Friday, January 05, 2007

Dot Com

This post has been brewing for a while now, it's about the whole hip hop internet generation. There are a heap of people out there that claim that the net has ruined hip hop, while others view the internet as a powerful tool and use it do their business. Personally I think it goes both ways, and like the way the real oldschool heads of the late 70's/ early 80's reminisce over being there when it all started, and the next generation do the same about the golden era, it's kind of the same with the pre net days.

(Rack-Lo 'Aracknofoebia' cover)

Everything has got so much easier for a hip hop consumer today. I remember back in '93/'94 staying up 'til 4 in the morning with a video tape in the VCR watching 'Rage' (a music video show) with my finger hovering over the record button as each wack video ends hoping the next would be a hip hop video worth taping. Where as today all you need to do is hit youtube up and watch pretty much what you want when you want. Now, to find out about artists you don't know about, you can go to one of thousands of sites to download a track/album to find out whats good or wack and to know what to buy. Back then the only way to find out about other artists is either from a friends walkman or skip through an album at a record store. Things were alot harder as a hip hop consumer back then but also alot more fun. When you did stumble upon a gem back then it meant alot more to you than finding a mad track on the net. When I think back to the early 90's getting in to all those classic Rap-A-Lot releases and discovering Insane Poetry's 'Grim Reality' in a record store in town, half the fun was the hunt to find that underground classic that no one else knew about.

(Paul Wall - 'Internet Goin Nuts')

All that being said, I'm not dissing the net at all. There are plenty of positives that have come out of the internet since it's arrival. There are plenty of artists that have had a resurgance of fans simply by getting a website. Insane Poetry and Digital Underground have both mentioned that themselves, infact Digital Underground weren't making music until Metaphysical started a website for them and connected D.U. fans from across the world which made the group get back together making music, and going on tours (Shock G has since retired). Houston's South Park Coaltion and K Rino in particular have had huge success on the underground since they got a website a few years back. The internet has also seen the return of countless independent record companies and artists thriving in a world where you no longer need a middle man.

The latest, and perhaps the biggest step of late, is Myspace, those who have one will know that at times it can be very addictive but usually it is a headfuck, every time I log on I'm uttering "fuckin myspace" within minutes. However there has never been an easier way for unknown artists to get their music to the world. Which can also be a negative as there is no quality control and some of the shit on there is reeaal fuckin' wack. For promoters across the world, myspace has made hooking up shows very simple, I went to a few shows last year where I know for a fact was only possible due to the net. You can tell that the net is the new generation of hip hop when artists are releasing 'internet exclusive' tracks, like Mad Skillz's hip hop rap up's or Pack FM's 'preview' amongst others. Something that has become alot bigger in recent times is 'hip hop radio' telecasts through the net, which is a huge tool on the underground

Although I see those things listed above a positive, alot of you may think it's a negative, it just goes down to opinion. A couple of things that are really fucked up with the net are, spamming, any myspace user will know exactly what I mean, and the other is the amount of record stores around the world that have closed down since the net have taken over. Although I would much rather to drive around all day checking out every record store in my city, or even flying interstate to do nothing else but hunt for beats, I am a minority. With Ebay,Amazon and sites like CDBaby around, people can hunt for beats on a office chair under the air con eating a sandwitch paying with plastic and getting beats to their door days later. So one by one small record stores get put out of business and albums get sold over the net. This also has increased the price you have to pay for rare OOP albums, it's hard to find them in a dollar bin when the shop ain't around any more, so people find out very easily that they have a rare album they want to sell when they type it into the net.

Then there's the whole downloading debate, whole albums or single tracks, major labels or independent, OOP (out of print) or new. Some rappers don't mind their mp3's circulating the net as it gives them incredible promotion and a chance for thousands of potential fans to hear their music which creates sales. Others class any form of file sharing stealing whether it be new or old. There's probably not really a wrong or right answer just opinions. This is definately the biggest debate in the hip hop and the whole music industry to be affected by the internet since it started, and has changed the way alot of people buy music in the form of record companies selling mp3's over the net and this latest ring tones craze.

As far as the whole internet arguement goes, some of us may not enjoy the way the net has changed hip hop but like it or not, it's the way it is. If hip hop didn't jump on the train it would have been left behind, and down the track when new music dries up and there's no progression in the culture, hip hop would be dead.

Paul Wall - Internet Going Nuts
Stooie Bros - The Beat Is Free
Gym Class Heroes Ft Papoose - New Friend Request (Remix)
Too $hort -
Natas - WWW.Com


Anonymous said...

yeah i remember those nights watching hours of bullshit {non rap} videos on rage for just one or two good songs until the internet came along and the same goes for music without it i woudnt be able to get the classics because there mostly all out of print or deleted

BULLANT said...

For sure, It's not as much fun as it use to be IMO but definately a positive. At least there's no more sleepless nights just to watch a PE or Ice T video get repeated a thousand times on Rage. I still have about 20 hours of dope vids though from back then.

travis said...

That was a great write up. I've been ready to spout off on this very subject one of these days myself.

I'm kind of teetering myself on the subject, almost to the point where I think the internet is a curse.

On one hand I've found a bunch of albums I didn't think I'd ever see again thanks to the internet. But I also miss the "old days" where you went into the local record store every Tues to see if the new Ice Cube had dropped yet. I still try to find

I know I also don't set down and analyze albums as much as I used to for the simple fact of the mass quanity of stuff you can get off the internet.

It's love/hate thing and things are never going to be the same so I guess we just have to get used to it, but I wouldn't mind going back in time again

BULLANT said...

It sounds like we have similar opinions on the subject, I definately had alot more fun back in the early 90's without the net than now but is that because I was young and appreciated every album alot more or was it because the net wasn't around? Who knows, but like you said we'll have to just get used to it and be thankful on the positives that the net has given hip hop.