It has been a year and a half since the Gestapo-style raid on DJ Drama in Atlanta, and the affects it has created on mixtapes and its importance for Hip Hop Culture. Just because this is old news does not mean it should not be forgotten. You can not ignore the tremors still being felt today. This is about Hip Hop as a whole and the ancillary effects to the rest of the recording industry, broadcasting industry, and your civil rights. At the end of this article are some of the related news regarding the RIAA onslaught.
Ladies and Gentlemen, step right up and watch a snake swallow its own tail! It is the dumbest thing you will ever see! Watch this serpent eat itself at its very own existence while it publicly rationalizes its witch-hunt against piracy! Don’t you dare laugh at its foolishness. It does not care about innocent people or respect culture. One day, if you are ever caught blasting your car sound system at a red light, you too will be crucified as a pirate!
Culture. It is a way of life, and an environment dictates the parameters of how a culture will exist, develop, evolve, and survive. What or who exists in this environment becomes its product. Just like slow cooking a roast, it is all about timing, temperature, ingredients, marination, moisture, and the type of oven being used. That is the climate and conditions of the environment for this product; the roast. If the product cooks properly, according to the recipe, it can be a delicious meal. If the timing, seasoning, moisture, or temperature is disrupted in the product’s environment, the results can be very undesirable.
Just like Hip Hop Culture without the mixtape. The results can be very undesirable.
Thanks to those corporate freedom fighters, The Recording Industry Association of America, not only do they go after grandmothers and little girls, but they also attack the prize token of Hip Hop Culture, the mixtape (see DJ Drama arrest in 2007.) It is an extremely important vehicle that helps promote the product on the street. Whatever is the hype on the streets goes to the club. Whatever is the hype in the club goes to radio play. That is the sequence from solid street promotion. Attacking the mixtape is like castrating a world-class racehorse that is up for stud. The same analogy also applies for attacking club DJs and radio stations with piracy accusations.
The mixtape has made the recording industry exponential dollars since the beginning of Hip Hop due to DJs cutting them live. Imagine back in the day, how many non-rap songs got pushed on the streets because of guys like Lovebug Starski or Grand Wizard Theodore recording their block party mixes. The mixtape is why rappers were signed to recording deals in the first place (even though the recording industry has been ripping them off for more than their true share.)
From the old school to the present, the mixtape has been the best form of grassroots marketing even if a DJ was selling it. It takes the DJ time, effort, strategy, technique and duplication to rock a quality, yet promotional, product. Quite often by his very own touch, the DJ creating the mixtape makes these artists or songs sound better than originally produced. Yes, this includes rappers rhyming over another artist’s instrumental to display vocal prowess. This results in better marketing and hype building for an artist’s street credibility before his album hits the shelves. This is Hip Hop Music at its bare bones level, and it is a legit job promoting artists in this culture.
Hip Hop Culture’s tradition, especially the music, has always been open-sourced. It is not like the record labels are paying these DJs to promote their product or a production royalty. Let the DJs make their little bit of money. A mixtape is just a strip tease compilation. The people who buy it will freely promote what is just a taste of the music being sold on a grand scale, and the labels get free advertisement from a culture doing what it does best in the streets. This is not piracy or bootlegging.
If the recording industry does not take heed, then here is an alternative picture to this witch-hunt. If these DJs must create original productions, then they will be pushed into becoming independent labels. What a great vision! This is not what Sony, Universal, WEA, and EMI want. A rebirth of independent labels will kill their market share, and they will lose more money than they are losing now. This is why these major labels bought out all of the more successful indie labels in the past 15 years. It is bad enough the recording industry is its own enemy as a dinosaur. It did not evolve.
Thanks to the digital revolution and the internet, an independent label onslaught will flourish with huge profit margins and almost no overhead for the entrepreneur. Thank you RIAA for creating this environment your pimps are most afraid of. Besides, I have always been in favor of independent labels. As much as I hate what you represent, I can also look on the bright side. More indies are better for the advancement of Hip Hop Music like it was in the Golden Age.
Overall, the old saying still stands; what the streets make the world rapes, and that is exactly what the RIAA and the recording industry represent! A bunch of culture rapists! The RIAA’s extreme enforcement of the copyright laws is no different than the enforcement of Jim Crow laws in the early 20th century. People are being discriminated against as political scapegoats. Mixtapes are of the most significant importance to Hip Hop Music and lifestyle. If you remove that, the recording industry will truly lose sales, and the RIAA will have to downsize or be cut loose as an unnecessary expense.
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