Friday, November 03, 2006

Hip Hop's Hang Low Image...

Here's a great article on the state of Hip Hop today. While I don't agree that Hip Hop is dead (Check out any underground artist on the college campuses and on Myspace.), the corporate media-managers need to allow ALL forms of rap (not just "gangsta rap") to play on it's managed companies, be it TV, radio, or whatever.

The original link is below:


PAUL PORTER: Hip Hop's Hang Low Image
(November 2, 2006)

*Hip hop the musical art form of self-expression is dead. Long gone are the lyricists, replaced with the lyrically challenged, pumping materialism, hate, sex and stupidity daily to millions. Perception is everything and America's corporate minds once again have found a way to control hip hop and who and what you hear and see. Control the media and you will control the messenger.

History has proven time and time again the 'what you see is what you get' philosophy. Hip hop images are now carefully managed, produced and marketed. Television, news, film, radio and video dictate similar themes; perception is everything.

A recent football brawl between the University of Miami and Florida International received a blitz of national media attention. Miami and FIU rosters both have predominantly black student athletes. The consistent images of black on black violence aired hundreds of times on television. On the same day, Dartmouth and Holy Cross had a similar football brawl but it never made national news? Of course, both teams are predominantly white at superior learning institutions. Is it skin color, winning percentage that made one story larger than the other? Or is it the gate keepers of corporately owned media picking and choosing what you see?

Music has always played a key role in shaping minds and attitudes. Black America's obsession with song started unifying minds during slavery. Slave owners could see the musical talent of their herds of black sheep and featured a select few to entertain with song and dance. Not much has changed in the way of music or media in America since then. The record industry is the new 'master,' now the vehicle being that of hip hop awarding recording deals to one hit wonder teens, touting them shamelessly like Motown featured Michael Jackson.

Geffen Records signed a fifteen year-old rapper named Jibbs from St. Louis. Jibbs first single "Chain Hang Low" was a huge success receiving major airplay from pop radio, MTV and BET. Jibbs ringtone also reached platinum status (over one million) but his first week sales on his CD were only 46,000. Is this another example of radio not getting it right? A fifteen year old spitting lyrics on huge chains? Is that real hip hop or simply controlling its content?

Media radio, television and film still answer ultimately to white owners. Although the land of the free boasts the "American dream," which is merely a carefully controlled mix of government and wealth controlled media. Hollywood has shaped the minds of a nation. Ask any American Indian how westerners have portrayed this nation's original inhabitants. How does the government and our education system still celebrate Columbus Day as if America was a uninhabited land?

Commercialized hip hop is today's vehicle portraying young African Americans as a modern day minstrel show. The constant barrage of materialism is too much for young minds to process while adults profit. Many of today's hip hop stars vilified MC Hammer as a commercial sell out, although Hammer shared his wealth by employing over one hundred African Americans. Hip hop since that time has quickly turned into a Madison Avenue endorsement soundtrack, selling cars, clothes, alcohol and bling. Corporate America is playing hip hop like a new board game, a living "black monopoly" carefully censored and corrupted.

Controlling hip hop's voice creates wealth and defuses the original source of lyrical power, strength, struggle and unity. Although slavery has long been outlawed, corporate imaging continues as Americas power structure. Attaining freedom took centuries and garnering wealth and equality for black America is not a story you will ever see on BET. When Bob Johnson launched BET in 1980 it was never embraced by corporate advertisers. As BET continued to build with "the more you watch the less you'll learn" programming it was ultimately bought by Viacom, the parent company of MTV and VH1. Since then BET has proudly targeted teens with an abundance of negative images.

Hip hop is a multi billion dollar industry without one owner of African descent. Yes, of course hip hop's mainstream decapitating culture pays relative wealth to a select few Stepin Fetchit type characters. But if you're waiting for Russell Simmons, Puffy or Jay-Z to speak up on hip hop's abrupt change, don't hold your breath. In today's culture, money in the hands of a select few silences the empowerment of the masses. Hip hop is the ghetto's new Amerikkkan dream replacing sports with a laundry list of young one hit wonders.

In American history not one musical genre has delivered more materialism, sex, violence and misogyny than hip hop. And the most powerful aspect in this analysis is those who profit are disproportionately white, who continue daily breaking federal law. Pay for play(payola) is against the law and now widely proven. CBS Radio the nations third largest radio broadcaster recently settled a New York state payola probe for two million dollars.

Hip hop's largest names are never mentioned in Hewlett Packard television adds. You will never read about Sumner Redstone, Jimmy Iovine, Edgar Bronfman or Lowry Mays when it comes to hip hop. Don't label me a racist because the list of black names that remain shut in the industry are also inexcusable.

Corporate America has paid top dollar to buy the public airwaves and the voices that lead the sheep. In urban radio, local programming quickly turned to national syndication. No other format in music radio has higher a percentage of syndication than black targeted formats. By not only limiting the ownership ratio by limiting the voices, issues like payola or degenerative hip hop will never be discussed. Unfortunately, Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden and Al Sharpton broadcast daily on conglomerates that profit hip hop. Free speech is not an option if you continue to work in corporate America. American voices are often controlled like radio play lists.

If you ever listen to the radio or watched a music video, you have been lied to for years. The illegal practice of payola has created music's largest stars. Corporately controlled venom that effectively killed hip hop. I am sure you have questioned the constant barrage of limited themes and lyrics. Hip hop has been stuck for close to a decade with hand picked stars and images. Record companies have been telling radio and video outlets for years what and when to play a song or video.

It has been relatively easy to brainwash black America. Twenty years after "The Cosby Show" reached number one on network television, Viacom's VH1 has Flavor Flav as the number one series for African Americans. Cosby's outrage on black America fell on mainly deaf ears already manipulated and controlled after decades of negative processing.

The pay for play system is quite effective targeting youth like Ronald McDonald hooked children on fast food. The same sorry songs from coast to coast over and over again, but once again black America continues to roll over without a fight. You will never hear a payola story on the radio or see it on TV because the corporate gate keepers own that too.

In 2004, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer launched a state wide payola probe. The investigation has finally connected the dots. Records and radio have been breaking federal law for decades and Spitzer has all the proof. After the four major record distribution companies settled for millions on October 19Th, Spitzer's office announced a settlement with CBS Radio.

The FCC have failed to pursue prosecution on a national level stuck in a political quagmire.

Paul Porter


I couldn't have said it better myself...


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