Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The Recap

     2014 was a good year to say the least, as it came jam packed with its highs and lows. Thankfully, the positive happenings far outweigh the negative, though the indie hip-hop world suffered a big blow with the loss of the very inspirational, and most genuine of men, Praverb The Wyse

     Praverb was instrumental in this sites growth, as he was always offering his input in how to improve the site. He was an extremely helpful mentor to me, as he was to many others, and without his many suggestions and opinions, The Under-Cover Album Review would have possibly ceased to exist much longer than 2014. Though, with his shared wisdom, this site is geared to make an immense splash in the hip-hop community in the following months!

     Before we get into what 2015 has in store for this grassroots site, let's first take a look at the progress we made in 2014. For starters, we more than tripled our views from the previous year, all while uncompromising our format of actually reviewing every song, video, or album that gets posted. Although the bigger name sites may be able to post a larger number of albums, singles, and videos, they lack the ingenuity that this site has. Yes, it does get extremely hard to review all the material posted while being a full-time student (that made the Dean's List) and balancing a part-time job. Yes, it would be easier to just copy and paste the submissions onto my site, and yes, it would be a whole heck of a lot easier and less-stressful if I had a team of writers helping me out, but that would completely go against the basis that this site was started around; me (Vinny Sciascia) writing my thoughts on the music I heard. That's the way it is, and that's the way it'll be until I say otherwise. This is by no means the most efficient, effective, or even the easiest formula, but it's 100% mine, and I'll take that any day.

     Apologies for the rant, but I can't stress enough that I don't want this site to be diluted with the major label releases, simply because you can find those on any hip-hop site, and that brings me to my next point; our identity. 

     This site has struggled to find it's true identity in terms of what genre to label it under, simply because I was hesitant to market a hip-hop site, but it is with sure certainty that I say, The Under-Cover Album Review is a Indie Hip-Hop platform for artists worldwide to be heard. Feels nice to say doesn't it? 

     Lastly, in 2014 we opened our doors to advertising, and numerous times throughout the year, readers were able to spot an ad from Kevin Nottingham and HiPNOTT Records. This was incredible to work with such a genius within the industry, and having him down as a client is definitely a good way to start a conversation. Advertising is something that I hope to further progress in this upcoming year.

     To sum those few things up, we basically now identify as a true hip-hop website (with the occasional secular genre thrown in the mix) that landed a few advertisements and refuses to compromise ourselves. Seems legit.

     Now let's talk about what this upcoming year has in store for us shall we? To start, the main focal point that I have for this website, is branding. I want to get our name out to an even larger community of readers and artists, and while this will bring in some challenges in terms of our growing number of submissions, it's nothing I'm not willing to figure out. 

     One of the main goals I have in terms of branding our site, is merchandise. By the end of January, I'd like to send out some promotional shirts to artists, then before march, have some simple yet appealing products available to the public so that they can show their support for the site. I'm no man of fashion, so I may be needing a creative design to plaster on these products, so if you're interested in helping out, this is where I need it most!

     Additionally, I look to further develop the site's technology, and while I can't let any of my secrets out just yet, I can say that there is some really cool stuff in the works, that will definitely bring our site to a whole new level. 

     So that's about it. I apologize if you were looking for my year end list or a recap of 2014 from the world's perspective, but that's just not my style. Thank you for checking out my site, and please spread the word. If you'd like to help me out with anything I mentioned, let me know and it would be much appreciated! 

     I always love when rappers give shout outs, so now it's my turn to give mine. I just want to say thank you to Tino, you are the man, to Praverb, you are an extraordinary human being, and it was an honor to know you. Thank you to Kevin Nottingham for working with me and helping out on the site, and my man Ryan Stone for teaching me (indirectly) so much about how to run a hip-hop website. Thank you to Marcus J. Moore for taking the time to share your knowledge with me, you are definitely a talent I try to emulate. I also want to send one more big shout out to Daniel Jackson of Embassy: Interactive for his help on the site, and for letting me write a little on his. 

Let's have one hell of a 2015, and I'll see you all then!



Created in 2013, The Under-Cover Album Review strives to bring the world quality music, by quality artists. This motto will continue to be our foundation as we move forward in time.

-Vinny Sciascia, Creator & Operator