“Radio, Suckaz Never Play Me, On the Mix, they Just OK Me”….. This was said in 1988 by the LEGENDARY Chuck D on the Classic, “Rebel Without a Pause” which was released on Take A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam/CBS Records). I have DJ’s on my list that were born in 1988 that have to follow playlists and strict guidelines and I have DJ’s on this list that have been spinning since 1988 and still following what “THEY” say instead of, by now, taking the culture into their own hands. In 1988, a person can drive to a different region and hear different music based off that region, either on radio or on the street. Today, terrestrial radio is like satellite, its the same playlist. When New York & a market in North Carolina is playing the same record then times have officially changed in the Urban market.
These records are “coming and going” because Urban records are worked to the format as if they were Top 40 records making the Urban format a subsidiary of Top 40. This is why you have to think when the question is asked of the DJ what were the hot records for the summer of 2006 or 2009, but if you ask what was the record for summer 1995 in unison people will say “As We Proceed, to give you what you need” before naming 10 records. Top 40 records or POP are meant to be popular FOR RIGHT NOW only. Those records are not meant to last. Thats the road we are travelling on with Hip Hop today. A road where we place records like “Oh Mickey You so Fine” and put it up against Rakim “My Melody”? “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” verses Salt & Pepa “Push It”? Rick Springfield’s Jesse’s Girl verses Joe Ski Love’s “Pee Wee Dance”? In today’s Hip Hop, we now compare a Shallah Raekwon’s album sales and compare it to the likes of a Susan Boyle or Taylor Swift, for the enjoyment of saying that Raekwon “flopped”.
The point where the Urban timeline skewed to this “alternate 2011” is when Urban format were spoiled by records that were undeniably sound for the Urban Community and a fantasy for the new Urban Consumer, the Top 40 audience. Everyone says its the Big Homey, 50 Cent, who ruined the mindset of the Urban Consumer by broadcasting sales and making the first week numbers the standard of measurement for what a good album is. Some say it was Dr. Dre’s popularity with “Nuthin But a G-Thing” that received heavy burn on MTV at a time when the network actually played videos. Some people can consider EPMD mentioning of how “30 days later the LP went Gold” in the timeless “So Whatcha Sayin” single. But everyone on this email WILL forget that scene in Krush Groove where Run counted his money then threw it on the ground in “frustration” which could have been the start to this whole must be popular record sale agenda.
Just remember Q-Tip’s now 20 year old line from the timeless “Check the Rhime”: “Proper, Rap is not Pop so if you call it that then Stop”. If your only playing todays hits or your excuse is “they only dance to what they hear on radio”, then the DJ isn’t doing enough. DJ’s need to do more than play records, establish a brand big enough so the patrons come out on the strength of who you are as a DJ, not because the club is open on a Friday night and you just so happen to be spinning. The difference between Top 40 or Pop Music and Urban Music is that the foundation of Urban Music was never based on sales or popularity of the artist but the authenticity of the music.
Dave House is the founder of WHOOOOSHOUSE WORLDWIDE, LLC. With over 50 Million Records sold/Over 100 Million Spins detected during his career Dave has established himself as a voice in the music industry that you can trust. Follow him at @DaveHouseOutlaw on TWITTER for your WEEKLY MEDIABASE MONDAY REPORT EVERY MONDAY @ 12PM EST/ 9AM PST & MEDIABASE MONDAY RECAP @ 6PM EST/3PM PST