I’ve been reading Tricia Rose’s Hip Hop Wars off and on lately and I figured I should tackle portions of the book and blog as I read.
While I don’t expect to agree with each and every one of her views on the subject, I certainly understand that the book itself is a necessary conversation that needs to be had.
Today I’ll just tackle a few points brought up in the book’s 30-page introduction.
Miss Rose starts off like this:
Hip Hop is in a terrible crisis. Although its overall fortunes have risen sharply, the most commercially promoted and financially successful hip hop – what has dominated mass-media outlets such as television, vilm , radio and recording industries for a dozen years or so – has increasingly become a playground for caricatures of black gangstas, pimps, and hoes.
Think about the music you hear on “hip hop” radio stations in 2010. The genre – on a mainstream basis – has been consolidated into the hands of a few.
I live in the Chicago radio market where aside from R&B music – which has been greatly infused into mainstream hip hop – there is absolutely no variety being displayed.
Here is the breakdown. You basically have two factions or “crews” that dominate our radio right now: Young Money which includes artists like Drake, Lil Wayne and Nikki Minaj and then you have So Icy Ent. which features Gucci Mane , OJ da Juiceman and Wocka Flocka Flame.
Aside from that you have your artists with “big dog” status who come through and get radio play whenever they have new music. Those artists include Ludacris, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, T.I., Fabolous, Jeezy, Snoop Dogg and others.
I am personally a fan of each of these artists, but for the most part, aside from their lyrical talent and geographical location, each of these artists are basically the same. Therefore, as far as content is concerned, there is no actual diversity or variety to be heard on mainstream radio.
Back when I was in high school one of my favorite joints was Hi Tek and Talib Kweli’s “The Blast.” Back then the internet was as instrumental to hip hop as it is now, so I picked up on the song through rather conventional means: the radio and BET’s Rap City.
Now, there is no way a hip hop fan could just stumble upon a song like that on the radio. And since BET only airs videos at a decent hour on 106th and Park, the internet is our only resource for an alternative.
Remember the early 90’s when you could hear joints from Diagable Planets, Tupac, Arrested Development, Wu-Tang Clan, Ghetto Boys AND A Tribe Called Quest on the same radio station.
That there is diversity.
Gotta go to a wake now. R.I.P. Javon Kilgore!!!!!
Get back at ya’ll in a minute.