Lately its struck me just how low people will sink for cash. At a time when Hiphop is at the peak of its popularity, when you can’t switch on the TV without hearing a rapper trying to sell you a car / a drink / a t-shirt / a pair of shoes, when you can’t walk down the street without passing someone who’s followed their advice and is now driving that car, whilst drinking that drink, and rocking that shirt and shoes, its become plain how much Hiphop is being prostituted.
Stating the obvious? Maybe. But something has to be said. When LL Cool J would rather spend more time shooting FUBU ads that proclaim him as the G.O.A.T. and less time working on an album that proves it, something’s wrong. When Busta Rhymes would rather throw a Mountain Dew at you, than a dope track, something’s wrong.
Don’t get me wrong – I understand they’re taking advantage of their popularity to strike out and get that dollar while its good for getting. I also understand that this is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last time that Hiphop goes through a cycle of unbelievable popularity with the youth (hands up who has an MC Hammer doll?)
But first and foremost these people have risen to popularity through the hard work of the people who bought their music. What do I mean? Let me break it down for you… where were corporate America and the rest of the world, when LL was “saying the kind of rhymes that make emcees wish that I’d die”? Where were they when Busta and the Leaders were telling us of their “Case Of The PTA”? They weren’t around then, simply because Hiphop wasn’t popular… there was no money to be made… and therefore in those early years, it was me and the millions of other “REAL” Hiphop fans who put a roof over the heads of LL’s kids, who bought that one raggedy piece of gold around Busta’s neck.
Where am I going with this? I’ll tell ya… I’m pissed off with being taken for granted by artists who owe their success to their REAL fans, yet desert them at the drop of a dime. I’m tired of being told that this latest piece of shit that they’ve decided to throw onto wax is the best record they’ve ever done, when in fact it’s little more than a studio out-take. They’re taking us for a ride and its time it stopped. Anyone heard the new Jay-Z and R Kelly album, yet? Listen to that and please point out one place where Jigga sounds the slightest bit interested in what he’s doing. He sounds bored. His rhymes are uninspiring. It’s surprising that he can even hold in his laughter, at the fact that he’s STILL gonna make money off this, despite his half-hearted attempts at rhyming…
I’m pissed off with an artist blowing up, and before you even have time to cop an album, he’s talking about bringing through his homies and THEIR album, despite the fact that it often sounds that they’ve just walked in off the street, and never even LOOKED at a microphone before. Some might say, this is admirable – one blows up, and then brings his team through to share his success. Bullshit. Check out Ja-Rule as the newest example of this trend – he’s about to bring through his crew, who will sell simply on the back of his name. Now are you telling me that he’s isn’t gonna make a load of cash on the publishing of his crew’s record? Shit, if I stood beside Ja-Rule for long enough, I could get a fucking deal too. There’s no love here at all, its all about getting that cash while your name’s in the frame…
But that’s POP music, you might say. That’s what commercial Hiphop has become, you might say. I totally agree. But even when Hiphop was selling commercially before, it was always different from the run-of-the-mill pop music that normally infested the charts. Now, its EMBRACING it. The major players in Hiphop are selling it’s soul to line their own pockets, and its a fucking disgrace. But there IS something we can do… you can rest assured that Hiphop will fall out of favour with the mainstream sooner or later. And when it does, and when all these fakes come running back, telling you to cop their new “grimey” album, that takes it back to the streets, and is the best thing they’ve ever done…
Don’t be a sucka – vote with your wallet… vote Hiphop.
A to the L
(from the heart, fuck the art)