You Only Die Once Update 7-4

Happy 4th of July!

I just received the art for the promotional poster for my concept rap album You Only Die Once from Jennifer Prentice, who is an awesome illustrator and an old friend of mine. She did all of the hard work: all I did was add the movie credits. Some of the money I’m raising will go to pay her for her services, as well as bringing more illustrators I know aboard for some more cool art.

YODO-movie-poster

The lovely lady pictured with me is Nyima Funk, a ridiculously talented actress and comedienne I met during my freshman year of college. Her credits include starring roles on “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?”, “Key & Peele,” “Wild ‘N Out” and “Undercover Cupid.” She has graciously agreed to be “Cast” in my story as Agent 69, a secret agent sent from MI-5 to back up Agent 008 ½ in his mission to recover a stolen Neutron Bomb.

This image is available as a poster to everyone who contributes at least $20 to the campaign, and they’ll receive it along with the illustrated chapbook and three bonus songs.

I’m also going to have this available on YODO-related merch, so if you’d like to see this image on a T-shirt or coffee mug, that will be available also.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what type of role Agent 69 plays in my story, she is a major part of the song “Find Out,” which I’m giving you a sneak peek of…right now.

Like what you hear? Then PREORDER THE ALBUM! You can contribute as little as $5 to get your copy reserved at the link below.

http://www.gofundme.com/jugghead-yodo

You Only Die Once update 6-28

As all of you know, I’ve been working diligently on my new album “You Only Die Once.” You also probably know that I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary loot to put the album out myself. Well, I plan on giving you all periodic updates on how the album is coming along.

As of this posting, 14 of the planned 19 songs of the album are completed. Well, actually, 12 are completed. One song – the theme song – has the music and lyrics done, but I’m waiting on a special guest singer (my sister Tia Callee) to lay down the vocals. She really liked the song, so I’m giving her first crack at it. The other track features my cousin Mr. Wre and my brother LyriCal. We’re waiting on LyriCal to lay his verse down before that one is done. It’s a bonus song called “From The Shadows” and will be available exclusively on the Deluxe version of the album…but those who contribute to the campaign will get the song before everyone else does.

 

I’ve picked the singles for the album already, and I went ahead and created cover art for each one. Check them out below.

The QuartermasterSeduxion Where am I?The Henchmen

The fourth one wasn’t originally planned as a single, but it came out so well that I felt it would be a crime not to release it. Kudos to Rex from Flint’s Lost Millenium crew, to my man Nic Bolas, and to both Masdamind and Unique the Eskimo from the Nerdcore collective for lending their guest verses. You guys are the reason why I’m making this song into a single.

Oh, I guess you’re wondering what I’m talking about. The song is called “The Henchmen.” It’s a remix to my song “The Henchman,” and you can hear a sneak peek rough version of it right now.

Here’s hoping this makes you want to invest in my album. More updates as they come.

SUPPORT MY ALBUM! Click Here to preorder your copy of You Only Die Once. There’s bonus goodies in it for you if you do!

#YODOiscoming

The Origin of Jugghead

The Origin of Jugghead

If you’ve spent any time with me or on this site, you’ll know that I dabble in music. I was fully immersed in the rap game from the mid 80’s until about 2001. I took a break from it for a few years, but after I got married, I started rhyming and producing again. If you visit my Jugghead site, you can listen to a bunch ofmy music, and download a few albums for free.

Many people have asked me why I gave myself the stagename “Jugghead.”

And the answer is a loooong one.

My first rhymes were said waaaaaay back in 1986. My and my Buddy Ed were playing on his brand new Vetrex (wow), when his older sister Ebony (Who I thought was fine as heck but I couldn’t holler at her ’cause she was 16 and I was 11) came in bouncing a mixtape featuring some guy named Doug E. Fresh. Me and Ed was feeling it so hard, we put the video game aside, picked up his old Casio keyboard with the wack preprogrammed beats, and started dropping rhymes as “Eazy E and DDT.” I was DDT because that’s the signature I use whenever I get the high score on video games. We did about three wack songs that night, but our interest in being the next great MC’s lasted about as long as our attention spans, which suffice to say weren’t that long. By the end of the night we were watching Leave it to Beaver reruns (like you didn’t. don’t front) and playing with Transformers without one single thought about getting into the rap game.

