But HiphopTV head Fady Atalla says the situation has been grossly misrepresented
Veteran hip hop ensemble The Outlawz have taken Australian industry identity Fady Atalla and his company HiphopTV to task over the cancellation of their end-of-year tour of the country, slamming him as “Australia’s jankiest promoter”.
Taking to social media this week, The Outlawz’ Young Noble published a ‘wanted’ poster-like image replete with the promoter’s contact details, and accusing him of stealing money “from club owners, artists and fans”. “Attention all our Outlawz in #Australia, beware of this piece of shit Promoter!” Young Noble captioned the picture.
The Outlawz tour — which had been slated to kick off in Bendigo on 25 November — was set to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of their mentor, Tupac Shakur, the New Jersey rap group having held a strong following internationally based on their connection with the late hip hop legend. However, according to a representative of ALH Group, whose venues were due to hold several of The Outlawz' concerts, ticket pre-sales were poor, numbering “less than 10” for each venue.
“The reason [for the cancellation], I believe, is to do with the promoters or their touring company’s inability to manage the tour effectively, and didn’t meet the specs that the Outlawz fans deserve,” ALH told theMusic.com.au. “Apparently [The Outlawz are] still committed to coming out in the future, but the promoter’s company they were not happy with.”
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ALH’s explanation was echoed in a statement released by venue programmers The Pushworth Group, which highlighted the tour’s cancellation “due to the inability of the tour manager/planner at HiphopTV to organise a tour that meets the standards The Outlawz and their fans deserve”.
However, according to Atalla, the reasons that the tour was brought to a halt before it could start are to do with the financial risks involved apparently taken on by a third party who Atalla says is also lending a hand to the upcoming Onyx tour also.
“Noble gave me the tour and I told him upfront I don’t have the capital to do this,” Atalla insisted to theMusic.com.au. “He thought it was pretty much going to rely on ticket sales. He gave me a video drop without me having to pay for a deposit, and that rarely happens, and I ended up doing it, which I shouldn’t have.
"We were relying on ticket sales which I didn’t think would do so bad. So, I probably don’t blame the venues saying that, because I didn’t have money for marketing or anything like that.”
Despite Young Noble’s scathing remarks, Atalla has assured theMusic.com.au that all refunds for ticket pre-sales have been processed immediately upon news of the tour being cancelled.
“Noble’s going on about me taking from venues," he said. "What am I taking from venues? That doesn’t make sense and he’s trying to blow this up because this obviously looks bad in front of Outlawz fans. But they know it’s got to do with tickets. Everyone’s been refunded because sales were linked straight into Paypal and I had refunded everybody as quick as possible. And I think that’s where [Young Noble’s] anger is coming from but he’s just taking it to the point where it’s like, I don’t know what to do, man; it’s so fucking childish.”
This is not an isolated controversy for Atalla and HiphopTV; in 2013, the company weathered a similar hiccup ahead of a planned Australian tour for The Game after being unable to provide a financial deposit into the west coast rapper’s bank account prior to beginning his shows Down Under.
As ALH indicated, The Outlawz remain committed to visiting Australia; keep an eye out for potential make-up dates in future.