Monday, November 07, 2005

Fuck this underground bullshit...we at ground level baby

So what the hell does it mean to be an underground group or artist? Well I don't know anymore.

I used to pride myself for keeping in touch with "underground hip-hop", by which I meant checking for shit that wasn't on the radar for most people. I always looked at underground artists as those who hadn't achieved any sort of commercial success. Some people label underground hip-hop as artists who don't have a big following.

Now there was a time when Dilated Peoples were underground hip-hop, they even prided themselves on being so. Then one day I switched on the T.V and the muthafuckas were on MTV with Kanye West in their video. Now nobody is pretending that shit being played on MTV at prime time is underground. So why are people still insisting they’re underground?

The biggest confusion for me has come this year. I know a lot of people who call MF Doom the best MC in underground hip-hop. Now I always considered MF Doom an underground artist, I mean he doesn't push numbers, your average person on the street doesn't know who he is and only those people who are really into hip-hop know about him. Wrong.

People I know who won't even touch hip-hop records known who MF Doom is. He was on the Gorrilaz album for fucks sake; I've see 14 year old kids going from the Pop section to the hip-hop section in HMV, looking at his shit. Dude is getting known as "that hip-hop guy in the mask". Now let me get one thing straight, I have no problem with this at all. He is dope as hell, he's probably my favourite artist in the game right now so fair play to him for getting the props he has deserved for years now. The issue I have is with people still acting like he's some sort of fucking secret. If people around the world know who you are, they buy your records, you're on an album that charts in the Pop charts....I don't think you're underground anymore.

Ok, so he isn't pushing mad numbers. "The Mouse and the Mask" is riding high in the indie charts but he's not going platinum or anything. My point is sales or popularity can't be a barometer for seeing if someone is underground or not. Shit, what about Common? A few years back people were calling him underground and now "B.E" is pushing numbers, HMV are playing it in their stores and he's on every show going. Yet nobody would go as far as to call him commercial either. So underground zealots need to step off because it is them rather than the artists making this shit up.

So what is my point with all this? Well this "underground" thing is bullshit right now. It means nothing. Right now I know a lot of heads calling One.Be.Lo the hottest thing on the underground. If he signs a deal with Interscope tomorrow and releases an album that only sells 10,000 copies, what is he then? See its bullshit.

With the internet, shit travels fast. If Doom drops a new track right now it's around the world before you know it. Yet this buzz doesn't always mean sales numbers, so is that still underground?

So what am I ranting about here? The use of the term underground? Well no I guess not, personally I still call One.Be.Lo "underground hip-hop" (which I know sounds completely hypercritical). So that's not it.

The fact that people use sales and popularity (which isn’t the same thing these days), to judge whether someone is "underground"?

Yes, shit can't go down like that anymore. I consider those artists underground who aren’t even on the radar for people who aren’t serious hip-hop heads.

I guess the reason I'm so up in arms about this comes down to something we've touched upon in Peace, Prosperity and Paper a few times. Hip Hop is in a stage right now where people are determined to put labels on things. Once they've done that, people are determined to stay within their comfort level. So it fucks me off that people are using this "underground" bullshit to define what they "should" or "shouldn't" listen to. “MF Doom is underground so I’m checking for him, Fuck Aftermath, Fuck Interscope, Fuck Def Jam” type people. Fuck You. You would rather a dope artist sells only to about a thousand people and has to hold down another job? Rather than getting some paper and setting himself/herself up and getting their music out to a wider audience? Fuck that.

Right now I know more non hip-hop fans who know MF Doom than know Young Jeezy or Juelz Santana. Now I'm in the UK so that counts for something, but either way it is clear to say the line between underground and commercial artists is no longer clear cut, and that is no bad thing. The point is, it doesn't matter anymore. It's not a case of underground = dope and commercial = crap. MF Doom isn't underground anymore but who cares. Don't let that be the reason for listening or not listening to him.. Those people going round saying "Doom is selling out son, Fuck DangerDoom and The Gorillaz", is what is wrong with hip-hop in 2005. He's not underground anymore, get used to it because that is no bad thing. If you aren't happy more and more people are experiencing this music that we have had for years now then you're part of the problem facing hip-hop right now.

Of course people can call MF Doom "indie". That might be a problem if he signs with a major, you see what I mean. Fuck this bullshit. If this rant makes no sense then I’m not surprised.

So anyway, as of now I'm rolling like this....

MF Doom, Common, Dilated Peoples etc = Ground Level.

Yep shit is on ground level so go and cop it. Peace.

MF Doom & Rza - Biochemical Equation
From "Wu Tang Meets The Indie Culture". A big time group helping take indie artists to a wider audience and make damn good hip-hop, now that's what I'm talking about.

Tags - , , , , ,


<< Home

XML FeedGet Firefox! Weblog Commenting and Trackback by Music Blog Top SitesBlog Directory & Search engine
Silktide SiteScore for this website

  Don Carlo
  Propaganda Life
  Wasteland Drifter
  the fifth element goes digital
  No One Broadcasts Louder Than…
  R.I.P Jam Master Jay....
  If life was simple....
  I'm out for presidents to represent me...
  Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added ...
  Just Blaaaaaaaaaaze....
  ‘I Ain't Dealin With Another Fuckin Politic’
  It doesn't make any sense.....
  There can be a fine line between RnB and Hip-Hop.....
  October 2005
  November 2005
  December 2005
  January 2006
  February 2006
  March 2006
  April 2006
  May 2006
  June 2006
  July 2006
  August 2006
  September 2006
  October 2006
  November 2006
  December 2006
  January 2007
  February 2007
  March 2007
  April 2007
  May 2007
  June 2007
  July 2007
  August 2007
  September 2007
  October 2007
  November 2007
  Can I Bring My Gat?
  Hip Hop Blogs
  The Low End Theory
  Notes From a Different Kitchen
  We Eat So Many Shrimp
  Byron Crawford
  Cocaine Blunts
  Salute To Weed Carriers
  Better Than Yours
  My iPod Weighs A Ton
  The Rap Up
  Straight Bangin
  Leave Your Nine At Home
  Digital Sounds in an Analogue World
  Email Us