Blog Post One:

Week 1 & 2: 26th September – 1st October

The first week we were introduced to the module and came up with initial ideas. I had three ideas – two in which I didn’t fully expand on. The two ideas were about how streetwear fashion has changed and the history of DJing. My idea that I have fully researched is about female rappers and why it is so hard for them. They are always referred to as “female” rappers instead of just rappers which shows the context of the situation. I have been reading some articles on the subject, The Guardian published a really good read. I took a lot of information from it and it includes snippets from female rapper interviews. They also mentioned in there that: “In the same way that rising gender equality in the workplace overall doesn’t negate the fact that fewer than 5% of Britain’s top companies have a female CEO, or that so few of the BBC’s top earners are women, so it’s true that while there a huge number of female MCs out there, almost none are breaking through to the top tier of the music industry” (The Guardian, 2017). Radar Radar also wrote a similar article but it was more about women being nominated in a grime awards ceremony. The Guardian article also helped me on researching who to contact. I had a look for some books in the library on rap and grime, which I am going to be reading in the next couple of weeks aswell. I also listened to some podcasts this week to get back into critical listening.

This is my analysis:

Welcome to Night Vale
EP 1: Are You Listening? –  http://podbay.fm/show/536258179/e/1506627425?autostart=1
I found this podcast abit confusing to begin with which made me want to turn it off but as it was the first episode I gave it time. The effects were very dramatic and the pauses that happened were very effective. It had a lot of energy to it which made me interested and drawn in because it caught my attention. There was a monologue in particular that drew me in as it was very dramatic.
Love and Radio – The Boys Will Work It Out – http://loveandradio.org/2017/07/the-boys-will-work-it-out/
This podcast was very interesting but very weird at the same time. I didn’t know if I wanted to turn off or carry on listening which is not a bad thing as it kept my listening but I think I picked the wrong one.
Invisibilia – True You – http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/
This podcast was very personal as it included real peoples story and went very deep but it was nice and in some way warming. I have never heard something like this before so it was a good listen.
The Allustionst – Episode 1 – https://www.theallusionist.org/listen/
This podcast was very funny, it includes family which is nice to hear as it brings a sense of warmth to me. It is very clear and also interesting.

Day 1 of listening: I have realised with podcasts you have to be interested to an extent about the topic it is on. Some surprise you as you may not be interested but it is a good listen. I have learnt a lot of new things after listening to the podcasts as in a way some are education but they must grab the attention of you at the very beginning otherwise it’s game over.

Week 2: 2nd October – 8th October

This week I started to contact some people about potential interviews and getting involved in the documentary. I want views from males too but more females as of course it is a female based piece. The views from presenters, proper underground rapper, radio producers, record label management and artists who are making names for themselves are the people I hope to interview. This is the list of people I contacted this week:

Rappers:
Female:
– Paigey Cakey
– Ms Banks
– Stefflon Don
– Ray Blk
– Lady Leshurr
– Angel Haze
– Nadia Rose
– Lil Simz
– IAMDDB
– Princess Nokia

Male:
– Capo Lee
– Faze Miyake
– Yxng Bane
– 67
– Neverlan Clan
– Novelist

Producers:
– Sian Anderson’s Producer

Management:
– XXL Recordings

Radio Presenters:
– A Dot
– Rebecca Judd
– Sian Anderson
– Jamz Supernova
– Tiffany Calver
– Lily Mercer
– Maya Jama
– Julie Adenuga
– Snoochie Shy
– SK Vibemaker

I also read a section in ‘Key Concepts In Radio Studies’ by Hugh Chignall call ‘Documentaries and Productions’ along with Chapter 9: Documentaries in ‘Radio In Context’ by Guy Starkey this week. In ‘Key Concepts In Radio Studies’ it says: “It would be wrong to see the radio documentary, or even the radio feature, as of only historical interest” (Chignall, 2009:25). I think this a very good point as a lot of people assume radio documentaries are for historical topics when you can create one on pretty much anything. In ‘Radio In Context’ there was a few pointers that helped me think about how I’m going to structure my documentary, it was a very useful read. It stated: “Interviewees may introduce themselves, by simply announcing who they are and their credentials” (Starkey, 2004:211) which is a technique I have used before in a radio package and I thought it worked well.
This week I also got in touch with Head of BBC Radio 1Xtra at Somethin Else to ask about getting this documentary commissioned. I sent her my pitch (below).

