Sylvia "The Boss Lady" McDaniel doesn't look at the economy as an impediment. She sees it as another opportunity.
Sylvia "The Boss Lady" McDaniel
McDaniel is the owner of Boss Media Network, a talent company that specializes in branding and marketing a variety of different musical and entertainment artists in Portland.
"I'm an African American female," she says. "African American females will go to the beauty shop regardless of the economy, we get our hair done, we get our nails done. That's just the way it is. And we will find the money to get it done. People use the economy as an excuse not to do stuff."
Focusing on the "new economy" she says she focuses her energy on creating a product that people can't live without.
"In this new economy, people want to feel good," she says.
And they also want to hear good music, which McDaniel says is not hard to find in this town. Her challenge as a talent agency is to help artists differentiate themselves from the crowd to achieve success. By "branding or re-branding" musical artists, she hopes it can help them connect with fans in way to make their music a must-have.
While the national record companies are focusing much of their efforts on artists in the South right now, Portland's scene has been teeming with talented, motivated, hungry hip hop artists on the verge of a national break out for years now.
One of her clients, longtime Portland rapper Anuff, says he's not waiting around to getting on mainstream radio stations -- although he has had a song played on 107.5 FM. He's taking any avenue he can to get his music out. He told The Skanner News he has singles playing in the next generation of radio stations – online radio. He's got tracks playing on IM radio, Dangerous Music, and Green Thumb Radio.
"I could be playing in Finland right now for all I know," he said.
Although the internet has opened up the hip hop market across the world, Anuff and McDaniel want local artists to celebrate their city.
"I think Portland is a step above everyone, but they (record companies) don't see Portland as a hip hop scene and if you look at an area with less than 4 percent African Americans, you don't associate that with hip hop," McDaniel says.
With many record companies paying scant attention to the Pacific Northwest scene, many artists have turned to self-publishing, she says. One need look no further than the independent label Cool Nutz built from the ground up since the early '90s.
For much of the 20th century, Portland was a rich town for the African American music scene, and McDaniel is convinced it can be again.
"Every rap artist from Portland has a song about Portland," Anuff said. "We represent our town. We want to put Portland on the map."
Along with the desire to represent Portland for a national audience, the other thing the scene has going for it is the diversity.
"If you have a show in Portland, with 12 or 13 different hip hop artists, no one sounds the same," he said. "Everyone's different, you've got gangsta rappers, the fly guys, the backpack Timbaland boot rappers, you've got your political rappers. You have everything here."
Although southern rappers are getting all attention right now, Anuff and McDaniel say the fame is bound to fade. With a focus on heavy beats and a lack of thoughtful lyrics – at least in many artists from the area – Anuff thinks people will want to focus on more complex rhymes that talk about more than just sex and money. On his new album, "It's Never Anuff" the rapper says he dismissed the urge for a dance album in favor of something more introspective.
"My inspiration on this album was to be real," he said. "To let everyone know I'm going to come up with this. It's more about the struggle, the trials and tribulations, and a little bit more about myself. I opened up and let people inside a bit. Here's who I am."
To listen to Anuff's singles, visit www.Myspace.com/Anuff100. He will be playing a show on June 12 in Beaverton at the Phoenix Lounge, 12525 SW Canyon Rd.
In other local hip hop news Local Emcee Luck-One is holding an event dubbed "Dollar Dollar Bill Y'all" – an all-ages hip-hop showcase featuring Grynch, Luck-One, Matty, Animal Farm's DJ Gen. Erik, Sole Provider and Special. Admission is $1.
The event will be held Thursday, July 1 at Salmon Street Studios, 109 S.E. Salmon St. in Portland.