I can clearly remember the day I graduated from college a little over three years ago. I was a fresh-faced, green knucklehead who was ecstatic for accomplishing a task so many people haven’t: slaving away at a college university, completing menial papers designed to show my “knowledge” in a subject I likely couldn’t apply to real-world situations today, seemingly throwing thousands of dollars down the drain to earn some extravagant receipt for my efforts.
I felt it was all worth it, however. I’d have a Bachelor’s Degree – technically making me smarter than one Kanye West – and thus would be able to land the proverbial job of my dreams within the music industry. I’d then go home after a long, hard day of work each night to a loving woman who’d present me with a steak and a happy ending every night, and I’d proceed to eventually hump out a few grandchildren for my mother.
And it was all good just a week ago.
Fast-forward a good three months after collecting my degree, and I’m holed up in the kitchen and bedware section at the local Macy’s selling ridiculously expensive, faux-Ginsu knives for about eight dollars an hour. Lyor Cohen I was not. Eventually I was able to escape the caged walls of a department sales monkey to a more respectable position, but ever since then, I’ve always wondered what could have been.
Despite the depleting sales, massive layoffs and general tomfoolery that is the music industry today there are still a decent amount of employment opportunities within, some of which are so simple to achieve that it’s almost a crime for this piece to even discuss them. Alas, in the spirit of (B)lack History Month (and as a civil service with the hope I’ll provide most of the readers of this site with enough inspiration to prevent themselves from becoming future prison residents) I’ve decided that this episode of Slang Editorial will be dedicated to some of the many jobs found within the industry, from A to zinc.
A&R<. Now, I honestly don’t know what an A&R means or what the job consists of, and in actuality I feel it’s about as worthless as a three-dollar bill. But apparently being an A&R can get you a paycheck doing as little as humanly possible, and if you’re really lucky you can say you’ve worked on albums that will never see the light of day, like Detox or whatever’s Saigon’s nonexistent, future ashtray is named (word to Sickamore).
Bling Handler. Essentially a step above a weed carrier but a step below an umbrella holder, jewelry holders pull double duty as bullet takers as well. As glamorous as walking around carrying a rapper’s chains in a man-purse may sound, these careers are very short-lived due to the fact that an employee will be ducking bullets from everyone from cops to rivals. On the plus side they’re guaranteed to get sloppy seconds right after the umbrella holder, which is way better than the bukkake sessions weed carriers have to suffer through.
Counterfeiter. Also known as bootlegging, counterfeiters are primarily blamed for single-handedly sending the music industry into its current doldrums. But can you really blame the consumers for wanting to purchase the latest release when they usually go five for $20 from the local corner? Plus unlike Paco, I don’t see Target giving me a free churro when I buy a CD.
Dope Boy. Many people feel that the position of the dope boy is perhaps the best way on the path to become a rapper. In actuality, being a drug peddler is the lowest rung on the ladder to rapping, being that most drug dealers lack the cognitive thought to make words rhyme. In that absence however, they have the densest street credibility of all rap acts, as their seemingly unflinching demeanor toward pushing debilitating narcotics to their own community with little to no remorse sets them up to be among “the hardest ones out.”
E-Thug. Seeing as how MySpace hacking, YouTube threats and various other online disses are the new stabbings, drive-bys and shootings, what’s better than voicing your disdain for a rapper than spelling it out under an anonymous name in the comments section of your favorite website? Cyber-thugging is the ideal position for those who have the mouthpiece but lack the brawn and balls to actually do something.
Goon. On the contrary, goons can, have and will probably wreck your whole shop if given the word. While they definitely ramp up the credibility of their capo, goons are incapable of formulating their own cognitive thoughts, reducing them to an almost robotic-like escort for a rapper. But damn if they’re not afraid to fuck something up on GP.
Hater. This position is a bit tricky, as it inherently exists in each one of us. To make the transition into a full-fledged career hater, however, one must be able to harness it to be able to disseminate the most egregious of verbal insults, expressed abhorrence and general shit-talking to nigh-Madd Rapper levels.
Informer. Known by its more popular name “snitch,” the informer’s only purpose is to communicate to law officials the actions of an artist. While many opponents feel that the informer is a useless, spineless member of society, they can also prove to have the most lucrative of jobs provided they are successful in taking down prominent figures of society. And no, sending Prodigy up the river was a significant contribution.
Producer. Thanks to the likes of Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, producers are no longer limited to toiling behind the boards making high-end jingles for their clients. Prominent beat makers can command upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a simple eight-bar loop, more than enough money to splurge on toaster-over rims or steroids (what up, Dr. Dre?).
Rapper. The job everyone aspires to get. Sadly, being a rapper doesn’t take too much thought anymore, and almost anyone with at least a fourth grade education can become a rapper. You don’t even need lottery ticket-style luck to make noise in the rap game now; simply sell yourself and music as the current jigaboo sensation to a tall Israeli, and one day you too will be able to make an appearance on Rap City like KFC mixtape “artist” D Mawl.
Slore. Groupies, tricks, scallywhops: no matter how you slice it, the reputation of the slore has shot to higher sights thanks to the, ahem, actions of one Karrine Stephans. Whereas simply collecting child support checks were the item du juor before, sleeping with a multitude of rappers, goons, dope boys and producers will almost certainly guarantee a book deal from Harper-Collins, or at least whomever publishes those Zane joints.
Tall Israeli. Becoming a powerful figure in rap is no easy task. You have to be willing to lie, cheat and steal your way to the top, crushing any and every form of opposition there is. As proprietors of all the major music labels, clothing companies, alcohol breweries, Indian casinos and flea markets across the nation, Tall Israelis are truly running this rap shit, and being from the Middle Eastern countries doesn’t hurt too much, too.
Weed Carrier. It’s a known fact that two-thirds of people under the age of 25 have carried weed for somebody during the last five years. Hell, chances are you’re probably carrying weed for somebody as you read this. Piff pocketing, cheeba stashing, wig brushing: all are nothing more than internships for the aspiring industry star. Carrying is a must, as not only does it get your foot in the door and your eyes redder than stop lights, but also weed carrying is the pathway to each and every profession mentioned in this piece. If it can grant Memphis Bleek with a lifetime supply of Rocawear clothing, surely it can do the most for the average Joe.
While getting a job has gotten much more difficult in the new millennium, the influx of music-related professions means that’s there’s new avenues to get ahead. And if all else fails, I’m pretty sure there’s a Macy’s out there more than willing to take your application.