I didn’t get serious about rapping until 1989, when I First heard the D.O.C. That album is basically what sparked me to want to be an MC. It was listening to “The Grand Finale” that I wrote my first ever real rap song, “No Mars” which was a battle rap. I liked what I wrote so much I followed it up with a few other songs: “Just a Decent Guy,” “Somebody Cut The Cheeze,” and “I am The Law.” If you think those titles are corny, the actual lyrics were worse. Back then I didn’t have the nerve to actually say any of the songs I was rapping, so I just wrote. I didn’t even have a stagename.

I moved to a new neighborhood in 1990, and met up with Proffessor Crookyd (Back then he was called “Kid Vicious” I kid you not.) we got bored one day and thought, “Hey, why don’t we start a rap group?” My Moms was a professional songwriter, and had a small studio in our basement that she used. She was happy to see me take an interest in the “family business” (My dad was a bass player in a group that featured Babyface and members of Midnight Star before he married my moms) so she let us use her equipment, just so long as we didn’t break anything. We got a couple of the other boys in the neighborhood and formed “Tha Master Assassinz,” and I was MC Will, co-group leader and the producer of the group (it was my studio, so naturally I made all the beats). We did a few freestyle songs, and PC actually got me to perform those dumb songs I wrote way back, but it was nothing really serious.

That changed when my Moms got us a performance at a summer talent show on the southside of Flint. We decided that the “Master Assassinz” thing wasn’t cool enough, So we needed a new gimmick. We became “Codename I.C.E.” (No, the I.C.E. didn’t really stand for anything) after all the rappers who had ice in their names at the time (ice Cube, Ice T, Smooth Ice, Ice Cream Tee, Mixmaster Ice, you get the idea). We all had to have an ice-related name: We had R-Tek Ice, DJ Ice, The Snowman, PC was Cold Ice and I was Chilled Ice (although by the time we did the show I was Crush Ice). The performance went pretty well, to the point where we thought we could actually be a successful rap group. We were always rehearsing, and in the studio working on new demo material. since hip-hop was transitioning from the political stuff to the Gangsta stuff, our gimmick was that we were “hip-hop terrorists.” Don’t ask where we got it from. By the end of our first summer we had finished our first demo “The Debut,” which I still have a copy of somewhere, actually. I then did a solo joint (which I lost) called “Tha Monstaman,” where I tried SO hard to be the next Chuck D (but then again, who Didn’t? Everybody wanted to be the next Chuck D back then).

When High School started, the pro-black, conscious stuff was officially passé, so PC suggested we change our name and image. Now we were gangsta rappas, and our group name was ADG, for “All Day Gangstas” (Of course, ADG was also PC’s initials: Anthony Deshay Gray. Coincidence?) I changed my name appropriately to “Gangsta De” Don’t ask me where that came from. We QUICKLY changed to something else. We evolved with hip-hop, and around the time Tribe, De La and Digital Underground all dropped their second albums, we became a more laid-back, stylin’ and profilin’ hip-hop group. “S.T.Y.L.E.” was our name, for “Steppin’ To You Like Enemies.” Crook became Shay-D, and I started off as Furious Styles (yep, just like THAT Furious Styles), but after seeing the movie “FX” I changed it to Furious X. I could still do my pro-black shtick (having the X in my name), but then I could abbreviate my name to F/X and be the producer behind the scenes (Clever, huh?) S.T.Y.L.E. only lasted one demo before our members started pursuing other interests (namely, girls), but as Furious X I managed to do about 4 solo albums (“Save the Drama for Your Mama,” “Mind Games: The Next Step,” “Army of One” and “Also Known as Peasy”) before The fam came on hard times, and Moms had to pawn off all her studio equipment. (AND sell the pawn tickets. what chall know about that kind of struggle? WHAT!!!)

