Music Street: Where Is the Studio Melton Promised? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Music Street: Where Is the Studio Melton Promised?

During Frank Melton's mayoral campaign, he told an audience of young African American musicians at The Birdland that he would bring a world-class recording studio to them, to Farish Street, once he was elected mayor in June. "I'm entering the fall of my life," Melton said. "The only thing I have left now in my life is to make sure you all have the same opportunities I had. I want a studio on Farish Street." Melton promised that the studio would be one of his first priorities when he took office July 4.

Melton, a wealthy former television executive, told M.A.P. members he was chairman of the contracts committee for BMI (Broadcast Music Industry), a recording rights organization for songwriters, composers and music publishers that represents the likes of Whitney Houston and Carlos Santana. Melton explained to the crowd that this meant he could build a high-tech recording studio right on Farish Street, "so you can produce your music."

Then-candidate Melton visited members of the M.A.P. (Mississippi Artists and Producers) Coalition, chaired by noted artist (and JFP columnist) Kamikaze, following an address by Jackson's then-Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. Melton's address carried more bare-fisted pizzazz than Johnson's toned-down presentation. Johnson promised more business interaction with the city's youth in the next mayoral administration. Melton walked in, however, offering a more direct kind of carrot.

Remember the Alamo

Months later, Kamikaze and the M.A.P Coalition remember the talk of a recording studio.

"Melton has promised a state-of-the-art studio, comparable to any studio an artist may use in L.A. or Atlanta," Kamikaze said in a recent interview, explaining that the studio would fill a need that can't be handled locally because of the lack of technology. "It's unfortunate that artists like David Banner and myself have to go out of state to get the kind of sound that we want in our music. I do a lot of recording here in Mississippi, but I still have to go to Atlanta to get to the mixing and mastering process."

Melton appointed Kamikaze to oversee the project. Kamikaze said the studio will open doors to fresh money for the economy.

"Hip-hop has been so instrumental in feeding the economy in cities like Atlanta. Atlanta 15 years ago was just like Jackson until (singer/songwriter/producer) Babyface decided to build a studio in it. Next thing you know, you have Bobby Brown coming in and building his studio. Next thing you know Atlanta is thriving in the music business. I've already had Nappy Roots come to town. Banner has had ... Little Scrappy to come to town. When you bring those people here, you get the fans here who love to see these people. They spend money and add to the economy," Kamikaze said.

It's a seductive proposition for a city whose tax base has been shrinking, but the proposition is in its preliminary stages, according to all involved with it.

Peyton Prospere, director of administration for the city, said Melton is considering using the city-owned Alamo Theatre as a possible location for the studio.

"The Alamo Theatre is a jewel that's been under utilized, and the studio that Mayor Melton's talking about will sort of be part and parcel with the expanded usage of the Alamo Theatre," said Prospere, who adds that the source for financing has not yet been identified. "We'll be looking at that. I don't know where the dollars are coming from today. We have to see where we are and then see where we have the money."

Kamikaze does not agree that the Alamo would be "the best spot for it." It is not the correct size, he said: "We're looking across the street or somewhere down on the other end of Farish Street."

Kamikaze adds that the enterprise will likely be financed through private dollars. If so, that would be a relief to those who do not believe that the government should interfere with free enterprise. "No. No. No. The city shouldn't have a hand in putting up money for a studio," said Lawrence Silver, assistant professor of Marketing at Mississippi College School of Business. "The state shouldn't be putting up money for Northrop Grumman or Nissan or anybody else."

"I am opposed to government financing of private projects," Silver added. "If it is a commercially viable project, then it will make a profit on its own. If it won't, then don't sink my tax dollars in it."

Kamikaze said the studio is in a "formative stage."

"We haven't come up with a name for it, yet. ... There's a lot of red tape, a lot of calls and a lot of procedures that need to take place."

State of the Costs

Still, design plans have moved ahead. The contents of the studio, according to project coordinator Kevin "KJ3" Jones, will be strictly state of the art. "This will be a facility featuring a world-class Pro Tools HD system. The main recording studio will have 192 digital high-definition track capabilities, high definition video editing, from movies in 7.1 surround, to music videos and HDTV program editing all audio visual recording," Jones said. "The control desk (mixer control surface) will be a Digidesign D-Control 48 channel producer's desk. To say the least, everything you would see in Jive, Sony or any other major recording studio."

Of course, Digidesign Protools HD3 Accel System, a Digidesign Audio Interface 192io, Focusrite Class A pre amps and Digidesign 48 channel D-Control control desks don't come cheap. The mixing board alone can immediately strike $80,000 from a wallet, and may even make the studio a tough sell to investors. Also, big-time studios with all the trimmings, in places like New York, come with costs that are anything but trim. An average studio hour with this kind of merchandise pushes the hourly billable rates up to more than $150 in some instances—well out of the range of most of Jackson's artists.

Kamikaze does not see cost as a problem, however. "Studio time can cost $100 to $150 an hour in Atlanta—and you could take all day in there. That's not including the mixing and mastering time," Kamikaze warns, "but the other places charge a lot because they got big bills. We all know how much it costs to rent space in New York. It costs $1,500 to rent a studio apartment in New York, and it's getting like that in Atlanta, too. But because the price of living is so low here, we can afford to cut deals with our clients. We're thinking that we could charge them one-third of the regular cost for this kind of work, but it's still too early to speculate."

Mississippi's Terminal Recording Studios—with a client list including names like Cassandra Wilson, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and David Banner, and sporting accomplishments like the Grammy Award-winning "O'Brother Where Art Thou" movie soundtrack—proves that a big studio can be a success in the state.

"I don't know why somebody would have to go out of town to do any kind of recording. We have all the equipment that anybody in New York or Atlanta or L.A has," said Marty Frascogna, studio manager at Terminal Studios.

A Great Idea, If …

Wolf Stevenson, vice president of Malaco Records, in Jackson, thinks the studio is a grand idea, if only it can hold together.

