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PROFESSIONAL DEMO REVIEW - Jul 4, 2005

- “She has good potential to be signed by a record label!”

- “He needs a photographer to frame him for industry appreciation.”

- “Please quit while you’re ahead. This ain’t going anywhere!”

picture Three unsigned HitQuarters Artists Of The Week have been reviewed by three successful music industry professionals. You can read reviews of their vocals, production, composition, visual presentation and overall potential to get a record deal and achieve chart success, as well as advice on how to approach the music industry and improve their tracks.

The three artists are:


HitQuarters ArtistEkxzile – USA – Rap

Ekxzile, aka Venson Lett, is originally from Detroit, Michigan, although he now resides in the South. He has lived everywhere from Massachusetts to Alabama, which explains why he is nicknamed the Nomad.

Listen to Ekxile – Swerve Lanes

HitQuarters ArtistHazel – USA – Rap

Hazel, the sensual, 20-year-old, tongue-twisting rapper from Atlantic City, has collaborated with Sony recording artist Lyfe and Universal artist Shaliek Rivers, and the track "Poison Ivy" has been heating up the air waves at XM Radio (Channel 61).

Listen to Hazel – Poison Ivy

HitQuarters Artist T.U. Savant – USA – Rap

T.U. Savant, aka Patrick Mowery Hall, says he is the only rapper other than Jay Z who can make songs “off the dome”, that is, without having to write anything down.

Listen to T.U. Savant – Back And Forth


The three industry professionals doing the reviews are:


Steve 'Blast' Wills – American Producer

He is one of Saint Louis' most influencial producers and has over 8 million records sales on his resume including Chingy, Nelly (including tracks on his breakthrough album “Country Grammar”) and other artists from Universal, Jive, Capitol and Warner. He started out in 1987 with a home studio project mixing old records on a turntable. Today he is working out of a 1.7 million dollar full recording facility with SSL console.

In the summer of 1997 Blast travelled to North Hollywood, where he worked with several seasoned veterans in the business who produced El De Barge, Chico, Ice T, Bel Biv Devoe and Color me Badd. Recently he has ventured into television by establishing production relationships with various independents that handle programming for UPN, BET, MTV2 and TV1.

He is still supervising young producers, as he has done for several years. The production likes of Track Boyz, Track Starz, Jason Epperson and MD Production have all followed very informative advice from Blast. His future goals include establishing an urban production facility to teach sequencing and recording in Saint Louis and a new programme to connect young talented producers with recording and production studios. www.blastmusiq.com

Gabo – Talent Scout/TV Producer from New York.

He is in charge of Mad Ciphas, an underground music television show that provides up and coming artists with the chance to be seen and heard every week. The show is recognized as the first Mixtape Show and is credited for finding artists such as Jae Millz, J.R. Writer, Immortal Technique, Shells, Jae Hood.

Log on to www.madciphas.com for more information on the show and the services they provide for up and coming artists who are looking for exposure in the music industry

Mughal – Canadian producer

Mughal is an urban producer who has worked with artists for several of the majors. He currently runs his own production house and label – Shakedown Entertainment Group – out of Canada. www.shakedown-ent.com


Reviews on Ekxzile:


Steve Blast: The track is catchy. The rap style is fairly original, the concept could be a little bit more versatile but overall it could fly with the right marketing and video. To get this artist signed there would have to be a major buzz or a serious image enhancement. Remember everyone wants to be a rap star or signed to a major; give the industry a reason to choose you!

The bio is good overall, except for the blanket statement about 'only can be described as gumbo'. I am sure his style can be described with other adjectives more that just 'gumbo'. It gave information about his past, age, accomplishments; in short, it was informative.

I don't believe that the picture represents his likeness very well. The photo could be catered more towards a theme or could have a more polished look. In short, Exkzile needs a photographer to frame him for industry appreciation.

Mughal: You know at times when you hear a beat and you’re like, “WTF?” That happened to me when I heard this beat. I think the producer was trying too hard to sound different and weird. There’s a limit to trying to be different. I personally can’t hear this type of production on radio, or see any respectable A&R rep liking the work.

The good thing is the producer had somewhat of a good arrangement and song structure, but I wasn’t feeling the sound or production at all. Sound quality wasn’t bad, mixing could use a bit more work but so can the beat and overall sound. If it wasn’t for the rapper I was going to shut this song off about 2 seconds into it. Really, really WACK! is all I can say about this beat.

The artist isn’t bad though. Over a “screw music” type of beat he would sound good. I really liked the hook and flow. It’s very different, but ‘good’ different. The biggest thing I’ll give you credit for is spiting over a wack-ass beat. Anyone who can still come out on a beat like that has potential.

Only suggestion would be to loose the Eminem like flow at times. It pops up a few times in the song. Also, don’t try too hard to come off different, just let it flow naturally throughout the song.

The hook is hot! I like the way he changed up his vocal tone and flow in the chorus. With a better production, I think you can go far with your different type of flow. I don’t see him being the next biggie or Jay Z, but I could imagine him as being a new ODB or D12 type of rapper.

I grade the production 2 out of 10 and the artists 8 out of 10.

Gabo/Mad Ciphas: The song is cool but this song does not have a national appeal so some of the fans might dig it and others might not. This song only appeals to certain regions of the United States. The production is alright and the lyrics won’t blow you away. The lyrics are simple and easy to follow.

