Welcome to 2021 - Year of the Hustle
All Photos by @sherrilmetalGSM #iPushSA #sanantoniomusicscene
2013 & 2018 SEA Award Winner Journalist/Photographer of the Year
January 1, 2020
Going South Magazine began 8+ years ago when S.A. Urban Newspaper closed it’s doors. After writing about the underground hip hop scene in San Antonio for three years with S.A.U., and getting to know these amazing artist, their stories and their music... I felt my work was just beginning, even though S.A.U. was ending. So Going South Magazine was born.
As we enter our 9th year in 2019, I look back and am proud of San Antonio’s musical accomplishments and the consistent forward growth of San Antonio’s hip hop scene. As we barely enter 2019... the foundation that is present is a strong one, brought about by decades of hard work, dedication, pain, loss, joys and sorrows. I truly truly love these artists and musicians, and, as long as they fight, I will fight alongside them.
As Editor in chief, I have been the winner of two coveted Southern Entertainment Awards for "Photographer/Journalist of the Year" (11th annual and 15th annual) and have been nominated six years in a row. I have also been nominated for “Record Label of the Year”, “Best Photographer” and “Internet Hustler of the Year” at the 9th annual SCM awards, and am presently nominated for “Record/Club Promoter ” and "Photographer/Journalist" of the year at the 16th annual Southern Entertainment Awards.
Going South Magazine was nominated “Magazine of the Year” at the 9th annual SCM Awards and the 11th annual Southern Entertainment Awards, and is presently nominated for “Website/APP of the Year” at the 16th annual Southern Entertainment Awards!
Thank you for reading GSM and supporting me back. And please be sure to Subscribe to the Going South Magazine Youtube channel where I have over 15 years of hip hop events documented and archived.
I came across an article I wrote for S A Urban January 2007... 12 years later.... where are we, have we progressed, what are the biggest changes you have seen?
The State of San Antonio's Music Scene
by Sherril Metal
January 31st 2007
If you are an artist in San Antonio ... then you know the title "The State of SA's Music Scene" is a facetious one. You may be shaking your head like I am right now, knowing exactly what I mean. If you are an outsider, a clubber or a radio listener, then you have no clue as to what is going on. 23 hours of interviews in 4 days, loss of voice, wrists hurting from typing, and all I can say is ..... there needs to be a State of Emergency issued to save us. You think not? Read on my friend.
I asked several people from all corners of the music scene some questions. It shook me to find that they all were saying the same things. Check this out:
I asked "What is up with SA's music scene?"
Big Stan, a rapper from the group Cold Blooded said:
"I don't know. You got people that really hate on each other here and they don't support each other enough. We all trying to do the same thing, we all wanna make it .. we need to support each other."
"You are getting on something that those of us who have been on the music scene the longest have known for a long time." Phil Pepin of Tunesmith Studios said. "There is a need here. One of the biggest problems is venues. In Austin they know that the big appeal is music. They call themselves the "Live Music Capital of the World", so there is this whole fence within the community with the business owners .. there is so much more there and Austin is half the size of SA. It (Austin) has a cohesive nature that draws artists from all over the world. The SXSW Convention draws people from all over the world. SA has nothing. There is a scene here, it's just not cohesive."
My buddy Jason who works for a major owner of radio stations in America had this to say:
"The music scene in SA is missing diversity in the music AND the art form. The majority of emcees are talking/rapping about the same thing and that's one of the major reasons not many in the Hip Hop community are standing out in the crowd. I have heard several rappers/artist here, there is a lot of talent, however I have yet to hear one rapper that has "IT" all together (focus, lyrics, beats, production, charisma and business sense). There are numerous ones (artists) that are just about there."
Daniel Salazar aka DJ Necio (www.myspace.com/djnecio210) said:
"I saw a problem with unity. It was every man/group for themselves. However, Nick Trey (SAREALHIPHOP.COM) and myself came up with 'Squashing the Beef and Uniting the Streets', an organized effort where we are getting groups who were beefin to start working together to make it big here in Sa-Town."
The Official Playboy of SA Urban Radio:
"I think San Antonio's music scene is missing support most of all among the artists, and then with in the local radio!"
Dirty Cratez leader Voodue Chyle Audio Forensicks(www.myspace.com/audioforensicks) had this to say:
"I believe that S.A. is a prime location, but the crowd just doesn't continue to come out to the shows. I think what 21Nothing is missing is the normal unity that other cities pull together, it's like we don't have a common goal. In other cities I've lived in, the one thing you get is local unity and love, it just don't go down like that here in the Tonio."
So here we have our first recognized issue ... lack of support and unity. How did this happen?
We live in a city where the make up is near 60% Latino, 30% White and just 6% Black (not including the military). The Latino population dominates most everything here in SA ... the work force, the food and service industry, city employees, business owners AND the music scene. There is a strong cultural support system in place for Latinos with city organized resources .... but I couldn't find anything for Hip Hop. When the first musical choice of a city is not Hip Hop, how do you get the support you need?
You make it.
