Since then, we’ve spoken several times, and I’ve seen him perform on many occasions. We’ve posted up some of his work since then, and recently, I personally got involved with one of his projects in a different manner, producing a track from his latest mixtape, Welcome Home Ralphie, a 15-track project, dedicated to brother Ralphie’s release from prison.
(There’s my disclosure.)
The track I supplied is very moody and dark, and fits nicely with OTiS CLaPP’s vibe, particularly how he wrote and delivered it.
I thought it was the best I’d heard from him.
I was pretty confident that my contribution would be a standout.
I was wrong.
When we spoke at a recent event, I told him I had listened to it twice, mentioned one or two songs I remember liking, and promised I would get back with more detail.
(He’s probably wondering why I didn’t, but I don’t think he’ll call me out on it.)
Anyway, I realized after speaking to him that the fact is, this is about more than just OTiS CLaPP. This is about the relationship between the hip hop “media” and underground artists, particularly on my New York Metro beat.
I was an artist once. I can understand how it’s nice to see that a blog or publication site, especially the larger ones with great readership, put up your song or video.
It’s just that from what I’ve seen, in most cases the site is either blindly supporting you because there is a preexisting relationship, or just posts it up because they post everything they can.
In most cases there is nothing but an image and a link.
In these scenarios, what’s missing is the biggest thing that these upcoming artists need, and in OTiS CLaPP’s case, something I can tell he really wants.
It’s more than a posting with little to no commentary. It’s more than the perception of a co-sign. It’s more than just another platform for all of the artist’s already-fans to root them on. It’s more than the new, but largely jaded eyeballs they may attract, that you probably won’t win over anyway.
It’s something that few sites offer, and even fewer offer to new artists.