Jun 272010

The mind is so complex when you’re based. 32 levels. Welcome to my world. Like I said, I’ve been ready, and it feels good to be here now. Finally realized who’s the rawest rapper: Lil B. (…)

To anybody that thought they had it, need to think again. Throw your hands up, it’s Lil B for Little Boss. I need all the based energy I can.

The production of rap music has gone through changes over the years. From pre-industrial years of block parties to rapping over disco beats to renegade producers taking control over the studio environment and rap taking over the charts. To increased commercialization and the struggle for structural independence and artistic integrity.

One big structural change in recent years is that A&R people have become obsolete. Labels will only do business with artists already established independently and locally. A hundred thousand mixtapes sold, then you can sit at the table with these people. Gone are the A&R professionals who actually sought out and coached new artists into greatness.

Complex: Why do you take that approach? Most of your songs aren’t available for download. There’s a song here, a song there. You have a random 250-song mixtape. It’s chaotic and there’s no order to it.

JonRaff If you think about it, @LilBTheBasedGod’s song collection is like the Pokemon. You have to go on a journey to collect them all. #Based

Just like Marley Marl sampling James Brown had a certain economic advantage over Brown himself plus band, Lil B has arrived steps ahead the mixtape rappers. He has further rationalized the production of rap, with himself on 24 hour www-fueled creative frenzy and with his fans performing the A&R function. They are to select and promote and spread and copy the music. Taste will be made on the internets, copied out onto the streets, copied back in. New scenes and structures are created.

A Swedish blog talks about the cultural black hole where influential rock journalists used to be. Some kind of youth project leader is quoted. He sees a lot of talented kids coming by, but everything they record come out so generic. These kids started watching MTV after the Chill Out Zone got shut down and YO! MTV Raps was ran off the block by the strip club muzak. His point: these kids have no point of reference as to what people have done before. Their ignorance of tradition limits their creativity, as to what music can be. Blog continues:

Regarding the freely copyable culture forms it seems rather that each genre or style is characterized by seperate pockets that rarely communicate. Specialized idiots in their own small section. (…)

They have all the MySpace pages in the world but nobody that guides them in pop culture. No editor, no map reader, nobody that highlights what is good, no matter if it sells in 10 copies, 1000 or 100 000.

This is what is called “The Death valley problem“. (…)

Everything can be found on the internets. The whole history of the world’s art, music, literature and so on is well represented. But where do you look? Someone needs to bring you the news and point out what’s relevant. You need an introduction. The cultural landscape has changed, and most of the generation born in the late 80s and early 90s has been lost in between. If nobody’s there for you, helping you, guiding you in the right direction – face down (ass up) in the mainstream.

Just like there are no real hardcore, working class men standing in the streets around the neighborhood anymore, setting examples, telling kids what right and wrong, and no mothers telling off her friends’ kids as well as her own, there are no hardcore cultural ambassadors standing in the media mainstream passing the torch to the coming generation. Real talent is not afforded there anymore (but takes it’s escape to blogs and trash print media, where less dogma apply, with the following result of either joyous newness or total perversion). Everything that’s not straight from the market division of the record companies or an absolute freak show gets no love. The economic streamlining of the media has all but done away with what is usually referred to as “the fat middles”. Continued translation from Swedish:

A lot of this type of really talented artists gained a popularity that lifted them out of obscurity saleswise, thanks to the attention that this type of open minded but at the same time autistically passionate journalists and editors could give them. That passion seems to have away somewhere else now. Many blame this on an increasing surplus, but at the same time we have the technological conditions to navigate in this surplus today. At least in theory. Until now Myspace and p2p are too decentralized and fragmented, while newspapers are too centralized. Heck, one of the most connecting forums on the net today is as a matter of fact The Pirate Bay.

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