There are some underground organized efforts like Graffiti Radio (the first internet radio station in SA www.m7music.com) that supports the Hip Hop scene by offering world wide listener-ship and great talk shows, and there is also the growing Phrymemates.com. There is the Texas Music Coalition(www.texasmusiccoalition.org) which supports all genres of music since 1998 and we have the yearly Urban Music Festival put on by Quinn Dixon coming up in February. I have known about these supporters for years, but when I interviewed the artists and mentioned these resources, only 4 out of 17 recognized these organizations! And at the same time .... Trinity U had Chuck D speak for it's MLK Day this year.
"If you give this city something packaged pretty, they will take it and run with it. I think it would be the same with music IF they stepped out right with it. IF there was a stronger push on unity ... i think the city would come together. This is the 7th largest city .... it's either us or them ... but someone needs to pull it together." said rapper Marcus Marc Twang Benson. And I agree. A good example of this - malls and housing. When the next new thing is built .... off go the masses. Where is the love for what was previously built?
"Do you think promoters do enough for the artists?" was my next question.
"Promoters are depending too much on the artists to bring people to the show. You need to build a good quality show that they (patrons) want to come and be a part of." says G Christ Jonathan Gilchrist of Crew54(www.myspace.com/crew54)
"Promoters only care about the $." explains CREW54's MOS Eric Morgan. "In all aspects of Hip Hop you are gonna have the good and the bad. When people make a demand for the better stuff, then the shows will be elevated. CREW54 has one thing to say to pay to play promoters : HELL NO!! That is an insult."
And yes, that is an insult. Not just to the young struggling artists who are getting taken advantage of by certain slick talking promoters, but to the Heart of Hip Hop itself. Negativity brings us down and continues to make the struggle to succeed that much harder and keeps the "scene" dirty. Yes, even in little ol Sa-Town we got our share of the dirt. (It wouldn't be the DIRTY SOUTH without it. Right?) For example, we have this one sly cat running around taking advantage of the SA girls, getting one of them pregnant, borrowing money from artists he befriends and ripping off generous promoters to the tune of 12g. What? Your shocked? Don't be. This shit happens everywhere .... so what can we do to stop it?
"You stop it by Getting Smart!" Says DJ Necio. "A lot of these artists don't know how the promotion game works, so promoters take advantage of the artists in a way. There are also the bad promoters who brain wash the artists and groups by telling them, if you work with so and so you will not be working with me anymore, and groups don't know what to do cuz a lot of them are new to the game and don't know where to go. So the best thing to do to control this is, again, get smart and get connected."
"The artists and promoters and pulling in opposite directions." says DJ Boo Charles Djboo Johnson (www.myspace.com/utl7hustla). "If we pulled together .. we would be a force to be reckoned with. If we keep pulling away from each other it will take us forever to get it together. All you can do is keep grinding cause there are too many fakes and frauds out there."
Southern Made's White Mike sums it up nicely by saying "SA has a lot of work to do and its gonna take us all working together to get there. If you look at other towns ... Houston, Austin and Miami .... they all came up by doing music together. SA has too much beef and it needs to be squashed. There wasn't one person who made Houston, there wasn't one person who made NY, there wasn't one person who made ATL ..... it takes all of us working together."
"I do rap cause when the written word is combined with music it becomes a powerful thing ... something emotional. Its something that I want to keep doing." Austin's Clark Perry told me on the phone.
Something all these cats have in common from the white collar chairs to the white T's on stage .... they do it for the love. (go listen to Texas Immigrant's song called 'For The Love' www.myspace.com/texasimmigrants) So where do we go from here? How do we build the foundation that all of San Antonio's artists are begging for? I think we first have to realize what Sa Town is not .... it is not nor will it be a mecca for music like New York, Chi-Town, ATL, L.A. and Houston. However it has the potential for something just as great.
My buddy Jason says this, "The SA music scene is in it infancy stage right now. I do believe that the talent is here to make the music meccas take notice, but I think in order for SA to have a huge impact on the music meccas it first has to have a large impact locally and regionally." Ring the bell cause the man is onto something here!! "SA has to step from underneath the shadow that Houston is casting on this city, and that is no disrespect to Houston because they are doing their thing over there. SA needs to take notice of that and take notice of the successes and hurdles that Houston has had getting national recognition. It took Houston a lot of years of grinding and perfecting their craft before they EARNED their respect from the music meccas."
"It does have a potential to be something, but not a mecca though. SA has a lot of PERCEPTIONS and that has kept them from doing a lot. I think SA can be improved, but become a mecca no. There are cultural considerations too ... we have the largest Hispanic culture .... I was raised in the Rio Grande Valley, and though SA is more progressive, RG is similar. Neither are the most conducive for multi cultural music because of this." Says Peppin. "There is no real part of town in SA you can point to to say .. oh that's where you go in SA for a good music scene. St Mary's started to do it, but that fell off."
"No way Jose." said DJ CITI when I asked him if SA could be a mecca. "The celeb status is way too big in those cities compared to San Antonio."
So what to do? Build support from a grass roots level. Promoters get out there and promote so people know first hand what's up. Do not rely just on the internet. Artists fine tune your craft so you can bring a better show that will have people talking AND when handing your demos to the radio stations ..... make sure they are proper. Join with the forces and resources that are at your fingertips for they are ready to help you. And lastly ..... unite, rise up and help one another. We are all here for you.