Editorial – How I Won and Lost The WCMA Nomination By Josh Martinez

Josh Martinez  July Magazine  2014Written By Josh Martinez  (music video at the bottom)
From Julys Vandala Magazine – READ MORE REVIEWS HERE

Josh Martinez AwardI was very excited to get the email from Breakout West. They said I’d been nominated for a 2014 WCMA award for my solo record “Blotto”, for Best Rap/Hip-hop Album (of all time). I was thrilled to be nominated. The competition was fierce and all titles chosen were worthy of the award this year. Here’s what it looked like:

Rap/Hip-Hop Recording of the Year
Evil Ebenezer – Howl (BC)
Josh Martinez – Blotto (BC)
Shad – Flying Colours (BC)
SonReal – One Long Day (BC)
Sweatshop Union – Infinite (BC)

It was exciting to be nominated for the award for best rap album. I don’t get nominated very often. The last time I was nominated for this award was for Midriff Music, a 2005 rap masterpiece that many of my fans will say was my best solo work (others say Buck Up Princess), that I somehow won. Even though I was surely a long shot this year, it was nice to be nominated.

Well the good times didn’t last long. Within a week of the nomination, I received a new email questioning my residency status for the award. Not sure who or why, but someone snitched me out. As we all know from my extensive time reporting from the cold unforgiving streets, ya’ll know I’m no fan of a snitch. I wear my ‘Stop Snitching’ extra tall T-shirt every other day (I wash it thoroughly on the off day) and though the block is very hot, you’ll often see me on the corner in a flossy mink coat (like Will.i.am) serving up that wisdom to all the gods and all of the earth’s. So that’s me and how I do.

Now I’ve lived in Portland, OR on and off since 2007, after my domestic life in East Van fell apart. I travel constantly for music tours and business travel. While trying to wear that snapback rap hat, plus also the fitted hat that involves bringing resources and opportunities to my peoples as the head of Camobear Records, the record label I’ve owned and run out of Vancouver, BC since 2003, I often find myself at cross-purposes, sacrificing my own career for the longevity and growth of the whole team.

In my time being an artist and a business man, I’ve learned everything about the music business that I could. My skills include bookkeeping, grant writing, ability to decipher contracts, knowing the difference between publishing and licensing, dealing with broke rappers and their angry girlfriends, managing expectations, dying on the inside, lying when asked how’s the music business is going, day-drinking, crying without tears, defaulting on credit cards and pretending to be in Hawaii. So you know I got skillz.

I call both Vancouver and Portland my homes, but calling it your home, and qualifying for the vaunted title of WCMA residency status are two different things. Regardless of where I am, Camobear as an entity exists in BC, and therefore in Western Canada. I pay my personal taxes as well as the Camobear Records INC. business taxes in BC, Canada. Always have. All my banking is done in BC, at Vancity Credit Union, for both personal and for business purposes For the last 10 years I’ve used a BC address as my primary source of business and admin reception as I was constantly on the move, pursuing opportunities and touring nonstop.

As far as residency goes, I am considered and promoted as a Canadian artist, wherever I go, and whatever festival, show, radio or press, that I play. I write songs with titles like ‘BC Trees’, and ‘Going Back To Hali’. I am constantly promoting myself as a representative and cultural ambassador for the Canadian arts and culture scene as I tour and travel worldwide. I identify with Vancouver as my home base. I consider Portland/LA to be a business venture in the pursuit of new opportunities. And Halifax, NS is where I come from, and where my family lives. Its teak jerking stuff, I know.

Anyways, that’s not good enough for the WCMA, which decided that I wasn’t sufficiently Western Canadian enough for them. So I lost my nomination and have been replaced by Madchild, who also deserves to be nominated (and who in 2005, held me up at gunpoint after one of my shows for a perceived slight of his group The Swollen Members, in a story that came out in the Georgia Straight, one of the worst weekly rags to exist). But I’m out here digressing. Lets focus on the now.

So now it looks like this. Even alphabetically, Madchild was a perfect replacement for me.

Rap/Hip-Hop Recording of the Year
Evil Ebenezer – Howl (BC)
Madchild – Lawn Mower Man (BC)
Shad – Flying Colours (BC)
SonReal – One Long Day (BC)
Sweatshop Union – Infinite (BC)

In conclusion, I’m saddened to have lost my nomination. I think this year’s crop of nominees is the strongest yet. I enjoyed being in their company. I also think the WCMA, like all its award brethren, is a jerk-off session for irrelevant industry wanks to feel self-important, like they are gift-wrapping the next generation of talent with all the brilliance that being good at administration involves. The truth is awards have never represented great work or generational importance. They just represent people who have name recognition to those who know nothing about genres other than the ones they follow. I continue to live and breathe and write music for the fans, the people I love and for myself. Music is a stupid business, now more so than ever, but who am I to kill the dreams of the next generation (if you’re going to be a ‘musician’, at least get yourself a trade first so you can make money while you explore how financially awful the arts business really is).

And just to prove how stupid all of this is, let us the remember the 2011 Junos (Canada’s Grammy awards) when Drake was at the top of every chart with Thank Me Later, blowing up all over the world, and being for sure the most successful Canadian rapper ever, as well as being in his prime. He was nominated for best rap album (and 6 other awards), was asked to host the event, did so graciously, and then received zero awards. 6 Nominations and Drizzy doesn’t win at least one award? That’s so Canadian. We hate success. It makes us feel too American.

Fuck awards. Fuck Business. Long live music. And Good luck to all the nominees, who are all people I actually like.

About Josh Martinez – He is a sucessfull hip-hop artist and Founder/Owner of Camobear Records. Check him out along with many of the CamoBear Roster online at www.joshmartinez.com and www.CamoBear.com


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