Saturday, May 12, 2007
Marian Liu :: Is Hyphy Over?

The Sunday Mercury News will be carrying Marian Liu's article on the state of hyphy. Why didn't it blow like it should have? Lots of Bay Area players weigh in. More multimedia and additional articles on the topic here.

Numerous interviews with industry insiders and the artists themselves have revealed strong agreement as to why the scene may soon be left for dead: bad business decisions.

When dealing with major record labels, artists missed important meetings, asked for too much money and were too entangled in previous independent deals to consider new opportunities...

One big problem, she explained, was that local artists were locked into messy independent deals that became a problem when the major labels came knocking.

There was one artist who signed up with three separate companies, Day says. "Majors were looking at him for different deals, but people kept surfacing and stopping the deal," she says. This happens in other parts of the country too, she says, but the difference is the ability to strike a deal so that both sides profit. "Here," she says, the smaller labels "are more interested in blocking than profiting."...

posted by Zentronix @ 8:52 AM   1 comments links to this post


At 5/24/07, 3:37 PM, Blogger Eric Arnold said...

this article, while well-sourced, misses some key points:
1) that hyphy was an organic, indie-label movement which was co-opted by a major-label marketing campaign
2) the social conditions which created the need for hyphy haven't changed; meanwhile ghostriding has become a global phenomenon, according to Kevin Epps, who produces “the hyphy show” for current tv.
3) it's premature--and perhaps shortsided--to say the movement is dead when several new albums by key players will be dropping in the next few months: federation, turf talk, mistah fab, e-40, the A'z, san quinn, big rich. the messy/keak/psd album is big in the streets and the song "that go" is getting kmel spins. plus, fab just dropped an indie album on smc in advance of his atlantic debut which has gotten some good buzz (though nothing on the level of an mtv my block special).
4) while the indie scene in the bay continues to up its game, the basic problem is that the region lacks the same type of industry infrastructure la or nyc have, which makes it harder to maintain a consistant level of buzz. ok, the b.a.r.s. fiasco was a bad look for the yay, but one monkey don't stop the show. it's ridiculous when you think about it, to base a critical analysis of an organically-created movement on industry perception, especially when that (decidedly non-organic )industry has a history of haterism and biting where the bay is concerned.
5) Also the rap industry itself is in dire straits, and majors seem unable to react to the demands of the market as fast as indies. There’s a reason why smc’s sales rose 33% at a time when rap sales overall plummeted by 20%. And, let’s face it, majors sometimes hold stuff they shouldn’t have. If the federation’s it’s whateva had come out last year as planned—damn you, corey hart—this discussion might be a moot point.

But here’s the kicker: at the end of the day, more bay area rappers are signed to majors currently than at any time since the death of tupac, more than a decade ago. So how, exactly, is hyphy over? Just because a journalist, even a well-intentioned one, says it is? That don’t go.


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