By The Profit
“One thing that I see in the scene that is a massive issue from the artists point of view is the crafting and marketing of the art. The hip hop culture was designed for specific things, one of the main purposes is SELF EXPRESSION. “
True art is taking what you see or feel and communicating it to your audience. An artist is in tune with they’re surroundings in a different way than the logical thinker who uses the other side of they’re brain.
An artistic person sees and feels things much differently. We walk into a room and can feel the vibe. We can sense things. Our job as artists (whether it be music, dance, painting, etc.) is to take what we see and feel and connect our audience to it.
The problem lies here; if we are expressing ourself, and representing what we stand for, yet trying to communicate it to someone different than us, then there is a fine line between trying to make it relatable to others and steering too far away from expressing SELF.
The other extreme is you only make it relatable self and people identicle to you. This is a hard thing for any artist, but in the hip hop scene we are in a constant battle with this. You see, if you are not expressing self then that is not hip hop… so how do you connect your listener without selling out?
The other side of the coin is this; in the underground hip hop scene in Australia, most emcees are writing to an audience of other emcees. You turn up to a local gig and before you enter you can guess 80 percent of the time EXACTLY what people are gunna be there.
Every gig has the usual crowd; there’s the performers and they’re affiliates (or those who have a porta-posse), one or two girlfriends of artists there for support, that one group of cougars who ventured in from the main bar, and the one guy who’s in his mid 40′s in a business suit with the tie loosened and is way too hammered to even realise he stands out like a sore thumb as he stumbles around on the dancefloor.
Which brings me to the point… as a lyricist, there are more emcees than fans, therefore if you write just to impress other emcees you don’t get too far, because they are doing the same thing, and whether they admit it or not, they see you as the competition. So if you rip a killer set or drop a dope release that is catered only to impress other artists, they may think it is the dopest thing on the planet, but will never tell you because they’re trying to do the same thing.
The risk is to expand your audience too much, then you sell-out and rock teenie bopper tight jeans events and lose respect in the underground or don’t expand your audience at all, and be a rappers rapper who doesn’t get the props they deserve.
Where is the balance between the two?
Hilltops shred it, BlissnEso are killin’ it, Drapht is smashin it, Defwishcast and Brethren have hammered it for around 20 years, and they all remain the same people. What was they’re approach? They didn’t end up on the extreme ends of the scale like most in the scene. How do you market to your audience without selling out, and without rotting away at your local open mic?