This is a question that has been eating away at me for a while now. Yet the question is not as straight forward as it might suggest. There was a time when Hip Hops standard bearers were also at its forefront. When the most skillful and charismatic MC’s in the game were the major players. When any new artists wanting to join those at the top had to be something special.
So why do we now find ourselves in a situation where -a handful of MC’s apart- commercially our most talented exponents of our genre are nowhere near commercial viability? I can reel off obvious examples (Little Brother, Cunninlynguists, People Under The Stairs, Murs, Atmosphere, The Roots, etc.) of artists that based on their material alone, should have pride of place on a lot more Ipods than current statistics suggest. Somewhere in the last few years (after a gritty extended battle), quality of expression gave way to monetary satisfaction. The problem now though, is that the latest generation of Hip Hop fans came up with this problem being ‘the norm’ to them. They think that this is as good as it gets.
Then we have the media spotlight bringing sweat inducing attention to any negative headline that comes its way. Mainstream radio, the last bastion of quality Hip Hop, has long since ceased to be just that. It is now content with gossip mongering and pay for play deals. The internet is the last avenue with which the great and the good can set the record straight; The advantage being that the numbers are there to be shown the way. Every day I hear a reason that might convince some to abandon Hip Hop altogether, then a car drives past or someone’s headphones come to within hearing distance giving evidence to the contrary.
There was a time when Hip Hop spoke defiantly to a person’s aspirations. When a top MC was revered throughout the industry for their skills, rather than their bank balance. When an MC wasn’t refused a platform for a liver show due to the possibility of lives being lost. This is no overnight fix, but who can start the process of saving Hip Hop in the eyes of those looking in from the outside? Who can convince them that Hip Hop is more than they think? With The Find we want to make the start: hopefully everyone else will follow. Hopefully those who are looking in from the outside will soon realize that Hip Hop is beautiful like love.
Words by: Craig
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