"They could do it, but I don't see how they could make any money out of it," Stevenson said. "If they got their equipment donated or something like that it'd be great, but that's a sizeable investment. The Protools rig is a full-blown rig. Focusrite tools are some of the best, but they're very expensive."

Jane Galloway, office manager at Malaco, which does not rent studio time and does not regard the new studio as competition, points out that finding warm bodies to fiddle with those systems isn't cheap, either.

"Sure, the price of the equipment is outrageous, but the engineer behind the board is also good for running up costs. Their salaries can run probably in the upwards of $50,000 to $60,000," Galloway said, adding that the number of engineers employed varies by the size of studio. Many can employ around five.

Another factor worthy of economic note regarding any high-end facility in the record business is the inevitable evolutionary trend that technology imposes.

Darryl Pete and his partner Derrick Martin run Airtight Studios in Clinton. The recording studio occupies the same space as Percussive Music Media. Pete explains that many studios, thanks to the ever-shrinking nature of technology, can occupy a garage, a basement or a washroom, and do many of the same things as the larger studios—and for far less money.

"The thing about studios nowadays is that you're not seeing the bigger studios around as much because of the project studios, which are more affordable to the average person. Mega-studios are falling out now that everything's digital. You can have your own Protools set-up at home for $10,000 or $15,000," Pete says. "Kamikaze going off to Atlanta is probably more a matter of personal choice than necessity. I think I could master something just as good as anybody in Atlanta."

Stevenson is quick to agree. "We shut Muscle Shoals Sound (recording studio) down. That's how bad the business is these days. We bought Muscle Shoals in 1985, and we shut it down in January this year. It was an icon all over the world, but after 10 years of losing $60,000 or $70,000 a year it just wasn't much fun. Cheaper competition killed it. Cheaper competition can do 70 or 80 percent of their work on their home or a laptop. The big bands still go to big studios, but quite often it's just cut straight to a computer's hard drive," Stevenson said, adding that if he were asked to invest in such an enterprise today his answer would "have to be a flat 'no.Ҕ

A Worthy Adventure

Still, Stevenson called the Farish Street studio a worthy adventure and pledged his company's support and attention to anything coming out of it.

"If they can run a studio for the price they claim they can, they'll get pretty good business," Stevenson said. "We'd be happy to participate in some way in helping the people making the recordings getting put in the right direction."

University of Mississippi instructor and former Living Blues Magazine editor Scott Barretta said Farish Street has a history of cranking out some of blues' most historic figures. "Farish Street has a good ambiance. Farish Street has promise," Barretta said. "Farish Street today is being imagined in the terms of some sort of fantasy of what it was musically. Quite frankly, it was more a center for business and culture rather than an entertainment district, which is what it's being re-invented as. Having a studio there is not an unnatural thing, though. Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson made their first recordings down on Farish Street."

In fact, Barretta said, the most important blues recordings in the 1920s and 1930s were done on Farish Street: "Elmore James recorded for Trumpet records on Farish Street in 1951. You had a guy named H.C. Speir back in the 1920s and 1930s who was responsible for the recordings of many of the early blues pioneers. He operated a furniture store on Farish Street. Johnny Vincent, who ran Ace Records, ran it on Farish Street."

That history could easily be a positive influence for any business dealing with music or art in the area. An artist taking a break from hammering out his latest album could head to the street to soak up the scenery that likely gave birth to the music genre he's working with.

Historic Cautions

Of course, that same ambience could either help or hinder the development of a recording studio. Because Farish Street is designated "historical," development is trickier, says Willie Mott, executive director of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority.

"If you wanted to build on the brick-lined entertainment district, you'd have to go through a number of agencies. The city has the Department of Historic Preservation to contend with, then you have the State Archives and History to work with, and then you also have a federal level to go through because it's on the National Historic Registry, so undoubtedly you'll have to make sure that whatever you're building meets requirements," Mott said.

"A door might have to be made of a certain material. What type of glass are you using, lead crystal or something else? Is the interior such that you need to move a wall? That could be a problem, because a wall, a stairwell, or an arch wall inside a building in this area may have historic significance. The job is to keep the new development as close as possible to a particular era. That may cost extra money."

Of course, if a builder follows certain guidelines that builder may be eligible for federal and state tax credits, Mott was quick to add, so the conveniences of working in the district are not to be ignored, either. "We're going to make sure that they get the most out of the location that they possibly can," Mott assured.

An Insult to Artists?

Critics of Melton's effort to set up a high-end recording studio point to reasons outside economics. Joecephus Martin, a Jackson State graduate and a rapper known as Skipp Coon, stood in the crowd when Melton issued his April 19 promise to the M.A.P. Coalition. He said the plan sounded "hilarious."

"I think it was an insult to the artists in this community to imply that building a studio will get us off the street," Martin said. "Is he saying that rappers are criminals or that the rappers that need studios are criminals? That's what I heard in it. Also, he said he was talking to his advisers that night he made his proposition and said that whether he won or not, the studio would be built."

Martin had asked Melton at Birdland what else he was going to do to help Jackson, "other than build a studio and buy stuff." Melton repeated that he wanted the studio. Martin pointed out, "That doesn't help Jackson. … You're not answering my question." Melton replied, "No, you're not listening to me. I want a studio right here in my backyard."

Martin said the city's money and time should go to other things. "When I kept asking him, he was saying that this (studio) was what the city of Jackson needs, and I was trying to figure out why. I don't think my recording career is more important than my godson's education. I don't see how a studio benefits my mother who's a nurse or my grandfather who's retired. I think we need to work on doing things for the entire city and not just one segment of the population," he said.

Kamikaze stands firm in his conviction that the studio can help the city's economically challenged youth.

"The reason we want it on Farish Street is to make it accessible to kids who might not otherwise be able to get out of the neighborhood. We'll be offering tutorial programs, teaching kids how to have studio etiquette, how to work these machines and equipment. When it comes to fruition, it'll be something good. I know people are kind of skeptical about it because they haven't heard too much about it, and there hasn't been too much information put out about it, but that's because we're trying to make sure that everything's right. We have our naysayers, but through all the controversy, in the end, I think people are going to say this was a very, very good idea.