I don’t know if a record label is going to sign this artist on the strength of this song. We have heard songs like this before so it is nothing new to many who have followed hip hop through the years. This is not a radio friendly song and is not going to be a hit even though it is alright.


Reviews on Hazel:


Steve Blast: The song is catchy and the rap style is nice, but I don't believe that this song is her best material. I do see her doing more material that can appeal to the masses, the potential is definitely there. Hazel is hot. Her rap style is easily digested, not too over the top and the right track will bring the creativity out of her. I would do a remix on her if opportunity presented itself, something to get the clubs in an uproar.

The bio is good and straight to the point. It describes the artist style and vibe and gives insight on the history. The picture was very clean and looks like a professional head shot take by a photographer. It made a very good first impression on me and she does have a very marketable look. Hazel’s eyes show depth and have a distinct personality. She's a pretty girl with a good photogenic image.

Mughal: Blazing! I really think that with a bit more work, and a better production, Hazel can go far. The female hip hop market is a good one to be in, so Hazel, you’re on point! Only thing I would suggest is to become clearer in pronunciation with a few lines and the hook. Clarity is very important unless it’s a type of style or something, which I can’t hear it is.

Her hooks have a lot of potential, but don’t seem to get to the point. It’s catchy at times but gets a bit confusing. I guess it’s a combination of production and songwriting you’ll need to work at. Make the hooks more simple, clearer and easier to follow along with.

Overall the flow is crazy, and the vocal tone is blazing. Just fix up the songwriting element of the hook, which is the most important thing in a song - you don’t want to get lazy on that. I think you’ve got a lot of commercial potential and can go far in the biz with a bit more work on fine tuning your craft.

One of the negatives of this track is that there aren’t enough changes in production. The track gets a bit boring after a while. The production needs to show a difference of verse and chorus. The track seems to just play through with minimum changes, making it repetetive. The only time a trance like track would work is if you were doing a “Screw music record”, which is then fine, but with this track you need changes and more excitement.

It starts off HOT! Then it gets you excited. Then it just gets boring. I like the drums and sounds used, but it’s nothing I haven’t heard before. However, I really liked the drum pattern used; it shows that the producer is trying to do something different, which is always a good thing.

Overall, the production was good in sound quality and presentation, but could use a bit more work on arrangement. I like the way the producer used the synth sound; it has a nice vibe to it, but just gets too constant. This track is pretty good. I can’t say it’s a hit, but I can say it has potential.

I grade the production 7.5 out of 10 and the artists 8.5 out of 10.

Gabo/Mad Ciphas: I like this track and it has hit potential because the hook is catchy. Hazel sounds unique and is witty with her delivery and wordplay. This track can fit in the current down south upbeat sound that is very friendly to radio play and clubs at the present time.

The production is good and the chorus completes the song. She has good potential to be signed by a record label. The song fulfills its purpose to be a radio friendly song. Girls will love this song because it’s empowering, but I don’t know if a guy is going to dig this song.


Reviews on T.U. Savant:


Steve Blast: The track is pretty catchy, but that was the only thing about the song that really caught my ear. The rap style may be a little bit too abstract to market to the masses. In the bio it made comparisons to Jay Z, but Jay Z has lyrics with content.

Savant should really practice just basic rhyme flow. There are only so many syllables that will fit into a bar. It seems he’s saying too much, whilst not saying anything relevant to this song. “Off the dome” doesn't make good records. Good songs with good concepts make good records.

The bio seems rushed and has almost no distinguishing characteristics besides his disease, Jay Z and that he is from Brooklyn. I don’t see a story, no solid history, age, as this bio insinuates that you don't write at all.

The picture was really not in focus at all. Please take your time to make a decent first impression. Photos should be at least crisp and show an accurate likeness of the artist. Personality should be displayed with the image of the photo. Background should be setup or staged, lighting should be monitored as best you can. I am sure he was just rushing.

Mughal: Please quit while you’re ahead. This ain’t going anywhere. What are you saying in this track?? Your flow is off beat and I can’t even hear what you’re talking about. The songwriting is really weird, not good throughout, and things don’t even rhyme.

I’ll give you credit for trying, but being very upfront, this track was pretty hilarious. I can hear it being a comedy track. There’s no song structure, and the hook is not clear or easy to follow at all. I’d give you advice on how to fix things, but that would just be wasting time because in my view you’ve got no future in this.

The production needs work. There are good drums used, but the structure and overall sound needs a lot of work. The mixing is not good at all and needs to be clearer with a bit more punch. I’m not feeling it.

I grade the production 3 out of 10 and the artists 0 out of 10.

Gabo/Mad Ciphas: I don’t like this track because it’s too simple. He’s talking to the beat instead of rhyming to it. His flow and the beat don’t coexist. This track will not get any sort of radio rotation, and doesn’t have hit potential at all.

T.U. Savant has to stick with a certain vocal sound and not jump from one to the other. He needs a lot of work and needs to polish his skills. I don’t see the majority of an audience liking this song. Instead of trying to make a song “off the dome” he should try to write his rhymes down. A record label would not sign him at this stage of his career.


Demos on review are chosen from the ones uploaded to the A&R Panel. To upload your songs, click here.

If you are a music industry professional that would like to participate in the demo reviews, please send us a message.





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