Black People : A RESPONSE to HipHop's Intelligentsia.

OM, I can appreciate what you are saying. I agree to a certain extent. However, that is why I mentioned the hustle. Chamillionaire, Master P, Cash Money, Rap-a-lot, and many others (some of who were not very good at all) became commercial successes because of the HUSTLE not because of the talent. The label deals came AFTER they sold 40 or 50 thousand copies without a budget or radio play.

Trust me I understand how marketing and silly record execs keep us from hearing a lot of really good music but that means we are left to judge only the music we are exposed to. I am in the business, so I hear 50 underground CD's a week and 90 percent of them are garbage. Of the other 10 percent, half of it is really good and half of it is JUST COMMERCIAL. I know the difference. If I had my choice I would have Talib, Mos Def, Common, Blacalicious, Black Thought, and other rappers like that control the industry. Hey, but I am in business to make money, so I have to turn those down (the underground versions) in favor of Hurricane Chris, Lil Wayne, Luda (the underground versions) if I want to have a successful label. The way I TRY to control the future of Hip-Hop, is I EDUCATE my children on the difference between GOOD HIP-HOP and Plies! Not many 12 year olds are listening to Common, Nas, and Talib, but mine is because if he KNOWS BETTER he will BUY BETTER...and that is the only way we can change hip-hop for the better.

Oh yeah...and Neneh was the STUFF. I knew when she hit with the Buffalo Stance joint that she was going to be truble to market. The super creative (like Cee-lo Green) are often misunderstood and have trouble being hits in the americas but overseas they do very well.

I'm not going to knock the "hustle" because if I had stepped up my own production, most likely I would be in a position of having no disagreement with you. But here is the difference.

I AM the generation of HIP HOP CULTURE. I AM in the same age range of Herc, BAM, Caz, Flash.

I put ART before profit. I know that does not make sense to some people, even those who are closest to me on a persoanl level, but I AM also someone with family who has MADE IT, oftentimes being on the cutting edge and avante-garde, moving the CULTURE forward, just as jazz musicians such as Don Cherry, Ornette Colman and Eric Dolphy did as well. So, this is in my BLOODLINE.

Secondly, Neneh WAS not "the stuff". She IS the stuff.lol! Neneh still has huge following in Europe. This country in 1988 jus was not ready to handle the diversity of her material. It was more than failure of Virgin to develop a marketing strategy. They didnt know how to promote even her second video "Manchild" even though that release sold, as I said before, MILLIONS in other countries, including Canada.

The problem in 1988 was that they were trying to push this concept of Hip Hop's "Golden Age" while overseas genres such as trip hop, jungle, drum and bass, had already expanded hip hop, but the labels were still trying to market hip hop as something confined to South Brox or Manhattan.

I also see a contradiction here. I understand your position better now but still dont see how you can determine how Lil Wayne is better than Plies, for example. The FACT is brother, you cant CONTROL the future of hip hop. Its larger than any of us. All you might be able to CONTROL is a regional demographic, which, in the long run, will run its course.

Hip hop is GLOBAL. Its not something an individual can control. Only influence. And keep in mind something else. If you are indeed exposing your son to Common, Talib, etc., if you are also then making bank of pushing Lil Wayne and Luda, do you really think that you are even addressing the intent of this thread?

Brother Lil Wayne and his ilk are the main reason for the present dumbing down of hip hop. Of course, he got some mad skills, I gotta give him props for reppin' NOLA, but on the real "Lillipop" just ain't doin' it on the level of ART.

HIP HOP came out of the Black Arts Movement. I dont hardly ever read folks make this connection, but this is a fact I am aware of. And hip hop WAS the Cultural Arm of the Black Liberation Movement which carried us through the 70s when the political arm was politically repressed.

As presently constituted RAP has become the anti-revolutionary 5th Column within hip hop culture. And, just speaking for myself, Im no longer buying it.

Peace.
 
I don't know how you all judge Hip-Hop artists, but to say Lil Wayne, Kanye, and Lupe are mediocre or wack is craziness. I do agree that the others are wack tho.

Lil Wayne's last album is straight up "meh", lol. Kanye is a good producer, but as a MC he needs work in a lot of areas (although he's getting better). Lupe is okay, but is overrated imo...
 
Bro. OM I really appreciate what you've said about Hip-Hop's 5th Element. After reviewing "Hustle and Flow" just one more time- it's clear that there is an element in "ghetto life" that as to be expressed, but I often wonder to whose benefit? We need that 5th Element to put everything in perspective.

A007, it sound like your scales are off as far as where you see underground Artists and so-called "main stream" Artists, how is "mass appeal" gained? Mass appeal is gained through main stream media channels. So you really think Artists who gain "mass appeal" somehow have more talent and creativity?