Previous Comments

ID
78523
Comment

I hate to say it, but this is a terrible idea. I agree with Joecephus Martin questioning how this helps jackson.

Author
jd
Date
2005-07-13T21:41:39-06:00
ID
78524
Comment

If the studio is privately funded, I'm all for it. Do it... If it comes from my over-taxed coffers, please build some better parks, community centers, repave roads, SLOW DOWN TRAFFIC, build some sidewalks so kids and adults can get from point A to point B... Oh, AND TEAR DOWN SOME RUN-DOWN HOUSES AND FINE THE HELL OUT OF THESE SLUM LORDS THAT SIT ON VACANT HOMES FOR DECADES. Seriously. Kamikaze, how do you think a recording studio that will cost anywhere from $50-$150+ per hour will help any children on the streets? First, you'd have to be able to say all the children were into music and wanted to be musicians (some might be readers, others painters, and others political wannabes and geeks). Second, you'd have to give free time to those kids so they could experience the studio (read: this will LOSE money for the studio). Seems like a losing situation if the city funds this. I also agree that most music these days can be completely created, produced, edited, and completely mastered using a digital studio. Moby and many other artists in the dance scene and hip hop scene and indie scene have released thousands of tracks that were mastered in their own bedrooms or living rooms. Hell, I've heard of people with studios on Apple G5s that ran for less than $10,000 including the Macintosh itself. You can't tell the difference in the final product. Seriously. Jackson should be far more preoccupied in dealing with the existing problems such as crime, bad streets, BROWN WATER in Belhaven, absurdly high taxes compared to the growing metro area, lack of entertainment for kids such as movie theaters, parks and playgrounds, and other recreational activities. Oh, AND SIDEWALKS. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-07-14T07:25:18-06:00
ID
78525
Comment

i think a better bus system would probably help those kids out, too. seriously, the jatran needs some upgrades.

Author
casey
Date
2005-07-14T08:40:09-06:00
ID
78526
Comment

O to have brown water contained in Belhaven only.... It's everywhere. But let me ask why this particular development plan is so improtant to Melton when he was constantly dogging the development plans and progrewss under Johnson -- including direct potshots at the Farish Street project? Somehow I just don't see jackson becoming and economic nexus because of a digital recording studio.

Author
Johann
Date
2005-07-14T09:06:18-06:00
ID
78527
Comment

Let's not be so hasty. Why not wait and see how this develops before you pass judgement. Its obvious that Melton is dealing first hand with the crime issue. So cut some slack. In reading the article, I don't think anyone said that this studio was the answer to ALL youth problems. IT's other issues that need to be adressedtoo. This just helps with ONEof them. I don't see it as that big a deal.It's just one of many things Melton wants to accomplish under his term. Why is it when there's something that may help young folks, and more specifically, young black folks. Grown folks are up in arms? Theyouth are important too. In fact they are MORE important because they are the future. Plus its private funds so what's the gripe?? Read how Kamikaze explains the affect a thriving music biz had on Atlanta. That music scene helped to generate revenue for the city. Brought people to the city. It was a big part in ATL getting the 96 Olympics.Trust me. If Melton had said that a studio was THE answer. Then I, like Mr. Martin would have had a BIG problem with it. I too would have been insulted.But its only part of a much bigger solution. Stop trippin!!! IF ITS PRIVATE FUNDS and you still have a problem with it after that... then you need to reexamine yourself. To play off Jeff Foxworthy...then YOU might be a hater. :-)

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-14T09:50:48-06:00
ID
78528
Comment

"Why is it when there's something that may help young folks, and more specifically, young black folks. Grown folks are up in arms?" -trusip Up in arms? I'm all about helping young folks REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE. I just do not see how a recording studio will help them -- especially on the taxpayer's dime. Again, I'm personally ALL ABOUT IT.... IF, and only if, it comes from private funds. I am sure it wouldn't be hard to get full-on support if the studio was setup as a school or non-profit with a dedicated educational element that allowed youngsters AND adults access to the tools for learning purposes. Hell, I'd wage Apple Computers would throw a G5 or two into the studio and some software if it could be proven there would be an educational element to it as opposed to a solely for-profit venture whether it was private or publically funded. As for private funds, I think it still remains unclear whether Melton was seeking to use private or public funds. From everything I understand the Alamo is owned by the city of Jackson. If this were to be the recording studio as some suggested, it would involve Jackson (and the tax dollars invested in the Alamo). Of course, that relies on whether the Alamo is actually owned by the city. As I stated, and I'm not sure where your words are directed, trusip, I am all about it if it's private funds. If we're dedicating tax dollars to help the youth in our cities, there are more inclusive projects such as community centers, recreational and extracurricular activities, parks, arts programs etc that I'd rather see my taxes directed. As I said, not everyone is into hip hop, music, or studio recording just like everyone's not into ballet. A tax-paid or privately-funded recording studio would simply benefit a few that had the money to participate. Again, I'm all for it if Melton, Kamikaze and company are footing the bill.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-07-14T10:10:42-06:00
ID
78529
Comment

trusip: "Read how Kamikaze explains the affect a thriving music biz had on Atlanta. That music scene helped to generate revenue for the city. Brought people to the city. It was a big part in ATL getting the 96 Olympics.Trust me." I'm sorry trusip but the music industry in Atlanta probably played no more part in getting the Olympics then just singing at functions to lure the IOC brass - not to mention all the Rolexís and $$$ they had to give them! CNN, Delta, Coke and Mayor Andrew Young had a whole lot more to do with getting the Olympics then any rapper or musician in Atlanta. The Olympics were awarded to Atlanta in 1990 which is the same time that Kamikaze mentions that Babyface opened his studio, and thus the influx of artist to Atlanta - after the Olympics were awarded to Atlanta. But, I digress. The studio is a good idea if they model it after Dave Matthews project in Virginia, the Music Resource Center. He and other artist (Kamikaze, David Banner, Mayor's office, et al. take note) donated and raised the money themselves to build a studio out of an old church to cater to future musicians and give children an outlet for growth. Y'all could do the same, not have to go to Atlanta to record, and have a positive impact on the youth of Jackson without the taxpayers or Mayor's office involved. People forget that the Farish St. area is not just Farish St. there is plenty of land and building around the entertainment district that could hold a studio and still be in the "cool" Farish St. area. Now I do like the idea of the studio on Farish just past the new entertainment district. I wonder how the funeral homes and chuches there feel about it? Why on earth anyone would want to tear up the Alamo theater that is in great shape and a great venue is beyond me? With a few less seats up front could host any number of bands for shows, performances, or plays ñ like the small venues in Memphis or Atlanta or Birmingham. "ìThe Alamo Theatre is a jewel that's been under utilized, and the studio that Mayor Melton's talking about will sort of be part and parcel with the expanded usage of the Alamo Theatre,î said Prospere," It's under utilized because it is City owned! Sell it to someone who cares about bring entertainment to Jackson - and get property tax to boot!

