About a year back me and a friend were having a conversation about music specifically the way people are making it into the industry nowadays. He said nowadays you have to make the internet your bitch. He was right. The internet is creating opportunities for artists who otherwise would probably never get the chance. The more connected and social media savvy you are the better. The genre that seems to be benefitting from this the most is Hip Hop. I know plenty of people would argue exactly the opposite but stay with me.
There are a couple reasons that the Hip Hop game has benefitted from current internet trends. On the production level Hip Hop is like basketball you dont need much to play. It used to be you needed to purchase studio time for you to even create a mixtape. Those days are LONG gone. Nowadays all you need is a computer a drum pad and a mic and you can produce and record your own music right outta your closet. Oh, and now you can upload your music directly to a website that you dont have to build yourself, just use your Tumblr page that youve already been posting on. BOOM youve put major record labels outta work. Plus with a strong Facebook and Twitter following, you've have created your own fan base and demographic. The internet has transformed the genre and created indie rap. Not to be confused with underground hip hop indie rap relys heavily the internet community and those who break through seem do so overnight.
I had a real problem with this at first. I felt that the music that came from these overnight successes didnt warrant the attention they were enjoying. I felt that the musicians that were some how finding a way to rise to the top didn't have the same appreciation for the music as their predecessors. My own interpretation of hip hop had previously been a little less progressive but I have since changed my tune. While some would say that Hip Hop has strayed away from its roots. I would say that in many ways its returned in grand fashion.
Hip Hop can not only be enjoyed by everyone, anyone can participate in it for any reason and at least in the indie sub genre, its up to the fans and (the hip music blogosphere) not the music executive big wigs who make the decisions on who becomes successful. These musicians have absolutely no need for a major label, and some are able to organize world tours without being signed. Does this hurt the genre? Not at all. Does it mean everything that comes out is good? Not at all. For example, when has liking rock mean that you like all rock? Rock has been around long enough to evolve and spawn dozens of subgenres. Naturally hip hop would follow suit and the internet was the perfect catalyst to bring about this change. The task of pushing the genre forward has been placed in the hands of the artist and the consumer where it should be in my opinion. There's rap for damn near anyone nowadays. Also The artists seem to care less about others affiliations. You've got young lyrical prodigies doing features with swag rappers and demented provocateurs on tour with comics turned rappers who hang with the druggie hip hoppers.
It's a strange but refreshing and exciting time for Hip Hop I'd say. I would go on record and say that the internet has helped Hip Hop more than any other genre but I will never make a blanket statement like that. The only media outlet that may hold a candle may be television. Netflix has proved this with the successful original series House of Cards and this weeks return of cult classic television series Arrested Development (which I reupped my subscription specifically to watch when I heard the news) . Youtube channels are hosting original premium television monetized by advertising in much the same way traditional TV does. Television is quickly making the internet its bitch as well. The proliferation of web based media is the wave of the future and theres no stopping it. I'm just glad that my beloved hip hop is thriving in the midst of it.