>My argument would be to >a large extent, it's the >record labels, radio, and MTV >that define an audience's tastes >strictly on racial boundaries.
I don't disagree with what you're saying. I'm just addressing the uncomfortable aspects of the hip hop nation.
>The problem >is, a black group doing >the same music would >not be given the same >platform from which to market >their music.
I don't agree with that. Hootie and The Blowfish(well the vocalist is black), Macy Gray, and the Urge(the vocalist is also black) are just some of the african american artists that get love on stations with mostly white listenership. Black folks can still "crossover" to white audiences. On the indy scene, I think Local H gets some love, as does P.O.D. Both of whom have black members but play for a largely white fan base.
My concern is how come a black punk/rock/jazz/blues/experimental noise group can't get love in their own community.
>I would argue that if college >DJ's are giving a platform >to artists who cannot get >played on mainstream radio,
As a former college radio DJ, I can tell you that the community of college radio dj's has the same type of control that the commercial dj's have. The college radio hip hop environment is just a farm team for major label hip hop. But outside of the "play for adds" scheme that goes on in college radio hip hop, college radio still thinks the same. At least in the South, college/community radio is where east coast heads went to when the West took over. So in many college radio stations all over, local heads who have a more southern/western style of hip hop do not get any airtime, especially when compared to their east coast brethren.
Yungstar, who was on last summers hit "Wanna be a Baller", is the kind of artist that most commercial radio stations wouldn't touch initially. But college radio wouldn't even think of playing anything "gangsta-ish", which is being more defined as not following the 4 elements and thinking that De La soul is the dopest hip hop group ever.
Every city west of the Hudson has 2 undergrounds. One, the "true" heads, the 4 element folks, and the second, the "real" heads, as in what the community really listens to. In Austin, the "arctechtonics" represent the true heads. They freestyle, they sample, they listen to east coast and fresh coast records (acey, hiero, lix). Then there is the the "flo mob", who also freestyle, sample and play their own instruments, and listen to DJ Screw, Cash Money and No Limit.
I think i'll leave it at that for now. But in essence, the "real" heads embody more of what hip hop has always been about, and the "true" heads represent a fantastic ideal about what hip hop is.
In most places around the country, the "true" heads and that sub-genre of hip hop is what college radio supports.
Personally the reason I think college radio supports the "true" hip hop, as opposed to the "real" hip hop stems from their race. Unfortunately, most white folks don't have the privilege of growing up in neighborhoods where the "real" mc's and music comes from. If they get that music, it's often been filtered via commercial radio and commercial video. As a result when you look at the trend of what gets reported to trade magazines from college radio, you see a huge devotion of love to "true" hip hop.
There are some other institutional things about college radio and djing in general that also push folks to "true" hip hop, but that's better discussed on the Lesson.
>they >are performing a valuable service >to hip hop regardless of >their race.
I think because of their race hip hop becomes very limited.
And I >see how their playlist may >affect the course of the >hip hop underground, but I >am not convinced it is >necessarily detrimental.
Since you buy records you have a different opinion of the underground. When you get free records you start to realize how hip hop underground hegemony controls what is being said on underground records. For every El-P or Mf Doom, there are hundreds of Mike Zoot's and other second and third string mc's. It is just like the majors.
I mean, >for every El-P record they >play, they are playing multiple >Aceyalone or Blackalicious tracks too.
But what I'm getting at is that the aceyalone and el-p styles of hip hop do not necessarily appeal to a large segment of black folks. Often most of the underground mc's in hip hop were outsiders to the core of black folks to begin with. (I think the same thing applies to underground heads in general, but we won't go into that).
> And, if the college >DJ knows anything about the >history of hip hop, they >CAN have a positive impact >by playing music that audiences >wouldn't hear otherwise.
Like old records, no doubt.
