What Have You Done For Me Lately?
There is this “self-made,” “no handouts,” “I did it all of this on my own,” type of mentality in hip-hop. The romanticized and forever overdone rags to riches story where an artist claims they made it and have no one to thank for their success, but themselves. For a culture full of artists supposedly self-sufficient though, rappers sure do seem to ask for a lot – free beats, press, performance opportunities, guest list for their entourage of 20, logo designs, fans to buy tickets/merchandise, industry to click spam links, distribution, promotion and support.
And especially in Toronto, artist egos seem to make it next to impossible for them to ask respectfully. They’re taking more than handouts; they’re grabbing armfuls.
For a culture full of artists supposedly self-sufficient though, rappers sure do seem to ask for a lot – free beats, press, performance opportunities, guest list for their entourage of 20, logo designs, fans to buy tickets/merchandise, industry to click spam links, distribution, promotion and support.
Many artists are so caught up with the ‘independent’ illusion that they forget to pay their dues to those who have helped them get to where they are – people who have supported their dream from jump, gone out of their way to help and those who have assisted them in their come-up. But gratitude seems to get in the way of the solo image they are trying so hard to convey.
They will tweet things like, “Blogs are feelin’ the new single,” meanwhile they’re blowing up the editor’s phone until it is posted on his/her blog, or “Got that heat in my e-mail,” as they’re begging producers to send them free beats. I even had an artist call me at 8:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve to ask for a favour before. It seems like someone skipped the lesson on bad business.
When did up and comers become entitled? Did someone forget to tell them that nothing comes easy? And are there any manners left in this industry? Bey once said, “A diva is the female version of a hustla,” but I don’t think the term diva is only appropriate for females anymore.
Mutual respect in this industry seems to be contingent on what we can do FOR one another as opposed to genuine support, but no one can make it completely on the ones. Failure to appreciate what others do for you is an easy way to burn bridges and in a scene as small as Toronto’s, one burnt bridge can lead to destruction. By stepping on the toes of those in a position to help, artists are on a quick path to getting what they want in the first place, to really have to make it on their own.