Tuesday, December 8, 2009

D.I.Y. or D-I-E!

You guy's remember Drake? Yeah, the rap dude from Canada with the prosthetic knee. I bet you been waiting on his album to drop, haven't you? You ain't gotta lie, that's why we use screen names & shit. 'Thank Me Later' was pushed back twice already this year, despite the overwhelming buzz, the major label re-release of his mixtape 'So Far Gone', 2 grammy nominations, & countless features throughout the latter half of the year. After January's date was shafted, It was scheduled to be released on Valentine's Day of 2010, but again, no dice. Drake was selling out shows & doing PR work before he even signed with Young Money. Some might say, including me, he was a bigger star without "anyone" helping him.

Drake is what you call a Grade Curve Axis. Like it or not, 2009 success was graded according to what he did. If you had an album on a shelf, & weren't as popular as this dude, with his only offering being a mixtape, & then the rehashing of said mixtape, then you didn't do well enough.

In industry terms, dude was the complete package: built-in fan base, good looking [||], penchant for crafting music teenagers can get pregnant to, & he had the co-sign of Lil Wayne, arguably the most relevant rapper of the last couple of years. Yet & still, he received as many album releases speed bumps as the most established dudes. Odd, no? He was rap music's poster boy, & with the snap of some old White guy's fingers, he's in limbo, much like your favorite rapper.

I predict that 2010 will see many more artists going the independent route, permanently. Before, indie was the yellow brick road to major stardom. I don't see that staying the same, what with the industry climate, & recession & more wack rappers getting shine than I can shake a wack stick at. Guys like Charles Hamilton, who had the right idea but failed miserably, will become the norm. After all, an artist's dream is to be paid for their masterpieces. That's not going to happen though, as long as the entertainer allows record executives to have sex with their futures. Might as well masturbate, so to speak, & be solely in charge of the outcome.

[tony's note: ha! i didn't notice that zinger until I typed it!...]

Wanna be rap stars beware. These labels aren't playing fair, have no interest in your prosperity, & would quicker leave you a penniless bum than make you a star. When I was younger, phase 2 of being a "rapper" was trotting your demo tape into an office & meeting some douche nozzle A&R, with the hopes of tickling his fancy [||] enough to be considered on their roster. Nowadays, the requirements are hoops & hurdles so extreme that, by the time you make a name for yourself, what would you need a label for. It's pimping & pandering, & niggas are lining up to go pro. Or, maybe not.

We can all thank Soulja Boy for having the balls to go for broke on his own laurels & scruples. This one goofy kid turned to 'Net into his personal billboard, & that move took him to the top of Billboard. Anybody who doubted him is surely kicking themselves in the ass while their great-grandparents "superman that hoe" at their 50th wedding anniversary. His was a definite game changer, & not a trend as the big whigs hoped it would be. Maybe if they wise up, the recording industry can salvage whatever control of our ears they have left. People don't want to hear what "they" want us to hear, & that's why radio is dying as I type. Even satellite radio is catching a bad rap. What happened with the radio was tasteless program directors, payola, & a tainted musical gene pool, offering little-to-no talent. Who the fuck wants to hear a Flo Rida song, much less in constant rotation between 4 different shows? Those with the talent were relegated to the underground circuit, or the DJ mix shows that only spun real rap from 12 to 2 AM. They would've been better not playing those albums at all, because when the people noticed that there's still good music to be had, they demanded it. & when those jerks refused to play "good" music, opting instead to shove overwhelming amounts of monkey shit down our collective throats, the radio lost all credibility as a reliably source of music. At that exact point, the 'Net became the place to be. & has been ever since. The last time I listened to urban radio, G-Unit was still selling records.

My dad always said, "If you want something done right, do it yourself". Word. Once rappers truly understand how easily that can be achieved, labels better take notice or get turned off, just like the radio.


Curtis75Black said...

Nice shout to Soulja !! Unfortunately his songs are not what I want to hear but I definitely proud of homie for pulling up his boot straps and doing it himself.

Daywalker said...

Good point, Grands. It seems you see less and less rappers on a major and I think you're insight is spot on. The big guys are only looking for the next "quick buck rapper" they can make some money off. It used to be that record labels looked for the artists they can invest in for the long haul but those days are gone.

On top of that, you have rappers willing to give all up just to get a few whips & chains (no massa). Many rappers don't care to be relevant down the road so that brings us to the crossroads we're at now. Hiphop is evolving and I think we're going to be looking at something totally different in the next 5-10 years.

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