Black Blogger Month: Nah Right, The Business of Music

Responsible for one of the most popular music sites, Ahsmi “Eskay” Rawlins marches to the beats of his own blog

Ahsmi “Eskay” Rawlins of NahRight.com

Nah Right founder, Ahsmi “Eskay” Rawlins

  • Blog: Nah Right
  • Niche: Hip-Hop Music/Culture
  • Founder: Ahsmi “Eskay” Rawlins
  • Twitter: @nahright

Working in tech-support for a New York publishing company, Ahsmi Rawlins, better known as “Eskay” in the blogosphere, realized he was wasting hours on end just sitting in front of a computer all day. In 2005, the Yonkers, NY native decided to put his wasted time to good use by mixing his tech skills with his passion for hip-hop music by launching Nah Right. Over the course of the past six years, the site has become a one-stop music shop for the latest music news, mixtapes, album reviews, track listings, and singles with a loyal fan base that averages over 600,000 unique visitors a month.

Now 33, Eskay sits atop a digital empire that’s been recognized by the likes of Rolling Stone, who included his site in their Best of Rock issue in 2008, and XXL magazine, which pegged Nah Right among their “100 Best Hip-Hop Websites” in their Dec./Jan. 2010 issue. As part of BlackEnterprise.com’s first annual Black Blogger Month, the tech-savvy entrepreneur shares how his untraditional path to success paid off. —Amber McKynzie

Building a brand is important because…

That’s your billboard or advertisement to the world, so that’s the first thing people think about when they think about your name, it’s everything, so your brand is everything to you.

I realized blogging was a business when…

People started to contact me and ask what my ad rates were.

The biggest mistake I ever made in business was…

Not selling advertising earlier.

What I learned from that was…

Capitalize off an opportunity as soon as you can. The sooner the better.

The best piece of business advice I ever got was…

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch; meaning, don’t spend your money before it’s earned. I learned from my father and I plan on passing that on to my kids. Build slowly and carefully and save, and then when you have it you can carry your chickens.

I measure my success by…

Nah Right logo

One of the top hip-hop Websites, NahRight.com

People who approach me and thank me for running the site. People who say things like, “I never would’ve heard of that rapper if it wasn’t for you” or “I got a song from your site that I love, thank you.”

None of my success would be possible if not for…

My mother. She was emotional and moral support, and there when nobody else was.

My biggest influences are…

Malcolm X because of what he stood for. I [was] raised as a Muslim and everything he stood for and represented was important to my father. Also, Russell Simmons for his passion for hip-hop and how he helped [take] it from a little local trend to a global phenomenon and successful business.

If I wasn’t blogging I’d be…

Probably doing desktop support still.

Having a day job is…

Something that I never want to go back to. There’s nothing wrong with a day job. I just hope I don’t have to do it again [laughs].

A blogger without a strong online community is…

Somebody that’s talking to themselves.

In business you should never be afraid to…

Put a little of yourself or your personality into your product… I think some people do and some don’t, but for the most part it’s the people that do that are successful, because I think people connect with that more.

My ultimate goal is…

To just reach as many people as possible and get as much music out to people as possible and by that I mean help people discover new music. We do 600,000 unique visitors a month now, so I want that to be doubled in five years, nah, tripled.

Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.

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