Short Synopsis
Cardi B is the first solo female rapper to reach number 1 on the Hot 100 Chart since 1998 showing that the female rap scene is very tough. Female rappers are always referred to as “female rappers” instead of just rappers and continuously never do well in terms of charts and making it as a successful artist. There are more up and coming female rap artists arising, will this finally be a breakthrough for them?

Long Synopsis
“Why can’t I just do what I want to do freely without feeling like people are trying to put me in a box all the time? Do you know how annoying that is? When you feel like you’re doing something greater than life, but you’re always just a female rapper?”
Lil Simz

Female rappers have continuously throughout the years been passed to one side and not been given the recognition they deserve / would do if they were male. The rap / grime scene is predominantly male dominated meaning that females don’t stand a chance. This isn’t just a thing that’s happening now, Ms Dynamite, probably Britain’s most famous female MC managed to gain chart success years back. However she was unable to turn the initial success as her second single didn’t hit the top 40s and she just went back onto singing verses on club tracks.

This documentary would explore with interviews from presenters, producers, record label management and of course rappers (from males points of view too) why female rappers have got it so hard, the struggle they have and why they are labeled as “female rappers”.

Within the next two weeks I would like to get interviews sealed and some recorded along with my pitch defiantly commissioned.

Blog Post Two:

Week 3 & 4: 9th October – 22nd October

The past two weeks have been very stressful! In these weeks I have re amended my pitch as this is an on going process changing different parts depending on who I interview and what happens in the interviews. Here is the current version:

Short Synopsis
Cardi B is the first solo female rapper to reach number 1 on the Hot 100 Chart since 1998 showing how tough it is for females, especially in the UK. Not just that, female rappers are always referred to as “female rappers” instead of just rappers. Continuously the majority of female rappers never do well in terms of chart position and sales and I want to find out why. However right now is looking more promising for the first time in a long time with a few more female rap artists arising, will this finally be a breakthrough for them?

Long Synopsis
“Why can’t I just do what I want to do freely without feeling like people are trying to put me in a box all the time? Do you know how annoying that is? When you feel like you’re doing something greater than life, but you’re always just a female rapper?”
Lil Simz

Female rappers have continuously throughout the years been passed to one side and not been given the recognition they deserve / would do if they were male. The rap / grime scene is male dominated meaning that females are overshadowed for unknown reasons which is what I am going to explore.

This isn’t just a thing that’s happening now, Ms Dynamite, probably Britain’s most famous female MC managed to gain chart success years back. However she was unable to turn the initial success as her second single didn’t hit the top 40s and she just went back onto singing verses on club tracks.

This documentary would explore with interviews from presenters, producers, record label management and of course rappers (from males points of view too) why female rappers have got it so hard, the struggle they have and why they are labeled as “female rappers”.

 Some of the questions that I will be asking will be: How does it make you feel that if you was a male you could potentially be more successful and acknowledge as an artist?, What more can be done in order to try and make female rappers stand out more?, What is the future for female rappers?

In ‘The perception of females in the urban world’ I will try to discover what is going wrong for artists and how it can be changed.

I decided a working title to be ‘The Perception Of Females In The Urban World’ in order to make my pitch look professional when sending it out in emails rather than TBC. I also created a treatment to send alongside with my pitch.

My pitch has been commissioned by BBC 1Xtra at Somethin Else to be put forward for 1Xtra Stories in their next rounds of commissioning.

I interviewed a male radio presenter on Rinse FM called SK Vibemaker who plays alot of rap, grime and hip hop on his show so he had some very good points to make. He also interviews a few female rappers so he was a very good person to speak too. The past two weeks I have also been contacting more people and sending follow ups to people which I have had a few responses from. Female rapper IAMDDB emailed to say she would love to and we was arranging dates but then she had to pull out due to her tour which was a massive shame but I still mentioned I could come to her on tour. I have potentially a interview within the next week with a record label called Selfless Records and male rapper Bossman Birdie so fingers crossed they go ahead as planned but I am going to continue following up on emails and finding more people.

On Tuesday 10th when we had mini tutorials with Aasiya, we spoke about a on location segment and trying to get on someones tour to capture recording and interviews from that which I am trying to work on. I contacted IAMDDB about this but am unable to do it so my  plan 2 is Princess Nokia as she has a few tour dates in November however if I am unable to do this due to access I will just go to her gig and do on location links there. I have planned out my documentary however it needs a tad more work on but I think once a few interviews have happened that will help me.

