P&P Interview: Buck Marley of Buck Marley XXX

BMXXXLogo540x430 500x398 P&P Interview: Buck Marley of Buck Marley XXX

This is my second installment of #LetTheBloggersSpeak interview series, where, like the last one with LowKey, I interview some of the web’s most influential bloggers.

Buck Marley of BuckMarleyxxx.com has been accidentally blogging for about three years now, working his way in just one year to XXL‘s Official 100 Best Hip-Hop Web Sites with some of the biggest spots on the web. Aside from making top 100 lists and having some quality exclusives for the people, he has also shown the web some great artists. “Buck Marley Army” includes Rickie Jacobs, Joe Clark, B.C. and b.FUNK, K. Marable and Artic, among others.

In this interview we get into why he has a love for 40oz, where blogging is going, the top albums of 2011, how Tha Carter IV will do, and plenty more.

How did you get into blogging?
It’s a funny story actually. I guess you can say BuckMarleyXXX.com was created by mistake. Or in other words, the brand was never supposed to turn into anything, let alone get press in XXL’s Top 100 Hip-Hop site list along the way. I had my ways of getting music earlier than everyone else around me back in high school from various sources. Then I was burnin’ some fine herb with a few of the boys one Spring afternoon in 2008 when one had asked me to burn him a CD with all the hottest new music. Eventually, it almost turned into a pet peeve of mine to burn CD’s for my friends and associates so the initial plan for BuckMarleyXXX.com was to provide an easy outlet for all of my people to download the music they had always wanted me to put on a CD for them and then they could burn their own damn CD’s. Don’t get me wrong, I always have had a passion for music, as music is the soundtrack to our lives. But never did I think that my site would eventually turn into a competitor to blogs already existing during a time where new blogs were poppin’ up by the 100’s on the daily. I survived that era and I’m still here as a digital marketing agent for various artists, signed and unsigned. And I love what I do. Blame it on the marijuana and discouragement of burning CD’s for friends. What can I say?

What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever blogged from?
I guess it’d be safe to say my second office, otherwise known as my bathroom, on the toilet would have to be the weirdest. Well, it’s not weird to me because I’m convinced they made laptops for that very reason, to enjoy the internet experience, even when nature calls.

How has Twitter changed the way you do things, not just blogging?
Twitter is easily the most used application on my BlackBerry. Anyone who has a Twitter knows that your Twitter experience is what you make it. It’s huge for promotional reasons. It’s awesome for networking. It’s perfect for this digital age. I’d take Twitter over Facebook any day. Because you never know what’s type of tweets are going to come onto that timeline of yours. That’s the fun part. Follow me @BuckMarleyXXX. You can enjoy random words of wisdom, tweets influenced by Moscato, beer or marijuana, and promotional tweets about that wonderful website of mine. Sounds cool, right? No? Well, press the follow button and let me prove otherwise.

Hit the jump for the rest…

How much of an influence do you feel you have on music blogging?
With so many music sites and blogs in existence, it’s hard to say what I have done in the past three years (and change) that has directly influenced anyone else with their ways of doing things or even how much of an influence I’ve had on new bloggers that arise. But I can say, I have tried to run with different lanes in the world of music blogs where you find the same content daily on various outlets. Essentially, over time, my main focus has shifted towards the heavy promotion of artists that aren’t necessarily on your radar when it comes to Hip-Hop. I recently started the Under The Radar segment on BuckMarleyXXX.com which showcases an artist of my choice on a weekly basis that deserves at the least, a listen from viewers and/or other bloggers. At the end of the day, every career starts from the bottom. I am trying to influence other outlets to also cherish the rising class of artists because you never know who will make that XXL Freshmen cover the coming year. Before I made this shift in focus, BuckMarleyXXX.com was one of the only sites to my knowledge with a roster of artists who were exclusively promoted through the site, deemed the “Buck Marley Army”. The potential and talent of those artists (Rickie Jacobs, Joe Clark, B.C. and b.FUNK, K. Marable and Artic, among others) forced me to spread that focus on the rest of the rising class in hopes that other outlets would also recognize that you don’t need to be familiar with an artist to give them a chance, because you may like what you hear. And soon after, you may even call yourself a fan, as well as promotion to the artist.

