Negotiations Tactics & Tips from GTN’s Madd Illz

13 Feb


If you know anything about the hip-hop scene in Orlando, FL, Madd Illz is one of the first names that come to mind. Joshua Carrasco, aka Madd Illz, is a legendary battle rapper and owner of Grind Time Now, a hip-hop battle league. With nearly 90,000 subscribers and 93,000,000 video views on the Grind Time Now Youtube channel, GTN is well on the way to taking over the rap battle scene, not only in Orlando, but also worldwide.


Negotiating is something that Madd Illz deals with every day as a hip-hop figure and business owner. Most recently, he has dealt with companies like Red Bull and HipHopDX; one of the largest hip-hop news and music websites. I was glad to catch up with him at Austin’s Coffee and Film in Winter Park, FL, where he was hosting an open mic last Monday.


The first thing we talked about on the topic of negotiations was the way you approach the situation. Coming into the negotiation with a positive attitude, and asking the other party “how can I help you achieve your goals?” gets them to feel more comfortable about being open with their objective criteria. Madd Illz points out how conditioning the person to believe that you are genuinely trying to help them out will not only open them up quicker, but make it more likely for them to give more or drop their price. Getting the other person to feel like they have control actually gives you control over the situation. Preparing for the negotiation ahead of time, planning this tactic will allow them to play right into your hands.

When dealing with prices or percentages, you of course want the other party to throw out the first number. This puts the ball in your court. One way Madd Illz suggests dealing with this is by simply having a conversation about what the person would want if the budget were $10 million and the creative doors were wide open. This makes them comfortable talking about their interests and actual budget while also sparking inspiration.

Another tactic Madd Illz mentioned was letting some information out that isn’t that important, but that the other negotiator thinks is important. This is helpful when you are trying to gauge someone’s standpoint. Their response can tell you a lot if you pay attention.

To some, these tactics might seem like manipulation, but really they are simply directing the course of events. Of course dirty tricks are what everyone is worried about in negotiations. It is what makes us nervous about even stepping into such a situation; the worry that someone is going to cheat or get over on you. This is why Madd Illz stresses the idea of going into the negotiation being positive and finding out how you both can help each other. He notes that the line between dirty trick and tactic lies in your intent. As long as you don’t have intent to harm someone, it’s fair play. Besides, making a bad deal for someone else, or getting one up on someone may bring short-term success, but in the long run will hurt you. The entertainment industry is such a tight network that pulling dirty tricks in a negotiation will certainly ruin your relationship with that person, and even worse, kill your reputation among your peers.

Keep these wise words in mind next time you step on the negotiation battlefield!

Madd Illz and A.Roze



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