Author
tortoise
Date
2005-07-14T10:45:50-06:00
ID
78530
Comment

i think it could be great, too. and i agree that atlanta was somewhat propelled by babyface's studio (though i'd be very hesitant to say that the whole city sprung to new life, got the olympics, et. all just because babyface brought his business there). i am ALL FOR giving something to "the youth" (hell, i am the youth), etc, but i am most concerned about how they will afford time in the studio. if kamikaze, etc, are giving tutorials for free, etc, that's awesome. but there is a great potential for them to lose money if they're just giving free studio time to any artist near farish who wants it. at the same time, they can't say it's for the kids if the kids can't afford the rates for studio time (even if it's jacked down to say, $50 an hour). It's a catch-24, essentially, which is sad. kamikaze's a smart guy, and i'm sure he'll be looking into stuff like that. i know his heart is in the right place, but i think there are lot of logistics that definitely need to be looked through. i think some of his comments like how he and banner HAVE to (unfortunately) go to atl are probably unwarranted and disappointing, though. anyway, that's my blog for the year ;) i'm not so good at e-discussions

Author
casey
Date
2005-07-14T10:53:48-06:00
ID
78531
Comment

After having been in and around the Farish Street area for decades, ìMr. Anti Baggy Jeans & Earringsî, longs for a state of the art recording studio to be built?

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-14T12:53:01-06:00
ID
78532
Comment

From an economic standpoint, no amount of money invested in a studio will bring Jackson the kind of accolades associated with the Atlanta music scene... that is, not in the very near future. The fact is that Mississippi record of dealing with minorities makes many professional blacks cringe. Why do so many professional Balcks leave the city? Are we proposing that taxpapers foot this bill? Let us not forget that music that originated in the South was not b/c of taxpaper handout. The blues, crank, crunk. gansta rap, ect was born in protest to the dyanmics of impoveishment. These artist struggled and suceeded, hence the term street credibtility. A studio concept brings up a lot of quetions as to the ownership of property. Who owns this music that the artist is laying the tracks down in a State-owned facility? These are nighmarish contract details that any entertainment lawyer will not care to pursue. Also any potential partnership is just a way that the larger society attempts to hijack and apppropriates our culture. Anyone that does not agree is just extraordinarily naive. I think we need to talk about giving business some serious tax breaks to do business in this town. Build up business, so money can circulate in the city to support artist without any strings attatched.

Author
1jadednewyorker
Date
2005-07-14T13:12:04-06:00
ID
78533
Comment

actually america has a problem dealing with black people not just ms. anywho, at some point we must understand that the studio is a good idea. however, much more has to be done in conjunction with the idea. the studio is not the end all be all, however it appears to be a classist or prejudiced idea. a racist, but funny, joke went how do you keep 10 black men off of a white woman...throw em a basketball. now if you wanna keep thugs busy build them a studio. im not buying it at all. i think we all want to see jackson become something that makes us proud. we must in the meantime acknowledge that there are more pressing needs than a studio. also, there are too many more things that we should expose our (read black or jacksonian) children to other than rapping. where can they paint or play soccer or football. I think we have been recording and producing music without the help from the city until now and i cant quite connect the dots between a studio and a beautiful jackson. one can happen without the other

Author
skipp
Date
2005-07-14T13:44:15-06:00
ID
78534
Comment

oh yeah my water aint brown in south jackson

Author
skipp
Date
2005-07-14T13:44:54-06:00
ID
78535
Comment

Compelling thoughts, skipp. One issue we didn't get into, yet, on this is the lyric issue. If taxpayers contribute to this in any wayóbe it tax credits, owning the building or actually funding some of the studioówhat's going to happen when one of those taxpayers finds some of the lyrics produced there "questionable"? And if the taxpayers try to control what's produced there, content-wise, there will be a First Amendment issue if the studio is connected to the city in any way. I raise this because we all know that certain folks out there, and in public office, shy away from anything that might end up with lyric that offends someone ... I would expect this to turn into a real issue. Public-private partnerships are certainly possible, but they are very tricky when it come to accountability. And when you get into the realm of people expressing themselves with the help of the government, it gets damn interesting. I'm not saying the studio can't, or shouldn't, happen. I just haven't seen enough info, yet, to get a sense of whether it's a good idea. And I'm with Skipp that it's going to take a lot more than a recording studio to reverse the problems that hold many of our young people back. Maybe it's a step, but we need to see a detailed plan that answers these types of questions. Of course, having this discussion publicly now will help tell the city the kinds of questions they need to be accountable for, so keep talking. Also, Skipp, I so appreciate you, as a rapper, saying what you did in your last paragraph there. You are wise.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-14T13:55:14-06:00
ID
78536
Comment