Kush or Purps?
Both. At the same time. Separately rolled. That’s my preference, to say the least.

Where the hell did Rickie Jacobs come from? You were the first to really start letting go of his music and he has become a household name now.
Rickie Jacobs? Well, he was brought into this world in September of 1986 and then in September of 2009, we happened to cross paths. Technically, he came from Baltimore, but after he sent me a record at that point, it was the start of something we like to call an underdog story. First things first, Rickie Jacobs is more than just an artist I promote. He’s like a brother to me and we have worked hard on creating a recipe for success that would utilize all of our resources and talents to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves individually and as a team. So far, so good. We had dropped two projects in the Fall of 2010, Air Jacobs and Air Jacobs: Reloaded, respectively, and Rickie Jacobs has progressed substantially and his work ethic is remarkable. You already heard what he does to beats on the reg with that impeccable flow and if you haven’t, well, Google is your friend. I want to thank all of the outlets for any support for Rickie Jacobs’ movement! Die Brilliant is on the way. Stay tuned!

Are blogs somewhat moving in the direction to be the new labels?
Honestly, the music blogs and sites should be considered as employees to major labels for the promotion given to the artists. This is a digital age, where artists can create their own careers without the backing of a label. We’ve seen several acts sign major deals or better yet, keep 100% creative control over their material because of the hype built off the internet and the music sites combined. Unfortunately, the labels make it seem like the music sites are the bad guys because of the possibility of downloading material for free as well as occasional unauthorized leaks that get posted on various outlets, but the fact of the matter is, all promo is good promo. Artists have learned to cherish the music sites as well as visit these sites to keep up with material from their peers in the industry and have worked on projects with top sites on several occasions. The labels should learn to do the same. All in all, music sites could be essential to the labels, but they will be never replace the idea of a major label and their ways of putting money in their pockets.

Outside of BuckMarleyXXX.com, what else do you do in this industry?
I recently started working with D. Prados and Hot 97’s Drewski as one of the sponsors for Spotlight Live NJ. What’s Spotlight Live NJ? Well, it’s a concert series, a stage provided to up-and-coming artists to perform at Dolce Lounge in Elizabeth, NJ, which is a great environment with awesome drink specials! Local artists from all over the tri-state area have performed so far since we started in late April and it’s a working progress that has a lot of potential. It’s all about the music at the end of the day and this is a spot where you can come network, enjoy live entertainment (or be the entertainer), have some drinks and just chill. Shouts to all of those who have been a part of the early success seen by Spotlight Live NJ!

What does it take a new artist to get a post on BuckMarleyXXX.com? (Skill, buzz, personality?)
A blogger’s inbox is equivalent to the depths of the unknown. You never know what you’re going to fall upon and what type of artist will reach out to you. Many sites get over 1000 submissions in a day so the biggest thing for me has to be the early presentation and first impression. You should see some of the subject lines I’ve seen in my day. It’s impossible to listen to every record submitted but of course skill comes into play. If the blogger does happen to click in to your email, are you going to impress right off the bat? Depending on how much music is in my inbox, you might get a minute from my ears, if that. Other than that, you know talent when you hear it. You know when an artist needs to work on developing their flow, rhymes or craft as a whole. And you know when to pay attention to an artist to see what they do or come up with next. But most importantly, we are your promotion. Don’t ever get sour about not getting a post, just work hard and you know what they say about hard work. Show and prove. I love listening to new artists, just don’t treat my inbox like a toilet bowl. I don’t want shit.

AC Milan or Manchester United?
Neither. I’m a Juventus fan, but if I had to choose, it’d be AC Milan. Although I dislike them due to rivalry purposes in Serie A, I support my Italian culture through thick and thin.

