PROFESSIONAL DEMO REVIEW - June 8, 2009
-“With the country oriented guitar picking and harmonica riffs, he brings a fresh approach to the hip-hop game.”
For the first in a crisp new season of Professional Demo Reviews, hip-hop is the order of the day, with our music industry panel lending their critical ears to three new tracks by three unsigned rap artists.
Offering their critiques to joints by Camil, Cardi and Mully Man are Mughal, Steve ‘Blast’ Wills and Mac G. The reviewers analyse all aspects: vocals, production, composition, visual presentation; provide tips on improving the tracks; evaluate their overall potential to get a record deal and achieve chart success, and advise on approaching the music industry.
Remember, demos on review are chosen from the ones uploaded to the A&R Panel. To get your music assessed by our expert panel upload your tracks here.
The ArtistsCamil – US – Rap
Atlanta-based rapper Camil is currently being produced by Grammy nominee Vudu Spellz (Ludacris, Jamie Foxx, R.Kelly) and has been featured on the soundtrack ‘A Get Together’, which included Kanye West, and Boyz 2 Men. He is available for record, publishing and management deals.
Cardi – US – Rap
Brooklyn rapper Cardi has already attracted attention with his appearance on the MTV Battle Hip Hop Show, 'Fight Club'. He is available for record, publishing and management deals.
Mully Man – US – Rap
Baltimore's Mully Man has already made major waves by having three of his tracks featured in the highly acclaimed HBO series 'The Wire'. He is available for record, publishing and management deals.
The Industry Professional Review Panel
Mughal – Canada – Producer
Known to many as the industry’s best-kept secret having done several ghost production projects globally, Mughal has just signed a new production and management deal with major production house Medinah Entertainment out of NYC (Rihaana, Darkchild, Brandy, Joe, Diddy). Mughal is also heavily involved within the telecom industry designing ringtones and new formats of content worldwide.
Mac G – US – Producer and Songwriter
Hailing from Philly, Jermaine Russ - P/K/A Mac G - is an inspiring producer/songwriter who is starting to receive a lot of attention in the music industry. Mac G has already worked with many recognised artists in the music business, including Flipmode Squad's Rampage, EVE, Kurupt, Young Gunz, Mya, Omillio Sparks, (State Property), City Boyz, Actress and Singer Monica Calhoun (Best Man, Player's Club).
Steve Blast – US – Producer
As one of Saint Louis' most influential producers, Steve Blast has over 8 million records sales on his resume including Chingy, Nelly (including tracks on his breakthrough album ‘Country Grammar’) as well countless other artists on Universal, Jive, Capitol and Warner.
Mughal – 7
“I like this joint! The production is nice for a hip-hop track. I really liked that pure south feel on this. With respect to flow, Camil has good flow and tone in voice overall - he stands out from the crowd. The only thing I’d suggest is to ‘spice it up’ somehow on his last verse. Near the end I felt like shutting the song off before it ended, which is something a track should never make you do. A hit song leaves you wanting to hear more, and wishing the song didn’t end so fast.
I think it has enormous potential, but the last verse and song build up needs to be tweaked. There needs to be more dynamics in the track, more changes on both a production level and Camil’s flow. Other than that, I can hear this on the radio all day long and see it hitting the charts. I don’t think this can hit No.1, but do think it could be on the top 40.”
Mac G – 6
“With the country oriented guitar picking and harmonica riffs, he brings a fresh approach to the hip-hop game the same way Nelly did with ‘Country Grammar’. I loved the track but Camil seems to fall off beat a lot throughout the song - although the lyrics are smooth and catchy he still has to work on the tightness of his delivery a little more.
As I’m listening I’m visualising a video with a booshy female going on a crazy shopping spree with all his money. That should attract a lot of teen girls who would agree with the female’s view, and I’m sure a lot of guys can relate to having experienced a female of a gold digging type.
The production on this track is tight - the 808/909 drums are standard with the south and it makes this record blend well with other top records on the radio today - so that is a definite plus for Camil. As far as his chances on getting signed go, I feel that he has great potential if his other records are as consistent, and he keeps his commercial (non-gangsta rap) image going.”
Steve Blast – 6
“I had to listen to this record several times to give it an honest review. At first the blues samples were kinda ‘stock loop’ sounding. But after listening to the song concept and vibing to the record, Camil did make the song interesting. The kicks did beat the trunk - the vocal was clear and consistent, with a good delivery. This song grew on me by the 3rd listen - I'm sure it’ll have the same effect on the radio listeners.
Image looks marketable at first glance. I would definitely try to create unique characteristics to give Camil identity not just a typical photo - maybe a prop, style, or location.
