BOO Records: Ridaz on the Rise -
interview by William Haskins
SubstanceTV's ongoing relationship with Boo Ridaz began late last year. Over the past several months, the story evolved along with the group, and this testament to grassroots marketing and keeping music close to street reveals a group of driven and ambitious artists and business people. SubstanceTV spoke with manager Michael Paul Murray about his role with the Ridaz and the bright future that awaits them.
STV: What part do you play in the Boo Ridaz career?
MM: I?m the Indian that went off the reservation to school and came back to help my people. They call me the Light-Skin-ded-One. I get them into front doors closed to them and they get me into back doors closed to me.
STV: What do you bring to the development of their career and business affairs?
MM: In short, I provide access and take their excuses away. They said they were rappers, I said, "Show me." An early career in the video game industry and high school buddies at the top of industry make me uniquely positioned to network the Boo Ridaz. The same retailers that sell video games sell music. I?ve been able to use this to advantage as recently as e3 in Los Angeles where B.O.O. Records met with A&R?s from Warner Bros. and Atlantic and upcoming meetings with Interscope and Universal. I grew up with Adrian Carmack (id Software), Robert Atkins (Ritual), Mike Wilson (Godgames/SubstanceTV), and William Haskins (SubstanceTV). I watched firsthand as id Software pumped out game after game under the guidance of Jay Wilbur and attended e3 each year. I watched games developed from concept to shrink-wrap and independents companies decide how they wanted to do it themselves. B.O.O. Records holds the same ideals. I?m simply using my contacts and experience to help them maintain that spirit of independency. We?re fortunate to have a CD and DVD coming out at the same time. If someone hears the music and wants to learn more about us, they can watch the DVD and learn all about us. That?s powerful in today?s "I want it now DADDY!" world. Working on the SubstanceTV DVD exposed the artists firsthand to pioneers in multi-media production and marketing. SubstanceTV encouraged the artists every step of the way and continue to be a driving force in our image and success. It's like getting a college internship without going to school. Content is King. I had hit the untapped mother lode and I had to respond. I had the knowledge, the resources, and the drive. I had only to think things out to see that B.O.O. Records was going to make it and this might be my only chance to do the thing I seemed born for ?.the next No Limit Records or Cash Money from Louisiana? only now it?s in the Top-Left-Corner-Of-The-Boot and we call it B.O.O. Records.
STV: What's been the biggest leap forward for the label and the group so far?
MM: Seeing the finished DVD documentary on SubstanceTV. It was testament to our sacrifice. It proved to us, and to others, that what we were doing was real.
STV: What are the Ridaz? challenges performing live at this stage of their career?
MM: Finding venues to allow rappers to perform. Many establishments approached do not want the "audience" that follows the rap scene. Once we find a place to perform, we're lucky if the promoters don't cancel. We are at the low end of the totem pole when it comes to resources, and starting off, you just have to take what you can get. For performers it?s hard to promote shows and get people to support you when they show up and the doors are closed. There's so much of this going on, club owners and radio stations require prepayment from Rap groups or artists. As an AT&T Wireless Dealer, I benefit from End-of-Run pricing, which allows me to run my promotions and pay the radio station later. This is a significant barrier to entry for entry-level artists.
STV: When did you become involved with BOO Records and the Boo Ridaz? At what stage of development as a musical act were they when you entered the picture?
MM: I went to check out Boo Records when I heard my nephew, 6-year old Lil KK was performing with Nemesis in a club on Cooper Road in Shreveport, a notoriously dangerous neighborhood. I wanted to make sure everything was cool for him to be around that type of gig. B.O.O. Records C.E.O, ?Pop?, reassured me that the group always put Lil KK first and handed me a tape of a couple songs they had recorded for KK. I was floored. And convinced in that moment that if these guys really wanted to be rappers, I really wanted them to be. The group had really just started recording and vibing so I would say that I came in right after they recorded their first six songs. As a group they were hanging together on their skills and respect for each other. Individually they were a compilation of neighborhood street rappers, all King on their block. Together the sum of the parts was greater than the whole. They really liked working together and quickly formed working relationships. Free styling was all day and all night until I took a vacation with SubstanceTV Founder, Mike Wilson. High-school buddies, we sat on the beach and updated each other on our current projects. After mentioning the Boo Ridaz and Lil KK, Wilson decided it sounded like a good idea for his new business and he went on to introduce the concept of SubstanceTV. Wilson agreed to document the grass-roots rap startup and the rest of the story is still playing out.
