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Raphead.com EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW w/ Triumph of IA Universal and Meet The Block!

Interview: Meet The Block
Written By: Sincere
November 17th, 2008

Missing this article would be the last thing you want to do! Read on as RapHead.com's Sincere asks President of MEET THE BLOCK how he got things jumpin' off for Indie Artists on his podcast show. Who the h.e double is listening you ask?!?! Over 25,000 people - THATS WHO!! So take a few minutes and read about how he grew his empire from the ground up!

RH: Triumph, I really appreciate you doing this interview, especially since normally you are the one asking the questions. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your background and about your podcasted show Meet The Block.

Triumph: Thank you Sincere and Raphead.com for giving me the opportunity to speak about Meet The Block. Congratulations on your recent success with Raphead.com. Meet The Block is a show dedicated to introducing independent Hip Hop and R&B artist of mainly NYC to a worldwide audience via Podcast technology and high quality audio. The main goal is to reach a wide audience internationally to further help featured MTB artists with their marketing push for their recent project releases. My background stems from my first endeavor in 1996 (DJ Flows Barbershop) The first New York style hip-hop barbershops in South West Miami. (kendall) Then packed my bags and moved back to my hometown of NYC and began dedicating all spare time to working at STRESS Magazine. There I met a large part of the greatest and most creative group of people.

RH: My focus on this interview with you is about your show, but before we get into more on Meet The Block, I want to have you talk a little bit about IA Universal and the services you offer.

Triumph: IA universal is the producer of Meet The Block. I also provide consulting and marketing services for independent artists around the country, either for exposure in the market of NYC alone or a national campaign. Whichever the client has a budget for.

RH: Congrats for the Online Hip Hop Award nomination for Podcast of the year. How did you find out, and what was the first thoughts that ran through your mind when you learned of the nomination? And how can people vote for you, voting ends Nov. 20th , if I’m not mistaken.

Triumph: I learned about the online hip hop awards when my boy and MTB featured artist Catalyst sent me a message with a banner that said VOTE FOR MEET THE BLOCK PODCAST OF THE YEAR! I was like huh? And then excitement grew within. Its all the steps along the way that make what I do fun and successful. Not to sound humble about the situation because it is a very important step, but its really the journey that I am on that makes me appreciate more when I am nominated for things like online Hip hop awards. By the way, just got word from Jesse jess that I will be also nominated at the next UMA’s for best podcast of the year so yeah, the grind is definitely paying off.

RH: You primarily interview up and coming artists, what was your reasoning to focus on up and coming artists and not go straight “top 40“ ?

Triumph: Great question and I get this a lot. I have not made a decision to not interview top 40 artist. I am sure I will one day get to that point. The thing is this Sincere… My love for hip hop stems at the independent raw uncut straight talent Emcees. The world of the developed artist is cool, and worth MTB interviews but I see it like this, If I began to interview popular artist on MTB it would limit me to then interview the up and coming. SO the way I saw it is like this. If I interview the BEST of the Independent artist first, then when I get to the popular artists and my listenership/audience quadruples I will be benefiting the independent artists the most that have been featured because the greatest thing about podcasting is that you are not limited to content of your favorite podcast. You can go back and listen to previous episodes at the luxury of your own time.

RH: What are the criteria for artists who may want to get interviewed on Meet The Block, and how do they get an interview? Do you strictly interview hip hop artists?

Triumph: The criteria changes as the program is more and more popular because of the amount of artist that approach me to get on Meet The Block. It really is a blessing to know that many people are starting to see that being on MTB will help their career in some way shape or form. So basically, the things I look for are: How hungry they are, or how sharp their vision for success is, then I look for the plan that they have for their project. I interview artists right before they drop a project. Whether a mix-tape or album or street album I ask that we do the interview before the release date for the project so that we can all benefit the most out of the interview. For the artist it is better because it gives them the opportunity to plug the project and receive money from sales. For MTB it helps more as well because there is a buzz already about the project they are to release so when people google the project and or artist I am usually on the first page of google searches.

RH: Is there one specific area of the country or world that has been more supportive of Meet The Block, or have your listeners come evenly from all over the world?

Triumph: The greatest amount of concentrated listenership has been coming from NYC the most because that is where I am based and know the most people. But as a whole 60% of MTB audience is overseas in 19 countries to be exact. England, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Canada, and Africa to name a few…

RH: Where do you see yourself and Meet The Block over the next 5 years?

Triumph: The way things are going in 5 years I believe I will have an established and reputable media/ distribution/ and consulting multi-national outlet for all independent artists world wide.

RH: Who are some of the artist/people you have interviewed on the show and is there any one interview that stands out more for you personally or professionally then any of the others? And if so why?

Triumph: Actually I would usually sound generic and say they all hot so on and so forth but since its raphead.com im talking with right now I will be honest. THEY ARE all hot BUT, the Tammy Feliciano Interview is pretty cool. We go in together and drop jems for artists on the up and coming so that they can see the road ahead of them and be more prepared. We also discuss industry like taboos that keep many real artists from surfacing. Since she is a hell of a marketing personality, our vibe together keeps the energy consistent and uplifting. As far as artist interviews, they all have their flavor. The most interesting interview was with Catalyst. We didn’t know each other from a hole in the wall and we took the interview to its maximum capacity. He is a dope artist on top of that. Really dig him as well as Sha Stimuli, Liaison,Donny Goines, G.Child, City Haze, Nesha, DJ Betyme 357, Webbafied, Saratoga Migz, Friction, A-Alikes, CONS, Rebel Starr, Loot, Ques, Redburd Jr, AD The general, DJ Ace of Spades, and many many others that are not coming to my mind at this moment.

RH: Who do you feel are 4 of the hottest emcees out now or coming up that we might not have heard of but should look out for? and why?

Donny Goines – Grind, lyrics, grind, style, grind and grind.
Emilio Rojas – Style, originality, word play, and image.
Sha Stimuli – Oh Boy, I feel everything about Sha. Including his vibe. Non sophisticated and tranquil rhyming style that leaves you in awe.
Friction - Rebel Lyrics that Free your soul. Originality, production, professionalism, clear minded on what he wants.

RH: On your own personal time, what music can you be found listening to?

Triumph: Bossa Nova, Old school Salsa, Non-commercial Reggae Roots, R&B, depends on the mood.

RH: Who are some of your mentors that helped you on your come up?

Carmelita Sanchez (wake up show Host/ Manager)
Tyesh Harris (Columbia Urban, Odyssey Entertainment, The Phoenix Entertainment Group)
Alain “Ket” Mariduena – Stress Magazine, Complex, Graffiti Artist
Clyde Valentine – Stress Magazine, Hip Hop Theatre Festival
Vee Bravo – Stress Magazine, Estilo Hip Hop Spanish Hip Hop documentary

RH: Thank you again for the interview, where can people find out more about you and Meet The Block, and in true hip hop fashion, any shout outs?

Triumph: Lol, Yeah I have the website which you may find all my sites on together as one. www.meettheblock.com Thank you for your time and support!

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