Sunday, September 20

Just Say Yes To.....Mediocrity?

In a market oversaturated with clones and zombies; how did we (artists, musicians, etc.) come to become content with sub par (if that) art? Do we point the finger at the corporate elite? Do we point the finger at A&R’s? Or do the point the finger at ourselves? Personally, I don’t believe in the blame game because we’re all held accountable for our own actions.

I recently had a conversation with a dear friend about the younger generation and Hip Hop. They questioned why most (if not all) embrace and/or mimic the South. I simply stated that the south had been producing hit after hit for the past decade. The artists that are entering the music scene now were probably 6-10 years old at the beginning of the South’s reign. In conclusion, they’ve been exposed to a certain sound for most of their life. As for the older generation, mimicking what’s considered a “HIT” will probably get you signed, accepted, and/or better sales. In theory, we either express ourselves to the degree of our influences or we follow suit.

In no way, shape, or form am I saying that the South is mediocre. Throughout Hip Hop and music in general (including the South), we have phenomenal talent. However, as in nature, rare gems aren’t abundant. Does this have to be? If we have the power to transform ourselves, can we begin to mold a new generation of artists and musicians who rise above and beyond what’s considered the norm to greatness?

After the death of one of the most revered and iconic figures in the music world, I dwelled on the question; how can one soar past the heights that Michael Jackson conquered and owned? Well, first and foremost, one has to see the world outside of him/her self. In order for one to succeed, they must transcend ego and culture and embrace the world. For example, look at the content and melodies of Michael Jackson’s songs. People flocked to buy his albums and embraced him because they could relate and his music touched them on a level that most couldn’t fathom.

Kanye West, the new King of Pop (per Liberation Next), has a similar appeal through his music. He has transcended Hip Hop to explore sounds that span across many genres. I debated with another dear friend about Jay-Z’s BP3 album. The content was above Hip Hop’s level of mediocrity; however, the production had an appeal that I haven’t heard from Hip Hop in ages. When I listened to the album in its entirety (excluding a couple of songs) I didn't think Hip Hop, I thought music.

In conclusion, to the artist and/or musician, when it comes to your art, put forth the effort to travel and explore outside of yourself. We must create new sounds and not only that; begin to craft content that epitomizes the art of storytelling, consciousness, and creativity. So when you step in the studio to produce; are you going to say yes to mediocrity? Or will you refrain from the question and let your heart speak?

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