Rap Coalition

A HOW-TO RESOURCE FOR RAP ARTISTS, PRODUCERS, & DJs. Since knowledge is power, here is your best defense to succeed in the urban music industry...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH… "Can Rap Regain Its Crown?" That's how USA Today addressed the Imus/Oprah backlash, with a June 17th weekend edition cover story that predictably declared rap to be not only morally and artistically bankrupt, but also to blame for the woes of the record industry.

The lead paragraph was just plain wrong. It declared that since The Eminem Show sold 7.6 million copies, " no rap album has sold so well." OutKast's Speakerboxx/The Love Below sold 11 million copies in 2003-2004. What's more, 20 out of 2006's top 50 albums, all selling platinum or better, feature hip hop production and use rappers throughout.

The article argues that rap is currently being outshown by country and metal. But 40 of today's Top 200 acts are either straight up rap acts or have strong hip hop identities. Of the 2006 platinum albums, yes, only seven would be called straight rap, but twice that number are hip-hop influenced and only nine could be called country at all and only three could be called metal.

After this shifty numbers game, USA Today brings in industry representatives, along with the other usual suspects, to blame rap's commercialism, misogyny, violence and racism for its supposed weak sales.

Commercialism? Virtually every genre of music has well-known artists selling beer and SUV's, yet USA Today singles out Snoop and 50 Cent for selling out with sneakers and bottled water. USA Today itself regularly carries ads for such products.

Is today's hip hop misogynist? It features 9 front women in its Top 20 while the modern rock chart, for instance, features none, not even Avril and Pink. Of the 14 female acts in the Top 40, 10 come from a hip hop background, but USA Today dismisses someone like Fergie as "quasi-hip hop" despite the fact that everyone knows her as the woman from the Black-Eyed Peas. At mid-summer, the Rihanna song with Jay-Z sat at the top of more charts than any other record.

It's almost laughable to read that metal and country are doing better than rap because it's too violent. This decade's rap has not been nearly as violent as rap in the 90s and that's obvious to anyone who actually listens. And metal and country have never been known for their non-violence. Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts--loved to death for its explosive revenge fantasies—has been at or near the top of the country and pop charts for nearly two years.

Finally, the article argues that there's not enough variety in the music, a favorite fallback of anyone who doesn't really know what they're hearing. As we go to print, the Top 10 rap albums are by three Atlanta MCs (one self-proclaimed King of the South who gets away with his moniker for a uniquely authoritative flow, another a manic preacher with Haitian roots and the third a Macon, Georgia boy all about gravelly deliberation), some crunkers out of Atlanta mocking the double standard of rock versus rap, a Palestinian out of Miami who promises to take over, multi-platinum rappers out of Cleveland whose bestselling current single features another multi-platinum St. Louis guy raised up in Senegal, a Brooklyn rapper all over the radio right now for splitting a pro-woman single with Ne-Yo, a New Orleans-born/Bermuda bred dancehall act, a face-painting white rap duo from Detroit and a Baton Rouge kid with a brand new dance. None of them sound alike.

Like the rest of the music industry, rap's going through a transition. But it's not because the art lacks value. Nowhere else do we get so many defiant women's voices, nowhere else do we get so much celebration of lower income men and women, nowhere else is the power of unity so obvious. Rap is racist? All over the radio, Shreveport's Hurricane shouts out "a bay bay" to "white folks, gangstas and them thugs." Where else is that party going down?—D.A.



Blogger rhymenman said...

my name is ..rhymen man..i have just been released from prison..i did 5 years..im ambitious about this rap thing..my web page is ..www.myspace.com/rhymen man..give constructive critisim and keep it real about my music please..no sugar coating...i made the beats also..and got beats to go..i write also

3:05 PM  

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