OK...I've been reading and like once before when the situation called I posted. but for the record I prefer to stay out of the discussion. .. However, I think we need to slooooooow down a minute and catch our breath. there's way too much credence being given to the studio issue. And out of all the points that Melton made in his inauguration speech(where he didnt even mention the studio) and his plans that were printed in JFP previously, the studio is but one of them. Why is there such an uproar over the studio idea when it is but one of many???? That makes me think?? Being close to the issue, perhaps i can speak from a more informed point of view. As Adam pointed out, plans are for the studio to be funded privately. Being full aware that some taxpayers would take issue to it, we tried to work that out first. (Even though voters voted unanimously to build a convention center which WON'T be utilized or accesible to everyone either, but I digress) That makes me wonder again hmmmmm??? Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds WILL get to use the studio for free, they will get to learn to work the equipment FREE. Thats the whole purpose ok? but it will also be open to artist here and abroad to come and record. THOSE are the folks who will be paying. AND WE WILL MAKE MONEY TRUST ME! Secondly, what Adam didnt include is the fact that the studio is not just going to be just for music. There's going to be recording, dance, art etc. a full blown center for the arts. NOT JUST MUSIC. In addition to that, the tutorial programs will be not just for music but FOR ACADEMICS as well. Computer classes, Adult literacy, and even etiquette classes for the young ladies. Thats just a little. If everyone would sloooooow down for just a minute you would eventually get that info. Rome wasnt built in a day and it will be a while before ground is even broke on the project, but MAP will ensure that Frank makes good on his promise. It is insulting again to me and MAP members to imply that we are "dumb thugs" who were lulled into this issue because the mayor promised us a studio. My body of work speaks for itself and those who know me know that anything I'm involved in is going to be for the greater good fo my folks. The disenfranchised. My acadcemic achievements rival those that I have made in the hip-hop world and to imply that a hiphop artist cant have passion for an issue like this without having researched it TOTALLY is wrong!!! If it wasnt beneficial I wouldnt be a part of it. I don't put my name behind just anything!!!! Sure, we've all been producing music till now on our own.. dont be ridiculous! but there are some who haven't and aren't able to for financial or personal reasons. We aim to help that. the studio is being built on the premise that there is more to life than music. When you come in to record you will leave with soooo much more. In that, if you can't see the connection to offering kids yet another alternative and making a better Jackson then you're simply not trying. Skipp you turn right around after saying we should offer more than music and suggest we throw them a "ball" to play soccer or football. You're doing the same thing. Oh and by the way...the ALAMO is NOT going to be used for the studio so we can leave it out of the discussion. EVERYONE will see the plan when the plan is put together, but we've got plenty of time. Like i stated in the article, when the smoke clears you will see that this was a great idea! For the one-millionth time people...the studio is NOT the only answer..its part of it. stop emphasizing it. It appears that slowing down some of the rampant crime is the mayor's number one issue right now. The studio isnt at the top of his list because ITS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. so chill!!!! Go check out my column on the "New Racism" I'd prefer we dialougue aboout that. Because that's WAAAAY more important than the studio. I bid you all good-day!!!!!

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2005-07-14T14:57:44-06:00
ID
78537
Comment

Kamikaze, if you need help with conceptual planning, let me know. I'm a civil engineer with an AA in Architectural design & drafting. I also have access to professionals that know about historical properties should you need advice in that arena (I work with a 20-yr. vet of MS Archives & History and I can ask him questions for free!!). I would be willing to volunteer as much time as I can give to help your team design an info packet that can be used for raising project capital.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-14T15:11:29-06:00
ID
78538
Comment

Fantastic! thanks Steph. [email]map_llc@yahoo.com[/email] Email me at the MAP address. Leave your contacts and we can discuss further.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2005-07-14T15:20:13-06:00
ID
78539
Comment

Done. Looking forward to it.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-14T15:28:24-06:00
ID
78540
Comment

Y'know, Brad, there are Jxn people who have done nothing but try to help you, even bent over backwards at their own personal expense to help you to be successful, but you just kicked them square in the teeth and spit in their face by saying you have to go to Atlanta for mixing and mastering. That was just wrong.

Author
dawn
Date
2005-07-14T15:36:55-06:00
ID
78541
Comment

youre right i said throw them a ball what do they do after school now. i remember my youth and i had nothing structured to do. i was blessed enough to have my mom home by 7. anyhow the studio isnt the only thing being discussed we spent all of last week talking about these "crime sweeps" are the artists in jackson dumb not by a country mile. but are we as a people trusting frank a little too much, i must say that we are. and i must also admit that i wouldnt want a 12 or 13 year old learning how to engineer during some of the music that we are producing right now. so again we run into another problem. maybe its in its planning stages and the criticism is early and undue. however much about this administration appears to be freestyled except for these crime issues.

Author
skipp
Date
2005-07-14T15:41:43-06:00
ID
78542
Comment

please dont criticize me for being cautious or for having an opinion

Author
skipp
Date
2005-07-14T15:43:40-06:00
ID
78543
Comment

skipp: youre right i said throw them a ball ...i remember my youth and i had nothing structured to do kamikaze: There's going to be recording, dance, art etc. a full blown center for the arts. NOT JUST MUSIC. In addition to that, the tutorial programs will be not just for music but FOR ACADEMICS as well. Computer classes, Adult literacy, and even etiquette classes for the young ladies. Thats just a little. ya both got the right idea, s & k. that's what prompted me to volunteer.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-14T15:51:32-06:00
ID
78544
Comment

Kamikaze, no one here has called, or implied, that anyone involved is a "dumb thug." Quite the contrary, in fact. We will continue discussing the studio, and its pros and cons, ins and outs, in part to ensure that it is done correctly. It was a campaign promise, and as Jackson residents, we have a stake in campaign promises. It is as legitimate a discussion point as all the other issues that we have spent, and will continue to spend, a whole lot of time discussing -- from crime sweeps to delapidated housing, gun laws to youth problems, automation and job loss to economic development, and so on. This week, it's the studio's turn, but it's certainly not the only issue on the agenda. We're takin' em one at a time, going down the list, checkin' it twice. A recording studio is different from the Convention Center, even though that didn't exactly get a free pass in these here parts as you will recall. And I certainly never would have supported an amorphous concept of a convention center without any idea of who/how it was going to be paid for and then run. And I'm still wary of the damn thing. I think we need to keep a real close eye on it, and we have the right to. As for the studio -- I see a lot of potential in the idea. But we all need to be involved in how it plays out. Many of our readers supported the idea, and Mr. Melton, as a result, and we promised weeks ago that we would hold the mayor accountable for his campaign promises. The only way to do that is to discuss them, make suggestions, criticize, compliment, bring up ideas perhaps no one thought of. Doing that in no way is a criticism of the folks involved, or an effort to call someone a "dumb thug."