I knew Rappers coming up in NYC who could freestyle about the clothes on your back. Rappers that would make Jay-Z look like Vanilla Ice. Or choke Lil' Wayne to death with one verse. They didn't lack "mass appeal" because they enchanted any mass of people who were around them. It was impossible to battle them, because their wit and style out defined all others. Such Rappers don't lack mass appeal, what they lack is money. What most of us forget is that the ability to compose rhymes and music is only a small percent of the business. You'd think it was the most important part but it's not. The other elements like distribution, marketing etc., all play a huge role in the difference between "underground" Artists and those on the main stream.

Not that all main stream Artists are bad, but basically if you are not a commercial product for a cooperation you will have a difficult time. As far as I can tell, most underground Artists don't have the same channels for marketing and distribution as larger cooperations. Should that be the scale used to weight the talent and creativity of Hip-Hop Artists?

The truth is most Artists in the main stream aren't there because they have "mass appeal" they are there because they have a formula that executives know already works well. I can sit here and predict all the Rappers that will come out for the next 5-10 years just based upon formula. When will we realize that this is what billion dollar empires do? They study us, they study what we buy into. For example, the same creative formulas that work with Ludacris, worked with Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot.

Another way mass appeal is gained is through mass performances, to which most underground Artists very rarely gain access. That again has nothing to do with skill level, but it does have allot to do with marketing and control over certain venues.

It's not like Immortal Technique and others like him are allow to open up for the Super Bowl?


Real Gansta? Hip-Hop's 5th Element?

Think about it. What's real Gansta? Talking about the real enemy or someone who is the victim of oppression just like you? There are much darker elements in ghetto life and real Geniuses would be able to recognize them and use them to their career advantage. Even if money is the goal, stop copying old formulas and create your own.

How we forget---

 
Bro. OM I really appreciate what you've said about Hip-Hop's 5th Element. After reviewing "Hustle and Flow" just one more time- it's clear that there is an element in "ghetto life" that as to be expressed, but I often wonder to whose benefit? We need that 5th Element to put everything in perspective.

A007, it sound like your scales are off as far as where you see underground Artists and so-called "main stream" Artists, how is "mass appeal" gained? Mass appeal is gained through main stream media channels. So you really think Artists who gain "mass appeal" somehow have more talent and creativity?

I knew Rappers coming up in NYC who could freestyle about the clothes on your back. Rappers that would make Jay-Z look like Vanilla Ice. Or choke Lil' Wayne to death with one verse. They didn't lack "mass appeal" because they enchanted any mass of people who were around them. It was impossible to battle them, because their wit and style out defined all others. Such Rappers don't lack mass appeal, what they lack is money. What most of us forget is that the ability to compose rhymes and music is only a small percent of the business. You'd think it was the most important part but it's not. The other elements like distribution, marketing etc., all play a huge role in the difference between "underground" Artists and those on the main stream.

Not that all main stream Artists are bad, but basically if you are not a commercial product for a cooperation you will have a difficult time. As far as I can tell, most underground Artists don't have the same channels for marketing and distribution as larger cooperations. Should that be the scale used to weight the talent and creativity of Hip-Hop Artists?

The truth is most Artists in the main stream aren't there because they have "mass appeal" they are there because they have a formula that executives know already works well. I can sit here and predict all the Rappers that will come out for the next 5-10 years just based upon formula. When will we realize that this is what billion dollar empires do? They study us, they study what we buy into. For example, the same creative formulas that work with Ludacris, worked with Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot.

Another way mass appeal is gained is through mass performances, to which most underground Artists very rarely gain access. That again has nothing to do with skill level, but it does have allot to do with marketing and control over certain venues.

It's not like Immortal Technique and others like him are allow to open up for the Super Bowl?


Real Gansta? Hip-Hop's 5th Element?

Think about it. What's real Gansta? Talking about the real enemy or someone who is the victim of oppression just like you? There are much darker elements in ghetto life and real Geniuses would be able to recognize them and use them to their career advantage. Even if money is the goal, stop copying old formulas and create your own.

How we forget---



Excelent points brother Meta. After my earlier post I had to run and apply for a job near the airport. On the way back I was listening to the Soul Chamber on ATL's public radio station WRFG....I have an affinity for public radio because I used to be a guest on some stations in LA back in the day... KCRW's African Beat and Reggae Beat, my homeboy Kevin Lincoln's Blueprint. Then along came Garth Trinidad and J-Logic, who set up the club ECHO. Networking with Jason Bently who later got a deal with Island Records, then set up Quango. This all started with the Reggae Beat in the 70s.

KPFK...worked with Uhuru Communications and a program known as Family Tree..I will just say that with these folks its how I first met a teenage Tupac Shakur when he was a stepper in a group known as the New African Scouts. Around 1985.

