More Jermaine Dupri- Why Do You Want To Be In The Music Business?

Xboxes to PS3 and Wii’s. Record sales are dead and buried.

But yeah, how come this is the only industry where fans are caught up talking about Soundscan numbers and industry gossip like it actually matters?

With moviegoers, the conversation isn’t,

Moviegoer #1: “Indiana Jones did $160 mill its first week! It’s a hit.”
Moviegoer #2: “So what, Ironman did $250 internationally. Marvel made mad money on that joint.”
Moviegoer #1: “Yeah but Marvel’s going to take a loss on The Incredible Hulk.”
Moviegoer #2: “Who cares, Steven Speilberg ain’t did shit with Dreamworks in mad long.”

Huh?

Nah, nobody’s talking like that except industry insiders and critics. The actual moviegoer doesn’t give two shits about anything except the movie.

But with rap music, because these stupid ass rappers and executives have spent the last ten years looking to promote and spin anything they can into a future record sale, all fans have to go on is industry hype. Plus the content of the music is all about success- how much money a rapper has, his whips, his chains, his women, how he’s not a business man, he’s a business, man!

Of course if that’s what you rhyme about, and talk about in interviews, that’s what people will judge you off of. You talking bout you got this and that, and how you sold x amount of records, well now that’s what people going to start paying attention to. And that’s what they been paying attention to, not the music.

Also in the rap music industry, you’ve got executives in the forefront of the game, in front of the cameras, for no real reason, and what’s the major concern of an executive at the end of the day- the business. When’s the last time you saw Clive Davis in a video (yes I know he was recently fired, just saying)? How about in the 90s, did we see David Geffen in a Guns N’ Roses or Nirvana video? Never mind that David Geffen could have bought you cookie-cutter rap moguls a million times over. The point was that he kept to the background, let his celebrity status as a mogul rise in the place it’s supposed to- within the industry. Not in the face of the general public. That’s where rap got it fucked up, when the execs, label owners and producers (people who need to work the angles behind the scenes) started jumping in front of cameras. The industry got so big that the artist itself became expendable, and you thought you all could cash in. And now you cry that you can’t break an artist.

Additionally, for the past couple of years it seems like almost every major label rap artist that has come out has been riding with the shtick that they’re not rappers, they’re just hustlers who can put words together. You know what that says to people (aka potential fans), it says that the artist doesn’t really care about the music, that they’re just doing this to get where they got to go in life. So again, it’s being put out there that this whole rap thing is a means to an end, and not a way of life in and of itself, and fans aren’t buying it.

I ask this question, would Shawty Lo be rapping if there was absolutely NO money to be made from music? Would Rick Ross? Would Jeezy? Would Jim Jones?

Let’s take money out of this entire business and see how many of these artists would be making rap music. I think there would literally be a 95% drop in the amount of rappers in the game.

And now that the money actually is drying up, I do see a shiteload of rappers and people in the industry jumping ship. So it’s definitely a plausible reality.

Having had the opportunity myself to talk to Jermaine Dupri recently, I do want to put it out there that these interview clips aren’t him just bitching. I think he understands that on some level his own involvement in what he’s talking about has made him part of the problem. And he’s at least putting out there, acknowledging these issues, and trying to rectify the situation in whatever capacity he can.

But again I’ll make the point that people are talking about Soundscan and the industry more than the music because that’s what the artists, execs, and the industry itself have put out there. 50 vs. Kanye? All we heard from 50 was about how he sold x amount of records in the past and blah blah blah, all we heard from Kanye was about the type of music he was making on his new album…. who won the soundscan battle? Kanye. Since then, have we heard Kanye gloat about that shit at all? No. Have we heard 50 talk about losing the battle? Absolutely.

Bottom line, a person who is truly passionate about listening to music will always get more excited about the actual music than someone touting a soundscan number. Numbers are boring. Music is exciting. It seems pretty simple to me. Get back to the music, stop talking.

  • http://decentcommunity.org tubesteak

    Jermaine Dupri is the real deal. Real talk: rumor has it, that he taught R. Kelly how to do this:

  • jonathan

    are you niggas stupid! seriously! who are you kidding! seriously! i dont gotta rob myself! you mofuckas is dumb! you need to stop believing them dumb broads! you understand! you mofuckas is stupid! let niggas rob you of a bunch of money kidnapp your kids and do a bunch of bullshit see how you feel! I DONT GOTTA ROB MYSELF! ARE YOU NOT GETTING THE WHOLE FUCKING STORY! THIS IS ALL MY LIFE! THIS IS NOT JUST THESE RAP GROUPIES YOU MOFUCKAS JUST STARTED JUICING! ARE YOU NOT PUTTING IT TOGETHER! DO YOU STILL NOT GET IT! I DONT HAVE TO ROB MYSELF! YOU FUCKING IDIOTS! WHAT DONT YOU GET ABOUT THAT! ARE YOU STILL NOT GETTING IT! ITS REALLY MY MONEY ITS NOT A FUCKING JOKE! U DUMMIES! YOUR FUCKING IT UP! FUCKING UP THE ECONOMY PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO COMPLAIN CAUSE THEY KNOW ITS STOLEN! ITS NOT EVEN THE REAL OWNER GETTING IT! YOUR FUCKING UP THE ECONOMY AND ITS NOT WORKING LIKE IT DID BEFORE WHEN THEY WERE JUST USEING ME FOR WHAT THEY WERE! YOUR FUCKING IT UP! DO YOU UNDERSTAND! THE SAME OLD DUMB NIGGER SHIT! STUPID! SERIOUSLY! YOUR FUCKING IT UP! DO YOU UNDERSTAND! JEALOUSY ENVY! THAT DUMB ASIAN MOTHERFUCKA SET U IDIOTS UP! YOU COULD HAVE GOTTEN PAID WAY MORE LEGALLY IF YOU STOOD UP LIKE I DID! YOUR FUCKING IT UP! ITS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE HONEST INSTEAD OF FUCKING THINKING YOU CAN BOGART SHIT! THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT I REPEAT DID NOT IMPLANT YOU WITH THE NANO TECHNOLOGY! AN ASIAN TERRORIST DID! WAKE THE FUCK UP!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffvaughn jeff

    well thought out. best work so far at xxl.

