Wendy Day x The College of Hip Hop
Wendy Day has been an unlikely contender in the rap game. Backed by 25 years’ experience she has worked with the likes of Tupac Shakur, Cash Money and David Banner (just to name a few), solidifying her position as a hip hop heavy weight. In an exclusive interview with The College of Hip Hop she offered her advice on the best way up-and-coming artists/entrepreneurs can avoid getting got in the industry, as well as provided insight on how the industry has evolved since she got her start in the ‘90s.
TCOHH: What was the motivation behind Rap Coalition?
WD: I started Rap Coalition because as a fan of rap music I grew frustrated with the stories of my favorite artists getting jerked. It appeared once they no longer had money, no one was willing to help them. I knew I could offer help to rap artists, for free, when the industry was turning their backs on them. So I did. And still do!
24 years later, we are still here and still help pull artists out of bad deals, for free. Additionally, I started other companies decades ago to fund Rap Coalition so I wouldn’t have to raise money from the hip hop community. I started PowerMoves, which helps build artists’ careers and indie labels (for those who have investors or funding). I recently started a company that sells lists of contacts for artists who are doing it themselves without a label–Rap-Resources.com.
My focus has always been on educating artists so that they won’t get jerked. When you know what’s fair and acceptable, it makes it easy to achieve that.
TCOHH: Who are some notable artists that you have worked with over the years?
WD: Let’s see…Eminem, Master P, Cash Money Records (Baby, Juvenile, BG, Mannie Fresh, Turk), C-Murder, Beats By The Pound, Mia X, Young Buck, David Banner, Hurricane Chris, Boosie, Webbie, MGK, Killer Mike, UGK, Tupac Shakur, and many others.
TCOHH: How would you say the landscape of hip hop has changed from when you started out in the 90s until now?
WD: Hip hop went from being underground to mainstream. It’s pop culture now. I watched artists begin rapping for the love and passion of the art form, to rapping because it’s a job, a way to make money. I watched people go from doing something they love to becoming multi-millionaires–and talking about it.
I also watched the gatekeepers (record labels) become obsolete while the Internet opened up opportunity to everyone. So now hip hop is completely oversaturated, but fans can discover any type of rap music they like quite easily online or on the streaming services. The barrier to entry has been lowered substantially.
TCOHH: What’s a typical day in the life of Wendy Day consist of?
WD: There is no typical day. Today, for example, is a holiday. It’s Thanksgiving, and while most people are with their families or sharing a big meal, I’m preparing for my client’s single to drop tomorrow, I’m recording a how-to video about building a career in the music industry to appear on my YouTube channel (one appears every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), writing a marketing plan for a new client, and I’m redesigning my consulting website to add a less expensive option for younger artists with limited funding. And, of course, having dinner with my husband, Tony, to celebrate our gratitude.
TCOHH: What is your most memorable experience?
WD: There are so many! I guess going to see Tupac when he was in prison. I drove 8 hours to see him and arrived at 8am so I could spend the day with him in visitation. The COs put us at the table closest to them so they could hear everything we said. We had fun that day!
TCOHH: What attracted you to hip hop?
WD: The passion and the energy of the music attracted me to rap. Hip Hop is a culture and I was attracted by the dance (b-boying), the graffiti, the music (rap), and the style (fashion). I liked the energy and the lyrics in rap music.
TCOHH: What advice can you offer artists looking to not be taken advantage of in the music industry?
WD: Artists need to learn the business–learn how the industry works. Learn who’s who, what everyone does, who the legitimate people are and aren’t, and how to travel successfully within the industry. You can make a lot of money in this industry, but most do not. It’s important to learn how it all works. Once you learn the rules, you quickly learn which ones you can break and which ones you can’t…like any industry.
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By : Lisa Early