With the right aggressive radio campaign, a remix to the record and B-side single, I can see Camil gettin’ spins’ and even being signed to a situation.”
Mughal – 6
“The production is pretty good – somewhat commercial. I liked how the producer created a reverb effect on the snares. The changes in production and song structure are all good overall, keeping the listener engaged and interested, which is what you want to do always. I really liked the length of the track - it ended at a perfect timeframe, just right for radio as a hip-hop/R&B track.
I think Cardi has a nice flow on the track but there’s just nothing unique about his tone, or style. I’ve heard a million rappers from my block sound the same and I’m from Toronto! Just imagine how many rappers on the street sound like Cardi in NYC! Cardi needs an angle, something different in his style or approach. He’s got skillz, no doubt, its just about finding a niche or something.
The song is definitely suited for radio, but it’s one of those tracks you need to monitor after radio starts playing it to see its market potential. For now, it makes a nice independent single, but does not sound major in any way. This sounds like something a start-up independent label would release.”
Mac G - 8
“Cardi seems like a natural - he’s witty and flashy, with an aggressive vocal presence like a Jay Z or Cassidy. ‘Like Ur Style’ is a certified club banger that talks about a female liking a certain status in the male. The energy in the production makes this record fall right into the top 100 Hip-Hop/R&B slot on the billboard charts and with the right mix, and a better solid kick drum underneath the weak one, this record could go straight through the roof.
Cardi definitely has the potential to be signed because he sounds great and he sounds like he’s already out there - his delivery is tight and the words to this composition were well written. The production is largely excellent, although you can’t hear certain sounds, such the singing part which is low and buried under the track. Yet you can still hear a potential hit record, and I think it would attract the attention of the DJs as well as record executives because it’s a undeniable smash.”
Steve Blast - 8
“Cardi is hot. He definitely has appeal - his sound was polished, nice wordplay and song concept. Track was modern with a universal appeal - simple but with elements that can catch you.
This song has Satellite radio playlist written all over it. Management should start pushin’ for playlist adds ASAP. The vibe of this record has an East coast feel, so starting the campaign up north just makes sense. DC, MD, CT, MI - northern radio stations.
Image looks marketable, should hit well with the ladies. Not sure if there is video footage but that would be a serious visual that could help with artist awareness.
Management is the element that will push Cardi to the forefront - also a smart campaign to encourage DJs to play record in clubs and Programme directors to add to radio playlist. The right information can sell his project to a major.”
Mughal - 4
“I think Mully Man is a good rapper, but this track is wack overall. It’s very annoying. I do appreciate the attempt for the producer to make this track different or edgy, but personally I’m just not feelin’ it. Not to say this can’t hit the radio and get some spins - you never know. But for overall market success or chart success, I don’t think a track like this can fly.
Mully Man has skills, and I can hear the quality of his writing fissure, but I just think he’s more suited for publishing. Trust me Mully, that’s not a bad thing! Right now publishing is where it’s at anyways, especially for rappers.”
Mac G – 9
“Mully Man’s flow comes right out the speakers and grabs your attention - his run on flow and witty wordplay make him stand out like an Eminem type. However, I think the writing on the hook could’ve been a little better - it starts off OK but then drops with a poor finish.
The production on this track has a nice airy sound with a bouncy drum beat like an anthem. Mully Man has a lot of character which gives his songs hit potential, but the track just needs a bigger mix on it to bring out them sounds, and his vocals need that bold bright Ludacris-style mix on them to turn it into an undeniable record.
The song itself would attract attention from the urban street level guys because of what he’s saying, but the bounce of the track would make it a potential club banger and I also can see a nice colourful video that would bring even more attention to Mully’s hit record. I believe this track would catch an A&R at a major labels attention as well, Mully Man could be a huge success with the help of some big name producers.”
Steve Blast - 6
“Mully man has style and lyrics, but this record is not the strongest universal appeal single. I do believe there is another record in the catalogue that would have better universal appeal. East coast fans would probably love this song. Midwest, down south and west coast might not be too quick to latch on.
The song quality was good, the song concept was good - I liked the way the female vocals were on the hook - catchy. I’m positive there are other records that could be the lead single. This song is maybe the 3rd release, not the 1st out the gate.
The track was trapped in east coast vibe, which is perfect if you just targeting up north or niche markets and fans, but it makes it difficult to get other markets in the loop, which affects your national spin average. It’s hard to build the right information to make the song attractive to majors.
Image could use a little flair. We see that image a lot, so it's not very unique or distinguishable from the average aspiring urban artist. Add a prop - i.e. eyewear, chain, location, unique design, font, logo, style …”
Next week: Interview with Pete Wilkinson, the mastermind behind the meteoric rise of Amy MacDonald
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