Where did the nickname Buck Marley come from?
Do you remember the story about how I got into blogging? Well, after that smoke session, I went to my computer and couldn’t think of a damn name for my site. Young Buck is one of my favorite artists and it was one of the first things Hip-Hop related that had come to my mind after playing his record, Puff Puff Pass, twenty minutes earlier in the smoke filled garage of mine. It’s a habit to call me Buck or Buck Marley because of the site name but if you know me, you call me Baliat. That’s been my nickname all my life. In retrospect, I can’t tell you how many times I was asked why I created my site, BuckMarleyXXX.com, but I just say, it’s because I was high. Ha!

What’s the future hold for BuckMarleyXXX.com?
I wish I knew what the future held, but I don’t. But I can tell you, there’s a new site design in the works. There’s more projects to come. And there’s plenty of new artists to be discovered and promoted, which yields more opportunities. I just make sure I thank God for waking me up every day so I can see what it is my future has in store for me.

There are tons of new music blogs popping up every day and the internet is getting pretty saturated, making it harder for new bloggers to win over many readers. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a new music blog?
Study the game first before even thinking about starting a new website. If not, you’re just a waste of bandwidth who is just adding something to your life that takes up a lot of time. Make it worthwhile. Go hard or go home.

At the end of Weezy Week last year, you dropped a bomb on the blogging game. Were you nervous letting go of the full, CDQ version of Lil’ Wayne’s “Most Wanted Rockstar”?
I wasn’t nervous but I look back on my contributions to various records being leaked onto the internet and I have some sort of regret. Reason being, I’ve gotten close with a lot of artists over the years since the site started and I really saw all the work that goes into the creative process of creating music. Some music just isn’t meant to be out and at the same time, some music may be important to an artist and an untimely leak could alter a lot of events. Either way, I shifted away from that element of the music blogging world because I respect the artists and their craft due to the experiences I’ve been blessed with working with various artists through BuckMarleyXXX.com. Weezy Week was classic though, I just had to put the icing on the cake with something anticipated.

Who is going to have the album of the year? Or Top 3?
We all know that Watch The Throne album will be a problem. A whole album of Kanye West and Jay-Z will be a blessing to the hip-hop game. Lil’ Wayne has stressed that C4 may be his last album and while he may change his mind down the road, we have to think that Weezy is recording like it is his last. And if that’s the case, expect a classic. We wouldn’t want it any other way for Lil’ Wayne. It’s a toss-up, man! Music has been awesome this year and there are many notable projects that have dropped or will be dropping this year. From Finally Famous: The Album all the way to Goblin, there are so many forms of hip-hop to support. Just make sure you support your favorite artist(s)!

Why do you love 40oz so much?
When I was in college, I was spending money carelessly, and 40oz were cheap and efficient. Buy two, hand the guy at the liquor store $6 and head on out. Drink them down, add a few blunts into the mix and you’re bound to get into some real fun shit. And don’t forget that Barefoot Wine Moscato. A full (big) bottle to the face is the perfect start to any night of drinking. Drink responsibly.

Lil’ Wayne before C3, or after C3?
Weezy has classic material and mixtapes before C3 without a doubt but ask me this in a couple months because I need to see what C4 does for this man’s legacy when it touches down.

Will Lil’ Wayne’s C4 sell a Milli the first week?
It’s his first album release since his vacation and could possibly be his last solo album so if he’s going to sell that million in one week, he needs to drop some serious singles this summer and keep the features impressive. Unfortunately, I don’t see him garnishing as much buzz as he had for Tha Carter III but wouldn’t it be dope if he got the repeat? I’ll do my part and purchase a copy!

Anything else you would like the people to know about you?
I’ve already spoken too much! Ha! Man, shouts to Pigeons and Planes and of course, shouts to @MisterMaryJane and the best weed oriented site I know, Hail Mary Jane! It was a pleasure to speak for the #LetTheBloggerSpeak series and we should do this again sometime. Shouts to all of my colleague websites who continue to do what they love in this industry! Shouts to @RickieJacobs, @IAMJOECLARK and @bFUNKmusic! Follow them all on Twitter! Remember, Die Brilliant is on the way! It’s a lifestyle, not just an album! And of course, I can’t go out without the tag line, it just wouldn’t be right! BuckMarleyXXX.com, bitch! Get with it! Word to @DJCSquared!