Six Helpful Tips Every Independent Musician Should Hear

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Incase/Flickr
Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis city. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His project The Hero Killer was released on January 21 and was recently followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For the Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get The Hero Killer here.

Being an independent musician is difficult, and when compared to the corporate music-making machine, it can seem like a downright Sisyphean struggle. To ensure artistic and financial success, one must put forth great effort, and even then the odds are still stacked against you.

Please note: I don't do these articles because I care personally about you or your music -- I do them because I'm a music fan in general, and I grow increasingly frustrated with seeing independent artists I follow do stuff the wrong way repeatedly. I'm still learning the game myself, but I've figured out a few important things along my journey. Maybe they will be of some use to you as well.

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Donald Sterling Is More Fit to Own a Cotton Plantation Than an NBA team

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Source: Clippers Media Guide 2014
Donald Sterling
Donald Sterling is a magical, special type of individual. In addition to owning the LA Clippers, he also has a strong history of publicly spilling blatantly racist statements about his contracted athletes and other minorities. Despite his very well-known history, he somehow always manages to survive the fallout. In this way he has subtlety become an untouchable champion of racial ignorance. We live in 2014 and most of us have stepped into the future, but there's still a few old, crusty, wrinkled-up douchebags alive and kicking.

See also: Paula Deen Should Probably Just Own It

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In Solidarity With the Fast-Food Workers

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Jon Gitchoff

On Tuesday, April 1, an article from the L.A. Times hit the Internet, highlighting the perpetually foul treatment fast-food workers experience both on and off the clock. There were allegations of wage theft and blatant disregard for the established American labor laws.

Fast-food jobs are often viewed from a very stereotypical lens. People assume these jobs are strictly for teenagers in high school, striving to make a quick buck. It's also assumed that most of the employees are good-for-nothings and/or high school dropouts. In reality, in a country that is steadfast about outsourcing industrial jobs, this industry has helped supply employment to the unemployed.


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Fear of a Black Teenager

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Credit: Lucia McBath
Lucia McBath and Jordan Davis
The State of Florida should be ashamed of itself. Its Stand Your Ground laws are ridiculously one-sided. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't give an in-depth legal analysis about the situation, but as a layman I will say it's pathetic. It's becoming the 2014 version of blacks being afraid to go out in public without their freedom papers.

Michael Dunn killed seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis and used this law as a cop out. To add insult to the injury, he approached young Jordan Davis and his friends first -- the teens didn't assault him or approach him whatsoever. No weapons were retrieved from the car, just a dead lifeless body concealed within its bloody interior. Michael Dunn shot into a car of kids and sped away from the scene because he was too much of a bastard to watch his victim actually die.

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Sixteen St. Louis Hip-Hop Acts to Watch in 2014

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Press Photo
Riley B.

I wanted to start 2014 off by giving credit to a few St. Louis artists I have been enjoying lately. I also wanted to mention people you probably haven't heard of, because this is the duty of a real fan. I could have easily written a blog about the household names and people you already know about, but I wanted to shine some light a few brand-new artists.

You more than likely won't recognize a few of these names. In 2014 I am hoping they will start getting the credit they deserve.

See Also: The Thirteen Best St. Louis Rappers in 2013


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Ten Reasons to Not Sleep on Nipsey Hussle

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Press photo
On Saturday, January 18, I'll be performing on the same bill as the nefarious Nipsey Hussle.

The concert will be held at Pop's Nightclub, right across the bridge in Sauget. This is Nipsey Hussle's first ever concert in St. Louis, as well as my very first time performing at Pop's. This will be an electrifying night for hip-hop in STL: One of the brightest new stars of the genre will be in our city. I am honored by the fact that one of my favorite rappers will be in St. Louis this weekend, and even more privileged to be a part of the bill as an official performer.

Nipsey's career is on the incline at the moment, and he did it the old-fashioned, independent way. It feels good to witness an artist I've respected for many years claw his way out of the underground circuit. Most music fans in our area are hype-beast or just late and out of touch, so I decided to supply the cheat codes and give you a few reasons to check out this concert. (Don't misconstrue this as self-promotion -- you would have seen this article regardless of if I was put on this show.)

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Fox News and Megyn Kelly are Dreaming of a White Christmas

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Megyn Kelly
Fox News aired a segment by Megyn Kelly this week, proclaiming that Santa Claus is, in fact, a white man. Santa Claus is a fictional character based on an actual real person by the name of Saint Nicholas, but Santa himself is not real. Saint Nicholas actually was not white; he was from Turkey and more than likely he was Mediterranean. We can debate the ethnic background of Saint Nick all day long because he is indeed a real person that actually walked the face of the earth. We have paintings of Saint Nick that clearly suggest he wasn't a white man, but this does not negate the fact Santa Claus is a fictional character.

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Ten Disturbingly Racist Things About St. Louis

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Bruce Tuten
This week marks 58 years since Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, instantly rendering the brave young woman a hero and champion of the civil-rights movement. The following decades have seen steady improvement in race relations and equality, but as always, we still have further to go -- sometimes, especially, in the city of St. Louis.

We love our city, but sorry, St. Louis -- you are still pretty racist. And it isn't always black and white, either. Here are ten reasons why.

See Also: Six Musicians You Didn't Know Might Be Bigots

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Blackface and More: We Have Run Out of Excuses for Willful Ignorance

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Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis city. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His project The Hero Killer was released on January 21 and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For the Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get The Hero Killer here.

I hate the fact that we live in a society in which we must explain stupidity to people who simply don't get it. In today's world you can be blissfully ignorant and hide behind the safeguard of not knowing any better. It's perfectly acceptable to be a dumbass in the name of not knowing why your actions classify you as a emotionless idiot. And the rest of us are supposed to void out the fact that you're an adult who has had the leisure of experiencing life in the same exact society as the rest of us.

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Elitist Retro Purism is Turning Hip-Hop Playlists Stale

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Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis city. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His project The Hero Killer was released on January 21 and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For the Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get The Hero Killer here.

Hip-hop purists are basically the gatekeepers of the genre: The people who seek to remind you that hip-hop isn't a fluke and has an actual history that should be respected. I consider myself a purist to a certain degree. I'm all about keeping hip-hop alive and treating the culture with dignity and respect. Most people don't understand that hip-hop has more than a few different elements, and the art of rapping is simply a branch from the family tree. The average person probably couldn't name all of these elements if they had a gun to their head.

See Also: Definitely the Best Rap Quiz You're Going to Take Today

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