Friday, December 22, 2006

Support Your Favorite Rapper - No Matter How Old He Is

So ok you’ve noticed that I haven’t been bloggin’ much, please believe that it isn’t because I’ve had nothing to say – on the contrary, I’ve got all kinds of stuff to talk about.

My time is being taken up by home, work and research for an upcoming article. This is the first time in my career as a writer that I am having a hard time to get people to sit down and talk to me. But it’s alright, Mark Skillz is a warrior ‘No matter how hard you try you can’t stop me now…”

Check this out I found it online just the other day. I wasn’t shocked I’ve been saying stuff like that for years.

The first part of the problem is that record companies have to get behind those projects and promote them just like any other act. While it is surprising to hear that Public Enemy’s landmark classic “It Takes a Nation of Millions…” has only sold 400 copies this year and that RUN-DMC’s groundbreaking album ‘Raising Hell” only sold 100 copies, is sadly only mere evidence of the dismal state affairs in not just hip-hop but I bet in R&B as well. I wonder what sales are like for Keith Sweat, New Edition, GUY and other 80’s R&B singers.

In defense of that twenty-two year old who knows nothing about Whodini or Kurtis Blow, I can say this. When I was twenty years old I had no idea that Marvin Gaye had material before “What’s Going On?” After all, it was the first thing I had ever heard from the man, and I had no reason to believe that he had done anything before it. Shit, that stuff was made before I was born. How would I know?

Now, once I learned about ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine’, ‘Stubborn Kind of Fella’, ‘Hitchhike’ and others I took upon myself to get up on that material. You all should do the same as far as learning your hip hop history. With all of the information available online there is no reason for cats to be calling Big Daddy Kane and Rakim ‘pioneers’. That is physically and mathematically impossible. A pioneer is: One who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle. Therefore it is impossible for people like Kane, G Rap, LL or KRS to be pioneers because the trail had already been blazed many years before they started by the Funky Four, the Cold Crush, the Treacherous Three, Spoonie Gee and many others!

Some years back I went to a Fresh Fest reunion concert RUN-DMC, Whodini, Kurtis Blow and the Sugar Hill Gang were there. The amphitheatre was virtually all black when Whodini, Kurtis Blow and the Sugar Hill Gang were there, but out of nowhere the immigration floodgates opened once RUN-DMC came on. I swear I don’t know where all of those white folks came from! Most white folks back in the day weren’t hip to Whodini by the way. And oh yeah, did you know that it was Whodini who have the distinction of having the first gold rap album – even before Run and them. No shit…and look folks don’t support them today!


EyeGetzRaw said...

Wow, must have ESP or some sh*t. Eye just commented elsewhere about this very subject matter. (Although, for some reason the comment isn't there now?!?)

Eye was looking at the vid for "It All Comes Down To The Money" by Terminator X feat. Whodini and commented that it was messed up how we (Hip Hop) do our older artists. That record and another one about a year or two later called "Keep Me Runnin' Back" were solid efforts from Whodini, but got NO support!!!

They should have been back in the game based on those joints but instead they got dismissed with the dreaded "old school" tag!

It's really a damn shame.

It's funny too, because Eye used to think that Hip Hop's collective A.D.D. was a necessity for keeping the music fresh and innovative...and that may have been true 10 years ago...but now Hip Hop has become so industrialized that there's little to be found in the way of real innovation and creativity. If anything, we've gone in the opposite direction and dumbed down Hip Hop over the last decade.

When Eye scan through some of the comments posted on You Tube and other sites that host vintage Hip Hop clips, it's frightening to see just how ignorant many of these young kids are to the history of the culture.

It's a sad state of affairs, but as long as Hip Hop is continually packaged as nothing more than party music or even worse, a "ghetto" music, it will remain as Masta Ace and others have called it...

...a disposable art.


The All Mighty Mark Skillz said...

Eye as usual you hit the nail on the head. Those Whodini records should've put them all the way back in the game. At the time the whole Rap/R&B thing was real hot, but for whatever reason the record company didn't get behind the project. It's like if a record doesn't start off with strong sales in the first week they become the business equivalent of sissies in prison (They're off to suck somebody else off).

Records -especially from older acts need to be aggressively marketed so that they old audience knows their back and the young audience knows who in the hell they are!

But what I don't understand is why the tag old school is a death blow to black artists and white artists its a badge of honor. Where does that perception come from.

Look at the Beastie Boys - let's really look at them. MCA LOOKS 40 plus. They rhyme the EXACT same way they did in 1985. Production value wise nothing has changed...

Now let's look at Mele Mel.

Mel has worked hard at technically making sure his rhyme style is up to date. But it doesn't work.

Mel has worked especially hard in the gym to look good. But will it help translate into sales?

Probably not