Sometimes its good to stop, look and listen when operating in the new yet massive social media sweep. In today’s day and age it is essential that every artist creates an online presence but celebrities are slowly learning this beast can become a severe burden. With the advent of Web 2.0, user generated content has become the dominant player in the social media web, attracting over 115 million Internet users in 2010. As Facebook, Twitter and the influx of blogs take over the web, celebrities with large social media followings are becoming targets for lawsuits and victims of defamation.
During the Twitter boom of 2009 our first subject Miley Cyrus approached her inaugural social media disaster. One of Miley’s devoted and loyal friends made the intelligent decision to post this delicious photo on the Internet.
Where the photo landed I do not know but let’s be serious it belongs on Hightimes.com. Anyways, if you can take your eyes off the guy on Pluto, holding a chalice of vino, so high he can’t open his eyes, then you might notice delicate Miley sitting on her "sober" boyfriends lap mocking a "slanted eye" look. Several days later an Asian Pacific Islander named Lucie Kim filed a 4 billion dollar class action lawsuit against Cyrus, claiming the gesture was a civil rights violation. The judge eventually threw out the lawsuit but it’s a reminder to all artists that social media presence must be monitored carefully.
If we skip a year forward to August 16th, 2010 we come to an issue between the boy band pop star Joe Jonas and his underage ex Demi Lovato. According to AceShowBiz, “On August 15th Canadian blogger Zack Taylor claimed Jonas and 17 year-old Lovatio - who is under the legal age of sexual consent in many U.S. states - were ‘friends with benefits’.” Jonas did not appreciate this comment and within days his legal team had delivered a letter to Taylor demanding that the blogger remove all comments pertaining to the relationship. According to TMZ.com, who acquired the letter, the singer’s attorney warns, “Your repeated posting of fabricated stories regarding our client must be viewed as evidence of your wilful or reckless disregard for the truth and reflect a malicious attempt to attack and devalue our client's good name and reputation." "We will be monitoring your site and will be advising our client of his legal options, including, but not limited to, the filing of a lawsuit against you for defamation.”
Although the Joe Jonas case never transformed into a court case, it paved the way for the first celebrity social media defamation case. On March 3rd, 2011 actress Courtney Love settled a defamation lawsuit with the fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir for $430,000. In 2009 Love began to grill Simorangkir over a $4,000 clothing payment. In court Love argued that her rants were merely an expression of opinion and were not damaging. Simorangkir expressed that as an entertainer Love has social media power at her back and personally I don’t blame her, if I was called an "asswipe nasty lying hoebag thief" I’d want Love’s head and her cash. This settlement is important because it shapes the precedent for future social media defamation cases. It should remind all artists that yes, social media can aid in your progression but it’s a beast nobody should feel comfortable flirting with. With fame comes a following and a following creates power so keeping that in mind we should all remember the viral nature of Web 2.0
To honor the current King of Social Media I give you Chamillionaire’s new song “Charlie Sheen”. Stay Fresh My Friends. Dj Dolph
Recently I was fortunate enough to interview Columbus, Ohio’s very own Ryan Notes. Notes is an up and coming rapper/vocalist who on a whim moved to Brooklyn to pursue his career in music. Shortly after getting to New York Ryan was confronted by a man named Robert Alheim who introduced himself to Ryan as an artist manager but little did Ryan know Alheim was not formally trained nor did he really have any connections in the music industry. Unfortunately for Ryan a contract was signed and locked Ryan in for three years with Alheim. When I asked Ryan why he signed the contract he looked at me and said, “Well to be honest I was so excited by the fact that someone was willing to manage me that I did not even ask myself questions like; Are we compatible? Is this guy blowing smoke up my ass? What were his connections?”