  • Furious

    marked for future references.

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    Co-sign jeff. Excellent post. You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • M

    THE REALEST POST XXLMAG HAS EVER RUN, AND POSSIBLY THE REALEST HIPHOP BLOG POST OF ALL TIME. ALL YOU BUMS TAKE NOTES. ALL-OF-YOU.

  • http://www.myspace.com/thirdeyevis Third Eye Vision

    I think the industry has out grown itself, everybody wants to be a rapper or producer if they are into hip hop. I am a prime example! I am not doing it for the money though, sure if it came along it would be nice but I honestly enjoy making rap music and listening to rap music. The people at the top of the game though are at the top for a reason, they are pretty damn good at what they do. You can’t get away without top quality production anymore when your dealing with majors. One of the things that frustrates me with hip hop now is that the artists change and the producers stay the same, I am starting to get a little bored as in if I heard a new instrumental leaning toward mainstream I could most likely pick the producer but there would be no idea of who is going to be on the track. I would like to see more albums with less variation on production, it gives albums more character rather than just trying to get as many hit beats on one album as you can. I know on 2 Trill, good album by the way I read about how Bun B was going after cheaper beats, good for him if he got a quality album but I know as an example Chops as one of the cheaper producers, if he gains a lot of credibility and work and raises the price everybody will just cycle thru to the next producer. I’ve seen this happening for a while, it takes away the bond between an MC and a Producer, have these rappers even met the people that made the beats? Did they go in the studio together? I think hip hop has lost a lot of its personal appeal. Hip Hop to me is about people coming together to do what they enjoy, its meant to be fun not business.

    Peace

  • SH

    Great post.

    Fans and people interested in the industry need to get their shit together. It’s not just on those within the industry to make some changes. And if you really care so much about the business side of things, get a business degree and make it happen.

  • Meech

    Most of the blame is still on the consumer though, because that’s what dumbasses who don’t know about rap use to counter any argument about their favorite rappers.

    example

    Me : Weezy isn’t that hot.

    Asshole: YOU JUS HATIN BCUZ HE GITTIN MO MONEY DEN U!

    like that

  • wood grain grippa

    JD you contradict yourself. You set up a trap but only to get caught in it yourself. Ain’t you the same motherfucker always saying you sold millions of albums.

    Here is my question, if things where still like the old days would you be saying these shit load of dirt? NO. You (everyone in the biz) was suppose to look after their future. But I guess yall where too busy getting you dick sucked by the MIMI’s.

    One other thing never did I look up a fool’s numbers first week. Someone does it for me, XXL anyone?

  • dubbzz

    yo…okay read but your missing the point: When they apoointed Jay as an exec at Def Jam….what did you excpect him to do? Nigga is you serious? Play the backround? It’s JAY Z. You can get mad at a artist who is shoved up in a high position of music, and excpect the nigga to fall back…lol…get real man. He’s always in the spotlight, so when he has a 200000 watt florescent bulb on him, what the fuck do you think he’s going to do? Yet and still, you made excellent points..but dont act like the nigga dont love this music!

  • willz

    i agree, im writing a dissertation on the role of branding in hip-hop and i wiil be referencing some of the points you raised.

  • http://myspace.com/phantom916 phantom

    Excellent post. I cant wait for these fucks to start quiting and for the train to get back on the track. Everybody go get that new RZA album on the 24th. PEACE.
    myspace.com/phantom916

  • http://www.bEATZANDLYRICS.PODOMATIC.COM Natasha

    Co-sign this blog post 500%!

    No one cared about or knew about any of that shit until the artists & execs started talking about it. Now everyone wants to be “Young, Fly, & Flashy” instead of bettering their craft. Dope boys want to rap now. Strippers want to rap now. No one wants to actually be good at it as long as they collect a check. They are checkmating the rap industry into a drought from a lack of real ideas & truly talented individuals.

  • lookadeez

    Notice JD did not answer the question that was posed to him. He flipped it and asked it back. So I guess he doesn’t know why he is in it.

  • http://chlorococaina.blogspot.com Miami_Vice

    when hiphop compromised art for commerce is when it went downhill. the executives and CEOs were apart of this decline. it influenced the rappers, which influenced the DJs. so now with this new get money aesthetic people not even in the industry or people w/out any real talent have a voice inside the culture. i think that’s where the problem lies.

  • RisingSon

    I don’t JD it all seems pretty obvious to me…and I think it’s obvious within industry. Everybody knows that hip hop is broken but I do have to credit you on speaking on it, its better than the people who don’t talk about it but also contributed to its downfall. But the time for talking is over,DO SUMMIN’!!! Start signing real musicians!!Start signing real artists! instead of these Uncle Tom mu’fukkas, who are only in it to please “massa” and get a cheque at the end of the day. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!