Stan Sheppard

*Who was it that made the rule that the only artists who should get signed and promoted at radio should be the people who are under 30 years of age ?

Well, in my humble opinion, that rule should be cast aside like an old rotten tomato !

When I worked in the A&R department at various major recording companies in the 1990’s, I was always told to steer clear of any artists who were in their 30’s because they would be viewed  as “OLD AND DATED” and the company would be unable to secure airplay on them.

I found that to be a very stupid rule then and I still view it to be an extremely flawed rule now. I always felt that some of the best music I ever heard from R&B acts as well as Rap acts came from artists who  were “OVER 30 YEARS OF AGE”.

As far as Rap music is concerned, I felt that most of the artists who were younger artists had a limited range of topics they could rap about simply from the fact that they were too young to have experienced many of life’s ups and downs while in their teens or early 20’s.

As far as men go, most of us who are middle aged now will readily tell anyone interested in listening that when we were in our 20’s we THOUGHT we knew it all, but in reality as the years passed we found out QUICKLY that we were grossly mistaken. To put it bluntly, “we didn’t know ISH!”

When I want to listen to Rap Music today, I love to hear the guys in their late 30’s or early 40’s talking about their life’s experiences and views on certain issues and their lyrics, when done right, are thought provoking and very interesting to listen to. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some real talented young Rap artists in their late teens and in their 20’s and that is not to be debated, but why are the recording companies and radio so focused on AGE? I feel that if a record is bangin’ and it’s from a so-called OLDER ARTIST, who should care ? The general public doesn’t call the radio stations when they hear a song they like and ask the air personality “WHO IS THAT ARTIST AND HOW OLD ARE THEY ?” If they like the song add it to the playlist. If they don’t … trash it !

Whatever happened to the segments on various radio stations where they would have listeners “call in” and voice their opinions about certain records ? What happened to the “MAKE IT OR BREAK IT HOUR ?” Bring that back and let the general public have a say on what new music to hear. Just because a person holds the position of Music or Program Director at a station doesn’t mean they have a LOCK on what’s a hit and what isn’t ! I have seen many Music and Program directors have to admit they were wrong about a particular artist or song they thought was a flop. NOBODY IS RIGHT ALL THE TIME ! And wouldn’t it be nice to hear a VARIETY of music on your favorite radio station and not the SAME records played 20 times a day ? I know it would make a BIG difference to me.

As far as R&B Music is concerned, some of the most gifted artists on the scene today have NO CHANCE of getting on popular radio these days strictly because of their AGE and that is a darn shame in my opinion. A lot of the young Rap artists I associate with and R&B music buyers in their 20’s and 30’s LOVE some of the older artists putting out good soul music as we use to call it and have it bangin’ in their cars and in their homes on a daily basis. They don’t care if the artist is in their 40’s or 50’s. If they like the song they buy it and play it ! Simple as that. So record company exec’s and radio programmers PLEASE do yourself a favor… STOP HATIN’ ON THE OLDER ARTISTS JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE OLDER. Judge the music on the merits of the music ITSELF. Not because the recordings were done by people in a certain age group. To me, that’s a very prejudiced way to look at music when the art form itself was never meant to be put in a box like that. CASE CLOSED.

On the Rap Music tip, I must make our readers aware of an INCREDIBLE new record company and promotion company based out of LOUISVILLE KY. that is called “THE HOOPLA MEDIA GROUP”. The company is headed by MR. CHAD KISER and MR. JONATHAN HAY and they are one of the most aggressive and focused companies out in the marketplace today. I have been watching these young business men build this label and promotion entity for the last few years and I must say that I am THOROUGHLY IMPRESSED with what they have accomplished in a very short period of time. These guys KNOW how tobreak a record in the marketplace and if the truth be told… THEY COULD GIVE THE MAJORS SOME POINTERS ON HOW TO DO IT RIGHT ! They got the Internet on LOCK as far as promotion is concerned and it seems whatever they touch turns out to be a HIT on the creative tip. They are currently launching two new projects that I heard and I must tell you, if you’re a fan of WEST COAST RAP MUSIC, you MUST get these two projects because they are BADDDDD ! The first is the new album from “THA CHILL” entitled “CHILLAFORNIA”. When I listened to this it had SMASH written all over it ! Simply put… “THA CHILL IS JUST TOO COLD”. The second project is from the one and only “KNOCTURNAL” and it’s called “KNOC’S VILLE”. I have completely worn this CD OUT playing it over and over again. Clever lyrics, bangin’ beats and a diversified sound that will keep you rockin’ from start to finish ! Do yourself a favor and check these two projects out. You won’t be disappointed.

Also, PLEASE CHECK OUT the new single from the Rap artist “QUE” out of Milwaukee. He has one of the most INCREDIBLE SINGLES I HAVE HEARD IN YEARS ! It’s entitled “CAN’T KEEP RUNNIN AWAY” and it deals with the subject of “BULLYING”. This young 16 year old artist PUT IT DOWN lyrically speaking and people are taking notice all over the country. EBONY and JET MAGAZINE were so blown away by the song that they are featuring it in their upcoming issues and EBONY is including the song on their new EBONY IPAD being readied for release next year. To check this song out and the story behind this young artist, check this link out:  http://www.onmilwaukee.com/music/articles/mkeupque.html

On the R&B tip, PLEASE check out one of the premier voices out today. That’s my girl “LENA J”. She’s got some of the tightest music out now and when you hear her project you will see why I think it’s just a matter of time before she blows up on a major scale. Her album entitled “PLEASURE, PAIN & PASSION” is a mixture of OLD SCHOOL MEETS NEW SCHOOL and the results are AMAZING.

She co-produced the project with the Multi-platinum producers “DJ BATTLECAT”, “AMPLIFIED”, “BEATMASTA WES” and “KIRV”. When you listen to this, just sit back and check out her lyrics and her extremely sultry sound. I know you will love it. Oh, and by the way… SHE’S A PLEASURE TO
LOOK AT TOO !

Until the next time, Stay safe, Stay focused and STAY WITH GOD. PEACE.

To reach Stan Sheppard email:  [email protected]