While I love hip-hop and listen to it daily, sometimes it’s hard to feel content towards something that’s systemically not setup for longevity. How come the industry build careers that don’t last? © Mos Def Because so much of the music lends itself to what’s trendy what exactly is the live cycle of an emcee or this music? We all grow up at some point and the music we enjoy should somewhat reflect that right? I don’t say that because I’m against the music being young. There’s room for it all. This music has been around for 30 years now. People grow up and while other genres are allowed have longevity and thrive with an adult audience where’s does hip hop fit into that equation? It doesn’t seem to in my opinion. I’m fearful of the day some kid will say; “you’re still listening to Talib Kweli & Mos Def that shit is old?” We can laugh but is that statement really that far-fetched from happening?
While Rock, N Roll, Jazz, Country and other genres of music clearly have younger and older audiences they cater to, hip-hop is stuck in this 14-25 mentality. In fact, 70% of all hip-hop music is bought by white teenagers age 18-34. My worry isn’t who’s buying it, but rather how the music is being presented. Hip-hop is marketed as here today but gone really soon product. There is no equal representation on radio, television and other media. For me, hip-hop is the equivalent of Peter Pan in terms of how it’s marketed. All I get out of 90% hip-hop videos is product placement, attractive video hoe, and a dope beat. The visual medium is powerful one and that’s the best we can offer? Hip-hop affects pop culture like nothing else. Everything from clothing, commercials, visual art, television, food, drink, even language all have connection to it. But the grand prize the average consumer can hope take away or attain is a fancy car with rims, jewelry and some chick that resembles the video hoe? Where does reality fit into into that equation? Again it doesn’t.
The lifestyle is the fantasy and the music that does reflect reality is rarely given equal light. There’s no balance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need videos about an emcee with a mortgage and a minivan he just bought. But, the product is presented in a very limited fashion. It’s tunnel vision and the corporates strive to keep it that way because its profitable. Capitalize on the material aspects of this music and ensure it has no longevity. So the average consumer of hip-hop grows up, sees that what is being offered and outgrows it naturally on some level. What’s the alternative Sirius XM Radio ? Do they have conscious hip-hop station? It’s absurd to me that we can’t have media that covers all types of hip-hop. If pop music has an adult contemporary sub-genre marketed to an adult audience, hip-hop should have something similar. There are so many sub-genres within this genre already. There has to be more social commentary and substance within the music presented in an actual platform that reaches the masses. If not, longevity is a passing hope. I’m none too excited to see my favourite emcee land on VH1′s The Surreal World. If thats the retirement plan we have problems.