Now, I’ve known Hookdiggy, Waxo and Devastator for EVER, but I didn’t find out until high school that Will and Jon were doing the hip-hop thing. After we traded demos and stuff, and I told Hook about my non-studio dilemma, he recommended I get at Wax and see about laying some tracks with him. Jon was happy to do some stuff, and by graduation day I had recorded three more basement albums (“Return of the Pease,” Pease Plus: the remix album” and “Peasyman: Nuff Said.” Notice a theme?). After a while, I introduced PC to Wax and they started doing stuff. Yes, many of these songs were over other, more established artists’ music, and yes, we gave away these albums for free? You now what that means? That means we were doing the “free album/mixtape” thing approximately 25 years before it was cool. Respect.

Junior year, Crook and I formed a two man group called QnA (Quan and Anthony. Get it? CLEVER! CLEVER!!!), and he had us recording our demo “S.T.Y.L.E.” at his studio. I had gotten rid of “F/X’ and changed my name to “Peasyman,” after a nickname I earned in high school for my perpetually nappy hair. All of our peeps guest starred on it: this led to Hookdiggy and I doing our first collabo track together (“Nuthin Kan Sayve Ya”) and to us meeting Don Dada, who is related to PC and had also started recording there. Crook and I decided to go our separate ways for good after that, mainly because he wanted to take his music in one direction, and I wanted to go another way. but at the time Dev had starting rapping, so the four of us decided to form our own “supergroup” called Menace 2 Society. Then that *&@$&#$% Movie came out, and every rap group under the sun started calling themselves Menace To Society. so we just abbreviated our name to M2S and told folks that it didn’t stand for anything. We did our first basement demo “Strait Frum Tha L” and I swear we were the biggest psychopathic hardcore gangster killers in the world. We must have killed the entire population of Detroit on that album. Twice.

With that out of our system, we mellowed our sound out a bit (okay, a LOT) and around the time we went to college, we got really serious about getting our music heard. I had also decided that “Peasyman” was WAAAAY too corny a name to be up in the industry with (If I had known the industry would see such clever names as Juvenile, Magoo, Silkk Da Shocka, Trick Daddy and Lil Boosie, I would have reconsidered.) So I was about to call myself “Juggernaut,” when surprise, surprise, somebody else dropped an album going by that name. so I took the “jugg” and added “head”, and my current stagename was born.

what’s in a name? I have no idea what in the world possessed me to call myself “Jugghead.” Honestly. I tried to put some meaning behind the name, like saying my flow and style is laid back like the Jughead in Archie comics, or even going the abbreviation route like “Jesters Underestimate the Greatness of God, but He’ll Eventually Ascend from Darkness.” but nothing’s sticking. So eff it. I called myself Jugghead because it seemed like a freaking good idea at the time, which is pretty much why I do everything I do.

Next, whenever I get around to volume two, I’ll discuss the “Phalanx” years. If anybody wants the movie rights, holla.

To Free Or Not To Free?

For the three of you who don’t know, in addition to all of my other creative exploits, I also dabble in music. I co-run a songwriting company / small record label with my father (www.expectusmusic.com) and I use that as a platform to put out the occasional music project. My last two projects have been underwhelming successes, in that after I failed to sell any copies of them, I started giving the projects away as free downloads. To date, I’ve given out at least 200 copies of my solo debut “48505,” my gospel collaborative effort “Winner Take All,” and my demo mixtape “From The Archives” to friends and family via Facebook on their birthdays. I plan to continue this, btw.

