least from an aesthetic standpoint. Now let's call into play the other number: $1,000,000,000.

This 1 billion I speak of refers to the potential net worth in US Dollars of Mr. Carter's empire in the next few years (so they say, so he raps about). It is certainly true that through his music, fashion, entertainment, and media enterprises, Jay has managed to amass a nearly staggering amount of wealth. He has recently created Roc Nation, a media/management/music company & partnership with Live Nation, which claims - among its many services - to be birthing a new wave of artists and entrepreneurs for the younger generations. His marriage to Beyonce Knowles has sky-rocketed his buying power as well as his mass appeal so as to be able to further his business expansion. And while all of this is clearly due to his keen eye for success and scrupulous (albeit questionable) practices, he would still say that it all started with rap. Hip-hop. The culture which you, Ant, now say he may now be somewhat abandoning due to these facts & figures, as well as the Nas beef.

The point of these observations is to put forth the idea that it is highly possible that Sean Carter may very well believe that in light of all this success (which now includes a very formidable body of work in "The BluePrint III") there is little to no point in having to prove anything to anyone about his art, being that [he claims] it was his art that helped elevate his status to it's current level. To be honest, part of me agrees with that. All of us who deal with the arts have to at some point be confident enough in our talent to ascertain two truths: 1.) That we can be successful and happy with what we love to do, & 2.) While there will certainly be people out there better than us, we are still pretty damn good. This second truth may hold the key to your questioning: why battle, why go through a gauntlet through which you've already gone multiple times just to prove to yourself and others that what you do is something to be revered, especially if your rich resume and work has long since spoken to that effect? It seems almost useless.

I should think that Jay-Z the rapper knows that in a battle with some of the very best of his contemporaries (major label, indie, or otherwise), he may very well lose. Not because he's not good at what he does, but simply because there are rappers out there who are obviously better than him; it's circumstance, I'm not hating. I also believe that his "I will not lose" attitude and branding may prohibit him from entering into an arena where that can happen. Here is where the $1,000,000,000 vs. 171,476 theory really comes into play. Is anyone who has gotten to the point where a 10-figure financial benchmark is within reach willing to risk that $1,000,000,000 of success in entertainment for 171,476 words and their subsequent hip-hop permutations in the pursuit of fine art? Let us never forget and always remind ourselves that 'Hova' started out as a hustler, and was coaxed into working on music; it's almost as if the drive for prosperity is ingrained in his being, thanks to his beginnings and background, so I'm not sure if "not entering the battle scene" can be held against him.

I recently attended a concert in NYC starring Common with special guests Q-Tip & Queen Latifah. It was so refreshing and good to see these living legends rap, freestyle & battle on stage. It is what the culture is all about. But I think it's safe to say that someone like Common will most likely not touch the level of wealth that Jay-Z has...and I think he's OK with that, because he understands that what he does is part of a higher calling, and so money & fame only are a means to an end for someone like him.

So NO, Antboogie, I don't think that success excuses one from competition in hip-hop, I feel that choices are made in the best interest of one's well being. NO, money will never be better than the art, but I'm sure that Jay-Z and those like him know that. And NO, rappers should never be above testing their skills, but Jay-Z isn't just a rapper anymore; he never was just a rapper, and he never will be just a rapper.

The art will always be there, and the right people will step up to the plate to battle, test, and perpetuate the importance of hip-hop's true qualities.


WWJD...in radio? A great commentary, read on!

--I usually don't re-post other blogs or articles here, but this commentary struck me as something that needed to be seen. I agree with much of what was written, and I think you will too.--

From the blog of Charlamagne Tha God (Edited by PMG):

If Jesus were around today he would have been a radio personality/DJ. I want you to understand exactly what I just said so I will repeat it again. Jesus would have been a radio personality/DJ.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, Jesus was a public servant. He is an example of a man who truly came to serve. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan says, “We should not want public office or positions of power so that we can become big shots. We should want public office and positions of power so that we can serve.”

