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The Sound of Music

It’s no secret that after the introduction of streaming Hip Hop and Rap music sound the same no matter where you are in the world. I might have to break a few hearts with this blog post but you all know I like to be honest in my writings and this one is no different. An artist from Canada can sound like a Houston rapper and a young NY emcee can sound like he or she is from the back streets of Atlanta. What made Hip Hop music so great in its early years was the different styles of music and how they conveyed that style into their music and the culture. West Coast was more funk oriented while the south was big on bass and the mecca of Hip Hop had that boom-bap! If someone tells you that they don’t know what the New York sound is they are lying to you and is probably in denial. New York has a sound and it can still make a comeback but the gatekeepers are so driven by monetary gains that they compromise the sound.

I miss the days of hearing Snoop Dogg rhyme over a song by The Stylistics. I miss the days of an up-tempo 808 and booming bass in my car and I certainly miss the days of jazzy boom-bap instrumentals by a Pete Rock or a DJ Premier. These legendary producers have not aged out and are still working, the problem is that people don’t look to them for beats because they just want a hit on the radio. Now correct me if I’m wrong but you shouldn’t be in a job just for the money you have to have some level of appreciation for what you do in order to get any happiness from it. Last time I checked Organized Noize, Marley Marl, RZA, and others are still in the studio making noise so why aren’t the Rappers and Emcees calling on them for a beat? These people have contributed to the shift of the culture through their instrumental contributions but because these new age Rappers only care to get that next big hit they aren’t going to call on a Young Guru or a Just Blaze. So to say that New York doesn’t have a particular sound or that boom-bap is played out is wack!

That just shows you who has how much control over their own “creativity” or “art”. Every music project an artist puts out isn’t art; especially if there’s a team of people behind one piece. A label isn’t going to spend as much as they used to on an artist so you may not get that Swizz Beat or that Q-Tip beat on your first album but as you grow in the industry you should be able to make your own decisions and one of those decisions is selecting producers for your next “piece of art”. It’s easy to get a beat from DJ Mustard, Metro Boomin, or a Mike Will but you could go the road less traveled and get a beat from a J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., or a Statik Selektah. If you want your music to standout your beats and rhymes have to stand out too. I get tired of hearing a new song and being unable to decipher whose song it is or whether or not it’s a new artist all together. New York has a sound, the West Coast has a sound, the South has a sound, & even the Midwest has a sound that’s all their own. It is our job to cultivate and groom the next generation to carry on the traditions of Hip Hop Culture and Rap music. If every region has the same sound how will the sound continue to shift culture?

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