My name is Teni and this is my first post on TYFNS. I listen to all forms of music and I’m excited to share my views on artists and the culture surrounding each genre. Hopefully, you will find my posts enlightening and insightful. Enjoy! :)
Music is arguably the most shared topic on a social media platform. It can appear instantly on your screen from a tweet, post, or search. For any music lover, this is a dream come true. Gone are the days of waiting for a single to come out on the radio or going to Best Buy to cop an album. Everything is right at your fingertips.
When I first started downloading mixtapes, it was of underground rappers trying to get their name out. Through YouTube, tumblr, Facebook, SoundCloud, and Twitter, these rappers could finally share their music with people all over the world. They were hungry and you could hear it. It was an exciting time for music because there was so much hidden talent.
Then social media took a turn for the worst. There isn’t really a clear time period for the transition but there is one landmark event that sticks out to me as the start of the change: the release of Kreayshawn’s 2011 viral hit “Gucci Gucci”. When this song came out, it skyrocketed. I had never seen a song become so popular, so quickly. It was everywhere, on every social media outlet. From the song alone, she signed a record contract with Sony for $1 million. One. Million. Dollars. The song, if we’re being honest, is not that good. Granted, it’s catchy, but there’s no lyricism, no artistic value. It is basically a song you make when you’re high with your friends talking about nothing. It is worth a sarcastic YouTube view at most, not a record deal. With this infamous event, the viral avalanche had begun to pick up speed.
It’s no secret that record labels want money and we all know time is money. With social media, label execs no longer have to listen through demo CDs to scout for good aspiring artists. They can simply hop on Twitter and find out who’s trending. The act of going viral isn’t constricted to dancing kittens and babies eating lemons anymore, but has branched out into music. To record labels, viral equals money. To any dingdong with a mic, viral equals fame. This creates an oversaturation of aspiring one-hit wonders, i.e. Twitter rappers, looking to make it big off of one song and they’re doing it! For every Trinidad Jame$ gaining overnight success from a subpar catchy song, there are fifty aspiring artists (keyword: artists) struggling to get attention because their sound isn’t “hot” right now. Label execs are signing these fame-blinded individuals, in hopes of an immediate payoff with these “rappers” making remixes of their viral songs with established rappers and making appearances at your local House of Hoops. Hip-hop that has the capability to last for years is being overshadowed by here and now music with no chance of being remembered 20 years from now.
The fact that Bobby Shmurda could get a deal from someone making a 6 second Vine from his video “Hot N*gga” and that Vine consequently going viral leaves me to wonder in which direction is hip-hop going. There’s no doubt that social media is an amazing platform for sharing new music but there needs to be an understanding that viral is not synonymous with quality. Once this understanding is shared, hip-hop will finally be revitalized and continue to be the genre with the culture we know and love.