And Nothin’ But the Salt

salty.jpg Occasionally, I see an all-white Cadillac SUV on the street outside my house, with the window lettering “SALTY SALT – NEW ALBUM – AND NOTHING BUT THE SALT – OUT NOW!”, and a website: The first time, I wondered about this vehicle, but guessed that it was a one-time promotion for a music artist, visiting the world-famous Venice Beach.

Then I saw it again and again and wondered – does this artist live in the neighborhood? It was always parked on the street, daytimes on weekends, and I wondered why. So when I saw its owner getting into the car yesterday, when I was descending from my apartment, I ran down to say hello and find out who he was.

He was, of course, Salt himself – a rap/R&B artist from Alabama, with a new album coming out next month. And the reason I see his car here on weekends is because he’s “bringing his music to the people” – actually going out to talk to people and give out or sell his CD on Venice Beach. And I think that’s actually pretty awesome. That’s some serious grassroots promotion, right there – and a lot of devotion, given how often I see him on my block.

So I’m wondering – is this an LA phenomenon, because this is where the recording industry is? And does anyone else see local artists promoting themselves and their album on the street? I know record companies rarely give artists the promotion they need, save the major-radio-airplay ones – are there many (signed!) artists promoting their albums at this level of grassroots?

9 thoughts on “And Nothin’ But the Salt”

  1. Guys are always on Hollywood Blvd. trying to get you to buy their CDs for $10 or so, some decent packaging, others with burned CDs labeled with a black Sharpie. Sometimes they’ll let you listen to a little bit from a walkman they have with them.

  2. Up here in Seattle it’s not exactly common, but it’s not exactly unheard of, either. At big rock shows I often encounter bands giving out sample CDs for free (it was tapes back in the 80s) and at our many large arts festivals there are very often indie artists standing outside the festivals greeting patrons and trying to talk them into buying their music.

  3. Yeah, but Salt here is a signed artist, as opposed to an unsigned one…I’m wondering how many other artists aren’t getting what they need from their labels and are also taking their music directly to the people.

  4. There’s a similar SUV–plastered with that glossy full-color, fully-covering promo “car shrinkwrap” that’s always on south Tamarind, a dead-ending street just south of the 101 in Hollywood. At least, there was a few years ago. Dunno if it’s still there. Forget the name of the artist.

  5. I’m pretty sure Master P got started the same way in the south….at least the “bringing his music to the people” part; not sure if he had his all decorated with promotional graphics & text.

  6. the most well known hiphop person that does this is Percee P. He is a NY guy and would be seen alot outside of fatbeats in NY selling his album. He is signed to LA label stones throw now and lives out here. I’ve been to shows that he has performed at and after he will walk through the crowd with his backpack of CDs talking to people and selling it. I’ve even been inline at hiphop shows and see him walk up and down the line selling his CD. He is a guy that is influential to alot of MCs but never really got a break himself but he really doesnt have to it but he beleaves in the hussle and the personel aspect of it. he has an album coming out this year on stones throw produced by madlib and has a show at spaceland sometime this summer. i really hope its a success commercially and critically just because how much work he has done.

    for more info

  7. Those car wrapped SUV’s aren’t all that uncommon. I used to see them quite a bit around Mid City, all for different artists but all hip hop stuff.

  8. I haven’t seen him there in a while, but how about that guy with the English accent who hangs around across the street from Amoeba and tries to get you to listen to his hip hop CD on headphones? Young black dude with bleached hair.

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