How Rapper Aliso Black Plans to Hustle His Way to Paid Dues

Categories: Hip-Hop
Last week, he scraped together some gas money and drove from his native Aliso Viejo to the House of Blues in Hollywood to see Murs perform and hopefully hand him one of his mixtapes. Murs, a founding member of Living Legends, was also there promoting Paid Dues, encouraging people in the crowd to cast write-in ballots for rappers they wanted to see at the festival. While he noticed plenty of rappers simply writing in their own names countless times and casting a ton of ballots at the artist merch table, Aliso opted to simply work the crowd, hand out CDs, shake hands and ask for votes. One of the people he hit up in the crowd, he says, happened to be Murs' brother--though he had no idea at the time.

"As far as I knew, he was just another dude in the crowd. We talked for a minute, I handed him a CD and he's like 'oh fasho I'll give it to my brother.' I didn't even think anything of it," Aliso said.

After the show, as Aliso waited in a long line for a Murs meet and greet, he recognized the guy he'd given the CD to. It turned out to be Murs' brother who called Aliso over to the front of the line to come meet him and shake his hand and tell him briefly about his mission. While he hopes that was a big step toward getting himself on the bill this year, by no means is Aliso resting on a sliver of good luck. He's still got five months worth of campaigning to do, which also includes trying to finagle an opening spot on another Murs show at the House of Blues on Dec. 27.

"With all this tweeting and facebook posting, nothing could compare with doing my shit right there live in front of the man making the decisions," he says.

Despite his frustrating lack of funds for promotion he says that all of his success with old-fashioned leg work and community building is a result of currency he's built up over the years.

"My campaign is only going off of dues paid. Or else people would be asking me 'Who the hell are you?' he says. Everything you see me doing is straight off the fucking handshake. Even if by some stroke of luck he finds out he got a spot on the festival stage, he knows the hustle will have only just begun. "I'm campaiging until I put my mic down at the end of my set at Paid Dues," he says. "We gonna ride this thing until the wheels fall off."

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