Back when it meant something, I really did have aspirations of rapping for my food, for life. Funny thing, though; it was so hard to get professional recognition as a rapper, in those days, that it seemed like a goal worth shooting at, if that makes sense. Anybody couldn’t just compose beats & raps & have the whole city, or state, bumping to their music. You had to give the label a reason to invest in your vision, more or less. You needed legitimate talent or a righteous gimmick to be a somebody, & a record deal (for what it was) meant that you were respected as a rapper. In real life. It was the Hip Hop Holy Grail, that if found, meant popularity & success for both main attraction & baggage handler, alike. Everybody who was rapping, back then, was rapping to get a record deal.
I’d venture to say that the deconstruction of the recording house as an institution, & subsequently, the importance of a record deal, are 2 huge reasons the quality of music lapsed, also. As long as there’s no
real goal(s) to meet but a self-imposed amount of Youtube hits & Twitter retweets, there’s no proverbial finish line. Without a finish line, is it a race or a waste of time?
The revised, generation-now formula for rap “supremacy” is easy. Build the hype long before the rapper even spits the requisite “hot 16″ on the boss’ album. Take Nicki Minaj, for example. Not that I cared to hear her music, nor was I particularly anxious to indulge in her vagina monologue (yes, hetero), but it took awhile for that ‘Pink Friday‘
or whatever the hell it’s called to drop. In the duration of waiting, though, she easily became more popular than your favorite rapper, all without doing a whole lotta rapping. Coincidentally, or not, she even found herself in the middle of beef just in time for her rap records to hit shelves. What’s the difference between her & Speidi, for that matter? It’s not about the music anymore, simply put. There’s no denying nor changing that. It’s about being a celebrity, first & foremost.
People compared the rap game to rasslin’ for years, but I think it’s more like boxing, because while I believe that the participants are serious in intention, it’s still really all about the show. If you smell my cologne.
If you really want to be a rapper, your talent/skill is your #2 quality. Fact. Personality & the bullshit factor is what will pave your path. People like Waka Flocka Flame & Gucci Mane get television deals – & all the financial gain that entails – while starving artists continue to starve. In a perfect world, that wouldn’t be fair, but in reality, it makes total sense, & if you’re not prepared to go all out for fame, then you’re probably not going to go far. That means the blue collar artist gets kicked in the oblongs, while the accidental success story keeps getting more successful.
There was a tweet on my timeline, the other day, warning up & coming rapsters that there’s no more monies in the rap game, so if it’s not about the love then don’t waste your time. Looks like I was smart to quit while I was ahead. (Too easy.)