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Rap Radar’s Brian ‘B.Dot’ Miller explains why he’s a hip-hop junkie

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Photo courtesy of Brian “B.Dot” Miller

Rolling out got the chance to catch up with the content director for RapRadar.com, and the host of the RapRadar podcast, Brian “B.Dot” Miller. A writer and broadcaster, Miller graduated from Delaware State University. Read on to find out what the man born and raised in Queens, New York, had to say.

How did your position at Rap Radar come about?

I used to work at XXL magazine, I used to freelance while I was in school so when I graduated I was already in the building. I worked there for two years and after the Great Recession hit, I was laid off. My boss at the time, Elliot Wilson was let go a couple months prior. A few months after I was laid off, I ran into him on the street, and we exchanged contacts. A couple weeks after seeing him he emailed me and told me he was starting a website. This was in 2008, right in the beginning of the blog era, this was before Instagram existed. He told me Paul Rosenberg was his partner.

What would you say is something that separates you and Rap Radar from other bloggers?

Well, I think Elliot and I have credibility. People might not know my history but they know his history and we’re both journalists from reputable publications. People respect that, they respect our opinions, and I think we’ve also gained the respect from the people we interviewed. You bottle all that, and that’s exactly what separates us from the pack.

You said you worked for XXL, which is amazing. How did that come about?

I was a staff writer, I was kind of low on the totem pole. But at the time even though I was low on the totem pole they gave me a voice, they let me express ideas. They didn’t treat me like I was insubordinate

What advice would you give someone who is trying build a career in media?

I would tell them to master the art of networking. Kevin Liles came on our show recently [and] he said when it comes to networking the best thing to do is play the wall, I do that a lot. You don’t necessarily have to be the most vocal, but just see who’s,who and what’s what. Know what you’re getting yourself into and know who the power players are and know who to talk to. Read and do as much research as possible. I definitely think research is underrated in this era, utilize your resources. Learn the basics, learn how to write well. I know we live in a digital era, but writing is super important and underrated.

Would you say your experience in college helped prepare you for what you’re doing now? Or do you feel like it wasn’t something you necessarily had to do?

I mean there are people in the field that don’t have college experience. But personally, for me, I think it helped. That’s where I met my mentor, who at the time was XXL‘s music editor. He came to speak, and I networked with him. While I was in college I was freelancing, writing for the school newspaper.

Who do you consider to be peers in your field?

Rob Markman who works at Genius, I used to freelance for this magazine called DonDiva that specialized in Black underworld and hip-hop, we worked together at the time. Damien Scott; Tracey Garland, who works for “Sway in the Morning”; Karen Civil, that’s like my best friend her and I came up together in the early 2000s.

What do you do to stay on top of your game? How do you stay so consistent?

Well, I cover hip-hop music, I’m doing something I love. I’m a hip-hop junkie so I’m always sort of abreast of what’s going on. I keep up with everything through social media, word of mouth, and just being active in the field. Before I do a podcast interview I have an imaginary docket of the subject. I listen to as much music from the artist and listen to as many interviews as I can from the person so that my interview separates itself from the others. So a lot of times when we do have a guest they’re very impressed with the amount of research and time I’ve put forth into knowing who they are.

In your opinion what would you say it takes to be iconic? Who would you say fits that description?

To be iconic I think you just gotta put the work in. I don’t think the majority of icons set out to become iconic they just put the work in and eventually things come to them. I think if you put the work in things like that come your way, the titles will come. People in the field that I think are iconic would be Sway, he’s someone whose been in this for over 20 years. Jay Z [and] people like that are icons, they’ll be remembered till the end of time. There [are] levels to it, you can be a legend or you can be iconic. I think an icon is world renown, I think legends are icons in the making.

If someone were to ask who is B.Dot, what would you tell them?

B.Dot is just a man that is trying to influence and make a difference in the world. Someone that’s caring, willing to listen, willing to learn, just a friend and good guy.

Is there a difference between Brian and B.Dot?

People say there is, people say B.Dot is the egomaniac, the a–hole, the guy that’s pompous. They say Brian is a more subtle guy who shows humility. I feel like I’m one and the same. I got the name B.Dot in high school, people used to call me by my full name Brian Miller. A classmate of mine used to call me B.Dot Miller like it was on the back of a jersey, and the name just stuck. I don’t think there’s much of a difference between the two, it just depends on who you ask.

Who’s on your playlist?

I don’t wanna be the “old guy” but I listen to a lot of ’90s rap, and R&B. I listen to a lot of everything, but currently, I’m listening to Anderson Paak, I’m listening to the new Jeezy project. School Boy Q, Drake, Meek Mill, pretty much everyone that’s doing their thing. I listen to a little bit of everything, but I can’t say I like everything.

What would you say keeps you inspired?

What keeps me inspired … my bank account it does have enough commas in it. Seeing my peers do well.  When I see my friends like Karen Civil campaign for Hillary Clinton, and  go to the White House I’m just like wow it’s possible. Seeing my friends do well keeps me inspired, it means I have something to strive [for] and look forward to accomplish[ing]. Just someone doing their thing keeps me inspired.

Can you name some of your top role models, if you have any?

Number one my parents, my dad he’s a success entrepreneur in Queens, and he instilled hard work in me growing up. Just immediate family as a whole. I would say Jay Z is someone I idolized growing up in Queens, and now to have some sort of relationship with him is surreal, he’s definitely a role model.