June 7, 2013
Dear Rap Bloggers,
It seems that, because of my “Dear Internet Rappers” series, there are some of you that feel that you’ve escaped the wrath unscathed; that it’s solely on the “struggle rapper” that floods your inbox with shit to get it together and whatnot. But, today, I’d like to talk to you, because, quite frankly, in this music thing, I play both sides of the fence (as an artist and a critic, you simpletons). It is through this approach that I am able to highlight a few things that some hip-hop bloggers do incorrectly.
First, can we do away with the term “struggle rapper?” I mean, first of all, it’s quite condescending. If you’re as “for the art” as some of you claim, you would, at the very least, not act like pompous assholes when someone approaches you the right way with music. But, secondly, from what I’ve seen/heard, it’s also used as a way to say the following:
(This is still the epitome of horrible rap, in every form.)
Second, can we stop acting like you’re gods caking off of this shit? I respect those that say that they do make something off of it, but still work a 9-5. I respect those that make a decent amount of money off ads and the like. Hell, I even respect those that make enough money that they don’t ever have to work a real job again.
But, for real? The vast majority of you are not Perez Hilton, the Mashable guy, or Harvey Levin (ed. note: Yes, I know that he just owns TMZ and that he doesn’t exactly blog on it. Also, I’m aware that TMZ isn’t exactly a blog, but many hip-hop blogs are of this vein. Let’s not front anymore.) Let’s get the illusion out of people’s heads that hip-hop bloggers are Wizards of Oz when they’re barely Wizards of Waverly Place. I’ve done my research on some of the most-known rap bloggers. A few of these guys have you fooled with flashiness. They’re working regular, sometimes menial, jobs. But, shhhhh, don’t let them tell it. Perhaps we, as people, should start calling your kind “struggle rap bloggers.”
I’ll be honest with you. I, Speed on the Beat, make decent money from music, licensing, ad placement, production, etc. I also have a regular job, and won’t lie to you about how important I am. As I’ve said, I’m a regular guy that loves music, makes music, and has an ear for good music. (This goes for you rappers, too. #StopLying)
Third, and this is huge! Offer feedback when you’re posting. I’m not asking for you to do a write-up of 20,000 words on how the artist’s song works and doesn’t. But, even a small morsel of feedback is better than “lemme just post what they sent me.” It makes it look like you don’t give a fuck about the music. For instance, Ok-Tho posted my most recent song “Owning Up” on their blog. Instead of just saying “ok, here’s the song. IDGAF,” there was a snippet critique about the no-fi production and then the song (along with a snippet of my own thoughts on the song). That’s great and I thank them for posting.
Al Shipley of Government Names posted “Kings,” and his post elaborated a bit on the initial correspondence I sent. Which, again, is awesome (Ed. note: I’ve still not met/seen Al Shipley in person, but he seems pretty cool and knowledgeable. H/T to the guy, especially since he’s one of the first people to inspire me to blog about music and one of the first to post an SOTB solo song). I have a lot of respect for that, because, to be honest, I’ve always wanted to be featured on GN and in the Baltimore City Paper (website).
Hell, even a “here’s a track from XYZ that I received. It’s cool/kinda bad but I’ll post anyway/sucks, so laugh at it” is better than “here’s another fuck nigga struggle rapper song with a fake write-up that was provided from the artist himself.” Yeah, that makes the blogger’s job easier for an artist to write something. But it, at times, makes the blogger seem lazy and unresponsive. Unless your job is to just host music, we–as readers, listeners, and artists–expect something in the way of a thought.
Fourth, and finally, stop asking artists to pay you to be featured on your site. I can see payment for hosting a mixtape. I can see payment for getting an actual ad on your site. Hell, I can even see dropping $10-30 dollars for a hosting on the page/endless posts/tweets about your music (H/T to Calmplexx and DMVLife and the cats that do it like this and keep it realistic and reasonable and shit). But, paying “crazy loot” to be featured on a blog that averages, in reality (if you look at views, analytics, etc) 300 views a day? C’mon son. As DJ Heat pointed out, it shows that, as mentioned, you give more fucks about money and views than the art. Plus, it shows that your numbers aren’t really what you claim they are. Not to mention, it shows you have no true business sense. Why? Because ten rappers paying $300 to get featured a month is great. It’s fucking impressive
(that ten rappers are that stupid). But, wouldn’t it be better to have 3000+ views a month with actual advertising getting you more than just that $3000?
In closing, just like the “internet rappers” some of you completely shit on regularly, some of the rap bloggers out there need to do better.