As a podcaster I live in an alternate universe from all that is terrestrial radio.
In fact, here at Boom Bap Radio, because we play songs that are outside of the corporate machine, we miss the entire experience.
We really could care less about today’s Rap stars, instead opting to aggrandize the many, many dope emcees of the past. So, no Nicki Minaj or Drake will flow from our feeds on Live365.com; PodOmatic.com or iTunes.
But sometimes you’ve gotta get your hands dirty.
The best reminder of our policy was the flap early this month over Hot 97’s Summer Jam and the reneged performance of Minaj, who is like the queen of Hip-Hop to all of the teeny boppers and youngsters of the tight jean, colorful hair sect.
Minaj, was pulled from the performance after HNIC Lil Wayne, president of Young Money crew, was vexed by pre-concert comments about the Black Barbie’s latest song.
The move to pull Minaj, which was at least unprofessional, took away the concert’s headliner on the strength of a throwaway comment and tweet.
However, on its face, the supposed diss, was nothing more than a bit of “truthiness” bubbling up from the usually placid veneer of formatted “Hip-Hop” played on Hot 97.
Young Money was evidently offended when morning Talk show DJ Peter Rosenberg announced during the show that the colorful Minaj’s hit – “Starships,” was not authentic Hip-Hop.
The comment got Lil Weezy so hot he pulled Young Money acts and Cash Money acts from the June 3rd show.
For those of us who miss authentic Hip-Hop, Rosenberg’s comments was music to our ears – we felt vindicated.
Despite the partyline – even those playing this Cat-in-a-Hat stuff on the daily know it’s whack!
Meanwhile, back at the respective ranches of big money, terrestrial radio, the abandonment by Minaj during Hot 97’s biggest event of the year sent noticeable ripples through the Hip-Hop community.
Funkmaster Flex was talking about ruining careers, Nicki Minaj’s boyfriend was talking about beating up Rosenberg, Charlamagne Tha God joined the fray by making fun of the lack of confrontation provided by Flex when he actually interviewed Minaj and suddenly I was reminded why I happily listen to my iPod instead of the radio each morning.
All the juvenile antics, bickering and sometimes violence that seems to be part and parcel with radio in the country’s biggest market is just immature and annoying. If I want to hear threats and bickering – I’ll just spend some time at the daycare with my kid. At least at the end of the day, the kids still play in the sandbox.
However, what’s disturbing about this whole episode is the corporate monopoly undertones of each action and reaction as well as the dearth of Hip-Hop talent being played on the radio.
In the old days, there was so much Hip-Hop that the airways couldn’t support all of the various styles. In New York, the radio still stunk and kept to its 20-song format, but at least you could run out and buy music or hear some new stuff via a vibrant underground movement.
Nowadays, corporate America has tricked the industry and its fans into believing that less is more and that reality is evident in scaled down number of artists and the convenient trumpeting of its current stable of stars, who as we learned are about a deep as a puddle.
Because there are few stars, a powerbroker like Lil Wayne can pull his acts and actually impact a planned event – afterall – who else are they going to get to perform?
In the case of Summer Jam – they were blessed to hold the event at the MetLife Stadium just outside of the birthplace of the culture. They were able to dial up a legend like Lauryn Hill to pinch hit and of course knock it out of the park.
As for the state of current Hip-Hop, it’s as contrived as the banter that followed the incident. I would like to see it as a war of words from two influential and important stations, but that’s fantasy. It’s like the guys at corporate looked at their calendars and said: “Hey, isn’t it time to fabricate a beef between our stations?”
We all know Hot 97 and Power 105 have history.
There’s the shoot -out involving Lil Kim back in 2001 that landed her in jail on perjury charges and of course the threats among DJ Envy and Star and Buckwild in 2006 that led to the end of a popular morning show and more police involvement.
While that was whack too it’s not like today’s “battle,” which is more like the movie with Hugh Jackman where robots engaged in battle controlled by a glorified puppeteer with a joystick.
Let’s face it – honesty is still the best policy and honestly – we know Nicki can rhyme, but what’s her motivation to do so in a minimalist Hip-Hop game that seems to thrive on doing the least possible by way of emceeing and getting the maximum gain of millions of dollars.
So here’s to Beef – the 2012 edition.
It may grab you a few headlines for a few days, but like these megashows that used to set the whole summer on fire, these less than impactful shows now only front as Hip-Hop and feature all the same artists who collectively have about the impact of Lil Wayne trying to get into an NBA playoff game.
It’s not about the culture these days – it’s about corporate greed.
So in the words of DMX: “F ‘em, F ‘em!”
I couldn’t agree with you more.