It is Labor Day ladies and gentlemen! Just like most North American holidays, no one cares why we get to be off work we’re just happy not having to get out of bed and go to work. Labor Day signals the end of the summer and preparation for autumn. Some of us partied the weekend away, some took vacations, while the rest are at home just relaxing and going to BBQs and cookouts! It’s a time for relaxation but not everyone is privy to this break in monotony. Some people still have to work. Some of us don’t have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Some of us have to maintain consistency in order to keep our audience. I still have to write this blog for you all if I still want to continue growing my organization. There are tech people who have to maintain websites. Radio personalities still have to work, Dee Jays, graffiti artists, and of course the Rappers. Working in the world of Rap music and Hip Hop does not afford you the same days off that most Americans in the U.S. enjoy. Nine times out of ten they have to work the major holidays and miss time with their families even though they are gone more than 75% of the time. For most Rappers holiday weekends are when you are working the hardest!
Think about it; Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend, Labor Day weekend, and New Year’s Eve are probably some Rappers’ busiest moments because we are off work and want to do something fun which usually has something to do with Rap music. Whether you’re going to a concert, going on vacation, or going to a club Rap music is in the equation. Since albums and other music is released on Fridays now some artists ad to make sure whatever project they planned to drop came out for Labor Day weekend so you could have something to listen too. I mean being in the industry is a 24/7 job that for most people working isn’t always worth it. So you have Black people working around the clock not for themselves but for a label, the executives of said label, and the owner of said label who is probably not a minority. These Rappers who are out here performing their lives away are glad to get that show money because record sales don’t pay what they used to pay so some artists are working for wages lower than what they’ve earned or deserved. Top tier artists like Jay Z, Kanye, and Nas are some of the very few Rappers who can pretty much break whenever they want to because they’ve been that slave already and earned their freedom in a sense. Nobody believed in Kanye West in the beginning so he had to grind it out and be slave on a label for a while. Taking orders instead of giving them.
None of these new artists have that power. Drake, Nicki, and Meek don’t have that power yet although I’d say Drake is a little closer than the lovebirds. Yes, he can make his own choices and put out product the way he wants to but look at how hard he has to work. He’s still out there grinding. Jay already put in his work so he doesn’t have to grind as hard as he used to. He can but he doesn’t. If he did we’d have a new Hov album right now. These Rappers that are “hot right now” are subjected to poor working conditions, separation from their families, and mental health issues like depression. Even though they do not get physically beaten or killed by their label owners sometimes the industry does that for them. A lot of women in Hip Hop forgo their personal life to maintain the public image or vice-versa. That is a struggle for anyone but because women are criticized more than men it definitely takes a toll on them.
While our Rappers are shucking and jiving for us making different appearances and such the label owner and executives are at home this Labor Day weekend collecting a check for doing nothing. Spending time with their families while Rappers are on the road suffering from dehydration and high blood pressure. Rap music is very similar to the slave trade but on a million dollar level. To keep the slave quiet and happy they allow them to make a few hundred thousand dollars. That’s enough for them to buy all the cars, clothes, hoes, and drugs they want because if they were given more money God forbid they do something positive with it. Labels give an artist just enough money to make them think they have made it. Just enough money for us and our children to think that an artist is rich or wealthy. Just enough so we grind harder just hoping that one day we can make it too. Happy Labor Day.