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Shysti Speaks on Latin Rap Conference in New York
8/25/05 - exclusive interview

latin rap conference

The Latin Rap Conference returns September 19-20, filled with high-profile panelists, speakers and artist performances. San Diego rapper Shysti of Riverbottom Entertainment, organizer of the the last two Latin Rap conferences, spoke with us about what to expect from the event in this exclusive interview. What can people attending the conference expect from this event?

Its gonna be very informative, the panels this year are full of top notch people. So really informative on two levels, on where the Latin rap and reggaeton industry is going, and on what new artists need to do to get into the industry the right way.

Who are some of the artists that are supposed to be in attendance, as speakers or just as guests?

Immortal Technique, Psycho Realm, Chingo Bling as far as performing. Mostly the same ones [as speakers].

Are the performances going to be by local artists, or by established artists?

By both. We have the first night, there's going to be a show at SOBs, and that night will probably have Immortal Technique, Mellow Man Ace, Psycho Realm, and a bunch of up and coming indie artists.

What was the attendance like at the last two conferences?

The first one was about 300-350, and the last one was 400.

What made you decide to hold this year's event in New York?

Bringing it a little closer to the industry, a lot of labels have their main offices in New York, a lot of press, New York and Los Angeles are the big cities. And doing it in Los Angeles, its only two hours from San Diego, we might as well take it to the other side. We figured we'd bring it closer to home for the artists from the East Coast and Miami who came out, and make it easier for the executives to attend.

Is it too late for record labels or artists to become event sponsors?

No, to become official sponsors, some of the bigger opportunities are already taken, but there are already showcase opportunities for artists on indie labels, there's always cocktail party sponsors, basically to put their banners up. I think we got Hollywood Records sponsoring one night, the second night is still open.

Who are some of the people involved in putting the conference together?

By two companies, one of them is Rhythm Impact, my company. And the other is called Fuerte, out of New York, that's run by Rich Isaacson and Jerry Blair.

What motivated you to start holding a Latin rap conference in the first place?

I was working at a radio station in San Diego doing the morning show, and we organized a Latin Rap Fest, which was a big concert. Psycho Realm, Slow Pain, Lil One, Shadow, and it was the first time all these groups had been on stage together. A sold out show, no problems, the stigma is that there's always a problem getting people together. I have a studio here in San Diego, so everyone stayed with me and recorded. I realized there was a lot more power if people stuck together. So lets organize, build a network, help each other out, grow the industry in a positive way, not just a West Coast thing.

As far as your own music, have you been working on a new album?

We just finished Lil Uno's album, we have a new distribution through Fontana Universal, his is going to drop February of 2006. My album is gonna drop in the spring of 2006.

How much of your music is socially conscious like Cesar Chavez and Libertad?

100% of my music is socially conscious.

Do you think that rappers, as figures in the public eye, have a commitment to helping their community or putting a positive message in their music?

I wouldn't say that rappers have a commitment, but people in general, I don't care what you do for a living. You have a commitment, just like you look out for your family, take that a step further, look out for your community, take that a step further, look out for people in your race, take that a step further and look out for all humans on Earth.

Anything else you want to add?

I think everyone does what they do, I think its all part of the puzzle, some people make music to have fun, and we need that. Some people make music to spark a conversation, we need that too. There just has to be a balance.

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