15 May 2012

Hip Hop Cancellations

Contract? What contract?

The Tarago driver gossip network is pretty solid, and for years now Hip Hop performers from the USA have got a bad rap, no pub intended. If you count MC Hammer as hip hop, then the rumours started 20 years ago and have continued unabated ever since. We hear of five star hotels engaging extra security to check that girls are aged at least 18 upon entry, and extraordinary demands placed on crew.

Occasionally a promoter gets really angry when the contract they’ve signed and the money they’ve paid is disregarded, or worse. Two fairly recent examples are Mos Def and Flo Rida.

In the case of Flo Rida (real name Tramar Dillard), promoter Brent Lean has a court order against the artist for non appearance at the Fat as Butter Festival in Newcastle last year. The $55,000 fee remains outstanding, and Brent now has served the court order on Dillard via Facebook.

He told The Age newspaper that attempts to serve the order on Dillard during the Logies failed as the performer had a posse surrounding him at all times. The claim is expected to top $100,000 once costs are considered.

But Mos Def, aka hip-hop artist Dante Smith, appears to have escaped unscathed after driving promoter Sam Speaight from Peace Promotions ‘to tears’ during his tour in 2010. Sam told Andrew McMillen from that he had retired from concert promotion after Smith repeatedly cancelled dates on his 11 show tour.

“That was definitely the worst example of madness and insanity from an international artist that I’ve ever seen, or heard of. Utter madness permeated everything that happened, in terms of the artist’s management, the delivery and management of the artist’s live engagement. He’s since pulled similar things at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. They’ve just gone through a similar experience to what I did, but fortunately, they only had one show to deal with, whereas I had an entire headlining tour”, he told thevine.

“It gives you an insight into just how warped and twisted, and how absolutely separated from reality the awareness of management – within the scope of that being a professional function – is, in the minds of these artists. They seem to live in such a bizarre, self-constructed reality that is so far away from what you might describe as career management, business, or just basic logic.”

The interview then went online, only to collect comments from people claiming that Sam Speaight owed money for services, and had fled Australia to avoid creditors.

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