“Prospect Avenue” is my new solo album, finished after 2 years of studio work, and ready for international release. These are my stories of teaching, learning and evolving in new millennium Brooklyn: an homage to New York City offered in a time of distress, a love letter laced with co-dependence, a tribute to social and civil servants, a prayer for students and teachers. It is written from the hallways of our public schools, from the stages of shuttered venues, from the expanses of bridges traversed on bicycle, from the bandstand and the cypher. From the front stoop of the house on 18th Street, where I’ve resided for 13 years, I’ve documented the city changing while growing within its confines; journeying to touch distant points on the globe, always returning, culminating with a ride on the R train to Prospect Avenue.
For those who’ve followed me over the last decade, know that this project is leaps beyond anything I’ve ever released. I’ve been blessed to assemble an amazing roster of guest spots on the mic and on production (complete tracklisting and credits below). Guest features from Homeboy Sandman, Rob Swift, IllSpokinn, Core Rhythm, Brother Hamm, Mariella and more. Production from Da Beatminerz, Nickodemus, Mista Mayday, Sid Suna, for starters. I’ve also incorporated live musicians into the recording of this album, some of NYC’s very finest players, which has been a huge step in my studio process. For those new to me, expect poetic punchlines and introspective lyrics rapped and sung over a bent-genre canvas of compositions. The music ranges from jazzy to boom bap to bluesrock to electrosoul to funkybreaks, and finally captures the energy and electricity of my live show on record. Expect your heartstrings to be tugged, your head to nod, feet to move, fingers to slide to rewind and mind to wander from nostalgia to the day after tomorrow.
My Kickstarter Business Plan
The resources garnered from this Kickstarter campaign will be used to present “Prospect Avenue” to the world in a manner that few indy records have ever used. In the age of viral gimmicks and digital everything, I’m opting for the opposite approach: an analog feel, multi-medium collectible art which will increase in value, and esteeming rap lyrics as bookworthy poetry. $10,000 will fund:
- Double LP Vinyl Pressing of “Prospect Avenue” ($3500.00)
- Soft cover lyrics book, with all original artwork done by my Grandmother Sylvia in 1938 ($1500.00)
- Limited Edition Screen Printings of the cover art ($500.00)
- 3 month sustained PR campaign with a prominent agency ($2250.00)
- Budget for the first two music videos from the album ($1800.00)
(Total fees deducted from a successful Kickstarter are about 10%, so this is factored in to the gross total sought up front)
The album is completed. Mixed, mastered, designed, ready for pressing. I’ve spared no expense in the recording and post-production, and I’m devoted to the same standard for its release. I’m also committed an autonomous release that is aligned with my guiding philosophies and empowers my supporters to invest in my musical platform. I have been uncompromising while building my industry, a movement that has been self-managed, people-powered and fueled by a passionate spirit for change and social justice. All of my accolades and accomplishments have been garnered without major label backing, without PR, without concession. I’m proud to embody the ingenuity, persistence and resilience of an Independent Artist. And now, I’m turning to a Kickstarter campaign and your support to take that industry to a whole new level.
The Story of the Artwork
The cover art for Rabbi Darkside’s new album, “Prospect Avenue,” was drawn by his Grandmother Sylvia in 1938, when she was 20 years old. It comes from “City Signs,” a poetry collection she handwrote, edited, and illustrated. It was recently unearthed at his family home, and serendipitously became the cover of his album after a similar image emerged outside of his Brooklyn house one autumn morning. Life imitating art to the utmost, and striking a chord that resonates throughout the borough. The story unfolds below...
An early autumn Brooklyn dawn. I was shaken awake by the shuddering of my house. Peering out the window, I witnessed 7:00am construction shattering the sidewalk. Sleep fractured, morning breaking, managing a return to slumber…I re-rose a few hours later, rolling towards the window, expecting a Con Edison crew ringing a fresh hole, swarming the block. Instead, in place of two perfectly removed squares of sidewalk, there stood a newly planted young tree embedded in fresh soil. Surprised and smiling, I strolled to my poetry shelf to pull AM inspiration for my morning pages. My fingers were drawn to a mysterious untitled black spine. I slowly pulled the book from the stacks and recognized it as “City Signs,” a poetry collection compiled by my Grandmother Sylvia. And in the inside covers she’d drawn a single young tree set in sidewalk, a cityscape in the background, uncannily resembling the renovated tableau in front of my house. In this instant, the themes of my life, my new record and my family history fused into this image, which is the cover art to “Prospect Avenue.”
In addition to serving as the cover, my Grandmother's drawings will be used as the illustrations for the "Prospect Avenue" lyric poetry book. There are 15 unique hand-drawn pieces; my lyrics will replace the poems she originally chose for her book, and the drawings are being paired with the most fitting song.
Risks and challenges
I’ve half-jokingly said for the last 3 years that “$10,000 would change my life." Well, this is exactly what I meant. Upon successful funding of this campaign, the risk level is almost null. It is a matter of pressing "Go" and executing the plan outlined. All of the machinery is in place. The design work is done for the Vinyl LP, for the poetry book, for the prints. I have invested in all of this up front. The timetable is realistic and a product of careful research and resource management. The PR is lined up. The videos are conceived and storyboarded. Tour dates for the duration of 2013 are being filled, both US and abroad.
The biggest risk is that this album becomes another drop in the bucket, an outcome I’ve seen too many brilliant artists suffer. I want better than that, and I believe you guys want better than that for me, and ultimately, we all benefit from more light shining on this music and on the people associated with it.
"$10,000 would change my life." And that investment will affix wheels to my vehicle that can roll for years to come. Now is the time to strike. The risk is in missing the window of opportunity I've created.
QUESTIONS? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
RELEASE PARTY: Friday, April 19, 2013 @ Littlefield, 622 Degraw btwn 3rd and 4th ave, Brooklyn. http://www.littlefieldnyc.com/event/230215
- (30 days)