in Presents “I Am About That Life”

So last-last Wednesday ya girl felt like Sydney from the movie Brown Sugar. I mean, minus all the lovey dovey stuff, but as far as being in love with music and hip-hop especially, that was me.
The I Am About That Life event presented by 247HH .com was something like a summit for artists, songwriters, producers, or anybody short of that to come out to the SAE Institute and get advice from people in the music business. It literally was an extremely important moment for any and everybody that wants to become apart of the music industry. The program for the night consisted of a 2 hour long panel basically, a mini battle between 2 bomb a** producers, and an hour of production from the legendary DAVID BANNER!! Yasssss! Mr Get Like Me was in the building, but we’ll get to that in a little bit. Hosting the night along side the SAE Institute was JNICE from B96. His hospitality is top notch. He was a big part of making the room feel real casual and smooth although he himself was in a suit.
To be honest, the entire room felt like an old school hip hop kickback. No celebrity egos were present, everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves. It was 100% real. JNICE dished out all the questions to the panel which started with David Banner, RJ Inawat, Jordan Clark, Ron Stewart, and Bobby Stewart.

Firstly, RJ Inawat is a Chicago entertainment attorney, and apart of the corporate counsel at Music Dealers. He started his route into the world of music through playing piano, but when it came time to decide what he wanted to do with his life, he knew that practicing major and minor keys for 8 hours was not it. He then studied at Depaul for both grad and undergrad, which he says was an immense amount of work. He knew that he loved people, so he found a way to juggle both of his worlds and now his mission is to guide people through. Some of his favorites are Prince, Nas, Tribe Called Quest (of course), and the Fugees. Due to attorney client privilege Mr. Inawat sadly could not name drop.

Next to our legal rep on the panel, Jordan Clark. He is an online music program director with iHeartmedia and facilitates the Elevator Hip Hop Blog (which y’all should really read up on, it’s dope). Ron Stewart was next in line from the midwest office of Atlantic Records. I know right, this was one of those times to make ya’ move. Bobby Stewart from Sony Music ATV/Water Music was last but definitely not least on the panel.

Okay, so I know a lot of people have not been paying attention to the original Pimp Of The South, David Banner. But our dude has been doing his thing. He now owns a multimedia company A Banner Vision ( and has been making music for Pepsi, Marvel, and the most successful Gatorade commercial. He started off the panel by saying one of the most important issues of hip hop now-a-days; as a society, we are pushing people towards things that aren’t being consumed. In today’s “millenial” society, there are more apps then there are true lyricists or just music artists in general. We’re trying to find rappers while the rest of the world is building apps. #MoraloftheStory: Support your community. Don’t get caught up in making full songs either because “there is money to be made. People out here making 50k for 30 seconds of artificial sounds”.

So after the real talk given by David Banner, JNice released a number of inquiries among the panel for anyone to answer:
1.Production: Key things for a new producer.
*A lot of the night was focused on production rather tham rhymes which is rare to find yet so essential*
Ron Stewart: Develop overall beneficial relationships. Or as many relationships as possible because you never know where they may lead you. A good thing to do is make relationships with others who are up and coming because coming up together is better than not coming up at all.
Jordan Clark: The best thing to do, especially if you are just up and coming, own your content. Have a tag, a signature, a stamp of something to prevent anybody coming up off of you. [ex: Davi-Davi-David Banner]
David Banner: A lot of big companies or people in general won’t know who you are. It is essential to make a buzz for yourself, stand out. Don’t wait on opportunity, go after it. Find creative ways to make people see you, and let them see it in numbers. He also agreed with coming up together like Ron spoke on, DB used T.I. as an example.
2. As a producer, how do you know when you’re hot?
DB: If you wanna know, you have to look at your own track record. If you popping then you got people talking. And always remember that it’s somebody better than you,(his own example was Timbaland). It’s never really that dope until it’s competing globally.
3. Importance to know the business?
Bobby Stewart: Get ya’ business right and understand the contracts. For example, SICKO MOB didn’t understand the business, (that explains everything). And remember, in Chicago, entertainment lawyers are real rare to find. New York has so many more, as a side note.
Ron Stewart: From seeing groups and artists in the history of music all fall into the same cycle of being jacked, in this generation and time, there is no excuse for being scammed. DO YOUR HISTORY. LEARN. ASK QUESTIONS. And Do Not, get caught up in the whole ‘fam’ thing.
Jordan Clark: Don’t forget that you can make money helping other artists do their thing. Stay focused and latch onto something that you do best. It’ll take you far if you just stay in your lane. Motivate ya’self.
RJ Inawat: There is a big difference between an advance and a payment. (advance: money you get and have to pay back to the label. payment: money that you worked for.) Never forget the back hand of contracts.
DB: Trust NOBODY. “Black artist have a tendency to not read.” It’s the same cycle with all the oldie groups. (TLC, SWV etc.) Even though having a lawyer is one of the best assets, you need to do your own work. Negotiate for ya’self. Talking in respects to advances, always remember that a label knows that you’re worth more than an advance. If you run your own business you wouldn’t need a contract. Get a buzz because that leads to power and it’s best that you understand what type of power you have.

The last thing that JNice requested from the panel was a Go-Home Vocabulary List basically, about common misconceptions or just simply important things that new artists need to know:
Monetize, Indemnification, Publishing, and Admin Deals.

The audience was able to ask questions to the panel, and a majority of them were directed to David Banner.

David Banner was asked what was one uncomfortble situation he was put in, and he shared a time where he signed a bad publishing deal that had a term of likeness which signed away the ability to look like yourself basically. “If you not concious then you won’t know what you signing up for.” It’s almost like signing your life away, and he personally felt demeaning. He also touched on his expereince overseas and how other countries saw rappers as something like monkeys.

Another crowd member asked about the Three Kings Convention and how it felt to be apart of such a positive forum and Mr Banner began to share more of his wisdom. He spoke about how now-a-days its not about having 1 million fans no more (which is true). It’s way more important to get on and continue to hustle. Banner also spoke on how it’s really been important to him to give back to his community, and make it hot to be man and just not a rapper or a celebrity.

The next question asked was really relevant to today’s hip hop trend of being ‘conscious’ or ‘woke’. An audience member asked Banner about his experience trying to be conscious yet still have the resistance of his reputation or even just what comes along with the rap world. David Banner gave the best piece of advice at that moment: “Make it jamming, make that s*** turnt. Everybody wants the beat to sound like the song. It don’t matter. Make dope music, then rap.” I agreed so much with this statement that I had to be the first to start clapping. We all know those ‘woke’ rappers that all sound dopey and earthy. But then again, we wanna be turnt and still get a point across. Hence, our love for K-Dot.

So the night went on with a lot of networking and just everybody chilling and talking over some provided Honest-Tea, which has a really good Half Lemonade, Half Tea mixture btw. As that was going on, two producers played some beats that everyone was head banging to. It was amazing b. While that was happening, I got a chance to enjoy the company of JNice, the host of the night, and he gave me some good advice about radio. His tips were to learn a little bit of everything, don’t limit yourself, and be yourself because people will investu in that. I also learned that he came from Queens New York and went to the University of Maryland, working at on campus and local radio stations. After graduation he traveled a while through radio, all the while picking up new skills and techniques.


Unfortunately, ya girl couldn’t get much from the very last part of the event, do to the fact that David Banner premiered music and beats to us with his producing assistant, so basically no phones or recorders were allowed (including pictures). It was truly one of those be there or be square moments.

Below is an interview done by me and my partner in crime Ciera with David Banner himself.

Written by Shay

Working so I'll no longer have to introduce myself💯.


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