DaveyD: Why commerce is killing the true spirit of hip-hop

This is a good place to drop general and weird news, entertainment, and general show prep material that might be interesting to air talent or producers. Hot dog threads ALWAYS welcome.

Moderators: The People's DJ, David Paleg

Post Reply
User avatar
304live
Member
Member
Posts: 1386
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2002 2:50 pm
Location: the lovely and historic east end
Contact:

DaveyD: Why commerce is killing the true spirit of hip-hop

Post by 304live » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:56 pm

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercuryn ... 808969.htm



Hip-hop icon Nas made the provocative statement, ``Hip-hop is dead,'' in September and set off a firestorm of controversy. It was intensified by the January release of his album bearing the same title.

Many questioned why Nas would say hip-hop -- a worldwide phenomenon that has generated billions of dollars -- could be ``dead.'' After all, more hip-hop albums are being released then ever before, and the music's influence extends to movies, corporate marketing and theater. That it's dead seems absurd -- until you realize Nas was looking beneath the surface.

He was speaking of the corporate side of the music and the mentality of executives more interested in turning a quick buck than nurturing rap culture. Nas realized sex, violence and bling, as themes for the music, had pretty much run their course. Album sales had plummeted, and ratings at hip-hop radio stations in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere had hit all-time lows.

A number of people, including this writer, also had spoken out about mediocre product coming from some of the genre's biggest stars. Yet such talk was rebuffed by so-called industry experts, who blamed digital downloading and satellite radio.

We critics, however, were vindicated by a study published earlier this year by the University of Chicago. Data from the ``Black Youth Project'' indicated that while 58 percent of blacks between ages 15 and 25 listen to hip-hop daily, most are dissatisfied with it. They find the subject matter is too violent, and women too often portrayed in offensive ways.

Such feelings hint at a dirty little secret of the music business: Blacks are used largely to validate musical themes being marketed to the white mainstream. In other words, while 90 percent of commercial rap artists on TV and radio are black, the target audience lies outside the black community.

Paul Porter, a longtime industry veteran and former music programmer at BET and Radio One, is now with the watchdog organization Industryears.com. He says the University of Chicago findings offer proof positive that commercial hip-hop has become the ultimate minstrel show, and rap artists are pushed by the industry to remain perpetual adolescents.

As a result, we watch Diddy, Cam'ron, DMX and others brag about wealth and throw bills at a camera while bikini-clad women gyrate in the background. Should these artists attempt to break out of the mold, they'd risk having their work questioned by record and radio executives.

In our conversation, Porter also pointed to something more sinister: payola. He claimed hip-hop is dead only because payola is rampant at labels intent on investing in songs with sexual and violent themes.

During a separate conversation, Questlove of the Roots supported Porter's allegation with his own story about the process behind the group's Grammy-winning hit with Erykah Badu, ``You Got Me.'' He said the Roots had to pony up close to ``a million dollars'' to a middle man who ``worked his magic'' at radio stations.

Initially, the overtly positive song had been rejected, he explained, so palms were greased with the promise that key stations countrywide would get hot ``summer jam'' concert acts in exchange for airplay. According to Questlove, more than $1 million in cash and resources were eventually laid out for the success of that single song.

In the documentary ``Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,'' shown recently on the PBS series ``Independent Lens,'' filmmaker Byron Hurt confronts Stephen Hill, BET's senior vice president for programming, to ask why the cable network plays so many videos with misogynist and otherwise degrading themes. The fortysomething Hill walks away without answering. This is the same executive who refused to broadcast videos by the group Little Brother, because he considered their material ``too intelligent'' for the BET audience.

With thinking like that, no wonder commercial hip-hop appears dead. It's the ideas of the gatekeepers that are dead.

User avatar
304live
Member
Member
Posts: 1386
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2002 2:50 pm
Location: the lovely and historic east end
Contact:

Post by 304live » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:00 pm

most are dissatisfied with it....

i wonder what % actually are.... 51% or 85%... not that it makes much difference but i hate vaugley given stats like that...


but this draws some interesting conclusions....



ive always thought that in a major market if a radio station would flip formats to a format where all the hip hop and RnB that is played is either "classic" 70's 80's and 90's music mixed with about 50% of today's music that fits in with the musicianship of the older music would kill with the 25 and up crowd ...

it'd be very similiar to a rock station that plays classic rock and new music as well that fits in with the theme of the older music...

Tom Taggart
Member
Member
Posts: 1989
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 11:30 am
Location: Marietta, Ohio

Post by Tom Taggart » Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:43 pm

When Hip-hop dies, let me know.

