If no one will do it for you, you have to do it yourself. That's the thinking behind Peep Diss Videos, a weekly cable-TV program whipped up by the marketing heads at Street Street Music, a rap and hip-hop label based in Boca Raton. Mark St. Juste, CEO and sales director for the label, says the show -- available on area cable outlets including TCI and Continental -- was created in response to national music video channels snubbing or overlooking both Street Street artists and South Florida rappers in general.
"We've been looking for better ways to market our music and the other artists in the Southeast region," explains St. Juste. "Peep Diss is a way to help gain a little more respect on a national level for the people making music down here. If you're someone like 2 Pac or L.L. Cool J and you're based in New York or L.A., you have the benefit of being in the middle of a media mecca. Down here you have artists selling as many if not more records than anyone else out there, but the avenues for exposure are just too limited. MTV is in New York, BET [Black Entertainment Television] is in Washington, D.C., and unless you're well connected in the music circles up there, your music is going to fall through the cracks. So this show is just a way to do something for our end of town."
Since early June, Peep Diss has been airing about six videos every Thursday evening and, according to Street Street marketing director Robert Roundtree II, is pumping the funk into more than 700,000 homes per broadcast. (How many people are actually tuning in remains unknown.) Programming spans the gamut of the South Florida rap and hip-hop scene A including groups from area labels such as Pandisc, On Top, and Luke A with artists from throughout the South and Southwest interspersed. On any given Thursday, you can see and hear videos by local heroes 95 South ("Do the Booty Hop," "Whoot, There It Is") and DJ Uncle Al ("Slip & Slide") as well as regional acts from Atlanta (DJ Smurf & P.M.H.I.) and Memphis (Eightball and MJG, whose "Space Age Pimpin'" clip was first aired on Peep Diss last week). And naturally, Street Street artists get air time each week, including A.C. AuFunkster, Sweet MSJ, and DJ Nasty Knock. Knock is also host of the show, and each episode is filmed in a different location in Miami. (For the debut edition of Peep Diss, Knock appeared at the studios of the pirate radio station 90.9 FM, better known as "The Bomb." Gentleman that he is, Knock did not reveal the location of the station or the identities of the staff and crew.)
Advertising from local businesses keeps Peep Diss on the air for now. Although the show currently has only one national advertiser A a fast-food chain called McDonald's A St. Juste is hoping to get Peep Diss aired throughout the country by mid-1997, either through syndication or through distribution via a larger cable network such as TNT. But he's happy with the viewer response thus far. "People call us all the time and tell us how much they like it," claims St. Juste, adding that viewers can make requests for videos as well as giving a thumbs up or down for new clips. "We're showing things you won't see on MTV or BET and people appreciate that. They want to see things they normally can't find anywhere else on TV, and that's what we're doing."
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St. Juste says the show's producers are always looking for clips from new and undiscovered artists from throughout the region, citing as proof the recent broadcast of "Honee Bun," a new clip from obscure Jacksonville artist Filthy Rich. "If it's good, we'll give people the opportunity to see it," he says. "As long as it doesn't advocate violence or destruction, we'll show it. Some artists are into making political statements, and that's just fine -- as long as you aren't telling people to kill or destroy. And we don't accept anything with 'bitch' or 'ho' in it -- nothing that's demeaning to women in any way. If those words are in the song, we won't air it."
If you want to send something to Peep Diss for broadcast consideration, and aren't into violence and destruction or bitches and ho's, knock yourself out. Just send one review copy on VHS and a broadcast copy on Beta to Fernanda Silva, Peep Diss, 433 Plaza Real, Suite 275, Boca Raton, FL 33432.
New Times continues its search for a few good writers. Latin music writers, that is. Specifically, writers who can put together entertaining and well-written features, reviews, and essays covering the ins and outs of the city's Latin music scene. Solid English-writing skills are a must, and it would really help if you're bilingual. We need someone who can write with clarity, authority, and insight about the wide range of Latino sounds: from young rock en espa*ol acts to Afro-Cuban jazz legends both past and present. In other words, the deeper your music knowledge, the better.
If this is you, prove it. Send your three best published clips -- in English -- along with a resume and some story ideas to my attention at New Times, Box 011591, Miami, FL 33101. I'll send back your clips if you enclose a stamped and self-addressed envelope; otherwise your stuff will be filed away in a very special place. And please, please, I beg of one and all, no phone calls. Thank you.