KXLU....They Came From Beyond with Adwain Brown...about 1983-85...Im speaking of formats in LA which played reggae, Afro-Pop and then introduced HIP HOP and its related genres. These brothers I mentioned predate "Gangsta" on the west coast and some such as J-Logic are still active and continue to live hip hop...This also is before the Knitting factory which started booking hip hop acts in the late 90s and is now one of LA's premier joints. But they started wth indie and underground. Created their own networks and now some of these folks travel and tour year round. I remember how J-Logic and others used to jam at the Central City Cafe near downtown, which usually featured punk bands in this little joint. Thats when a chinese restaurant nearby Madame Wong's also used to book bands. Then there was the Good Life Cafe in the Crenshaw District. Most of these cats today wouln't have been able to step foot in Good Life. And thats where Immortal Tech used to come through.

Here is a link for J-Logic and Soundlessons. Very impressive track record.
http://www.soundlessons.com/html/dj_bios/c_logic.htm

My point about WRFG is that this is the ONE thing about ATL but the more I listen to some of their programs, the more I miss LA....Anyway, the program today, Soul Chamber, was discussing this very same topic, and one of the people who called in was Scorpio from GMFlash. He spoke to this very issue. But in doing so he also talked about how OUTSIDE of the US they still tour and most of the fans want the ORIGINAL material, how they used to lay it down, and still do to this date. Its the same with PE....when folks here kicked PE to the curb and Chuck then went to Atomic Pop and those other download sites, PE was still touring europe and turned out MAJOR shows. And by major Im talking about "massive".

Back to J-Logic. The reason I provded the link is because while the typical RAP listener may have never heard of him, or say the X-Ecutioners, this brother have networked with and opened for folks such as Blackalicious, Black Eyed Peas, Ozomatli (w/Cut Chemist), Dilate Peoples, Slum Village, Freestyle Fellowship, KRS-One, Prince Paul and Zion I.

It just so happens that most of these folks I just mentioned are about what remains of my CD collection.

Later, I'm going to see if I can get a transcription of that WRFG program. It was right on point. One more thing. Scorpio was talking about how GMFlash is the first and I think only hip hop group tobe inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...but no Hip Hop Honors.

What a shame...

Peace.
 
Bro. OM I really appreciate what you've said about Hip-Hop's 5th Element. After reviewing "Hustle and Flow" just one more time- it's clear that there is an element in "ghetto life" that as to be expressed, but I often wonder to whose benefit? We need that 5th Element to put everything in perspective.

A007, it sound like your scales are off as far as where you see underground Artists and so-called "main stream" Artists, how is "mass appeal" gained? Mass appeal is gained through main stream media channels. So you really think Artists who gain "mass appeal" somehow have more talent and creativity?

I knew Rappers coming up in NYC who could freestyle about the clothes on your back. Rappers that would make Jay-Z look like Vanilla Ice. Or choke Lil' Wayne to death with one verse. They didn't lack "mass appeal" because they enchanted any mass of people who were around them. It was impossible to battle them, because their wit and style out defined all others. Such Rappers don't lack mass appeal, what they lack is money. What most of us forget is that the ability to compose rhymes and music is only a small percent of the business. You'd think it was the most important part but it's not. The other elements like distribution, marketing etc., all play a huge role in the difference between "underground" Artists and those on the main stream.

Not that all main stream Artists are bad, but basically if you are not a commercial product for a cooperation you will have a difficult time. As far as I can tell, most underground Artists don't have the same channels for marketing and distribution as larger cooperations. Should that be the scale used to weight the talent and creativity of Hip-Hop Artists?

The truth is most Artists in the main stream aren't there because they have "mass appeal" they are there because they have a formula that executives know already works well. I can sit here and predict all the Rappers that will come out for the next 5-10 years just based upon formula. When will we realize that this is what billion dollar empires do? They study us, they study what we buy into. For example, the same creative formulas that work with Ludacris, worked with Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot.


I agree that MASS ACCEPTANCE has to be marketed and pushed to the masses. But, Mass APPEAL is something a rapper has when he/she RAPS not the marketing part. I know a few freestyle artists down here (in memphis) who will beat main stream artists. But, that does not mean they can write an appealling song. That is what happened to Jin. He KILLED cats freestyle on TV and off...he had a following BEFORE he ever released his CD. But, his CD did not do well at all, because he could not write songs that were good enough to move the MASSES.

I think you missed part of my explanation as to why SOME underground artists are not mainstream. I said some are not talented enough....but even the ones with enough TALENT lack the requisite amount of HUSTLE to get noticed. The rappers that suck are on the corner selling CD's for a dollar and doing free shows. The rappers that are really good feel like they are too good for that, so they just sit back and wait for the labels to come running because of their talent.

I agree with your statement that many rappers lack money. That speaks to the portion of my arguement that says THIS IS A BUSINESS. And if there are artists that are doing it for the artistry of it then why are they complaining that they are not commercial successes? The rappers that are doing it to make some money are writing the kind of music that the public is buying. Again I say this is not the fault of the artist but the doing of the buying public. So, either the artist that is sticking to his guns as an artist needs to find a happy medium between artistry and commercialism or come to grips with the fact that he may never have commercial success.
 

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