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Dos Nouns Retirement Speech
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james cromwell



Joined: 15 May 2006
Posts: 184
Dos Nouns Retirement Speech  Reply with quote  

After much anguished internal debate and almost a decade of continuous grind all around the world I have decided that the next album I release will be my last one. My reasons for leaving are many but ultimately simple. I am not recieving what I expected given the unprecedented grind I have embarked on. Despite the fact I basically reinvented the paradigm for guerilla touring internationally and domestically (although all credit there goes to Icon the Mic King I simply had the balls to utilize the opportunities he created) no one knows who I am or care about what I do. My career reads like a checklist for the requisites of success: I established a strong local following, I achieved prominence in the national battle circuit (not for what I wanted but I had no control over that), I toured relentlessly and put out project after project, while securing co-signs from my genre's notables and beats from known producers. I went overseas plenty of times. I even became one of the few cats in indie rap who lived strictly off his music. I have been doing so for over a year now, coming up on two fairly soon. But in doing so I have realized that despite my best efforts I will never achieve the level of success that I feel I deserve no matter what I do. I have done it all and their effect on my career's health is arbitrary at best. The only thing that enabled me to live off of rap was the sheer amount of shows that I did all over the world and in the U.S. 300 dollars here. 100 dollars there. They paid my bills but this is not progress. Progress is a gradually expanding fanbase connected to the arc of an artist's career, purchasing each album spreading the word, etc...... I simply gave a phenomenal live show, had some run from being on the Scribble Jam DVD's and didn't take no for an answer. I didn't grow with my national fanbase. I convinced promoters to give me money over and over again until they were replaced by new promoters. I went overseas and did the same with even more success. I literally hustled my way to where I am. Some would ask what is wrong with this. Well absolutely nothing is wrong with this approach but I didn't pick up a mic to hustle. I did it to express myself and participate in a culture that I once loved. Now I regard hip-hop with hatred and cynicism. Any rapper who isn't my friend I hate and literally wish for their death. Any fan who doesn't approach me to give me money in some way I do the same. I spend all day on the computer chasing money around and mabye see my notebook a few times a month. I hate writing now and it used to be the only thing in my life I loved. I take no joy in the creative process all I want is money from other people and for every opther rapper to die or quit so I can take their money. Now this might be an awesome attitude/worldview for Gordon Gecko or a military tyrant but I wanted to be an MC. When I first fell in love with the culture and the way of life it was as if I was an initiate to a sacred knighthood who would cleanse hip-hop of wack lyricism for all time. I studied under some of my heroes to learn how to move my sword and I achieved succeses of my own. But what I really wanted seemed to lie beyond my grasp. First I thought I needed a label. I bankrupted them trying to make loot off my music. Mabye I needed to tour? Done that in a way no one else has and still I have no distribution and no hopes of getting a high profile booking agent. In hip-hop people come to help you for two reasons: when they grew up with you or when you ingratiate yourself to them. Or when you don't need it and they come in to do dirty work for a fee that you could do on your own, That's it. There is no altrusim in this game its just like any other endeavor of will. Its an excercise of survival and I am tired of fighting it to no avail.

Now let me issue a rebuttal of what I know some will say to this. I realize that all of this is my fault. This is pro ball as Mos Def said and I obviously made very bad decisions on many things or I simply was never skilled enough to command the success I desired. Eitehr way I tried as hard as could and work as smart as I was capable of and while that does not exonerate me from the errors I have made both known and unknown it does provide me with a certain peice of mind. I can leave secure in the knowledge I have done all that I can. Whatever it is that I lack, talent, drive, connections, charisma, or all the above, I am tired of agonizing over. At the age of 24 I am completely burnt out from the only thing I have ever loved in my entire life and it is time to leave with some sembelance of dignity. My ambition exceeded my talent. My reach my grasp. My eyes for the success I saw indie superstars have were far bigger than the stomach I was equipped with to digest the bullshit this lifestyle entails. I am sick of seeing my family a few days a year and missing all of their important moments both good and bad. I am sick of living like an animal and staking my entire days food on my ability to convince drunken strangers to buy my CD. I am triply sick of the scum who have the gall to call themeelves promoters and the felonies I have committed from armed robbery to extortion and blackmail to get sums ranging from 150 to 500 dollars remanded to me. I have been forced to do some of the same shit to get loot from promoters that commerical rappers claim to have done. The same shit that makes the nightly news when it goes bad and someone gets hurt or worse. It demeans my soul to do these things. It makes me physically sick to my stomach to prepare to harm another human being grievously over paper. But that's the game and if my friends and I didn't back up our statements, we'd never get paid. Ever. I won't even speak on how being a rapper has damaged every serious relationship I have ever had I will just say that this is a pile of filth and those who prosper are cockroaches in many ways.

