Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grind My Gears: Musician Edition

You know what really grinds my gears?

You, Musicians/Rappers/Producers. YOU grind my gears.

The reality is this: if you are making records for 12 year old kids, don't call your self an "artist". It is illegal for Joe Camel to target age based demographics, it should be illegal for musicians/record labels to do so as well. At least the quality of music would float back up to an adult mentality, and perhaps influence some of the adults to stop acting like kids as well.
You are like breakfast cereal. You are the flood of Christmas crap commercials that flood the two minute and 2 seconds between snaps on a Sunday. Most of you have no idea why you are doing what you are doing because you are simply emulating corporate maneuvers created by record labels anxious to pillage a teen fan base and A&R's that are too scared to bring in a fresh sound in fear of losing their job.

Say what you will. But i have heard first hand from some of the most respected industry A&R's and producer managers in the game while attending a music conference that shall remain nameless: "Don't try to be different. Don't even try and be one step ahead. Try and be.. like a quarter step ahead of what's going on right now. Copy your favorite rappers. Copy your favorite producers." It was that day that i realized that the "HIP HOP" industry was just that. An industry. A large cookie cutter wearing a chain. The saddest part about all of this is that the afore mentioned philosophy has inspired some of the musicians i looked up to most in my life (national AND local) to follow the trend and amputate the part or parts of themselves that made them special. They ripped out their own artist's heart screaming "KALIMAAAAA!!!" in the hopes of selling more records or gaining more support from a demographic that really, could give 2 shits less about a rapper/musician from Milwaukee.

I implore you.

Some of you may read this and say what the fuck does this guy know. And that's fine.

But I implore you.

Do not give up on the best part of yourself. Do not give up on trying to inspire people in your own way. Do not give up on displaying what makes you different. Do not hide your vulnerabilities as a human in your art. Hell, do not give up on art.

The time will come when this breakfast cereal rap will perish. People don't want to hear this stuff forever. And then how will you reinvent yourself? Most people think that when this phase of rap dies, rap itself will die along with it. I suppose that could be true, but i know i won't ever stop wanting to hear music that means something.

Artists make things that mean something.

8 comments:

  1. there's a lot of truth behind the words of the cookie cutter industry A&R'S and producers - the truth being that if you want to make money then you have to follow the trend. it's obviously what is working and what people want to hear right now. if you want to get known faster and make the big money quicker, then you bust out your cookie cutter and manufacture the same form molding that is selling right now. if eveyone wants cookies you won't make money selling glass windows nor would you make a name for yourself either. you get your unknown ass out there and bake the best damn cookies you can and when you finally make a name for yourself, THEN you filter in your own personality through your artistry. doing so before you get known is only a guarantee that you will remain where you are now - an unknown!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Then call yourself a fuckin cookie salesmen and not an artist. Is creating the same as manufacturing?

    This is my point.

    Thanks for playing though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. creating vs manufacturing is equal to starving artist vs wacka flocka. 1 is gettin paid and the other (even though he stays true to his "craft") won't. thank you for responding though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. i mean, honestly, what is it about being called or labeling yourself (cause most times that's what it is) an artist? from what i see (and seeing is believeing in this instance) artists rarely make it big or get paid!? what is this so called social stigma with being the almighty "artist"!? "oh wow, you're an artist" so the hell what! why does your self proclamation matter if you're not well known or gettin paid!? wouldn't you rather be a somebody gettin paid than an artist? doesn't it make more sense to change the game from the inside??? how are you gonna make any kind of impact if nothing you do matter because you're an unknown!?

    btw - you can call me
    the D.A. - devils advocate.

    ReplyDelete
  5. well written..I agree with E.C and D.A. the problem however with these cookie cutter artist is they don't get to the point of.. filtering in their own personality through their artistry..they go with it and roll with it...they dont last. and my bet is with the mentality they have, their money wont either...

    you can call me MVP lol

    ReplyDelete
  6. Artists become legends. All time staples. Everyone knows John Lenon. No one will remember wacka flocka. This is the difference i speak of. Also, the stripping of the title of "artist" is actually what i am advocating here. 90% do not deserve to call themselves that. I do ALSO think that music as a whole would be much more provoking if 90% WERE worthy of that title. Some people tend to think there is more to life than getting paid for some shit. I mean you can say "at least i get paid doing what i love" but do you REALLY love writing those wack ass songs? Nah. I didn't think so. It's a job at that point like anything else.

    Also, DA i appreciate the counter point of view. And i appreciate us keeping it civil so everyone can enjoy this. Awesomeness.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with you Ed. Yeah there's a couple of those "cookie cutter" hits that I'll get into everyone once in a while, but it usually gets real old and played out, real fast. As for anonymous, I will go well well out of my way to find excellent and creative hip hop artists. Every city has there big ones and you know what, all the underground rappers I've talked to are HAPPY with where they are because while everyone wants to make money, they're happy that they can keep being creative and bring good music to the masses no matter how large or small they are.

    And contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of my friends whom are like minded. I'd much rather be a part of a small scene that makes excellent music, than part of the big scene which changes its tastes every 15 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I see DA's point, and while it's poignant it's deeply dependent on the "artist's" ultimate goal. If monetary gain is the ultimate goal, by all means, bake cookie's to your bank account's content. But if you're a musician, and genuinely trying to bring something of YOUR OWN to the history of music itself, whether on a small scale or large, it'll require you to at very least invent a new cookie.

    Nobody is out here inventing new instruments, or new time scales. So to a degree, we're ALL using the same ovens, mitts, etc. (just keeping with the metaphor...LOL).

    The individuality comes in the method behind the music; which ultimately is the measurement of it's merit...or lack of.

    Unfortunately "the industry" rewards the hundreds of Wacka Flocka's more than it rewards the seemingly "one every year or so" Corrinne Bailey Rae's. So ultimately, do you wanna POTENTIALLY get paid and ridiculed by many, or do you wanna be respected, loved and remembered by few?

    ReplyDelete