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Butta On/Soul Bounce/Vibe Confidential

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We love Butta on just about everything! And not just because we share a slight Eric Roberson obsession, but also because her commentary on music (among other things) can make us laugh and ponder “what’s really goin on?” all in one post. We caught up with Kimberly Hines aka “Butta” between writing for Butta On, Soul Bounce and Vibe Confidential.

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Kimberly/Butta: www.itslikebuttababy.com, www.soulbounce.com and www.blogs.vibe.com/vc

Q: Please introduce yourself!
Hello and thank you for featuring me this month! I love Clutch, so this is a huge honor. My name is Kimberly Hines, but I’m most commonly known online (and more increasingly offline) as “Butta.” I currently write content for three blogs. There’s my personal blog “Butta On…,” VIBE Confidential and the new kid on the music blog block, SoulBounce. I’m a Jamerican originally from New York who grew up in South Florida, and I’ve been living in the Washington, DC area for almost 18 years.

Q: When and why did you decide to launch “Butta On…”?
I launched my blog in May 2005. At that point I think that I had been reading blogs for about a year or so during the days at work and was interested in starting one but could never find the time. Well, fast forward to mid-’05, and I was laid off from said job. So with all that free time on my hands I decided start “Butta On…” as a way to battle the looking-for-a-job blues and fight writer’s block in one fell swoop.

Q: For those not familiar with “Butta On…” please tell us what topics and features do you cover?
My blog covers a hodge podge of topics that interest me: music, movies, mass media, men and other madness that makes me laugh. My previous tag line was “Butta On…Everything, anything and sometimes even nothing” and that pretty much still sums it all up. I’ll post something music-related one day or a funny video with some commentary the next and, of course, there’s my ongoing Eric Roberson obsession, um, coverage.

Q: Your a seasoned writer. What are some publications you have contributed to over the years?
I actually haven’t been published in any print publications yet, but I’m open to any and all opportunities. Holla at your girl!

Q: What made you start transitioning to online journalism/blogging?
I had been blogging at Butta On… for a little over a year when I was handpicked by Danyel Smith to contribute to VIBE.com when she came back to the magazine as editor-in-chief in 2006. I was tapped to write the VIBE Confidential gossip blog, and I’ve been at that since August 2006.

Q: What blogs and websites can we find you stalking?
Well since I have to stay on top of both urban gossip and music, I frequent a vast number of blogs and websites. I don’t think there’s space here to list all 200+ currently in my Bloglines, though. However, some of my faves on the gossip blog tip are Crunk & Disorderly, A Hot Mess, D-Listed and the VH1 Blog because of the witty, well-written commentary.

As far as personal blogs are concerned, I actually find myself frequenting those written by my real-life friends, such as Songs in the Key of Life (http://songsinthekeyoflife.wordpress.com), Skoolboi’s Playground (http://skoolboisplayground.blogspot.com), You Ain’t Never Lied (http://uaintnevalied.blogspot.com) and my girl Tia’s private blog. I don’t get to talk to my friends as often as I’d like, so I keep up with them through their online musings.

Q: Since you are the Queen of knowing what’s next in the music game, what artist should we be checking for?
I like the sound of that. Think it can fit on a business card? But in all seriousness–and I do take music seriously–there are a few artists who I think that people should be checking for. Folks should put Sy Smith, Conya Doss, Russell Taylor, Tortured Soul, Stacy Epps and Franklin Bridge on their radar. All of these artists have new music coming out this year that I can’t wait to wrap my ears around.

Q: In your opinion, who is the one artist everyone needs to go see in concert?
This is a trick question, right? I hate to sound like a broken record, but anyone who’s visited my blog already knows who I’m going to put on blast. With that said, I implore everyone to attend an Eric Roberson concert if they don’t attend any other concert again in life. I didn’t see Erro live for the first time until October 2006, and I’ve been caught up in his rapture ever since. What I love about an Eric Roberson concert is that you never get the same show twice, whether he switches up the set list or does one of his world-famous freestyles (peep my personal favorite: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1eu4sGRolo) you are always in for a musical treat.

