MJ's House of Hoe Cakes (Flippin' Shit)
I Ain't Mad at the Villain...>
“While in London promoting and performing for the debut of Madvilliany, Madlib hand-delivered Egon Further Adventures... in May of 2004. Late at night, after the show, he sauntered to Abbey Road certifiably bugging out. "I was walking around for hours, till the sun came up, listening to the record," Egon recalls. "We just released Madvillany, and he turned this in?!"
Surprised, and with good reason as what could have been a low-key collaboration with DOOM turned over record-breaking sales across the globe, with Soundscans of close to 60,000 in the U.S. alone and six-figure shipping numbers for the world at large. In an industry where 10,000 copies sold could be definitely considered a success, these were some serious units for indie hip hop... " - Elemental Magazine, 2005 by Peter Agoston
Soundscans of close to 60,000, hmmm? Well isn’t this the greatest story never told, then?
“Twenty-eight years old. I’m back in L.A., waking up at one of the half-nice hotels they’ve still got downtown, on the top floor. There’s a fat, balding, older man asleep next to me, calling the hogs a/k/a snoring in a major way. He’s missing a couple of teeth, but he covers them with gold and ruby fronts in public. He’s a rapper-slash-producer, okay, MC-slash-producer, and we’re “on the coast” recording a concept album in the east L.A. hills with another MC-slash producer. Oh yeah, it’s my concept. Oh yeah, I have to babysit this guy. Oh yeah, the album’s cut, we go on one concert date where I also have to road manage, after a relationship was totally out of the question...then we break forever. Oh yeah, I never get paid nor do I get my fucking A&R credit.” – excerpt from my upcoming autobiography.
Here’s the rundown. Plain and simple. I managed Doom’s business career, and acted as a creative manager on many fronts from the time he re-released “Black Bastards” with Ready Rock Records, until just before “Madvillainy” was released commercially. I was also active in music journalism at the time, and I interviewed Madlib for Mass Appeal Magazine. We discussed many of the jazz greats, and whether or not his uncle, Jon Faddis, had ever jammed with my father, Buell Neidlinger. We decided they probably had. At the end of our interview, ‘Lib mentioned that he really wanted to work with MF Doom, more than any other living artist. I shut off the minidisk, looked him in the eye, and told him I’d make it happen. I’d previously conceptualized Doom and Madlib doing a collabo project – both Monalisa Murray and Havana Joe can attest to that fact.
I called Doom to discuss the particulars, and we began to negotiate with Stonesthrow Records – Chris “Peanut Butter Wolf” Manak and Eothen “Egon” Alopatt. They didn’t want to cough up for an LP, but wanted to do a 12”. Doom didn’t want to go to California for 12” money. We backed and forthed. I mediated, as Doom disliked discussing business, preferring to play the artist role. All parties eventually agreed to go forward with the 12” to start.
We flew to L.A. I drove Doom everywhere, we listened to Madlib’s beats. This process continued. Stonesthrow cats LOVED the shit Doom and ‘Lib were cutting in the studio. Renegotations commenced. A deal was struck for an LP. They wanted it to remain on their label and pay Doom as a featured artist. We went back to Cali, recorded some more, and they played Coachella. In the meantime Doom had asked me to leave some vocals on his voice mail. He dropped them into the song “Fancy Clown”. Immediately after Coachella I ended all dealings with Doom, personal as well as professional (see excerpt, above).
In short, Stonesthrow refused to give me a co-A&R credit, although by even the most loose industry standards I’d be entitled to that credit. They called me a “project consultant” and my vocals were used under the name “Allah’s Reflection” as I’d been called on MF Grimm’s LP, The Downfall of Iblys. I was compensated neither for the use of my vocals, nor for my involvement with the project. In true Doom form, I was never given a percentage of any monies received from Stonesthrow after the initial 10% of a little-bit-of-nothin’ for the 12”.
I ran into Wolf in the airport in NYC last summer. He looked real shook. I gave him my number, and told him we needed to talk. In true Wolf form, he didn’t call to discuss.
Madlib was at the airport too. We gave each other a big hug. Huge smiles. He's one of the best people I've come across, who just happens to make music because he loves to do it; and it just happens to make a lot of people, from Chris Manak to Michael Bull, plenty of money. And hopefully it's enough for him to take care of his daughter and enjoy life.
As far as Doom goes, I have to call it as I see it. Doom has burned a lot of people in this biz. From Grimm, to Lord Scotch, to the Monsta Island Czars, to Count Bass D…the list goes on and on. Then again, he does give young, unknown cats a chance to rhyme on records, not that that's not a mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship. And at least he takes care of his kids. But when he has it in his mind to not pay you, that's that. It’s sad to see, but he’s just repeating the bad Jewish business habits (as opposed to Jews who do good business) inflicted upon him in his youth as Zev Love X of KMD. And I understand that, plus overstand it.
In the end, there’s no financial gain in music. There’s only hope, and soul, and feeling, and reflection, and upliftment, and nourishment, and love. And where there’s none of that, there is no art. And when the laws of man govern those who strive to live by spiritual laws, it’s only themselves they have to blame. A King rules where he rests. And karma is swift. What goes around comes back around again.
P.S. Doom-illy, if you're reading this, it's all good, Love is Love. You're fine, you can still go see Gee Supreme Allah, he was just telling you to get at me. And if nothing else, don't I deserve to get paid after suffering through that Viktor Vaughn album with you? Smile.
P.P.S. Comments are now closed. All ya'll boy-groupies can go start your own blog about how hard you jock rappers.
p.p.p.s. I put them back. Behave.