Finally I am sick of the masquerade that indie hip-hop has become. This movement went from being a viable alternative to the genocidal garbage American media manufactures to a precious little copy of everything that is wrong with its AIDS infected big brother-commerical rap. We have beef both real and fake almost all of it stupid and meaningless. I remember when going to underground show was dangerous because there were real thugs there who would test you for your garments. I remember when it became it became a sticking point for underground jams that there would be no violence as opposed to the bloodspattered battlefields that were and are the top forty clubs. Now my friends, grown ass men, bring their hammers to underground shows again. Not for the original reasons like in the 90's but because the same shitty small hoodie dude mentality that permeates commercial rap has leaked into the underground. We have a situation where every fan is a rapper and none want to accept any rapper as better than them. Now this would be healthy if all of this was done at the park or the rec center but this is not the case. The internet is a double edged sword that has given people access to many rappers, me included. But it has also equipped fandom with a reason to stay away from live shows and a means to never purchase any music. This has killed us. The mentality that you are as good as the next rapper and he should fall back is sacred. But if that is the case then get in some battles, win some shit and show and prove. But this will sound like Swahili to anyone under the age of 23 or so. Fuck it. We have stars and hangers on and as much intrigue and suspicion as Versailles in the 18th century of Rome during the first. Rappers have become caricatures of what will get them money and girls. Which again is fine but we were supposed to be a counterculutre. Now we are exactly like commerical rap, or rock and roll for that matter just minus two zeros or so off of each paycheck. Finally we have monopolization with a few major-indies (when did that word happen?) controlling the entire pie and the rest of us fighting to the death over the 1f the market they don't control. There are no avenues and creativity or deviance from what is a hit in the underground is seldom heard. The movement has fractured into several dozen micro scenes each with their own niche artist. Its just not happening.

Yet despite all that I have said. Underground Hip-Hop will outlive my career. For better or for worse I loved it and for better or for worse I will leave it. But I will not leave it better than how I found it and that is my one true regret. I will miss this more than I can say but it is time for me to leave behind what had become an unhealthy obession with an entity that encourages character defects and try for the first time to be a better and complete person. I will always write and create. I just had to remember that I owned the masters to me.

(I will release my last album with Burns and will honor all touring commintments I have already made in Europe for November.)



Daniel Muessig

Baton Rouge, Louisana
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:06 pm
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icarus502
kung-pwn master


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 11289
Location: ann arbor
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Who on earth gives even a little bit of a fuck?
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:11 pm
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LuSiD
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Fuck a style.

"To reach the masses, some sort of big organization (whether) domestic and foreign branch affiliation, is not necessary. To reach the growing number of students, some sort of pre-conformed set must be established as standards for the branch to follow. As a result all members will be conditioned according to the prescribed system. Many will probably end up as a prisoner of a systematized drill.
Styles tend to not only separate men - because they have their own doctrines and then the doctrine became the gospel truth that you cannot change. But if you do not have a style, if you just say: Well, here I am as a human being, how can I express myself totally and completely? Now, that way you won't create a style, because style is a crystallization. That way, it's a process of continuing growth.
To me totality is very important in sparring. Many styles claim this totality. They say that they can cope with all types of attacks; that their structures cover all the possible lines and angles, and are capable of retaliation from all angles and lines. If this is true, then how did all the different styles come about? If they are in totality, why do some use only the straight lines, others the round lines, some only kicks, and why do still others who want to be different just flap and flick their hands? To me a system that clings to one small aspect of combat is actually in bondage.
This statement expresses my feelings perfectly: 'In memory of a once fluid man, crammed and distorted by the classical mess.'"
-Bruce Lee
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:20 pm
 
james cromwell



Joined: 15 May 2006
Posts: 184
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i can care less i just thought some might so i posted it.
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:25 pm
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LuSiD
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I've never heard of Dos Noun. I live about an hour south of Pitt though.

Sounds like he's going through some emo type shit to me.
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:30 pm
 
MAGIstraight



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 3689
Location: livin' dead ever since
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meh... dos noun sucks. good decision on his part.
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:32 pm
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Shika
shy wench


Joined: 23 Sep 2002
Posts: 675
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who?
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:33 pm
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Fred/F



Joined: 05 Jul 2004
Posts: 3232
Location: Dirty South Sweden
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Dos noun posts here. In some thread some years ago I critized his live act because he had his eyes shut during the whole one hour set, which of course meant minimal audience contact. Then he came in and blasted me for that.

so... I guess he could've posted that here himself. Not that it matters... at all.
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 2:52 pm
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DM



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
Posts: 6371
Location: www.NERDTORIOUS.com
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MAGIstraight wrote:
meh... dos noun sucks. good decision on his part.
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 3:07 pm
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leg.donor



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 2756
Location: Portland, OR
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Fred/F wrote:
Dos noun posts here. In some thread some years ago I critized his live act because he had his eyes shut during the whole one hour set, which of course meant minimal audience contact. Then he came in and blasted me for that.

so... I guess he could've posted that here himself. Not that it matters... at all.

I totaly remember that.
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:19 pm
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Abinatra



Joined: 04 Jul 2002
Posts: 1621
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is he from Baton Rouge? .........or did I skim through it too fast?

If he is.............he hasn't toured hard enough
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 4:26 pm
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LuSiD
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I felt the exact same way about the pizza business right before I fell off.

