26 February 2010

A Short Second Chapter

Street vibes in LDN

I love blogging. It’s a whole another way of writing; at times taking risks and another times just saying not much. Hopefully also, at least occasionally making some sense. Sometimes I write and read and redraft fair few times until what I’ve written is exactly what I want to say and there are other times when the text comes out and matters are left a bit half thought.

So, here’s a short list of additional notes to what I wrote about Media and Cape Town Hip Hop.

· In all fairness, I am not in the target audience of the Live on SABC 1 – so I am not criticising it because I don’t like it, but because I feel it fails in what it is supposed to do; and seemingly that failure is tied into some geographical locations. Cape Town is nearly never really featured. 

· Not all Cape Town artists would fit into the mainstream media with their, in my opinion, advanced ability to experiment with sounds and other aesthetics. Maybe the lack of possibilities offered by media in South Africa enables them to not worry about it – I don’t know, but I’d never expect to hear much of Ben Sharpa on a hit driven radio playlist. He’s far too cool artist for that, and his market doesn’t embrace that station anyway. I doubt they would even if Hegemony started vibrating the speakers.

· Not all the Cape Town artists do the right thing to be found by the national media. And that’s a tough job to get through to them anyway. Artistic skills are not always accompanied with career management skills. This is why it’s good to find collaborations with people who can do these things with –people you trust. I wrote about this ages ago when I was still doing my show and some ‘rap star’ did a no-show to an arranged interview with no apologies. Incidentally that happened nearly every time I tried to do an interview, so I for one am not uncritical about the artists. When I am critical of the media, don’t think I find the artists purely as victims of it. But look at someone like Ill-Skillz; how hard are they pushing to make it? Very hard, it seems. I don’t expect every artist to have that drive in them. 

· Not all Jozi based artists have it easy – it is obvious, but needs to be emphasised. Also, I am sure many artists from, say, Queenstown or Polokwane are looking jealously at the opportunities that their Cape Town peers have.

All in all, it’s not a situation of confrontation. There is a Jozi based rap oligarchy (which country doesn’t have that), and the commercial media treats it like it makes business sense to them; sometimes its cause can overlap with the interest of the artists, but it shouldn’t be confused as its motive. The Public Broadcaster and community sector, however, have a different mandate, and that is one of the key ideas here.

The shift, that must take place in attitudes of the artists, is to forget the music industry as it has been and learn how you can have your small business in that context. That is, should you want it to happen. Art is still art and it can exist without financial definition. So it’s also important to know what it is that you do and why – are you an artist or a business person, or most probably, something in between? I have started a blog post about this idea some time ago, and soon I might finish it. It is to bridge these ideas as I see them, but I am not sure when I have time. It’s another blogging thing, you know.

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