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Turn the Radio Off or Up??

So Hip Hop has this gripe with FM.  We say “Turn off the radio” but some still chase radio play.  And some Emcees get spins which helps propel their sales, shows and fan base.  Which makes the hesitant Emcees think, ‘Well, maybe some airplay wouldn’t be too bad.’

I think there’s more than one story here.  The first is the gripe Hip Hop Artists (including myself) have with radio, we know what real Hip Hop is and when radio plays that watered down bubble gum RAP (not Hip Hop) and classifies it as Underground Hip Hop; that’s our first problem.  Don’t claim to spin Street Hip Hop when it has some R&B singer doing the hook.  Real Hip Hop would be Guru, KRS, Chino, Quasimoto, Juice, Jada, The Roots, Jeru, Crooked I, etc etc.  And when was the last time you heard those Cats on the radio – 15 times a day?  Exactly.

Now, there are some Emcees who balance on both sides of Hip Hop and radio play – maintaining their credentials.  I’d say Jay-Z, Eminem, Biggie (R.I.P.), Common.

The next thing is recognizing that radio still is important (if not necessary) to help build your career and following.  How you get on radio and navigate through those waters, is another subject and discussion for another time.  A lot of politics with that but, we can talk about ‘how to’ get on radio.  I think a lot of Cats don’t look at every avenue, they’re only thinking of the one or two local stations they hear everyday.  There’s a lot more throughout the Country and the world.

Here’s some food for thought (and yes, this is digging into my bag of ‘resources’) – think about college radio, independent radio, online stations, blogs, website music reviews, THEN you can build your way up to the big FM stations.  The other thing to remember, even some college radio pays royalties so you’re still entitled to publishing from that.  And the stations that may not pay publishing, you’re still getting exposure which is one of many steps down this long road of the music industry.

OK, I’m done.  Now it’s your turn.  Post a comment below or leave a reply on facebook

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  • DJInnalect on

    I’d say turn it off if you’re trying to hear music with some depth to it. Because for the most part (maybe not so much with Common, since mainstream radio isn’t too quick to play one of his songs), I feel like dudes like Biggie and Jay-Z are only able to kick some knowledge on a mainstream level by either hiding their message in materialism or dumbing down their style. It’s just that they do it so smoothly that they naturally fit in with either the underground or mainstream crowds. But there’s waaaaay more good music on the underground compared to what “top 40” stations have to offer. The only exception I would make is for college and independent radio stations. Unfortunately, there aren’t any all day every day Hip-Hop stations on the independent/college level (at least not that I know of). If you want meaningful music though, turn off the radio. Maybe invest in a record player and start collecting wax, there’s some good shit out there if you dig. But if you’re down with advertisements being bashed into you’re brain constantly in a “hip-hop” fashion, turn it up.


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