Q: Out of all the artists you have met and interviewed, who is your favorite and why?
This probably won’t come as a surprise to any of the women reading this, but my favorite artist encounter has been with Idris Elba. Anyone who has eyes can see that the man is handsome on television and in the movies but until you’re in his physical presence you really can’t grasp how gorgeous he truly is. And on top of that, not only is he attractive on the outside but he has an awesome personality and is quite approachable, has a great sense of humor and is easy to talk to. The funniest thing for me was that during our interview he sat in front of a window and the outside light framed him in such a way that it looked as if his aura was glowing like Dave Chappelle in that Rick James skit from Chappelle’s Show. I was definitely chuckling–in addition to melting–on the inside.

Q: Who is the one person you would love to interview?
Right now Jill Scott is on the top of my interview wish list. She is such a phenomenal artist and seems like a genuine, down-to-earth person. I’ve been a fan of hers since before forever, so it would be wonderful to actually sit down to talk to her and pick her brain about life, love and music.

Q: You are regular contributor to “SoulBounce”. How did that opportunity come about?
The opportunity with SoulBounce came about when the website’s Founder and Managing Editor sent out a call for music bloggers in the middle of 2007. I answered the call along with a few other writers and by the time the site went live in August I was able to focus a lot of my time toward building it. Since then I’ve been promoted to Executive Editor and unless I’m on vacation or it’s the weekend you can find me writing over there daily. Of all of the blogging that I do, I enjoy SoulBounce the most. We’re a music blog that features selected mainstream urban artists, but we try to focus on alternative soul and progressive hip-hop artists who typically don’t get a lot a shine. To be able to write about music and artists that I love and potentially expose people to something new is a win-win situation.

Q: What artists stay in rotation in your iPod?
I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but would you believe that I don’t own an iPod? I know, I can’t believe it either. However, I do have at least iTunes on my computers and the artists who stay in heavy rotation are Jill Scott, Raheem DeVaughn, Little Brother, Ledisi, Mary J. Blige, India Arie, Teedra Moses, Vikter Duplaix, A Tribe Called Quest, and, of course, Eric Roberson.

Q: How do you feel about the state of R&B and Hip-Hop?
I think that mainstream R&B and Hip-Hop is in a sad state right now. There are a handful of artists who are making quality, timeless music but the majority of what is played on the radio and the video channels is disposable and despicable. Balance is missing from urban music right now. Record companies need to put as much money and muscle behind artists such as India Arie, Kem and Talib Kweli as they do with 50 Cent, Soulja Boy and Rihanna. There are artists releasing substantive material but the masses are force fed the same 20 song playlist. Would it kill radio stations to play a wider variety of songs or music from independent or underground artists? Thank God for the internet and websites where people can discover new and different music.

Q: As a person working with talented artists everyday, how do you think they feel about how the music industry is going digital and not having a choice on controlling their work from leaking or being downloaded for free?
There are artists on both sides of the fence with this issue. Some artists fight to keep a tight reign on their music but others have embraced the fact that they can’t stop their music from being leaked then downloaded and they keep it moving. In this day and age I think that artists have to be realistic and realize that trying to fight downloading is like trying to stop the sun from rising. But I believe that if an artist releases a quality product that gets downloaded, all may not be lost. They may still gain a fan who will then turn around and attend a concert, buy a t-shirt or even break down and purchase a mixtape or CD after all is said and done.

Q: Why should someone add “Butta On…” to their daily reading list?
Well the thing about Butta On… is that given my other blogging responsibilities I unfortunately don’t get a chance to update my blog daily or with any steady frequency as of late. However, I do invite music lovers to add SoulBounce to your daily reading list.

Q: What’s next for you and “Butta On”?
To imagine that I began writing my blog as a way to fight writer’s block and now here I am writing daily and finally loving what I do is incredible. I plan to continue blogging, and I want to start (and prayerfully finish) the first novel in a young adult series that I have planned.

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