The Success Of Rap Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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hip-hop artists to be successful in the recording industry. Being successful meaning not only with having your music heard in a myriad of venues but also having the cash flow to continue a career and achieve the what most artists want to do: make more albums. This is where the upper classes, non rap-making people (white people) come into the picture. Whites affect rap in a few ways: they are becoming a bigger part of rap s audience and the white-run record labels have cooperated to get rap labels under their penumbra. In general, whites influence record sales by buying more individual albums while sharing less. Additionally, they do not exchange bootlegs as much as blacks do. By purchasing more of their own official albums (not bootlegs), whites are relied upon for the

profitability of a rap group. This group of consumers has proven to be necessary to the African-American music makers. Besides the consumer-end of the market, whites have given rappers national exposure in places they otherwise would not have been seen (or heard). Early on, successful rappers were under independent, smaller labels like Tommy Boy, Def Jam, and Profile. There were two major problems with these two systems (independent and big name labels): 1-independents couldn t get the national exposure that the big names had, they couldn t get on the shelves of the majority of CD/record stores; 2- the big name labels couldn t get in with the urban scene that was owned by the independents. Major labels realized the growing importance of rap and hip-hop in the recording industry

yet they didn t have the local knowledge of the culture that these independent labels had. The groups that signed with big name labels didn t fare nearly as well (in sales) as those who signed with the independents. The knowledge and understanding that the independents had gave them the ability to sign specific acts that big labels couldn t touch. The general trend of these artists became signing with independents. Consequently, major labels began buying out the independents while letting them continue to function as they did before. The difference, however, was increased exposure for acts under the smaller labels. Artists under the independents now had their albums being sold in places that previously wouldn t consider carrying their music. The big parent labels now also had

their foot in the door of this ferociously growing form of music. Unlike the way it was a decade ago when black artists made rhymes for a black audience, today, black artists recognize that when they make an album, only a certain percentage which is well below fifty percent in most cases will be consumed by African Americans. This brings up the question of whether or not rap s target has been shifted from what it was when the audience was homogenous to the artist. Is rap becoming a type of music that is made for white people. This question should be asked when examining the extremely popular Puffy Combs (Puff Daddy), called the New King of Rap by Rolling Stone magazine. Puff has admitted that he is not a rapper, but a hit-maker who has sampled such songs as Every Breath You Take

by the Police, and The Message, by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five featuring Melle Mel. Puff uses other people s rhymes and beats in his own type of music that differs from rap. A friend of mine calls this music hip-pop: not pop, not hip-hop, but a combination of different music that is more mainstream and less like rap. Puff, and similarly hip-poppish Mase, throws in lyrics about his riches and flashy lifestyle in addition to the lyrics written by the original makers of the songs he signifies. Is the emergence of this hip-pop a response to the big audience of white people or just another twist in the rap/hip-hop scene? It is very possible that these artists are looking at the economics-side of this industry and targeting white audiences. In comparing the albums of Puff

and Mase to that of Wu-Tang s most recent: Forever, the music of Puff and Mase does seem like white rap. It would be my guess that the yet another increase in the number of white consumers will be seen with the popularity of such artists as Puff and Mase. This issue of an increasingly white rap audience is becoming more and more of an issue for artists trying to continue the tradition of producing rap targeted for African Americans. This topic of the importance of white audiences was addressed in an interview last year with rapper Coolio, regarding about his new album, My Soul, that was released in 1997: “It’s funny that I’m a black man but white stations add my music before black stations do,” Coolio says. “My music has attracted a lot of people, but the hardest