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-14T16:01:49-06:00
ID
78545
Comment

Dawn's point is interesting as well. One of my primary concerns with the studio is whether it will compete with our local businesses. The government should not compete, in any way, with local businesses. My inner libertarian feels strongly about that point. This could prove to be a serious hurdle.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-14T16:03:31-06:00
ID
78546
Comment

One more thing: NOW is the time to discuss potential problems with the studio idea. How many times have you been told that it's "too late" or "too expensive" to fix a mistake that no one thought of ahead of time? Consider this a free think tank that can generate a good checklist of issues to think about before vital decisions are made. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-14T16:09:46-06:00
ID
78547
Comment

That's why I think it's important that this be a privately-funded project. Melton could assist on his side by facilitating timely reviews of permits, plans, etc. Partnering, not competing, with other local businesses is important also.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-14T16:11:43-06:00
ID
78548
Comment

NOW is the time to discuss potential problems with the studio idea. How many times have you been told that it's "too late" or "too expensive" to fix a mistake that no one thought of ahead of time? Consider this a free think tank that can generate a good checklist of issues to think about before vital decisions are made. ;-) I like that, Ladd.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-14T16:14:04-06:00
ID
78549
Comment

Bear in mind that if the city owns the building, that could give unfair advantage over competitors. However, I'm sure there are ways to negate thatóthe private owners rent the building, etc. Also, it seems there could be a way to involve other studios in this project as well. The accountability, and the separation between business and state (as you could call the free-enterprise component), can be planned into this, but must be accounted for from the very beginning. I'm not an expert in public-private accountability, but I have locked horns journalistically over these issues -- such as a series of pieces I did in Colorado Springs when the municipal utility tried to get into businesses (such as Internet services) by using their competitive advantage and trying to keep their "business" plans hidden from the "stakeholders" (in that case, the taxpayers). I'm in no way saying these concerns cannot be allayed, but it's something to think about from get-go. I'd be interested to hear more concerns, and advice, from other studios than we got into this piece.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-14T16:17:32-06:00
ID
78550
Comment

if kamikaze dreams of a full-blown center for the arts, it would do well to speak with similar programs in other parts of the city - compliment those programs. Make the project an impressive part of a greater picture.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-14T16:18:38-06:00
ID
78551
Comment

I'm on the Arts Alliance board. Maybe this is something that should be discussed with them/us. Perhaps a presentation, Kamikaze?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-14T16:19:51-06:00
ID
78552
Comment

Is the rest of the board as cool as you?

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-14T16:24:06-06:00
ID
78553
Comment

ok, lots to cover here... Studio: I know nada about music production...but given Knol's tech-saavy, I think he has a compelling point about the Apple G5 and music being way cheaper than a studio.[1] If it's gonna be anything, it has to be what Kamikaze envisions: an arts/educational/community/etc center. Furthermore, this center would be a perfect place for guest speakers in all fields of human knowledge speak to youth Invite Af-Am biologists, astronauts, physicists, philosophers, lawyers, etc -- particluarly emphasizing how minorities put their own stamp on fields of human endevaor. JSU Faculty are an indespensible resource in this regard. Also, Astronomers of the African Diaspora is one to bookmark, since I don't think JSU has an astronomy department. With the right press coverage, such speakers can positively influence white's attitudes toward black potential as well. I love skipp's point too. Pursuing music is wonderful, but a telescope or microscope would be great as well. Youth produced and written zines or blogs about various high-concept topics (politics, music, philosophy, science, etc) would be great too. I think this is where the local rap and music community can really get youth's attention, since they tend to have so much street cred. Kamikaze can tell kids what makes journalism interesting to him, for one of many examples. [1]The combination of the computer and Internet is making A LOT of stuff obsolete really quickly (heck, last year during the Fahrenheit 601 days, someone even brought up how film prints might become obsolete within the next 10 years - movie theaters could well be downloading digital films straight from the Net by that time). If private money is involved, better to us it to purchase long term low-yield bonds (say 20-30 yr / 3% return per yr or so) and use the proceeds to buy musical instruments or computers for households that desire them, but cannot afford them - plus an HTML and XML instruction book besides. But I admit talking out of my @$$ at this point, so......

Author
Philip
Date
2005-07-14T19:40:57-06:00
ID
78554
Comment

Not to shift the topic but about these speakers I brought up: This reminds me of Donna criticizing many black youths for making fun of their peers who "wanna be white" (i.e. do well in school, "go places" pursuing their curiousities, etc.). These speakers can very well put that "acting white" line to death by emphasizing how, when, and where African-Americans put their own stamps on the fields of human knowledge -- particularly if it's issues as a "take up the torch" challenge.

Author
Philip
Date
2005-07-14T19:45:58-06:00
ID
78555
Comment

Dawn, I don't quite understand your stance. I am NOTHING but grateful to those that have helped me. If you read the article, I said I do the lion's share of my recording here. In fact I did the bulk of my recording at a place called the Sonic Temple with a very capable engineer named Sean Macke right here in Jackson. I did infact do some mixing there as well. When I brought up the Atlanta concept I was speaking more to Banner who does most of his recording there. I believe he should record his projects HERE from start to finish. I do a minimal amout in ATL. I have and would always prefer to record here as I'm sure a lot of folks would but we do need to step our game up. I hear that the Sonic Temple is leaving and I hate but maybe if we can counter that with offering time at even less rates it can be more accesible to a wider range of folks. I think that 85-$100 an hour is just too high for a lot of folks. Hell, $50 is too high in a lot of instances for new artists. And I apologize totally if you took it that way. Cause if it wasnt for people like Sean, or Freddy, or Ron Carbo(all engineers with studios here) I wouldnt be where I am. I so want to see this music industry grow here that I may speak passionately, too much at times. Anybody that knows me knows that I am MISSISSIPPI through and through. And I want Atlanta to stop getting any of our buisness. So again it wasnt meant that way. I'm in the process of recording my new album and I plan on doing it here start to finish. W/o the temple I don't know how I'll manage but we have to make it work. Peace.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2005-07-15T09:50:15-06:00
ID
78556
Comment

I think MS needs to be competitive in ALL aspects of life. I'm tired of us being looked at as last in everything. It's slowly changing. I'm sure we do have good studios here. I've heard good music here in all forms. I didnt take it that way. But it would be good for our native son to promote the idea of recording here. If people see him (Banner) do it, they may think it's whats supposed to be done. We need to find out why he doesn't record here most of the time. then that can be a a start to addressing that particular problem.

