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Monday, November 9, 2009

11 Least Influential Countdown: No. 8 — Alex Goose

click to enlarge Jay-Z's camp tapped Goose's talents as a producer, but ultimately passed on his tracks.
  • Jay-Z's camp tapped Goose's talents as a producer, but ultimately passed on his tracks.

Welcome to CL’s annual catalog of impotence: the 11 Least Influential. You’ll meet folks who tried to achieve an ambitious goal, but fell short (or, in Goose's case, more than made up for the difference); people who’ve devoted themselves to a personal mission in near-total obscurity; and ordinary Joes who can’t get anyone to pay attention to them. Every day until the full issue hits the streets on Nov. 11, we’ll bring you a new story of failure — some noble and heroic, others abject and pathetic.

Subject: Alex Goose

Failing: Can’t get any play from Jay-Z

Atlanta-based music producer Alex Goose has big dreams, and bigger gonads.

After being contacted this summer by a New York-based A&R rep working closely with Jay-Z, the burgeoning producer jumped at the chance to submit beats for the legendary MC's album-in-the-making, The Blueprint 3.

He says the A&R rep was so impressed with his work for such Atlanta-based artists as Brittany Bosco and Danny! that he came to Atlanta to hear what the Goose was cooking. "He was telling me, 'I’d love to get some of these [beats] to Jay, for sure,'" recalls Goose, who estimates he submitted 20 to 25 tracks for consideration. "A few months later he hit me up and was like, 'Hey, I got word back from Jay that he didn’t really hear anything that he wanted to use for the album.'"

With such name-brand producers as Kanye West, Timbaland, the Neptunes and No I.D. getting first dibs at the highly-anticipated release, a virtual unknown just didn't have the pull to earn himself a placement.

"You know it kinda sucks," he says. "Jay would say, ‘It’s politics as usual.’"

Though thankful for the opportunity, Goose admits he was "pretty bummed” about not landing on The Blueprint 3. When his newly acquired management team and several close friends began suggesting that the tracks were too good to go unheard, he decided to get his Danger Mouse on. He packaged 15 of the shot-down beats (plus three bonus tracks featuring old Jay-Z vocals) and released them via free Internet downloads under the title The Blueprint 3: Outtakes just days after the real Blueprint 3 hit store shelves on Sept. 8.

"Whenever you typed in 'Blueprint 3' in Google, I wanted it to pop up in the searches," he said — a tall order, considering the album’s insane hype. Goose’s homegrown marketing strategy also included tagging each instrumental with such unsubtle titles as "Success," "Hova Needs This" and "No One Rides for Free" — though, in the case of the latter, Goose was arguably doing just that.

The ’Net went nuts. In three weeks, he racked up half a million Web hits (a smidgen more than the 476,000 units Jigga sold in his first week) and 15,000 downloads — which made his initial failing all the easier to endure.

It was a bold move, considering his submissions weren't outtakes at all. But Goose bristled at calling them what they really were: rejects. "I just think the word 'rejects' is really, really negative," says Goose, who used the subtitle Outtakes to convey the cinematic feel behind his beats. Heavy on the horns, pyschedelic guitar and drums, his collection marries the badass swagger of a blaxploitation-era soundtrack with the vintage swell of spaghetti western scores — sorta like composer Ennio Morricone (A Fistful of Dollars) on some hip-hop ish.

"This is what the Blueprint 3 could have been," reads the cocksure statement on Goose's website. While the lukewarm reception to the overall production on Jay-Z's album may help bolster his claim, it’s awfully hard to make a No. 1 album better.

In the end, Goose found a way to turn his initial rejection into an opportunity. More A&Rs are calling. And now, his wish-list of hopeful collaborators — from Jay Electronica to Jack White — sounds a little less far-fetched.?? In fact, he's in the process of submitting tracks to several major acts based in both Atlanta and France. Just don't ask him to reveal any names.

"Nah, I can’t just yet,” he laughs. “I mean, look at what happened with Jay-Z.”

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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