But now, I’m on the cusp of having two major music projects released. First, I’m almost ready to release my second solo album “Chapter 2” and I want it to make as big a splash as it can make given my limited resources. And after that, right around the time my next novel “Godmode” is released, I plan to release a movie score to read the book by.

The main issue for me is how much to charge for the projects, or whether I should charge anything at all. I actually want to have the Godmode soundtrack be available for free IF you buy a copy of the book. With me releasing the project through Bandcamp, that might actually be possible because they make discount codes available. But the big issue is with “Chapter 2.”

See, for me, getting my music heard is more important than turning a profit. The music is just something I do to express my ideas musically, and it’s not my primary creative focus (writing books takes that title). It’s basically another way to build my brand. I know a lot of music insiders (most notably my man Sid UncleJamz Johnson of Cincinnatti) cry foul at the mixtape and free album craze, but you can’t deny that it can work. It’s the way guys like 50 Cent, Yelawolf, Drake and Kendrick Lamar established themselves and built audiences, which caught the attention of major labels. Now, I’m not saying I’m at those guys’ level, but then again, why can’t I be? They all started exactly where I started. Heck, even two former rhyming partners of mine (Hookdiggy and Zod) were able to create a buzz for themselves by giving out free music.

There are two sides to this argument. On one side is the fear that people in my network would balk at paying anything for my music. That’s one reason why I gave away my first few projects, so people could hear my stuff and it would create value and interest in future projects. Whether that was successful or not I don’t know. Out of the 500+ people in my network, many of which have paid me lip service as far as supporting my music endeavors, I wonder which of them would actually shell out 5 bux to support their boy, especially if the music is good (which I think it is). Don’t forget that this is a group of people who, as a collective, wouldn’t spend $5 to download a copy of my last book. And I won’t lie: I’ve seen the entrepreneurial endeavors of my peers and I haven’t been quick to shell out loot to support the majority of them myself. In my defense, though, I have and I do support my peeps whenever and however I can: this very blog you see is hosted by a company owned by a very good friend of mine (www.grefuga,com), I’ve done pro bono and reduced price graphics work for friends like www.snackcetera.com, I’ve recommended the webcomics of friends  – not to mention offering free advertising – at my own webcomic www.theseizurecomic.com, and I’ve ordered jewelry from a graphics client of mine who does really good hand-crafted work (www.neferene.com). But I understand if people are reluctant to pay up.

But on the flip side of that argument, does not charging for the CD show fear or a lack of confidence in my product? Is offering my CD for free practically begging people to give me a listen? I don’t know. I do know this: I don’t have the means or the time to go out and promote this thing traditionally. I don’t have the connections or under-the-table money to get my songs played on the radio. I don’t have the time or the following to get love at shows, and I don’t have a management team who can get me booked if I did have the time. The “get your music heard” music services like Reverbnation require upfront cash or subscriptions, and I don’t have the loot for that. Heck, I don’t even have the money to get a decent video made of one of my songs to post on youtube. There’s a video for one of the songs on “Winner Take All” currently in post-production, but that has been entirely up to the rather busy schedule of the guy editing the video for me, since I can’t afford to pay him to make it a top priority. So giving the album away for free may possibly be the only realistic way I can get the word out about my Album that would actually entice people to give it a listen.

And on top of that, if I do charge for it, then how much should I charge? I first toyed with charging a buck for the whole CD and .50 apiece for individual songs, but why stop there? If people would pay a dollar for my CD, why not 5? I am including the “name your price” feature on my CD, but what should be the minimum price? I don’t know if my ego can take me offering the CD for, like, a buck, and STILL not getting any downloads.

Whatever the choice is, I need to make it quickly. I want to have this CD out by next week, so I can focus my attention on other projects.

So if you’re reading this here blog, and you’re interested in some good Hip-Hop, then check me out at http://jugghead.bandcamp.com, and however much I’m asking for the CD (I promise it won’t be more than 5 bux), show ya boy some love, give a listen to the songs and pick it up if you like it. I’d really appreciate it.