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-15T10:13:00-06:00
ID
78557
Comment

"Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds WILL get to use the studio for free, they will get to learn to work the equipment FREE. Thats the whole purpose ok? but it will also be open to artist here and abroad to come and record. THOSE are the folks who will be paying. AND WE WILL MAKE MONEY TRUST ME! Secondly, what Adam didnt include is the fact that the studio is not just going to be just for music. There's going to be recording, dance, art etc. a full blown center for the arts. NOT JUST MUSIC. In addition to that, the tutorial programs will be not just for music but FOR ACADEMICS as well. Computer classes, Adult literacy, and even etiquette classes for the young ladies. Thats just a little. If everyone would sloooooow down for just a minute you would eventually get that info" After having read this, I must admit it sounds feasible!

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-07-15T17:05:54-06:00
ID
78558
Comment

first and foremost banner is a man and he doesnt owe mississippi anything. as artists in mississippi we have to do something. even though i am unable to connect the dots with the studio idea, kam is trying and we may disagree on methodolgy but we have the same vision. Jackson has low self-esteem and its gonna take all of us to improve our self image. No way could a mayor try to run a city with people that dont live in it. Try that in clinton or brandon...(i digress) The studio is one idea however what we need to do now is formulate an idea that may have the studio as a componet in a much larger plan of attack.

Author
skipp
Date
2005-07-18T08:03:54-06:00
ID
78559
Comment

The studio is one idea however what we need to do now is formulate an idea that may have the studio as a componet in a much larger plan of attack. EXACTLY. good point. And on the other issue...As one of the older generation. Banner does owe his home state something. The one gripe I have with the young is that they are so brash and they feel like they can attack the world alone. Mississippi contributed to his success and he should feel obligated to show love back. No one is asking for money as young people often think, the state is asking for that push. And right now he can give it. Much like BBKing does or Morgan Freeman does or even John Grisham. The goal should be to get more people to where you are...Each one teach one.

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-18T08:51:38-06:00
ID
78560
Comment

Not being a hip hop listener at all I had to search this site to find out who the people are involved with it around town. I was wondering if any of those artists have the means to produce, mix and master any of their own albums?

Author
Jocelyn
Date
2005-07-18T10:09:03-06:00
ID
78561
Comment

Speaking of giving back, in the article We Are The Street: New Coalition Seeks To Unify The Scene, Kamikaze mentions that MAP is seeking musicians from ALL genres of music. Just think of all the Mississippi natives who could give back and provide needed capital for this project (Faith Hill, Jimmy Buffett, Lance Bass, LeAnn Rimes, Brandy, etc.). And that's just music. The number of MS natives in other artistic areas is greater than any other state per capita (I read that somewhere). I believe this project has an opportunity for great support among Mississippians everywhere.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-18T10:15:14-06:00
ID
78562
Comment

I agree with the comment by Steph... it is open to everyone who is an artist in the state. I am a visual and literary artist and I became a member, because I wanted to show that I believed in the vision. There has to be more unity as a state, though, with artists. And some of us have to get over the mentality that there is room for only ONE at the top. If we can let our egos go--- I mean really show support for others, we will be more recognized not for our negative points, but for the ones that set a standard.

Author
c a webb
Date
2005-07-18T10:18:36-06:00
ID
78563
Comment

Two more good points. My sentiments exactly. If done properly this sounds like it can be a huge success. I'm sure there's talent here and I'm sure some of them have been self-sufficent too. United for one cause we can better this state in many areas, not just music but it just takes a man, an idea, and an effort.

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-18T14:49:32-06:00
ID
78564
Comment

A Perfroming Arts Center would be a great idea. The only problem is finding non-biased individuals to run it and be open to ALL types of genres and artists who'd stop through town to get things done at a cheaper rate.

Author
Jocelyn
Date
2005-07-18T14:57:21-06:00
ID
78565
Comment

now were not discussing the studio and were discussing what we want. this is a much better idea than a studio. trust me i was in freelons and soops and many other venues with banner and trust me nobody supported until he was on BET and they heard 25 million. so he doesnt owe us anything atlanta made him and we support him now that he is succesfull.

Author
skipp
Date
2005-07-19T08:46:28-06:00
ID
78566
Comment

good point skipp. I would much rather like to see the Convention Center built, finished and open for business than a studio for a select group of people. Unless it too it can accomadate the enitre city like a Performing Arts School would do.

Author
Jocelyn
Date
2005-07-19T08:58:17-06:00
ID
78567
Comment

here's something I was writing as I was reading... http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=6645_0_9_0_C

Author
Jocelyn
Date
2005-07-19T11:45:29-06:00
ID
78568
Comment

Joycelyn, point is..the convention center will definitely be guilty of what you think the studio will be guilty of. The CC will be open to a select group of people as well. The rich will get richer...that's why I didnt supportit. Ask Kamikaze if he'll be able to use the CC when its built to hold a hip-hop convention. OR what about Minister Farrakhan coming to speak? When IT'S built I'm going to love to say "I told ya so" ...I Love the fact that the urban demo is asking for some love now...They've been stepped on.Why not let them get something for THEIR hard work. Everybody else has gotten their's..

