Everyone within the Hip Hop community is well aware of the Hot 97/Young Money/Cash Money fiasco that occurred at Summer Jam as well as the radio interviews that followed on both Power 105 & Hot 97 the next day. Blogs, websites, and the twitter-world all chimed in with thoughts about who was right and who was wrong, when public opinion never truly mattered at the end. The only thing that mattered was the fact that we all tweeted, spoke about, or engaged in debate, giving corporations the data they needed to discover their target audience.
Hip Hop is officially a slave culture. Too protective of corporate interest to the point where no one realized that the sales department on both radio stations were the true winners of the Hot 97 Summer Jam/Nicki Minaj/Peter Rosenberg fiasco. This made for good radio while the Hip Hop community played the “live-studio-audience” for the “soap opera” that had an all-star cast for a line up with Flex and both Morning Shows as the supporting cast. Because of the Hip Hop audience current interest in drama and suspense over talent and music, radio insured their advertisers that the controversy would be a great opportunity to boost listenership for increased market share.
Anyone with experience in the music business knew exactly how this all would play out eventually. Nicki will end up doing a free concert to show sincerity to fans where advertisers can double up on their market share from advertising on the evening and morning show slots. Nicki can have problems with “Hot 97” all she wants, but she does not have a problem with Emmis. Due to Nicki being a Universal Music Group artist, when Flex interviewed her, he wasn’t minding his manners to the Nicki in particular, he bowed down to the corporate interest of Universal Music Group, a equally if not more powerful conglomerate to Emmis. Nicki wasn’t going to go overboard with dissing morning show host Peter Rosenberg, the Hot 97 On Air personality who drew “First Blood” on her in the name of Hip Hop, due to his close ties with his religious community. Radio had no intentions of resolving the issue immediately, their intentions was to extend the interest with interviews and responses, and later counter-responses from the station “across the street”, in effort to draw in the soap opera lovers of music drama to listen in.
Recognize that the new Hip Hop fan base is the corporation who invest money into advertising at radio, PERIOD, since “street money marketed to rap” is being taken down by the feds. This week alone, both Kareem “Biggs” Burke and Jimmy Henchman have been taken down by prosecutors looking to increase their own political and law firm status. The only money being invested into rap is corporate money. Hip Hop has been turned into a business that fed a lot of people in urban communities, who would have probably populated the jail system, had it not been for the culture's vast marketing potential to the America that elected it’s first African American president. Once the Reagan era was over and cocaine drug raids were to a minimal in urban communities, the TNT task force reinvented themselves as the Hip Hop police and started investigating it’s underworld. Some Hip Hop was financed from "street" money, due to the fact that there are no inheritances or money being passed down from ancestors past to start a new business to uplift the culture. Politicians must fear the legalization of drugs as it relates to Hip Hop culture; possibly due to the number of millionaires Hip Hop has the potential to produce once the money made from it is financing a legit business. The last time corporations were made from illegal marketing money was when Prohibition was abolished on December 5, 1933. The most audacious example of this comes from the current Budweiser beer commercials that air unapologetically on television today. The commercial shows a set that seems to have taken place in the 1930s where a man screams that “Prohibition is Over” to the delight of a crowd that seems to have been anticipating the news. The audacity comes in at the end of the commercial where a stamp displayed on your television screen that reads “Been Brewing Since 1876”. In hindsight, this company, which is one of the most recognizable logos in the world, has been brewing since 1876 yet Prohibition was over in 1933. What would you call a man brewing Budweiser on December 4, 1933? Wouldn’t you call him the same thing you called cats hanging on the corner in front of a bodega? Do you think Freeway Ricky Ross can have a commercial aired on television on his behalf 100 years from now?
I bring the Budweiser case study up to this conversation say this: Hip Hop has bowed down to corporate interest to the point the "act of bowing down" is the standard of what is entertainment within the culture, The lack of dollars funded within the culture regulates whether you can have an opinion or the approval to express it. Lil Wayne can remove his artist from Summer Jam as long as “the corporation” the alternative will make for better radio the next day and a make up show in the future. The fan is going to spend money regardless at this “free show” where you will have three types of fans in attendance: those who will buy tickets for the free show because they never purchased tickets for Summer Jam, those who lost their ticket stubs or will lose them by the time they announce a show date, or those who have actually saved their ticket stubs. Fans need their Nicki Minaj fix in a fashion of a fiend scratching on a park bench searching for pennies. This will bring the corporations more money to satisfy their bottom line. Summer Jam still went on as planned, the audience still got a show, and corporations still gained their market share. If the average fan takes sides with Nicki Minaj or Peter Rosenberg or Power 105 or Hot 97, they will get labeled as being a “hater” from the opposing party. The word “hater” was the cancer that killed Hip Hop, which allowed corporate business logic to override moral, ethics, and integrity. Only your bank account and secured future business interest warrants how much of an opinion you are allowed to have when discussing art form.
Open your mind; let’s stop having condos on our wrist and start having corporations under our belt. Lets stop betting on sports and start betting on our cultures true potential on guiding possibly the world's economy. Too much flossing and not enough bossing and as a result no matter how much money a rapper, a CEO, or a radio personality may have: they still bow down to the corporate interest that gives them more money just to behave. We have to create an economy within our own economy so we can separate the genres of Hip Hop so Peter Rosenberg’s opinion can be just that, an opinion, directed to a niche market who can appreciate what he meant just like their is a mass market that appreciates Nicki's "Starships" record. The drama of the recent events outweighed the actual experience of what took place at Summer Jam and it was obvious that the goal was to keep the advertisers happy.
My book; Street Rules in the Office: The Beginner’s Guide to Focus in the Music Biz will be available July 11, 2012
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