Things that put Hip Hop to Sleep

Category: Music News ( written by bignotch on Sunday, October 18th, 2009 at 10:42 pm )

BET (and by extension its corporate owner)

is on a mission to not only destroy urban music, but poison the perception of Black people in the process. If we were to use this network as a guide (and people unfortunately do), we would believe that being a drug dealer, rapper, pimp  is a logical career path, alcoholic beverages can be used as bodysplash, women of exotic or indeterminate race are the standard of beauty, darker-skinned women are only valuable if they have a big ass and a tiny waist, a person's worth can only be determined by what they drive and what they wear, you ain't sh*t if you're over 30, and a week's worth of debauchery and decadence can be undone with a Sunday marathon of religious programming. It's funny because it's true.

The Radio

Back in the day (the 90's), you would turn on the radio and hear a variety of artists with a variety of sounds. But due to the "Clear Channeling" of Urban Radio, you'll hear a T-Pain song followed by 15 minutes of commercials, followed by a song featuring T-Pain, some shucking and jiving by unbearable radio personalities for five minutes, then something that resembles a T-Pain song, but isn't because just about everyone sounds like T-Pain now. And it's probably a commercial.

Spineless Club DJs

If you're going out to a club, you might as well sit in the house and blast the radio instead of paying the inflated cover charge. Once upon a time, DJs were tastemakers, but now so many of them are afraid they'll clear the floor by spinning something new that they just play album versions of songs people are tired of but are too drunk to notice. Then, they add insult to injury by showing off their "skills" with poorly-timed scratches, blends that don't line up and screaming over the music. And consider yourself lucky if you happen upon a DJ with ACTUAL! VINYL! RECORDS!

YouTube & MySpace

On the Internet, everyone is a star (thank you, thank you). But while sites like MySpace and YouTube can provide mainstream and indie musicians with a means of cultivating and connecting with an audience, it becomes a chore to sort through the muck of people with a webcam and a login classifying themselves as "artists." And damn you all to Hell for having the crap you made in Grandma's basement on auto-play.

Ringtones

"Real Music Ringtones" were created as a way to distinguish your ringing cellular from someone else's while also bringing you closer to your favorite artist. Unfortunately, the labels realized this was the only way to generate revenue and started making music for the sole purpose of selling ringtones. Now, we have stripped-down keyboard beats and grunts and "yaahhs" instead of lyrics. Is that my cellphone ringing or yours? We'll never know, because we both downloaded Soulja Boy.

Big Name Hip Hop Producers

With respect due to the beatmakers that introduce a track with the name of their production imprint, ad-lib all over it, and insert themselves as guest rappers 50% of the time, they overshadow the actual vocalist of a song. We certainly don't begrudge any of them the right to employment, but when an artist has to do an inventory of who produced her project to qualifiy it instead of telling us what the album is about, we have to take exception.   If you're trying to get customers to a purchasing your album because you have a Pharrell beat on it , then that's the only song they will buy. Your album has to have legs of its own.

$Money$

Even worse than artists releasing garbage because they know it sells is the audience's obsession with how much an artist makes. Unfortunately, we've given lack of artistry a pass because someone's "making that paper," which totally undermines the hard work of true creative talents that are constantly writing, recording, and performing. When I buy an album I don't want to hear an entrepreneur, I want to hear a musician/artist.

Internet Beef

Back in the day, you would never see internet beef. It's just stupid junior high shit. People leaving threats and talkin shit via myspace, people getting hurt over e-beef at shows, kids on message boards flexin muscle and actin hard. Great! Now that we have a bunch of killers on wax, we got a bunch of em posting in forums. Cute. You can sit in a bedroom in Mexico and talk about knockin out somebody in Finland and it will never come back to you. Hip hop bravado and the anonymity of the web…it don't get more junior high

AutoTune

Yes, this definitely did not help the already dying art form. Autotune was actually being in R&B for a long time to help people who couldn't hit extremely high or low notes. Or simply put, didn't have talent. Now it's used by just about anybody who is putting together an album. Rapper or Singer. It doesn't matter.

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