Last week, when Bun B “ethered” me (my cubicle hasn’t been the same since), he put forth the point that the South has been supporting hip-hop for over 20 years by buying albums by groups like De La Soul and, um, the Gravediggaz if I’m not mistaken. Which is odd because I always thought I was the one who was supporting hip-hop by not spending any money on this garbage.
First of all, I wonder how much buying some d-bag’s CD actually serves to benefit hip-hop, or even that particular artist for that matter. We know for a fact that if you purchase an album by an artist on a major label, the vast majority of any profit made on that sale, once you subtract whatever it costs to produce and distribute the album, goes right into the pockets of the tall Israelis that run hip-hop. The average artist is lucky to see any money at all from recording.
A case could be made that in the “ethered on the Internets” era, the real revolutionary act is to not give these assholes any more of your money. An album can easily be had, even by most southerners, without actually paying for it. I know personally the last time I did anything to directly enrich the likes of Jimmy “Double Fantasy” Iovine was when I couldn’t help but buy the remastered version of Biggie’s Ready to Die two years ago. Other than that, you’d probably have to go back to the 1990s to find any examples of me “supporting hip-hop.”
[For what it's worth, the remastered version of Ready to Die does sound a bit better than the original, and it includes a bonus DVD with rare footage of Biggie performing "Unbelievable" in what looks like someone's back yard in Atlanta (which is in the South) and also the ridonkulous unkut version of the video for "Warning."]
Regardless (or as they say in the South, “irregardless”) of the fact that these TIs are stealing from their artists (because who gives a fuck about the artists anyway?), I try not to transfer any of my wealth, such as it is, into Lyor “The Bulldozer” Cohen’s pockets because I know it would only serve to even further ruin hip-hop on an artistic level.
In case you haven’t noticed, the TI’s main tack this decade, as far as hip-hop is concerned, has been to promote what can only be termed “lowest common denominator rap” (individual styles would include trap hop, snap, crunk, hyphy, etc.) to the detriment of all other styles of hip-hop. Spending money with these corporations hardly benefits the artists (who could care less about you anyway), and only helps fund crap-hop uber alles.
If you bags are really so adamant about supporting hip-hop, as if it was your father or some shit, my suggestion would be to a) not spend any more money on this shit than you absolutely have to (ideally none) and b) lend your support (I may have to get one of those PayPal donate buttons) to my new hip-hop activism movement Rap Against Fence Jumpers.