I once Delivered piping hot food for the love of the pie, and bringing the flavor to the public in 30 minutes or less.
That slowly changed, towards the end I felt I was only doing it for the tip, a whore at your door, getting hard by watching you pull those two bucks from your fold..
Fuck pizza, fuck bread sticks, fuck your coin change tip.
Fuck the whole indrustry.

It was hard breaking it to my fans, who I hated with intense hatred, but they just moved on to the next guy with a dope ass sign on his car...

Now that I'm out of the domelight, I feel like a driver once again, not a "delivery" driver.
Nowhere to be, no one to meet.
Just me and the road, L-I-V-I-N.

-PizzaSlut 1998-2006
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:21 pm
 
still illiterate



Joined: 09 Aug 2002
Posts: 1941
Location: Iowa
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Hustle is great, but cats need to balance the hustle with quality. I've got one of his albums, have heard another. Not entertaining at all. Rap stardom isn't for everyone. Kid is sour cause his own expectations were unrealistic. Also, he probably shouldn't have quit his day job.
Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:39 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2019
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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Henry Rollins once wrote, "Motion is a disease." Rollins wrote that at a point in his life when he was spending far too much time on the road, so he knew what the fuck he was talking about.

Substitute rap for pro wrestling, and this is no different than the "I quit" letter that I've seen half a dozen WWE jobbers post on the Internet to explain why a weekly paycheck doing what they love has poisoned their ability to find joy in life.

It's chitlin circuit burnout, pure and simple. I don't blame anybody who has suffered through that burn-out for wanting to walk away, but at the same time I have no interest in finding sympathy for the idea that the success stories of that scene are evidence of selfishness or corruption on the part of those who made it. I don't care if you're talking about a guy like Slug (underground success), a guy like Ric Flair (circuit-wrestler success), or a guy like B.B. King (blues success); the part where we, as an audience, decide whether or not a guy gets over is only the tip of an iceberg that has a great deal to do with gas fumes, bad food, worse sleeping accomodations, mile after mile of repetitive countryside, and a stop-motion family life which will eventually steal anything resembling closeness, trust, or love. Every day you're in the van, bus, or car, you're missing the people you left behind, and when you get home you can barely remember how to relate to them. If it's not art, it's at least a craft, and those who succeed at this craft sacrifice just as much for it those who fail do.

The flip-side of the coin, of course, is that Dos Noun didn't actually fail -- he just decided that the sacrifice was too great and gave up his dream. Audience attention is fickle, and stories of guys like Slug or Sage Francis who made the circuit work are few and far between. But for every guy like Dos Noun who got to the cusp and couldn't quite get over, there are probably a hundred guys who can't even get as far as he did -- guys who scrape away at a day job, live in marginal spaces, and find themselves constantly broke, losing money to try to be a part of the very same circuit that has ground away at Dos Noun's ability to love his craft.

Hip-hop is an American tradition that came out of nothing, and far too many of the original innovators are unknown, broke, dead, or all of the above. The blues scene is filled with stories of men who put the musical voice of God onto wax, couldn't find a way to eat from it, and spent the last decades of their lives destitute, unknown, or both. Amercian pro wrestling is still only two-and-a-half steps out of the carnival circuit, and carnivals themselves are a centuries-old tradition of the young eating their sick and the sick eating their dead. Highways throughout this country are paved with the bones of entertainers, starving artists, and other unmourned martyrs. That's probably why so many of the reformed circuit-entertainers become preachers -- at least selling salvation to the saved constitutes a circuit which knows how to take care of its own. The entertainment circuits sure don't know how to do that.

This is the truth and it sucks, because these practicioners of crafts embyronic and crafts dying are the mothers and fathers of our culture, and we aren't paying any of them what they deserve. That's a damn shame, because we need all the culture we can get. It's because I understand this that my heart bleeds for stories like the one Dos Noun has told here. Dos Noun is retiring from his dream because now that it has been chewed up and spat out by the road, the dream will never be fun again. Anybody who refuses to see the tragedy in that has no business loving any aspect of live entertainment in America.

That said: as much as my heart bleeds for a guy in Dos Noun's situation, it bleeds more for a guy Lonesome Dan Kase. Dan is a Minneapolis musician who plays the blues and other forms of American folk music. From what I can tell, he does this on evenings and weekends for beer money and whatever tips land in the empty pitcher next to his chair. I was recently told that he works as a school janitor to make rent, and I also know that between his day-job and his frequent gigs, he can't afford to own guitars that will stay in tune for longer than a couple of songs. To put it another way, this is a guy who's been busting ass for years, and is still exactly one apartment break-in away from the end of his musical career.

If Dos Noun's story is about doors that didn't open quickly enough, Lonesome Dan's story so far is about doors that have never opened at all. And I've heard Dan's album -- it's a damn sight better than anything I've heard from Dos Noun.

Fuck.
Post Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:41 am
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Shazzb0t
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mark.

i suppose its easy for some to say "who cares" when they haven't bled for much more than their consumption habits and some rags on their backs.

point well absorbed and appreciated.
Post Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:57 am
 

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