Jesus himself said, “He who would be great among you, let him be your servant....”

...Let’s be clear, we all know the radio personality/DJ game is a thankless business. The hours are long and the money is short. Most of us probably wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t have a genuine love for what we do....

Think about the headaches you go through when dealing with program directors who don’t even live the lifestyle....

I ask Mass Communication majors all the time, “Are you getting involved with radio because you have a genuine love for the game?” “Do you want to be involved because you have a genuine need or desire to make the lives of others better?” If not, then I would strongly suggest another profession; something that does not have you directly affecting the lives of the people that hear you on a daily basis.

I know there are some radio personality/DJs out there right now saying, “Man Charlamagne sit your ass down somewhere, I’m just here to collect my little piece of a paycheck and keep it moving.” Well, my friend, that is why your ratings suck....That is why you can’t get any more than $200 to spin at a party and that is why the streets of the city you are in don’t f**k with you...because you have not embraced the...position that God has put you in, the position of public servant.

A lot of times we get caught up in our own hype and we stop serving the needs of the people...DJs play what they want to hear or what they’re feeling instead of really checking the pulse of the city and seeing what the people want to hear. I know DJs that won’t play local records that are smash hits...because the artist hasn’t [supported them].

Message to those DJs: Your purpose in life will only be found in service to others and in being connected to something far greater than your...ego. And you wonder why local artist want to fight [you] now. It’s called karma...

...when these DJs don’t play the records because they can’t swallow their...pride to serve the needs of the people what does that listener do? They switch stations. That listener goes somewhere where their needs can be served.

Law 20 in the 48 Laws of Power - “Do not commit to anyone, it is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself.” If you are a truly a public servant committing to yourself or your cause is not a problem...

...Malcolm X was a public servant and so was Martin Luther King Jr. You [rarely] saw them [publicly insulting] each other even though they didn’t agree with each other’s approaches...Because...they were fighting for the same cause...a cause we are still fighting for today. Instead of throwing shots at each other and fighting for positions in the ratings, radio stations should be coming together and devising ways to make the city you are in the best city it can possibly be....

...I encourage all radio personalities/DJs to get on your job. The people in the city you are in need you...You have the power to change lives. There is a reason they call it radio programming...

...You can single handedly change someone’s life by simply playing a record enough times!

“What would Jesus do if he was a jock?” The answer...lies in service to the public.

Charlamange tha God


Full article is HERE


I love it, and this is why!


I suppose that there are those of you out there who want to know why I'm traveling down this road of music business and art. Why, P. Murray, would you choose to find stability in such an unstable industry? Is it worth all your ranting, long nights, hours of studio time, prayer, and contemplation? Better yet, will it last, once you've made it to where you hope to be?

Why indeed.

