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XXL's Vanessa Satten and Miranda Johnson Share HUGE Tips on How to 'Break' into Hip-Hop

Ashley Vance
Posted by Ashley Vance on Oct 6


Yesterday (Oct. 5th), XXL’s Editor in Cheif Vanessa Satten and reporter Miranda Johnson visited the Loudermilk center to kick off the first day of a long week of events. Dropping gems on industry hopefuls here and there, the two journalists shared their in-depth experience on working with artists who have the capability of seamlessly transitioning to the limelight. 

XXL’s "The Break" is a podcast dedicated to highlighting and helping rising artists, so dubbing their panel discussion with the same name as their podcast couldn't have been more fitting. Commanding the room's attention, the ladies shared their expertise advise with a room full of new artists, producers, managers, and even a few hip-hop authors. With questions flying in left and right with no cease fire until the panel's end, the two had no problem shedding light on the best way to pivot into the music industry without twisting an ankle.

The two higher level hip-hop heads kept things brutally honest every step of the way. Between the freshman list and the podcast, there's always someone hoping to shove music down their ears. As XXL’s editor in chief, Satten's history in the music industry has naturally lined up a major list of do's and don'ts for rising artist trying to make a name for themselves. 

"It's easy to be a big fish in a small pond, but isn't your goal to be bigger than that?” said Satten opening up the discussion. With so many wanna-bes sending in music, it's important understand the many details that also play a role in determining who has what it takes and who's on the fast track to one-hit-wonder-land. "You cant just be buzzing in your neighborhood. How can you stand out? Better yet, how many people actually like your music?" Johnson added. 

And these days, if you can manipulate the internet, you're already a winner! It's all about how you portray yourself and the web delivers that portray right into the hands of potential fans. "People like to be fans of an actual person. They like a character. They want to connect to your music, why they like you, where you're from, etc," said Satten. 

Despite popular belief, the XXL Freshman list isn't just about who's the best lyricist — it's about who has the potential to be the next breakout star. I had the chance to chat with Satten after the panel, and her biggest pet-peeve among rising artists are big egos.

To close out our chat, Satten showed the shameless candor she's become well known for. "People don't want to see rude people win, for starters. Can you show up on time? Will we have to spend a fortune of money on you? These are all huge elements to consider when determining who has what it takes to be the next big thing!"

Ashley Vance

Written by Ashley Vance

Vance is A3C's Editor-in-Chief. Working as an Atlanta-based content guru, she dedicates her free time to helping artists build lasting brands.

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