observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Up All Night

This Nas album has had my head spinning all weekend.
I have been thinking about statements made by Hov on Funkmaster Flex in the midst of the Jim Jones attack, Wayne’s comments, as well as Jeezy’s.

The issues this album is putting on the table are of the highest importance.
We must protect Hip-Hop.
Protect it from those who mean it harm and from those who are unwittingly damaging it.

When asked about Jones, Jay asked the simple question. “Who is Jim Jones”, and in essence ‘why do I have to answer to him.’ What has he [Jones] done to earn the right question me and my motives?
I thought the same thing when Wayne attacked Jay. Why should I listen to Wayne’s attacks? Not sarcastically, but seriously shouldn’t we make sure the people hurling accusations and making these proclamations are fundamentally qualified to do so.

Back to the Flex interview, Jay told Flex that we needed a Hip-Hop Board that would keep people like Jim Jones from attacking him. Obviously a self serving suggestion but one whose underlying idea I agree with.

People are running around claiming Hip-Hop and no one questions them. The term is thrown around unchecked. And although I am against censorship or cultural elitism there must be some system of checks and balances. Because without it Hip-Hop will become so diluted and exploited it will lose its power.

I look at it from a marketing standpoint. Hip-Hop is a brand. You must control your brand. You can’t have an open door policy with no policing. That is a recipe for disaster. The trick is to make users feel like producers while excluding interlopers and enemies. That does not exist in Hip-Hop. So you have people with no appreciation or knowledge of the culture’s history talking out of their ass. Spreading misinformation and discontent.

I am not saying you can’t speak your mind but if you are an MC who does not know about NWA, RUN DMC, KRS ONE or Too $hort I am simply not going to take you seriously. Just as I would not take advice from a tax lawyer who has not studied the new tax code. Or fill a prescription from an unlicensed pediatrician. The same way I only let CPA handle my books. There must be some way I can make sure you are qualified to practice and speak on your craft. The qualified have no reason to worry. The blowhards and posers should worry.

I need to make sure I am not giving too much credit to an MC who has no respect for A Tribe Called Quest. Make sure I am not going into business with a bunch of interns turned label owners who have never seen a P& L. Make sure the writer whose review I am reading is not the punk guy at AMG who got assigned to Hip-Hop because of budget cuts.

Which brings me back to the Wayne comments. He made those comments and his supporters never submitted any supporting evidence. His detractors never asked for it. We went immediately into a juvenile ‘he said/she said’ discussion. On some level we, as a community, should have chimed in on whether there were grounds for Wayne’s comments. And if so, what were they? Then moved to counterpoint from Jay.

Jeezy said Nas is not from the streets.
How did he arrive at that conclusion? Based on what facts?
We have to make people think before they talk. Because if we don’t the uninformed will be lead down the wrong path. Jeezy’s statement is a classic example. An 18 year old whose first introduction to Nas was Nas Escobar may agree with Jeezy. They may have no idea about Nas’s years in Queensbridge. And if Jeezy is spreading that misinformation, with the platform he has, that is a big problem. Someone has to check him.

The Hip-Hop Board


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wes, I agree with your points 100%, but I think it's too late. Capitalism has hip hop in a chokehold. We didn't protect it from jump. The problem is that we were too focused on making our culture relevant to, and accepted by the masses. This may sound crazy, but the begining of the end was when Hot 97 became a 24-7 hip hop station.

December 18, 2006 1:29 PM

Blogger Swifty said...

Hot 97?
please go on...

December 18, 2006 1:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hip Hop became too accessible. That opened up the flood gates for the commercialiation of the music. That's when corporate america began to look at the music as a viable force to sell products with. Prior to the shift in radio, you had late night a weekends for hip hop. You had to the search out hip hop, and this is when it was at it's purist. You got your new hip hop in the mixshow format!!Once it went 24-7, it was only a matter of time before it would be tampered with. Do you feel what I'm getting at, or do you think this is reach? Look at BET and MTV...

December 18, 2006 3:21 PM

Blogger Swifty said...

didn't we gain anything by that expansion?

December 19, 2006 11:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We gained monetarily, but lost some of the pureness in the process. I think the expansion also sparked the rise in the independent movement, which sparked another level of creativity, and introduced us a new group of artists. I guess the question you may be asking is, are we better off now, than before? I don't know. A lot was gained, but a lot was also lost.

By the way, what's good with Asheru and Blue Black. You still work with those dudes?

December 19, 2006 11:34 AM

Blogger Swifty said...


Those brothers are still down in DC. Label wise things are on ice so I haven't been working with them. I know they have been working on some things here and there.

December 19, 2006 11:44 AM


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