Thanksgiving Day has become a distorted fairy tale of brotherly love/national fiscal holiday. But buried somewhere in that muck & mire is the ideology that Thanksgiving is a holiday for family, friends, & appreciation. Since I dismissed any pilgrim &
indian Native American hokey long ago, it’s all about being grateful for whom & what I have in my life now. (& eating, too, but I don’t eat everybody’s food so we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.)
As much as they’d deny it (for fear of lowering their street credit score), rappers celebrate Thanksgiving, too. Why not? I imagine that their list of things they appreciate is a tad bit different than the average civilian’s, but here are 5 things today’s rapper should be thankful for on Thursday.
5. The Collapse Of The Record Industry
Back when music was something you could physically touch, record labels hired people to travel the world in search of fresh, new acts. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what they did.
Similar to an athletic scout, the person’s job was to hunt down, capture, & secure the hottest thing at that moment (what/who/wherever it may have been). If you didn’t possess the ability or God-given talent to successfully pull off your parlor trick of choice, you were ignored, left “undiscovered,” & forced to rethink your future endeavors. Once that job was eliminated (thanks to the ‘net’s viral appetite), though, artists gained the freedom to release whatever “music” they saw fit to create. & if I’ve learned one thing from the world wide web (aside from mobile porn literally being the best thing ever invented) it’s that somebody online will always like what you do. No matter how unnecessary it may be. For example, this year alone, the surge of new rappers has been downright astounding. There’s a reason for that…
Soliciting online cash for one’s raps is the new loitering on private property & selling goods (CD’s) without a license.
Thanks to sites like iTunes & Paypal, a rap cat can produce his music, put it online, & hit the social networks with a hand out & a song in his heart, without ever leaving the comfort of his
mom’s basement “studio.” Gone are the days when one had to approach & convince strangers that his album is better than the guy’s down the street (who’s doing the same thing). Not only does this cut down on the number of uncomfortable moments between the rapper & possible customers, but costs are sliced once physical production is eliminated. That’s more money in your skinny jeans pocket or murse billfold for fitted hats & superweed, two accessories every rapper needs. I can’t guarantee this method will generate enough monies to buy that platinum hovercraft you have your eye on, but earning food, bills, & child support dough should be a breeze.
3. 50 Cent
50 Cent took the art of the MC/DJ battle, sprinkled it with “real nigga shit,” added a spritz of hustle, & the outcome was “Beef.” Hip Hop “Beef” is the professional rapper’s proverbial middle passage, separating the generic from the familiar.
Rappers, DJ’s, & breakdancers once used battling as a means of establishing one crew’s superiority over another. These were generally non-violent exchanges of skill that ended with the victor standing honorably in triumph. “Beefing” on the other hand, which is when rappers have public conflicts & tribal feuds, has taken the place of breakdancing, & has unofficially become more important than the DJ. Thanks to “beef,” a lot of crappy rap has wormed it’s way into our audible friend zones. Said “beef” may also be an indirect cause for the shortage of reliable weed carriers, but that’s for another day.
The recipe is simple: find a rapper to respond to any foolishness you throw his way, then wing it until you become famous in real life. Repeat as desired.
When was the last time you received a promotional ______ for a new rapper or song, in person, for free? Those types of street teams & campaigns don’t exist much in the real world anymore. Such characters now occupy office chairs or smartphones & run the digital streets of the internets. Still promoting, but unintentionally doing so.
This new strand of promoter is “The Hater.” It’s the same individual that rappers so openly defy & dismissively highlight on every other song. The Hater hits websites intent on discouraging fans & critiquing every move made, but in the process he inadvertently gets all parties involved to “talk” about you. People get paid lots of money to do what they do of their own volition, daily, for free. & don’t let the smooth taste fool you; anyone who doesn’t believe that all publicity is good publicity clearly does not understand what it means to want to be famous.
1. The Internet
Seriously, name 5 rappers you would not have ever known about if it weren’t for “Satan.” Back when developing a long range fan base meant extra foot work & having good material, it would take a notable rapper months & numerous opportunities to broaden his/her horizons. Nowadays, one upload gets your face & name into as many homes as the law allows.
While this has totally centralized rap music as a whole, it offers maximum exposure with minimum effort. That’s what the Hip Hop lifestyle is all about, no? With the right publicity stunt & internet exposure, a window of opportunity can become a door of actuality. (& remember; knowledge is key.) We see it happen often, so much so that now, if you’re not known on the ‘Net, you’re a nobody. It was the total opposite just a decade ago.
This is a great time to be a hungry, young rapper with nothing to worry about but getting “put on.” Worst case scenario, you can just put yourself on (like that dude in “Hannibal”).