A Letter to Pots and Kettles
To whom this may concern:
There is a divide happening within the Hip Hop media. There is also an ungodly amount of hypocrisy currently going on during this divide. Take, for example, the back-and-forth between
the pot and the kettle B.Dot of Rap Radar and (well known) New York radio station Hot 97.
The short version is that B.Dot has taken an issue with Hot 97 (owned by Clear Channel), their inability to play more than 5 songs in the span of 30 minutes and their avoidance of the local rappers like the plague. Ebro Darden, Hot 97’s program director has called underground Hip-Hop, currently the majority of New York’s rap existence, “the minor leagues” and because they were “still on the come up,” they would get burn on Peter Rosenberg’s Real Late show (airing on the Monday morning 12am-2am time slot) until “they make it to prime time.” The full story, you can find at Rap Radar.
This has led to a public feud between B.Dot and Hot 97 that now includes Mr. Rosenberg after addressing B.Dot on the Real Late show. Which led to B.Dot firing back.
I’m fairly certain that fellow head Dart Adams, who was the person that brought the story to light on my Twitter timeline, will have better words than I ever could on his Tumblr. But his piece is pretty much in line with my line of thought.
The goal of the media is to make a profit. This is the first thing I learned during Introduction to Mass Media class when I attended college. The radio is meant to sell advertisement space, as opposed to breaking new artists.
I live in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a notable city, albeit a very small one. The closet thing Atlantic City even had to a Hip-Hop based radio station was from 2001-2010 with “99.3: The Buzz” which ran the same songs on a constant rotation, save various mix shows and The Hollywood Hamilton Weekend Top 30. By 2008, a majority of these shows ceased to exist, and by 2009, the Hip-Hop radio station that was “99.3: The Buzz” became the pop-oriented “99.3: Kiss FM.”
The only other Hip-Hop oriented station Atlantic City had came from Philadelphia: the vaunted Power 99 FM. In the past, you had to have a car with a great antenna and you had to be in the right area to receive Power 99. Nowadays, Power 99’s signal is much stronger. Power 99 has much more variety; while they do play the breakout hits in Billboard’s Top 40, the DJs are allowed to mix what they during the mix show, even rappers from the City of Brotherly Loves, just as long as it adheres to the FCC code.
Compare that to Hot 97, where some of the most known DJs dominate the company: Funkmaster Flex, DJ Enuff, Mister Cee and DJ Kay Slay come to mind. Despite the array of DJs Hot 97 has at their disposal, rappers from New York still don’t get their props.
Let Ebro tell it, Hot 97 is “the only station that supports New York artists,” listing Fabolous, Red Cafe, Maino, 50 Cent, French Montana, A$AP Rocky, Nicki Minaj and Jay-Z. Had he continued, I’m positive he would have included Jadakiss, Diddy, The Notorious B.I.G. and Nas in that list. Last I heard from Fabolous hasn’t made too many waves past mixtapes, ask even the average fan about how Red Cafe and Maino are doing, 50 Cent (who recently had a string of mixtapes) is still struggling to get back to 2003, French Montana was affiliated with Max B prior to his outbreak, Nicki Minaj’s ascent came from her signing with Young Money and going pop, and A$AP Rocky’s M.O. comes from his sound which sounds like he’s from…the South. Not New York, but the South.
Bonus Question: Who in that list has shout out New York (on record), not named Shawn Carter or Curtis Jackson?
The problem is when the person calling Hot 97 out is as guilty as the radio station is in this crime. Rap Radar is notorious for their support in whatever the flavor of the month happens to be. Their editor has a history of what the average person would call “dickriding”; during Elliott Wilson’s time as the editor for XXL, there were letters that pointed out 50 Cent and G-Unit’s gracing of cover of the vaunted magazine more than any other artist covered during his reign. On Rap Radar (and Respect), it is now Rick Ross and the Maybach Music Group that gain what would previously be described as the “50 Cent treatment.”
Thanks to the First Amendment, B.Dot can speak on this. But what about when MMG ads that plaster Rap Radar’s site? [Editor’s Note: As of present, it was ads for Big Boi’s latest album that are on Rap Radar.] Who’s speaking about that? Where does one get off calling out Hot 97 for having New York artists take a backseat to artists like Trinidad James and Chief Keef, when they get the same coverage on the site that they write for? After all, they do realize who gets the majority coverage on their site, right?
Because there is clearly something wrong with this picture. It’s not just me, right? After all, just like radio makes a profit off of advertisements, guess where blogs can receive their profit?
Because owning a domain costs money. Upkeep for said domain costs money. Who’s paying for all of this?! Surely Elliott doesn’t have that kind of money…
So it’s essentially, sit down, shut up and cover these dudes we tell you to cover. Just like Hot 97’s guideline of sit down, shut up and play this music we tell you to play. Oh.
So when you find yourself asking why a Hot 97 doesn’t play New York artists on mix shows, ask yourself what you are doing. If Hot 97 won’t cover a Roc Marciano, a Sean Price, a Homeboy Sandman or a Joey Bada$$, then speak your piece about those artists on Rap Radar. Since Hot 97 is geared towards New York, and Rap Radar is geared toward a more widespread audience, how about giving underground artists from other regions an avenue? If Hot 97 plays 3 straight Nicki songs, spotlight Rapsody, Eternia and Dynasty (one female artist for each Nicki song). Counter Trinidad James and Chief Keef with Honors English and HaLo. In the words of Ava Lord: “You’ve got power! Use it!”
If not, then pot, meet kettle.
The Human Spider
P.S., to my “Get-Out-The-90s Niggas”: I wholeheartedly agree that the underground needs to receive more radio spins. But to say that the underground needs to stop making records like it’s 1994 when this was released in 1994 and this was released in 1986 (and they sound suspiciously like the shit you hear on the Hip-Hop that is currently on rotation on the radio) is not only laughable, but very misinformed. I’ll speak on this another time. Have a good day.