Well, while some of those questions would probably need a dissertation, I figure I could do a small breakdown of some of the things I do and why I do them. It's only fair to you guys to have a better understanding of some of the feelings and reasons behind the music (LOL, I sound like a VH1 special, wow!). I guess that I'd have to put them in order. Let's be real, I do have priorities with me music, folks. So here goes:
  1. Singing - Of all the things I do, singing is my absolute favorite. I love to get up on a stage (or even just with friends) and make noises with my body, what can I say (LOL)? From the moment my church kid's choir director heard me and I saw the look in her eye that I was more than just a boy with nothing to do on a Saturday/Sunday, I knew something was different and I've been pursuing that "Different" ever since. It's one of the most liberating experiences one can have, I think.
  2. Piano - This was the first thing I was able to do as a musician. My local private teacher found out that I could play by ear, and that was it. She threw exercises and tough pieces at me and I worked on them like it was food for the soul. Piano-playing, as one of my college professors told me, is easy to learn, but hard to master. But it's an awesome thing to be able to get through something beautiful and complicated like a Schubert impromptu or a Bach invention - nothing like it! In high school was where I came into improvisational pop/R&B/gospel playing and accompaniment, and that's just as awesome.
  3. Composition - I know, surprise right? Many of yall thought I might put writing or production next, but it was composition proper that was able to cultivate my writing & production in the popular music fields. Again, LaGuardia was my breeding ground for this, and once I started, I couldn't stop. I have to publicly thank Mr. Ramon Reeberg, Gospel Chorus teacher at the time, for making me transcribe numerous pieces for the semi-annual concerts: it helped hone my ear and forced me to become comfortable with computer composition programs (Finale is still my top pick, sorry Sibelius fans!). I have a taste for neo-classical works set to either Latin sacred/secular poetry or prose. But I love working on musical theatre-tinged material as well.
  4. Songwriting/Production - Though last on this list, these aspects of my musical makeup are far from the love I have for all of the things I do. It's more empirical than numeric, I promise! But I couldn't put one above the other. With writing, I find a type of comfort and enjoyment that is its own entity. I feel very blessed to be able to tackle different styles of writing and be satisfied with the end-result. My production is probably the weakest of my traits, and I'm happy to admit that, because it makes me want to be better at it. Still, when the right track comes together under my fingers or at the application of my ideas, it's SO awesome.
And what of the other things I do, you might ask (Music Direction, Engineering, etc.)? Well, I can't say I have a passion for those things, but they are certainly fun and part of my experience, and I've been told I'm pretty decent at them, which would make me want to work harder at them as well. But the list above is as real as it gets if you're looking to get a better understanding of the gears behind the goings-on ;-). Let me know what you think, love your comments always, and thanks for the love!


PMG and MJB! Take a listen to a Throwback Remix!!


This is my version of the Mary J. Blige/Method Man Classic, "You're All I Need." Check it out, hope you enjoy!

Download the remix for FREE! Click Here

P. Murray=1 | Pride=0...I hope ;-)


Over the last few days I have been in talks with colleagues regarding my behavior & how it pertains to the industry. Not surprisingly, the remix I did was sort of the catalyst for this. What was brought to my attention is that I was letting hubris eat away at my reputation for good music. While I was making sure that I said EVERYTHING I felt about the business & it's pitfalls, I wasn't seeing how Pride, in its worst forms, was blocking my blessings.

This weekend, consequently, was one of the most depressing and expository I've had. I sat with my own mistakes, and for the first time in a long time, really examined them, seeing how the ramifications of my actions could've been (and still could be) more far reaching than I cared to admit. While I was confident that members of the industry would be like me in addressing their problems w/me outright, what I forgot was that people - in any form of socio-business interaction - don't have the time to deal with such confrontation, and will opt for a less time-consuming option (i.e. limiting their dialogue with you & placing your name on the black list). I'm sure I'm on a few of those already with things I've said & done, and I've only had a handful of successes with my work. That's a scary thing, looking at it now.

I'm happy to report, faithful pals, that at the end of the weekend, I was able to laugh at myself, and with a final conversation w/a great producer-friend, hit the bed knowing that I had somewhat conquered my Pride. In a scene from one of my favorite movies, "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," actor James Garner's character. noted something that makes even more sense now than before: "Pride covers a multitude of sins, and...the road to hell is paved with good intentions." He went on to explain that the road back is paved with Pride's arch-nemesis, Humility. And it is this Humility that I think has finally won over my heart; this is an awesome thing.

SO! What happens know? Well, my fans & friends, you already know that good music is going to keep happening in my little corner of the world. The difference? Now I can see that it's better to just "shut up" and make it, rather than blab about it ALL the time, LOL (thanks Giles). OK, we all know I LOOOOVE to talk about stuff...and I mean, let's face it, I probably will keep blogging and blabbing about stuff. But now I get that talking about stuff and talkin' SHIT don't have to be in the same blog entry. And you guys who are supporting me deserve a better artist & creator; I'm no role model, I know this, but I can do a better job of giving you all what it is you like about me, which is - hopefully - good music. So thank you, from the bottom of my newly cleaned heart, for continuing to rock with me...here we go again!!