December 11, 2009

Los Angeles Hip Hop Community Protest at Power 106

A protest? What is this? West Coast Hip Hop want their civil rights!

When do they want it? "NOW!"


What's next? Bus boycotts?...In all seriousness, rappers organizing against radio. That's such a twist. Despite all the noise and grind of putting music out "in the streets" and having it bangin' in da clubs, there still seems to be a need for today's hip hoppers to turn to corporate radio to get recognition. They can't "eat" without radio; is what they are saying.

Snoop makes some good points about the state of Hip Hop (see video) in areas outside of the South. There's such a disconnect between what's so-called "hot in the streets" and what's played on the radio on the East coast as well as the West coast. You don't hear local artist on the radio. Maybe on the weekend late night mix show. But you sure enough will hear rappers from the South all over the radio in places like Atlanta and Houston. Turn on the radio in New York or LA and you'll hear the same. "Why is that?" is what they're saying.

For the rest of the country, long gone are the days when listeners tuned into the radio hear the hottest songs. Radio listening for great music content is an after thought now. As long as a song doesn't make people want to turn off the radio then it's OK to play. The WOW factor has been replaced by the do not offend factor. There's a phrase that says familiarity breeds contempt. Well radio is not going to risk losing listeners on playing a record from an artist nobody has ever heard of beore. Radio breaking records and generating record sales is a thing of the past. It's just not done that way. At least not on a grand scale anymore. Many people have contempt for their radio.

So botton line is this: If radio invested in their talent and allowed them (DJ's, on-air host, whatever you want to call them) to do what they do, then listeners would come back to the radio to hear a personality, not just music. Those host would in turn drop in those local artist into the music rotation of their show. The star in radio is the person that cracks the mic, not the music that's being played. Some how corporate radio got it twisted. (Well they understand this and they have now grabbed control.) And for a whole generation of radio listeners, they know no better.

Maybe Cornel West is right (yeah, you know that religion professor from Princeton University talking with Nas); Hip Hop might have to die in order to be reborn. "Where there is no death, there is no rebirth." See video at 3:19 Same could apply to Black radio too.

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