Friday, August 26, 2011

Is Urban Music Really Dying and Who’s Killing it?

Earlier this week, I watched a recent clip on YouTube where Lauryn Hill gave her thoughts on the impact of classic album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (here). 

On one hand, I was more than elated to hear ANYTHING L-Boogie herself had to say, but on the other hand, it did leave me with a bittersweet feeling which inspired my weekly rant below:

Is Urban Music Really Dying and Who’s Killing it?

I’ve narrowed it down to three major culprits:
The Producer
The Consumer
“The Man”

The Producer

In a world where everything is instant, aspiring entertainers have begun to gravitate away from investing into their crafts.  No one takes time to learn how to play instruments, no one takes time to study the founders, people consider internet spam networking and everyone wants to blow up overnight. It took Lauryn Hill almost a year to record The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and no one complained. Last year, Sade dropped her first album in ten years and straight up did it on anyone who thought they had the 2010 R&B game figured out. Why? Because artists of their caliber have no problem investing time into creating a timeless body of work.

“You can’t fathom my love to lock yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers…” Kanye West - Spaceship

Technology is an amazing thing. At this very moment, I can hear about a song on Facebook, download it on my phone, and tweet about it five minutes later. I LOVE technology because it makes things easy. I hate it for the same reason. Before the rise of Soulja Boy and the internet age of music, aspiring rappers had to really think about if music was something they wanted to pursue. You had to know someone who made beats, someone with equipment to record; some DJ’s to spin the record, and someone to distribute the finished product. This doesn’t even include the process involved with shopping demo tapes to record labels, because back then there was no such thing as going independent.   Artists had no choice to put out their best work, because their time and money was invested in it. Now, anyone with a low budget mic and access to can record a “mixtape” and upload it to in less than a day.

The market is over saturated with “artists” that don’t want to do anything that might resemble creating their own lane.  Even if I did look at all the “Check out my (insert recently leaked song) Remix” messages in my twitter mentions, which I don’t, I’d spend forever deciphering junk from the junk.  Everyone is a rapper now.  White people, black people, old people and babies. I’ve had rapping friends, rapping co-workers, rapping substitute teachers, rapping d-boys,  heck, for a brief moment, I even thought I was called to be a rapper (don’t laugh), but I understood that I didn’t have the passion and it wasn’t my calling. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t share the same mentality. 
</end rant>
Follow me on Twitter @missezturner for my rants on “The Consumer” and “The Man”