I have been listening to some documentaries on 1Xtra to get a feel for the style of how they produce theirs, here is my analysis:

A History Of Hustle – 1Xtra Stories http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b091jh5k

When listening to ‘A History Of Hustle’ on 1Xtra Stories I found that there was a lot of archive footage played which is something I am thinking about including archive footage in my documentary especially as it is 1xtra based. It started with the jingles for the segment, which is standard within the documentaries, then Charlie Sloth (the presenter) introduces what the documentary is about and then there is a song played and in my opinion it went on for too long however this documentary is 1 hour long in comparison to my 15 minutes. I will defiantly be including music but under interviewees and my voice, never for too long on it’s own. It took me a while to get in to this documentary as I felt it was a slow burner however I think that is due to the length of the documentary and because mine is 15 minutes I don’t have time to waste. Charlie defines what ‘hustler’ is at the beginning which is good for people who may not understand or know what it is. It made me think maybe I will have to define things in it however maybe I wont. The biggest thing I noticed is the heavy influence music carried this documentary which is what I will incorporate in my documentary as it is commissioned by 1Xtra so I need to deliver what they do. When the actual documentary actually begins it starts with snippets from different interviewees saying what a ‘hustler’ is which I felt was a very good technique and I feel that I will use that at the beginning of my documentary because it worked well and sounded good. I will probably do it based on a controversial question and make sure the answers sound like a statement from the different interviewees. He does reintroduce the doc after so many interviews but due to my time I don’t feel it is necessary.

Bashy’s Black Boys – 1Xtra Stories http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b096ynqn

This documentary started with interview clips about reaction and song straight away, which drew me in and I think I will be using this technique in my documentary like mentioned earlier. There was something I didn’t like in this documentary which was when the presenter said who the interviewee was at it cut off from everything and it sounded out of place which was a shame.

Grime Mums – 1Xtra Stories https://soundcloud.com/fallingtreeproductions/grime-mums

This is a really great documentary and something I found so so interesting. It is produced amazingly and the access they had for this was great. The location recording involved is something I will defiantly try and get some kind of on location recording involved into my documentary as it will bring light and make it not so boring.

The analysis gets smaller as the same main themes are continuously the same so I tried to pick out things that was different.

For the next two weeks I want to have a strong confirmed plan out, have more interviews confirmed or even recorded and start to eidt them. Then I will be able to write my presenter script and hopefully go to Princess Nokia’s gig to do live links.

Blog Post Three:

Week 5 & 6: 23rd October – 6th November

For the past two weeks I have been conducting interviews with David Akosim (Sian Anderson’s producer), Antonia Odunlami (Gal Dem Music Editor), Stush (Female Rapper), Shawgi-Bear (Female Rapper) and Kaiyan Milan (Artist Manager).

Here are some clips of my interviewees have said:

I have also contacted more people for this project and tried to get more female rappers in on this however it is very difficult, as they don’t have the time to commit to this. I have came up with a structure for the documentary too and sectioned the piece into themes so I am currently in the process of editing the interviews into the different themes and arranging them into audition.

I am off to see Princess Nokia on Friday so I am going to plan my location links and that segment of the documentary. I am also going to listen to some Radio 4 docs in terms of structure and flow and read the remaining books / links from the reading list. Hopefully I will be able to write my presenter links and assemble a basic rough cut within the next two weeks aswell as interview more people.

Blog Post Four:

Week 7 & 8: 7th November – 21st November

The past two weeks I have been getting a few more interviews and piecing together a bigger rough cut. I have enough content now but I am still conducting interviews the next 2 weeks in order to get the best responses in my 20 minute documentary. I am now starting to assemble my musical structure together and write my presenter links so that I can piece everything in the right place to then work on audio levels and flow.

In my last blog post I said that I was going to see Princess Nokia in which I did however I contacted the venue and was unable to take any equipment to get the best quality recording (see below). Although I got a few atmosphere clips and of Princess Nokia saying different bits and performing but the quality is not the best.

Within the next two weeks I am finishing off interviews and completing my presenter script along with the final cuts. By end of week 10 I was to be starting to be doing all audio levels to perfect my documentary.

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