Clear! Breathing life into Hip Hop
It has been a great couple of months for Hip Hop. With stellar album/mixtape releases from Jay-Z, Slaughterhouse, M.O.P., Raekwon, Kid Cudi and Drake Hip Hop once again has become a marriage of beats, style and thought provoking lyrics. I have often blamed the south for killing hip hop but after having separate conversations with a nationally renown DJ and the CEO of a start-up music label the real death of Hip Hop has made itself apparent.
Conversation 1: I asked DJ Drack Muse, “Why did you decide to transition from playing Hip Hop to primarily House music?” Drack replied, “In Chicago, we always play House music at Hip Hop parties. When I started DJ’ing in college we introduced House music to the campus and people instantly loved it. Out in L.A., when we play House and people of all ethnicities come out and have fun all night long. Plus, you can’t break a record in a Hip Hop club. I break records all of the time when I play House music. People listening to House don’t need to recognize the song. They just feel the music.”
(Break a record means to play it for the first time for a mass audience)
I thought nothing of it until….
Conversation 2: Long time friend C.Park, asked me, “I have a new artist and a new producer. Do you think you can ask your DJ friends in Atlanta to play this song at your events?” The question stuns me because until that moment I didn’t realize that Drack was 100% correct. I’ve never heard new music in an Atlanta nightclub nor on the radio. There is absolutely no new music in nightclubs and the “new” music on the radio is already popular somewhere else or comes from local artists that have large followings from mixtapes. As I reflect I tell her, “I’ll ask but I don’t think they will play it because the crowd might turn on them. Actually, the only time I’ve heard new music in Atlanta is in the Strip Club or on a mixtape.”
The cartoon light bulb goes of in my head. Most of the music coming out of the South is strip club music. It’s music that you can enjoy without actually listening to it. It provides beats that girls can shake “it” to and hooks that any Dope Boy can remember. With the exclusion of Outkast, T.I., Ludacris, and Jeezy can anyone recite a line from any Atlanta based artist’s song that’s not part of the hook? I didn’t think so.
The solution: The music industry doesn’t actually care about music. They care about sales. If they thought selling a blank disk with a picture of Adolph Hitler shooting MLK would sell $ millions… It would be on Itunes right now and silence would be the new Hip Hop. We the consumer, buy it and buy into it, and they the dealer, gives us the crack we beg for. It’s not enough to stop supporting the uninspired music. We must also support the truly talented, dedicated, and hardworking artists and their projects.
What are your thoughts?