Can you imagine how far more advanced we’d be if jobs in this music industry were given to those who possess genuine and raw passion for music? I can imagine something like that but the truth is not all positions in the music industry are filled by actual musicians or by people of any musical background. I sit back and experience this industry, from my point of view, realizing its at a state that demands immediate change. I say this because there is an issue with labels not respecting artists and by artists I mean rappers, producers, writers and even back up vocalists. Labels are run by money-driven people who don’t necessarily care about the authenticity of the every artist they sign. Back in our parents days you had to either have an out of this world vocal range or be a multi-instrumentalist to get a glance from labels.
Nowadays they scout for candidates with the biggest social media presences to capitalize off of such as Bhad Bhabie, and Boonk, who inked a deal after acting up in public and expressing no type of musical talent whatsoever. It seems like a recurrence of social media personalities inking deals and I’m assuming it has to do with there already being a platform to build on; which is unfortunate to those who have genuine talent but no resources to build their brand or how to market themselves, without negative attention. It seems as the goal is not to provide us with quality music but instead to keep the audience stuck in this pattern which has overwhelmed us with repetitive garbage. By now the consensus is already used to this shift in the standards of mainstream music. As creatives we must fight back, stay independent and in control of our work.
Another factor is, some artists and platforms – apparently Joey Bada$$ isn’t very pleased with how rap is at the moment as he referred to it being in a “trash state,,” yet he is co-writing Billboard charting “rap”. We also have platforms like Billboard who publish articles about a lack of female producers; clearly for attention because if they did their research they’d come across many. Recently the Grammy’s took their prestigious platform to dismiss the impact certain artists had in 2017 by giving the award for “Best New Artist” to the less deserved Alessia Cara. While Alessia Cara’s featured song with Logic (1-800-273-8255) charted at #3 on US Billboard Hot 100, Khalid, SZA and Lil Uzi Vert all dropped Billboard charting and certified Gold albums in 2017 meanwhile Alessia Cara got her Grammy win off features and songs from 2016. The problem may be the industry but it’s also a problem that those within it are not actively trying to do their part in fixing. That’s why it’s up to the independent minds to break the mold.
Publications need to stop publishing stories, music, and projects by talentless “artists” who don’t understand the art of hip hop and stop giving attention to those who don’t really deserve it. In exchange, we should create a space for those who deserve their spot and a chance to give us their all without stressing if it’ll matter to us. At the end of the day, talent is not being acknowledged by the masses. As an industry they have instilled insecurities in those who really have what it takes. Those as a platform who seek to be a part of the change and have a care for the culture of hip-hop need to take time to listen to submissions and curate projects, in order to expand the audience of those they write about and believe in. Bluntiq and myself have been showcasing new raw talent with not only interviews and reviews but also a yearly beat tape series to put people onto new unsigned producers. In the end it’s a team effort and all who cares about the future of the music industry needs to play their part.
No one should take away the confidence an artist feels in their work, not even the audience who isn’t prepared to receive it. We have to do our part to break people away from the conditions of this music industry. How is it fair to give your all as a creative to an industry—to then be critiqued by talentless individuals—who don’t understand the difference between genuine talent and an act. In the end the real will always remain; so, where do you stand?