>I absolutely agree. The proliferation >of white MCs could be >problematic for hip hop's future. > But I also don't >particularly like the redefinition of >"hip hop" along color lines >which the media has begun >doing.
I honestly think that Kid Rock is doing something different than Run DMC did. I don't think that is the media, but a different perspective on the music. M&M is a different case. He's Chino Xl + the gravediggaz(or Esham or Bushwick bill) with better marketing. I think Em is still appealing to a more Afrikan idea of what hip hop is than Kid Rock/POD/Rage/Stereo Mc's.
>Interesting perspective you give here. >I can see how an >audience that places more emphasis >on beats than rhymes might >tend to overlook the underground >cats.
I think that extends to both the over and underground audience. Gangstarr would be nowhere without Primo.
Incidentally, I heard >Aceyalone's solo material for the >first time on a college >radio station in Austin (I >was visiting a friend). >They played "Headaches and Woes" >well before his album dropped, >and it had me open.
You were probably listening to my show. If this was between 1993-1999 you were probably listening to my radio show.
> Austin's a cool town, >and it's probably more >receptive to the underground than >your average city.
It's the skaters. Despite only having one shop, the skate influence is huge.
> >This is a good point. >People are afraid to go >outside their own neighborhoods for >all kinds of reasons. >But, the deeper problem is >"why do white and black >people live on opposite sides >of town".
actually that is the real issue in and of itself.
> >Well, I can see the value >of addressing these stereotypes, but >I would suggest that when >music glorifies only certain images,
I don't think it ever does. I hear a lot more in Bling Bling than just a transcription of the Robb Report. But I've also been listening to Southern hip hop for most of my life. To those unfamiliar with the nuances coming from a Rawkus/Native Tongues/Okay player background, that is all they hear.
>But >I think that conscious MC's >do address the very issues >brought up by the images >in mainstream music, and usually >more effectively.
I think most conscious mc's are preaching to the choir. The difference btw a blackstar of 2K and a brand nubian of 91 is that all of black america heard "Slow Down", whereas only black folks who watch Rap City heard mos and kweli.
> I don't think gangstas >are corrupting hip hop per >se, but I think as >long as white corporate control >of hip hop persists, their >message is going to dominate >the public debate.
White corporate control will push whatever sells. Remember all the popular conscious music from back in the day was on white record labels.
And >who would you rather have >articulating the concerns of the >black community on a >national level: Cash Money or >Dead Prez?
Cash Money. They have people's ears. They aren't judgemental.
Would you rather >have artists who represent a >social problem,
Cash money represents a solution. black businessmen.
>True. But my point was >this: white fans of rap >who have a hard time >accepting complex, intellectual black artists >like Com are a bigger >problem than those few who >DO listen to him.
>I understand how >his lack of acceptance among > black folks could be >troubling.
It doesn't seem to trouble him or anyone else in the conscious set.
I'm not black, >so I have a hard >time understanding the various motivations >for why they might not >be supporting him in his >neighborhood.
It's not that conscious doesn't appeal to black folks, it's just that most of the conscious artists do not make music that the majority of black folks enjoy. If com, or mos, or any of those other cats were real about spreading a message, they would hook up with Swizz beats or Mani Fresh or Timbaland. but they aren't that interested.
Even >if their self-reliance comes more >from necessity than some desire >for control, the result still >seems like a positive one.
> And perhaps it could >serve as a viable model >for hip hop artists who >want to take some control >of their music away from >white-owned labels. Certainly it >isn't far from some of >the ideals I hear Black >Star or Dead Prez talking >about in their music...
But black star and Dp's could easily be on their own labels. They are in that hard place. They don't have the machinery to promote them like a Will Smith, but they would be just as popular as Mf Doom if they want independent.
>Anyway thanks for sharing your thoughts. > Sorry if I went >on too long, but I >wanted to do justice to >the complexity of the issues.
don't sweat it. The folks who punch out a 1 or 2 sentence reply often don't add to the conversation.