I'll through a lovely wake in celebration. :twisted:

Cameron
Member
Member
Posts: 1669
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2002 8:41 am
Location: WV - South (Charlotte, NC)

Post by Cameron » Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:19 pm

Tom Taggart wrote:When Hip-hop dies, let me know.

I'll through a lovely wake in celebration. :twisted:
White-bread sandwiches will be served and Polka music will be enjoyed by all in attendance.

:lol:
------------------------
Cameron Smith - CSRE®
LSS Green Belt QbD/DMAIC
Senior Member - SBE #45 Charlotte
Digital Experience Product Manager - Ahold/Delhaize USA

Tom Taggart
Member
Member
Posts: 1989
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 11:30 am
Location: Marietta, Ohio

Post by Tom Taggart » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:06 pm

Don't forget the Kilbasa

Bob Loblaw
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 5201
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2001 5:37 pm
Location: Over here

Post by Bob Loblaw » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:53 pm

304live wrote:ive always thought that in a major market if a radio station would flip formats to a format where all the hip hop and RnB that is played is either "classic" 70's 80's and 90's music mixed with about 50% of today's music that fits in with the musicianship of the older music would kill with the 25 and up crowd ...
You're closely describing the "Movin" format.

Everytime I hear it, I thank god no one has done it in DC.

Tom Taggart wrote:When Hip-hop dies, let me know.

I'll through a lovely wake in celebration.
God I'm glad the Oldies formats have been pretty much killed off. People who spend too much time reminiscing about yesterday, forget to live for today.

BTW, Tom, your updated membership card to the Flat-Earth Society is on it's way.

~~~~~~

I'm not sure I would say "commerce" is killing hip-hop. Greed is.

It feels like it's all about the club bangas and diss records. I man, Christ, now Tim and Scott are exchanging Disses and songs are coming and going off the charts faster than ever. It reminds me of the Country format a years ago...when a song never stayed #1 more than a week.

Most songs have become formulaic. A good -sung- hook (no name females work fine here, but Akon works too), maybe it's re-worked vocals of another familiar song. A guest spot of 32 from Luda or TI or Sean Paul (of the Yungbloods). Let it establish on the chart and get to #15, then release the "remix" which is nothing more than re-dubbed vocals from Fabolous, E-40, and Jeezy.

And if you can get the BPM down to the 67-74 range, that'd be great...because Snoop can only rap so fast nowadays, and we gotta lock him in for 16.

Sound about right?

And Payola? It totally exists. Look in overnights right there in your backyard and you'll find it. C'mon, seriously. SOMEBODY should look at Mediabase from Mid-6am.

It's all come down to Greed. I defend Hip Hop because it's part of who I am and how I was raised. Sure, I'm a suburban white kid who grew up in a shitty ghetto neighborhood. But guess what? I am the target audience.

And you have Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Tone Loc, Young MC and more for that.

User avatar
Zak Tyler
Lord of Boobies
Posts: 2949
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2001 3:47 pm
Location: Jackson, MS
Contact:

Post by Zak Tyler » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:06 am

we've got a "movin" knock off here. sounds pretty good. but it's signal challenged, and owned by bob sinclair (from what i'm told he's a whack-job with money). they've got the right idea, but they're not executing it properly. the true "Movin" format, is going to be a MONSTER for about 20 minutes. within the next 2-3 years, whoever is running that format right, will make a ton of money. but it'll pull a 80's/jammin' oldies/bob/jack/george/ringo within 3 years and level off about mid/low pack.

[/ .02]


anybody got change for a nickel?
I'm not an idiot, but I play one on the radio.

AmpedNow
Member
Member
Posts: 4554
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2002 4:46 am
Location: none

Post by AmpedNow » Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:00 am

We critics, however, were vindicated by a study published earlier this year by the University of Chicago. Data from the ``Black Youth Project'' indicated that while 58 percent of blacks between ages 15 and 25 listen to hip-hop daily, most are dissatisfied with it. They find the subject matter is too violent, and women too often portrayed in offensive ways.
That has been my biggest problem with hip hop... Much of the lyrical content is just violent and vulgar.
Such feelings hint at a dirty little secret of the music business: Blacks are used largely to validate musical themes being marketed to the white mainstream. In other words, while 90 percent of commercial rap artists on TV and radio are black, the target audience lies outside the black community.
Interesting...

I've wondered why so many of the artists seem to want to keep themselves "on the plantation" through their music...

Post Reply