Art! Some say it is subjective as it is deemed good or bad through public opinion or a majority point of view. Some entertainers think of themselves as “artists” including Rappers, Dee Jays, Graffiti writers, and Breakdancers. An artist is defined as someone skilled at a particular occupation or task. As some of us know some Rappers aren’t skilled in the one task that they are being paid to do. Who is paying for subpar raps? Who is paying for a beginner’s graffiti mural? Wasn’t DJ Clue a “professional?” In the beginning Hip Hop was a subjective art that required a cosign from an OG or someone that people in the Hip Hop community respected because of the work they put in. However today rapper is getting put on with a lite buzz and next thing you know we’re paying top dollar for bottom shelf talent.
The price tag placed on the “art” is not determined by the “artist” or the rapper. The cost of your favorite song won’t go down once compact discs are no longer readily available. Although the price of music hasn’t been inflated the introduction of streaming services may lead you to think otherwise. Graffiti; although it is the most outlawed of the Hip Hop elements it is a “traditional” art form that utilizes paint as the medium making it more acceptable to the mainstream. A painting or a mural is easy to put a price tag on because the buyer is going to give it a clear yes or no. There are certain metrics used by major companies that determine whether or not it’d be beneficial for their company to work with any Rapper. RZA knew the worth in a WuTang album when the group released Once Upon A Time in Shaolin. That album sold for $1 million, who else is doing that? Pharrell is releasing a song that will be heard only 100 years from now!
The moniker DJ has been misused and abused but those of us in the Hip Hop community know what it means to be a true dee jay and to master the task of dee jaying. The labels want consumers to give them our hard earned money when they can’t even give us our money’s worth. No matter what you’ve been told in the past art is not subjective. The majority isn’t always right for some folks go along with the majority for fear of having a differing opinion. Music is free and it isn’t but until we decide not to pay for apprentice bars we’ll keep getting novice rhymes from newcomers.
“He walked right past in the hallway. Three months later, I’m his artist.” –Drake (Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2)