June 11, 2014

Chuck D 'It's not Just Hot 97, Urban Radio Needs to Get It Right'

Chuck D is Ready to Destroy the Urban Radio Format

In a recent interview with Billboard, Chuck D says he wants Urban Radio to "get it right or be gone." The urban radio format can be essentially defined as music from Hip Hop/Rap/R&B artists like Jay-Z, Kanye, Drake, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Future, 2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj and Beyonce among others. The format aimed at 18-34 men and women consists of rap lyrics and themes that definitively intrigues the mind of male adolescences that are 13 years of age. Perhaps therein lies the problem within "urban radio" and the corporate Hip Hop that is promoted in the marketplace that casts off pioneers of rap such as Chuck D because he is perceived as being too old or not relevant. However the most prolific artist of the genre and this generation, Jay-Z, is not perceived as too old at 44 years of age only because he raps about a lifestyle he abandoned years ago or he brags about what he has and that 13 year old boy does not. So it really has nothing to do with age...but what adults are willing to support.

The leader of the legendary Hip Hop group Public Enemy says, "My goal by year's end is to change the face and sound of urban radio. I've been in this sh** 30 years, too long to just sit and let it be. I'm not going to be the grim reaper. I don't want to be the grim reaper. But people have to stand up and we need some change, and it's time."

The high profile event that started Chuck D's public crusade via Twitter was Hot 97's Summer Jam. He declared that Summer Jam has made Hip Hop into a sloppy fiasco. He added he was unhappy with Summer Jam, particularly over the use of the N-word and a line-up he felt did not adequately represent the New York hip-hop community was "the last straw" in a general dissatisfaction over the state of rap and radio stations that play and brand themselves with the music.

We find it interesting that the use of the N-word at Summer Jam is what sparked Chuck D's fury against the urban radio station. In a 2009 interview with Oprah, Jay-Z said on his use of the N-word, " I believe that a speaker's intention is what gives a word its power. And if we eliminate the N-word, other words would just take its place."

The way we see it, the use of the N-word is a derogatory term no matter who says it be it ending with an "-a" or "-er". Either way it's being said out of anger or in a condescending way. If you are referring to oneself as a "N***a in Paris", what does that say about oneself. Even if it's supposedly being used as a synonym for "homie" or a term of endearment as Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson has suggested in the past; then Dr. Dyson should know the next time he is greeted "What's up my n****a?" by a Black person; they are just letting him know that even with that doctorate degree he is not that much above the rest of us. (Sorry we digressed...)

"That s--- is over," he noted of using the racial slur. "If there was a festival and it was filled with anti-Semitic slurs ... or racial slurs at anyone but Black people, what do you think would happen? Why does there have to be such a double standard?"

Chuck D said what he will do is observe the situation "from afar" and continue to speak out to affect some form of change. If he doesn't see an improvement, he is fully prepared to "destroy the platform of urban radio."

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