February 2, 2011

#RapTaughtMe, Pt. 1

Initially I was going to do this series on my Tumblr page, but after talking to a few people, it was easier to post it on here. #RapTaughtMe is going to explain why I think rappers and journalists are more alike than they are different. Below is the first post done a few weeks ago.

I love hip-hop … rap … rhyming, whatever you want to call it.

To know me or to know of me that’s the second thing you know about me.

The first thing would be that I’m a writer, journalist, blogger, scribe, nosey (whatever).

Today I realized that rappers and journalists are more alike than I ever thought. This is the first of a few posts, possibly five (maybe more, maybe less), that will talk about why I feel hip-hop and journalism aren’t that different.

The similarities go beyond the idea both use words as weapons and vehemently deliver them to unsuspecting audiences who will either love, hate and repeat the same sentences, slowly infecting other people with what they say.

Let’s start with the supersaturation of both fields. Emcees I know, often talk about how the industry has become overrun with the Waka’s, Gucci’s, Roscoe Dash’s and Soulja Boy’s of the world. They say real MC-ing doesn’t get half as much attention from labels, radio or even rap fans. Emcees hustle for years, decades even, to be heard and here comes a guy who gets his speech chopped and screwed, performs on a hip-hop award show, and everyone is hiding their kids and wives.

Rapper is to Emcee as Blogger is to Journalist.

If you’re in journalism school (and at least a junior), when you entered, your professors were still probably talking about how journalists are trying to decide if they are ready to conform. Seasoned journalists are desperately trying to hold on to the traditional values that have shaped who they are, when the reality is, blogging is where the money is and the quickest way to gain, track and interact with readers.

Blogging made writing famous, which may be why writers tend to hate/discredit bloggers. Bloggers are the YouTube rappers to most journalists, (in a few cases) they didn’t put in half the work, internships or clips many formally trained journalists did, yet they’re taking the few available jobs because a byline with their name on it would attract more readers.

It’s the same as a socially conscious, lyrically awesome rapper making that one song with the catchy hook that downplays their talent because

a) they need some type of money coming in to pay for the studio, the album graphic, etc.

b) it’s what the people want.

It’s a money game and when money gets involved reality hits. No matter how much you love it, at the end of the day bills have to be paid and you have to eat.

It’s the beginning of compromise.

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