Social Media Spurs The Fecundity Of Freestyle Fridays

e-dubble Freestyle FridayFreestyle Friday is a project that rapper e-dubble adopted on February 5th, releasing a free hip-hop track every Friday. After producing a track each week, e-dubble launches a strong social media campaign to spread the news, and to grow his fan-base. Freestyle Friday is now in its 37th week, approaching the release of the 38th straight track. Doing anything with such consistency is naturally difficult, but doing something of quality that often, is very impressive.

Keeping it fresh with variety, e-dubble mixes his lyrics with beats and hooks from groups such as Ratatat, Vampire Weekend, Spoon, Tom Petty and even Hanson. It takes a strong work ethic to write, mix, and record that many tracks in that short of time. But the work doesn’t stop there for the 7-foot rapper representing Philadelphia and Baltimore. Primarily utilizing social media to proselytize his prose, each week e-dubble has gained momentum, press, and fans.

Recently Matters of Grey had the opportunity to ask e-dubble about his experience with this project, and how he has enlisted social media to attain a large and growing audience. At the bottom of the interview you will find a few of his songs. There is also a video of his song called Hampden Parks — one of my favorite tracks which uses the theme song from the NBC show Parks and Recreation. View and download all of his Freestyle Friday tracks over at ReverbNation.

{MoG} When you came up with the idea to do Freestyle Friday, it was to promote your album Hip Hop is Good. It has since taken on a life of its own. When did you know that it was its own thing, and how did your plans change?

{e-dubble} I’m not sure we ever really changed plans per se, it was more like “cool- this thing has it’s own wheels and can stand on its own as a concept.” So, the promotion aspect of “hip-hop is good” sort of took a backseat to being inventive with the Freestyle Friday series. Not to say the Freestyle Friday series overshadowed that release but more like it’s complementary and hopefully part of a logical progression — that being said, please buy “hip-hop is good.”

{MoG} In the outro on the track “On The Radio” you state that “we are just getting started.” This track was Freestyle Friday #3. Did you have any idea that you would be doing this 30+ weeks later?

{e-dubble} I think I did. Especially at that time, it was so new and fun, and there was no real pressure associated with it. I just kind of thought, as I still do now, this is what I love doing, why would I ever stop? The scheduling conflicts and the week to week aspect has gotten increasingly challenging with everything that’s going on, but as it stands now there’s certainly no reason to stop before hitting a full 52 weeks. It’s too much fun and the fan response and support is awesome.

{MoG} 52 straight weeks is an amazing feat, what do you see as your plan going forward?

{e-dubble} Yup, I’d love to finish out the full year. We’ve got the first installment of the Freestyle Friday series mixtape coming out this month, and I’m pretty sure we’ll have a second volume once the year wraps up. Currently we’re looking to do a lot of video work for some of the Freestyle Friday songs, and we have some dope collaborations on the way. Once we get a few more details finalized on things like distribution and publishing, I’ll be looking to put out all new original releases, either direct to iTunes or a standard full length album. But I’m certainly not planning on slowing down recording wise, hopefully I’ll always be getting new music out there.

{MoG} To quote a few of your lyrics:

“We can make magic, we are young mavericks” – On The Radio
“All I’m trying to do is kill it in twenty-ten” – Clap On, Clap Off
“Black Paisley gonna get my name out.” – Clap on, Clap Off

How would you evaluate your progress on these goals, and what are you dreaming up next?

{e-dubble} I think I’ve been making decent progress on those goals. I’m just trying to listen to as much music as possible and find inspiration in new places. I talk a lot about the future and what I hope for, and I guess the positive lyrics are often meant to be motivators for myself and anyone who can relate.

{MoG} How are you so prolific in terms of producing new songs/mixes?

{e-dubble} Well that’s a nice thing to say, thank you. I think I have a good work-flow now, and since each week I’m primarily doing everything myself, it’s easy to schedule things and know what I have to get done. Probably the biggest challenge for me is just finding new samples and songs that I’d like to pull from. I’m big on variety and sometimes finding the perfect sample can be tough.

{MoG} What challenges have you faced in creating a track every week, and what is something that has surprised you in the process?

{e-dubble} Certainly time, and finding a remix worthy track are the biggest things, but beyond that I’ve had weeks where I’ve had technical problems. I’m working out of the studio in my room while the big one gets completed downstairs, and some of my computer hardware is antiquated. I’ve had weeks where I’ve lost hard drives, or have not been able to locate samples or certain plug-ins weren’t working. So, in that you always have a bit of excitement. The biggest surprise in the process is probably how much you continue to learn from song to song. You may think you know yourself completely as a writer or producer one week and then something comes around and opens your eyes to something totally new and you change your process or add to your production skill set. It’s really cool to be able to discover new stuff each week and I think it’s a huge bonus in finding yourself and your sound.

