Saturday, February 1, 2014

Where's the Unity in Black Music?

Cold. Irrelevant.  Flop.  These words are regularly tossed around on Twitter describing artists who no longer on top.  Artists are scrambling to put out music that sounds like everything else on the radio just to keep themselves on the radar.  All artists are continually be compared to the one artist on top.  Needless to say, it's not easy for up and comings or the veterans.  But was it always like this.  Let's hear what legendary producers, Missy Elliot and Timbaland, have to say:

Back in 2012, Missy and Timbaland did an interview at The Breakfast Club and what they said still rings true two years later.  Around the 23:00 mark, Missy and Timb drop some real knowledge about the current situation of black music today.  

Charlamagne, one of the host of the Breakfast Club, is infamous for calling artists out for being away awhile, or "cold" as he calls it.  I love how Timb shuts him down by saying that back in the 90s they didn't call artists cold.  Timb explained that you waited for artists to come out with new music, not cut them down for being absent.  Missy gave a heart felt explanation about respecting artists, past and present.

After watching this interview it got me to wondering: where's the unity in black music?  I understand that the business is a competition.  Everybody wants to be number 1 on the charts and I get it.  But as Missy brings out in the interview, you still show respect to those who came out before you.  Nowadays, these new folks pay no homage to the legends.  There is no appreciation for those who made a way from them.  All you got now is a lot digs and shade.

You never heard Tina Turner coming at Aretha Franklin.  You never heard The Temptations talking trash about The Four Tops.  There was a mutual respect.  Behind closed doors they probably did talk smack about other artists but in public it was all kosher.  Even in the 90s (beside the whole west side, east side feud) artists gave each other respect.  There was no bad blood between En Vogue and SWV.  Now, you got K. Michelle and Tamar on Twitter beefing about wigs or something.

A major reason for this issue is social media.  Yes, I said social media.  I don't know where the PR people are but they're all slipping.  I say this because artists have no chill when it comes to Twitter.  Keyshia Cole coming for Michelle Williams.  Brian McKnight coming for Chris Brown. Rihanna coming for Ciara. When is the last time you saw Taylor Swift tweeting Selena Gomez about who sold out more arenas?  I hate to say it but these pop artists understand there is power in major collaborations and crossovers.  You can't be moving up in the world if you going back and forth on social media. At all times, you want people to be talking about your music, not your latest tweet.  The reason why Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Jay-Z have longevity in this business is because they're not putting energy into the petty stuff.  These new ones better start taking notes.

And do not get me started on these stans.  Back in the day, hardcore fans use to cry at concerts and make posters for their favorite artists for TRL.  Fans are no longer just crying, but these STANS (stalker/fans) are taking things to another level.  Stans wish death upon those who speak ill of their favs.  They have created a negative energy around a lot of artists.  You got the Bey Hive (Beyonce), The Navy (Rihanna), Barbies (Nicki Minaj) and they're all beast behind a key board.  If you tweet that you thought  Rihanna was a little pitchy during a performance, you better get ready because the Navy is coming.  For the next 4 hours, stans will drag you on social media.  I know that artists can't control this but I can't help but feel that these stans affect how they artists treat each other.

It's crazy how much the music game has changed in the last 10 years.  It's no longer about making good music, it's about throwing shade to prove you are the best.  Newbies no longer have respect for the legends.  Missy and Timbaland dropped some real truth that will unfortunately go over the head of these newbies.  I look forward to where black music is going but I can't help but be believe that unity in black music will continue to look bleak.

BTW, Happy Black History Month!  Stay tuned because for the rest of the month I will be dedicating a post to Black History Month.

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