One of New York's finest independent hip-hop collectives is on Jamendo, spearheaded by the tireless Mr.Tac a.k.a. "Chocolate", who leads the group and founded a label around it.
In 1999, when he started Drop-Zone, a collective comprising a dozen hip-hop artists from New York City, and the label Zone Platinum Entertainment to go with it, Mr.Tac wanted "to create a music platform and a label home for all artists of all styles to release their music across the world", himself being "a hip-hop artist with a huge following" (50,000 copies were sold of his first single with Drop-Zone). No room for small-time ambitions here: these guys are in for the big picture, with fans already calling them "the X-Men of music".
Zone Platinum has a team of five producers creating tracks for its roster's artists, Mr.Tac being the main one (producer as well as artist, that is). You can listen to their work on Drop-Zone's two mixtapes published on Jamendo, or on the new album Mr.Tac published recently. But Zone Platinum does not limit its activities to hip-hop only: "It's a place of our own where we create original style hip-hop, but also alternative, rock, r&b and pop tracks, with a fresh new sound, explains Mr.Tac. Most of the hip-hop artists on Zone Platinum are from New York (Nova, Cleva, Thomaz J. Edizon, Brianna, The TriBoro Order, etc.), other style artists are from elsewhere in the US."
Regarding the American rap scene in general, Mr.Tac's judgment is quite severe, and coupled with a strong bias towards his hometown. "Hip-hop right now in the US is going downhill. Too many artists, too many producers but not enough talent. As hip-hop started to expand from New York City to other parts of the US, it became spoiled and rotten."
So it's up to grass-roots activists like Drop-Zone and Zone Platinum Ent. to keep things real then? Quite possibly so. And of course, "Jamendo is the perfect place and idea for artists and labels to release new music to fans. It creates an opening slot for them to promote themselves on an international level." And why not also meet fellow artists while they're at it? Cartel, another NYC hip-hop favorite on Jamendo, will be interviewed here shortly. In the meantime, Mr.Tac "would love to network". Gentlemen, introductions have been made...