STV: Is the label encouraged by the recent successes of other independent southern hip-hop labels like No Limit and Rap-A-Lot?
MM: Of course. Especially when the music at the top of the charts is only a 5-hour drive south. It creates a kinship or rather an ownership of the Southside Rap scene. Shreveport, Louisiana is well positioned to support a breakout rap group. Rich in musical history, Shreveport hosts the Louisiana Hayride Radio Show, which played host to legendary greats Elvis and Hank Williams. The Municipal Auditorium is getting a revival from local organization FAME www.famefoundation.net. The Hayride took advantage of the best technology of the time-Broadcast Radio. Boo Records acknowledges the web as crucial technology to bringing their music to the public. FAME?s plan to spend 0 Million dollars to renovate the Louisiana Hayride and surrounding neighborhoods, means a concentrated focus to reviving the popularity of the area. Lil KK lives in those neighborhoods that stand to be directly affected. We can?t think of a better poster child for the FAME organization. However, local favorite Kenny Wayne Shepherd is an established artist and the chosen representative. We just hope that residents in the affected neighborhoods get a chance to cheer for their own hero.
STV: What lessons have the label and group taken from other indie record companies that have achieved success?
MM: Own yourselves so that you call the shots and earn more of the profits. Successful techniques can be duplicated and packaged for resale to other up and coming artist. The American Dream is alive and well... it just takes hard work and commitment.
STV: What is it that sets the Boo Ridaz apart from other up-and-coming hip-hop acts?
MM: Definitely our sound. ?Boolineum? shows our diversity in lyrical styles and universal music. The CD originally was supposed to be a compilation, so the tracks are varied and diverse, ranging from hard-edged music that makes your woofers jump (?Ridin/Boo Riders?), to soulful tracks like ?Don't Cry?. One of my favorites is the playful and tricky ?Mary Jane?. Also setting us apart is that we have been working on the CD and DVD simultaneously. So now that when people hear the music and want to know who we are, we show them the DVD. Just seeing themselves printed on the cover and watching the DVD feature itself, brings instant credibility to these guys. But I think the thing that really sets them apart, is the talent. Simply put, these guys have talent... lots of it. I expect great careers from each of the Boo Ridaz.
STV: How do Boo Records and the Boo Ridaz plan to push the boundaries of both the lyrical and musical aspects of hip-hop?
MM: We're already doing this with Lil KK. From the very beginning people have told us to separate Lil KK from the Boo Ridaz. To do that is to say Lil KK is NOT a Boo Ridaz. And trust me. He is. Through and through. Boo Records recognizes the different channels available to the older guys as well as to Lil KK. We just feel Lil KK and the Boo Ridaz balances out the bubblegum production seen with other younger rappers. Boo Records hopes to capitalize on the successes of its Southern Cousins No Limit and Cash Money, but also by learning from their mistakes. We hope to create a business that artists respect and want to do business with. We can target malls for Lil KK and the younger audience. Teens represent the largest influence on adult spending. Who do you think brings the kids to the shows? Mommies and Daddies. After a hype show at the mall with their kids, it?s time for mom to hit the club with her girlfriends. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective means of advertising, and the cheapest. To be honest, I'm shamelessly pimping out the Boo Ridaz to draw in the single moms. Those single moms represent our target audience for the adult shows. Invite the women and the men will follow. Ergo, sale tickets to shows and your artist get paid. The mothers are also the final purchase decision-maker and determine if their child can listen to, much less buy, the CD. I just turn them loose and the ladies maul them. I have to drag them out amongst stares and hisses but I know the show that night will be CRUNK! Bayloc's going to make sure about that.
Boo Records recognizes the existing boundaries and is thankful for formats like Substance.TV that captures the realness of B.O.O. Records.
Original Article Located at: http://www.substancetv.com/article.php/8b33fa42530119f43bc3bea45d72a69e/?iss=5&art=60