{MoG} What’s one thing about you that would surprise people, something that very few people might know?

{e-dubble} My dog, named Lewis, is a girl.

{MoG} Which is your favorite track that you have done?

{e-dubble} That’s a tough one, they’ve all got their lil’ places in my heart. But, right now I’m really enjoying “Green lights” Freestyle Friday #30. I think it sort of encompasses what’s going on with me and the Freestyle Friday series and I think a lot of the stuff included in there lyrically might be relatable to a lot of people.

{MoG} What has been the most effective thing you’ve done in terms of marketing and how has the feedback been on providing a free track every week?

{e-dubble} Obviously with a limited/non-existent budget we’re big on social media and the hope of viral attention. My manager and I have a pretty good set up where we work together to get the message out on the twitter and facebook. I’m not completely in love with micro-blogging so it can be pulling teeth for me sometimes, but he picks up my slack. Ultimately, I think the people respond to the music and that’s pretty much what keeps them coming back and hopefully they like passing it along to other people as well.

{MoG} I know that I found out about you through social media, was social media initially involved in your strategy?

{e-dubble} Definitely, from day one we knew that was our best bet for reaching a large audience without any real marketing capital. We knew establishing our online presence early would help us out tremendously in the future, and we didn’t want people to get frustrated in not being able to easily track down my music online.

{MoG} How much of your fan base do you relate to social media?

{e-dubble} A very large percentage I’d say, prior to the Freestyle Friday series and having any management, my main fan base was local and it wasn’t like I was really working to build my name too much. I mainly just wanted to make music and my friends, family and fans were all very supportive but it really took getting serious about the social media aspect to start reaching more people.

{MoG} Do you see social media being the main way for musicians to market themselves now?

{e-dubble} I certainly feel that way for independent musicians, it’s a bit of an equalizer if you can be creative and have a good product. You don’t need a ton of money to be heard, but of course it helps. I think you see that trend even with the major labels now, they’re encouraging their artists to leverage their celebrity capital online. It’s all really interesting because there is a lot of room for PR gaffs but it can also really help fans connect with artists and open up a new conversation.

{MoG} In your track, “Simple” you mention the game Foursquare. What do you think of it?

{e-dubble} I can’t quite remember when I first signed up for Foursquare, Gowalla and the rest, but, back in 2008 I started using Loopt and thought it was kind of cool when I’d be around town and knew where some of my friends were. So, once the “lo-so” apps became a little more mainstream I made sure I registered my “e-dubble” name with all of them in case I thought of some cool ways to utilize them in the future. But, in all honesty since then I haven’t really been to into the “game” aspect of it all. I don’t care too much about badges, and I’m not even the mayor of my own house anymore.

{MoG} Have you ever thought about combining your Foursquare and Twitter presence to hold a secret show – where you check into a venue and go on an hour later?

{e-dubble} Yeah- that kind of thing was exactly my thought early on when I got all the accounts set up. Since then I’ve kind of realized that the location based apps are really more beneficial for brick and mortar businesses and that I don’t know enough about leveraging that kind of concept to be implementing anything too crazy right now.

{MoG} What inspires you and does seeing what other musicians do in social media encourage you do new and creative things with your audience?

{e-dubble} A lot of things inspire me, primarily friends, family and the hope for brighter days down the line for everyone. As much as a curmudgeon as I know I can sound like, I think I’m still an idealist at heart. As far as interacting with my audience we definitely have a lot of interesting concepts on the way, a lot involving video, and a lot of stuff hinging on how cool stuff can be in “real-time.” Other than that it’s just great to talk to them on a regular basis on my facebook page and twitter etc. I’m always checking them and trying to respond to people because they always have awesome questions and are some of the coolest people I know.

{MoG} What advice would you give to other people trying to use social media to promote their careers?

{e-dubble} I think honesty is important, it shows through and means a lot to friends and fans that you’re being genuine. Other than that, I don’t really know, I’m not too great at it myself but I have some good people around me.

{MoG} How can our readers support you?

{e-dubble} Just please keep listening, and sharing, and talk to me! Your feedback is awesome and I really appreciate what people think of the new music. Additionally, if you have the time, inclination, and money, buying my album “hip-hop is good” wouldn’t hurt. Thanks!

Hard Bargain – Freestyle Friday #8
mp3
[audio:http://mattersofgrey.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/e-dubble-FF-8-Hard-Bargain.mp3]

Aches – Freestyle Friday #23
mp3
[audio:http://mattersofgrey.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/e-dubble-FF-23-Aches.mp3]

Tired – Freestyle Friday #17
mp3
[audio:http://mattersofgrey.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/e-dubble-FF-17-Tired.mp3]

Let Me Oh – Freestyle Friday #9
mp3
[audio:http://mattersofgrey.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/e-dubble-Let-Me-Ohh-Freesyle-Friday.mp3]

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