Hip Hop And The Recording Industry

903 words - 4 pages

These articles depict the controversies of the hip hop industry and how that makes it difficult for one to succeed. Many of these complications and disputes may be invisible to the population, but these articles take the time to reveal them.
Even when one becomes an artist in the industry, there are many troubles that go along with the tag of being a recording artist in the urban division. One example is seen in the article, “The Business of Rap: Between the Street and the Executive Suite” by Keith Negus, where columnist, J.R. Reynolds, mentions the closing of the urban division at Capitol Records in 1996, calling it “the systematic extermination of black music at Capitol Records”, saying that it did not make any sense because the genre was doing well in the market (528). The black music division is often subject to this kind of cutting compared to others. Negus also states that “despite the influence of rap and hip hop on the aesthetics of music, video, television, film, sport, fashion, dancing and advertising, the potential of this broader cultural formation to make a contribution to music industry business practices is not encouraged” (534). The sad fact of the matter is that this is true. It is almost like the larger companies take from the smaller urban divisions in order to make themselves look better without giving credit where it is due and in turn, because those companies are not seen to be doing well in the market, they are dropped from the label. Ted Swedenburg explains this in the article “Homies in The ‘Hood: Rap’s Commodification of Insubordination”, when he states that “while the major academic rock critics usually acknowledge black musicians’ essential contributions to pop and occasionally write sympathetic and informative accounts of black artists, their tendency is still to treat black music as an influence, a source for white musicians to mine” (579). In other words, the genres of hip hop have influenced other music subgroups to become what they are today, yet they have never been given recognition for this.
What the industry fails to see is that hip hop genres have not only influenced other music, it has also been expressing important messages that are rarely heard anywhere else. Swedenburg clarifies this idea by saying that “these are “homeboys” conveying the dread atmosphere of a home community in dire crisis” (581). It is depressing, but members of society would not know about the struggles that these citizens go through without the messages of these “homeboys”. Swedenburg also contends that “while engaging in cutting-edge formal innovation, rap artists equally articulate an ethico-political agenda that, according to Paul Gilroy, is both utopian and...

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