Oh You Didn’t Know: Why Independents Don’t Make It

Posted: January 18, 2014 in Music
Tags: , , , , , ,

How many of you actually listen to new or up and coming artists?? How many of you even know where to find such music?? At the same time, how many of you complain about what’s on the radio?? How many shows do you go to?? How many EPs and singles do you buy?? The answers to these questions are usually towards the negative side of the spectrum. Most people either don’t know or don’t care where to find new artists. Others are so flooded on their FB or Twitter timelines that they’re numb to all the “I got that heat”, “check out this fire instrumental” or other variations of “please listen to me”. Someone they see everyday could be the next DMX (minus the drugs), Jay Z, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, Chuck D, KRS One, but if no one listens, no one will ever know.

We all have friends, so one would think that’s where your fan base would start, but believe it or not, you would be wrong. Because the genre is so over saturated, either your friends are rappers themselves or they have another friend that rhymes. This creates division of attention and unnecessary competition which keeps either artist from growing because they’re busy competing for the attention of a handful of people who are putting no money in their pockets. That’s not to say the opinion of friends isn’t important, but take it with a grain of salt. Because of how close or not close to you they may be, their opinion will be biased by no fault of their own. I personally know a gang of dudes who listen to hip hop and 90% of them have never given me an opinion on my music. Why?? Because they have better things to listen to, other friends or family making music, they’re making their own music or, more likely, they just couldn’t begin to care less. Apathy is the biggest killer of originality and progression. Your friends will hit you up at all hours of the day and night to tell you about someone else doing what you do, but wouldn’t spend a quarter of that energy to acknowledge what you do.

No sense in being bitter though, look outside your circle. That’s where the money is anyway. The problem there is why should someone you DON’T know listen to you when people you DO know won’t?? There’s doing shows, but a lot of times people want you to pay to perform. You could push CDs but that cost money to print and more to distribute if you’re trying to reach people outside of your neighborhood. And, of course, the foundation of it all is good quality music which costs studio time. Even if you do it yourself from intro to outro, you need recording software, a laptop/computer that can handle it, mixing skill, mastering capabilities, mics, etc. Long story short, the old adage is true: it takes money to make money. The real rub here is even after doing everything “right” there’s no guarantee your music will go anywhere. Now, if Maybach Music, Bad Boy, Def Jam, Roc Nation (still not used to it not being Roc-a-fella) or any other major label stands behind you, they can do all that for you and pay all the right people to make sure you have an audience. Of course you would then have to pay them back for all their “favors” and would only make a fraction of what you could make.

The system, which is defined by wikipedia as “a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole[1] or a set of elements (often called ‘components’ ) and relationships which are different from relationships of the set or its elements to other elements or sets”, is exactly what hip hop has become. It has only become this because we have allowed it to, but there is hope that contradicts almost everything I’ve said. Two of my current idols in hip hop, Macklemore and Mac Miller are living, breathing proof that you can make good music, give it directly to the people and actually live off your art. They make songs and videos about what they want because they answer to themselves and their fans.

Somewhere in this rambling, my point is without support, independent artists can’t make it. There is no hypnotizing machine behind them to make the masses stomach them. There is only heart and talent and that is all there ever will be without more people taking a chance at showing someone love without a promise of corporate reciprocation.  Are you happy with the radio?? Are you happy with the leaders of mainstream hip hop?? Then find some local or independent artists and help them make a change. Here’s a quick list to get you started.

Black Liquid

Rob “BC Music 1st”, RT, Swerve 36, Lord Slugg, Bandolero, Emphasys the Prince, the Honorable Sleaze and Cory Starks (The New Juice Crew -TNJC-)

the Ace of Spades, Rook Nass, and Soul Unseen (1245Music)

L.A., Kennis and Tommie (ILS)


The S.A.V.I.O.R. (the Sense And Versed Intellect One Respects)


  1. whatthemom says:

    Here’s an independent musician you might like – my husband will be releasing an album next month, this is a rough cut of the first single:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s