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-20T08:31:43-06:00
ID
78569
Comment

I'd think just about anyone that could sponsor a convention or find sponsors for a convention would have access to the center, trusip. It's paid for by the tax-payers and anyone that can get the funds (whether from their own pockets or a collective effort) SHOULD and I'm pretty sure WILL have access. Even the poor can get sponsors... Hell, I'd think it'd be pretty damn easy for a hip hop convention put on or sponsored in part by the likes of Kamikaze or Banner would have no problems getting the Source on board, BET, and a slew of other corporate and not-so-corporate sponsors like studios, record labels, independent artists, etc. Money doesn't necessarily have to come from your own pocket especially when doing something like a convention.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-07-20T08:37:22-06:00
ID
78570
Comment

Technically speaking..yes, they should. But the Thalia Mara Hall and the Coliseum are open to the "public" too supposedly and according to Kamikaze and other hip-hop artists they refuse any and all attempts to hold hip-hop events there as well. Even when the renter HAS the money. The CC will do the same thing..watch. This city does not want to give an outlet to these young artists. read..black.

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-20T08:57:01-06:00
ID
78571
Comment

I can't believe I was able to see a band called Suicidal Tendancies in the Coliseum and there are gun shows and dealers across the street in the Trade Mart and they wouldn't allow a hip hop show. This is the first I've heard of such a thing and you'd certainly think there'd be far more being said of such blatant discrimination. I'd like to hear their specific reasoning... But, hell, why use the Coliseum when you have the Stadium which is far better in my opinion... Well, except in August. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-07-20T09:00:42-06:00
ID
78572
Comment

Well, its true Knol. Fact is..rock shows are regularly allowed in the Coliseum as well as gun shows right across the street. It's biased indeed but the little guy's cries get muffled apparently. Looks like they believe thay don't owe us a reason. And that same thinking will continue with that Convention Center. They will have what they "want" to have and keep out what they "want" to keep out i.e young black artists. ...And people have the gumption to question why these guys want something of their own. I see where they are coming from.

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-20T09:17:10-06:00
ID
78573
Comment

Well, its true Knol. Fact is..rock shows are regularly allowed in the Coliseum as well as gun shows right across the street. It's biased indeed but the little guy's cries get muffled apparently. Looks like they believe thay don't owe us a reason. And that same thinking will continue with that Convention Center. They will have what they "want" to have and keep out what they "want" to keep out i.e young black artists. ...And people have the gumption to question why these guys want something of their own. I see where they are coming from.

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-20T09:17:38-06:00
ID
78574
Comment

And that same thinking will continue with that Convention Center. They will have what they "want" to have and keep out what they "want" to keep out i.e young black artists. speculations and assumptions

Author
Jocelyn
Date
2005-07-20T11:37:22-06:00
ID
78575
Comment

Well, the same can be said Joycelyn of your comment about the studio. ,,,speculations and assumptions

Author
trusip
Date
2005-07-22T09:29:29-06:00
ID
78576
Comment

trusip, when I read how Frank and the rappers wanted a studio It lends one to think this is only for the hip hop crowd. If I had told you that the CC will only be for middle class rock bands, then that would be an assumption. Just like you said, "they" won't let "us" in to perform. You don't know that. As long as the landlords don't raise the rent and insurance, the CC will work for all who have the money.

Author
Jocelyn
Date
2005-07-22T09:54:54-06:00
ID
78577
Comment

Kamikaze, please correct me if I've mistaken your words, but on Wednesday night, you said that beginning in August, Thalia Mara Hall will be hosting M.A.P. meetings and events. If this is accurate, that means there has a been a complete reversal of attitude over there.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-22T10:02:16-06:00
ID
78578
Comment

...And people have the gumption to question why these guys want something of their own I don't think that is what is being questioned. For me at least, the real questions are how all this will be done right, and in an accountable way, so it doesn't fall apart, and promises go unfulfilled. A campaign promise is one thing, making it happen is another, as we all know. Our job is to make sure it can and does happen and happens right. That's what public accountability is all about. I assume M.A.P. may be getting the old Arts Alliance space, but haven't confirmed it. And what happened with the Alamo; that sounded pretty certain in our article, at least as a new home for M.A.P., if not the studio. Confusing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-22T10:09:40-06:00
ID
78579
Comment

The article says that Kamikaze and Melton disagree on the use of the Alamo. It sounds like the location of the studio is in no way definite yet. The available buildings along the Farish corridor need to evaluated to determine the best one.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-07-22T10:22:06-06:00
ID
78580
Comment

Good point, Steph. I stand corrected. It did sound like that's what the city wanted, or at least the mayor's office, due to Peyton's comments. I had wondered if the Alamo board had been in on that decision.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-22T10:27:31-06:00
ID
78581
Comment

First of all Joycelyn, it doesnt lend one to think that it is only for the hiphop crowd when I have stated here, in the article, and in numerous other instances that the studio is going to be for ALL genres of music. correct me if I'm wrong. You're hearing what you want to hear now, c'mon. (Read my very first post here). ...And yes Steph M.A.P is going to be in Thalia Mara Hall for meetings first, then we hope to be hosting some events over there as well. A complete reversal because MAP is about to start calling the city on its bull--it policies. They're gonna be forced to let us in. Had the opportunity to be on one of Melton's transition committees and I voiced the urban's community displeasure with not being treated fairly when it comes to getting these buildings for events. Looks like I raised enough hell. Unfortunately, the folks at the Alamo were none too accomodating. In fact, they acted like they didnt want us there in the first place and went out of their way to be uncooperative. They made it hard to close a deal. The final straw was when they asked us to censor our artists. That was the deal breaker. As president, I cannot allow the content of any artists (rap rock blues etc.) work to be compromised whether I agree with it or not. Understand too, (and I want the world to know). The Alamo board TURNED DOWN a good deal of money per month and the opportunity to bring some much needed attention to a building that normally just sits there. They really need to get some BUSINESS-minded, pro-active folks on that board. ...But anyway. The alamo was never a good spot sizew-wise for the studio as I stated earlier. We are now looking to other spots down Farish, researching them, and going through the proper channels before we announce a spot. Stay tuned.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2005-07-25T09:37:27-06:00

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