At this point Ryan realized he was locked into three years with someone he didn’t want to spend another day with and at the same time was getting ready to release his debut mixtape. With proper management this tape could have taken off (http://www.datpiff.com/Ryan-Notes-Take-Notes-mixtape.126305.html) as Ryan has an enormous amount of talent and is very driven. So the question is what lies down the road for Ryan? When I asked Ryan what he is going to do about the situation this is what he answered, “Well to be honest right now I am in limbo, I am operating without a manager because I can not work with Alheim and have been doing a lot of self management.” To me this is sad because it really shows the dampener that a poor artist manager can have on an artist with extreme potential. At this point I understand what Ryan is going through. He is lost, cannot afford legal representation and truly has no idea what he has gotten himself into.
Before our conversation ended we discussed what Ryan’s options were and he picked my brain about what possibilities he has. First, I let Ryan know that he has to keep trucking on and creating content with or without his manager. Second, he needs to review the contract to see what is binding him and whether he has the option to sign a second manager. Third, he should evaluate the contract to see whether there is a sunset clause involved. After talking with Ryan it truly showed me how important it is for all artists, whether superstars or amateurs, to always evaluate the individual they are signing with before inking a contract.
Every year hip hop fans around the globe argue, guess, bet and complain about XXL’s coveted 2011 Freshman Article. For those of you who are still in the dark about this issue, essentially it is a showcase and platform for ten new hip-hop artists. Debate always follows this issue as many people argue that spots are undeserving, planted or paid for in advance. In the past individuals like Wale have been omitted from the list, causing major publicity stunts and lashes against XXL. Rather than the usual 10 artists, this years crop of hip-hop up and comers numbered 11; Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T., CyHi Da Prince, Lil Twist, Yelawolf, Fred the Godson, Mac Miller, YG, Lil B, Kendrick Lamar and Diggy Simmons. In an MTV article Andrew Barber of Fake Shore Drive states, “There were a handful of artists that I thought would make the cut, that were nowhere to be found i.e. Chip Tha Ripper, Vado and Danny Brown. However, there is some serious talent on here, so I'm excited to see what becomes of the Freshmen over the course of the year. It's been a gift for some and equally a curse for others.” One of the main problems with this list is that no one really knows how it is generated so in reality it could simply be a matter of XXL’s taste, which to many is considered sour.
The 2011 XXL Freshman issue is currently in its 4th edition and individuals are now questioning how accurate its picks are. When looking back this edition has featured three artists, which have truly ‘blown up’, these being: Wiz Khlaifa, J. Cole and Lupe Fiasco. In reality three out of thirty is not terrible, being that we are lingering in the super saturated hip-hop industry, yet this still begs the question; If such a small quantity of these rappers are actually making it, what is the point of this issue? To answer this question Brad Wete, staff writer at Entertainment Weekly says, “Like all the other years, some of the artists will continue on and become great. Others won't. What XXL does is give all these local favorites and rappers with cult followings validation. That stamp of approval from one of the top magazines in the culture is huge in the beginning. Now Fred is more than just a NY rapper. And Meek is more than just the guy next to Ross. And so on. Obviously it'll take more than a cover to take them to the next level. But this shine sure doesn't hurt.”
As I look through this list I must say that for the first time in four years I am content with XXL’s picks. Granted, I don’t feel like indidivudals such as Lil Twist or YG should have made this list, as they really have not proved themselves. On the other end of the spectrum, I have been telling everyone and their mother about CyHi, Yelawolf , Big K.R.I.T., Diggy, Meek and Mac Miller for about a year now, so I am thrilled they finally got their platform to achieve massive success. Finally, I am going to leave you with my superstar pick of 2011. Drum Role please…DJ Dolph’s superstar pick of 2011 goes to: the one and only Good Music’s CyHi Da Prynce. CyHi has been on the seen since 2005 but just recently stroked success when finalizing a deal with Kanye West’s Good Music Label in September of 2010. He just recently released his critically acclaimed mixtape titled Royal Flush, which can be found on Datpiff.com. This weeks fresh jam goes to CyHi for his infamous track Sideways. As always, stay fresh my friends. Dj Dolph