Talib Kweli, in the video below, says “as a society we get all our cues from the Internet.” Arguably, today there isn’t a relevant cultural phenomenon that doesn’t first find exposure on the Internet.
The Internet is the gateway to access any new music: from blogs, to social networks, to file sharing systems. Hip-hop, more than any other music genre, is overwhelmingly present on that medium, establishing new practices in the way artists communicate about their music.
[share align="right"]Is the impact of the Internet on making artists’ careers exaggerated?[/share]Hip-hop has always been ahead of the curve in technology by adopting new habits, from the brick phones to the pagers, to the ringtones. For instance today, hip-hop has massively weighed in favor of giving music away for free. All hip-hop artists are in the habit of systematically “dropping” free music. Artist Drake famously won a Grammy before ever releasing an official album. He was able to get his music across to a wide audience by distributing mixtapes (free albums) online.
In order to facilitate the distribution of their music, artists now have direct access to their fans. While it’s important for artists to access as many channels as possible and gain exposure on mainstream media like radio and television, nowhere do they have a better direct connection to their fans than through social networks. When new artists like Wiz Khalifa or J. Cole release their mixtapes, those become instant trending topics on Twitter, proving that a lot of their fans are following them via this medium.
Check out show interviews, Web-exclusive video and blog posts about hip-hop, and join the discussion.
Tricia Rose, author of “The Hip Hop Wars”
“…we have two worlds. We have a very powerful, marketed media industry hip-hop and we have this thing people like to call the underground… I want the underground to have more space. I want there to be a wide range of youth expressions. We live in a country where race matters so much, and yet we don’t have the skills to read what we’re consuming about race. And hip-hop’s a very powerful and easy way to help us with this.”
Watch the full conversation.