By now, it’s almost as if it’s been done with. In the 1980s, the music was basically a collection of mixtapes, and there was no big-time mainstream success. The underground movement took off during the same period with the growth of hip-hop. During that time, it was also around in the underground that “gangsta rap” took off – with the first group being Pee Wee’s Playhouse in 1988 – and it had its beginnings in “gangsta” as well.
How about the influence of hip-hop on the music industry?
When hip-hop started, the big labels were still focused on hip-hop, whereas today, they have shifted to more electronic/electronic sounds. The major labels don’t really care as much, they want to get their records out as far as possible.
We still see rap-rock and hip-hop-rock. They’re pretty much an inseparable entity now – and also a great opportunity to get a lot of money at the same time. In the past, both were a big focus for the major labels’ artists, but nowadays, it’s different.
Why do you think most of the current rap icons are doing well?
The money they receive is big money too, and that’s more important than the music itself. Nowadays, it’s not such a big deal for the average rap fan to take a good rap record home and listen to it. Nowadays, it’s like ‘I’m not listening to that,’ but it is listening to.
The artists that come in today, who are young and new – artists like Drake, Eminem, Tyler, Future – the fact that they have more money than ever really does help them a lot. Their records sell better than ever and they become very famous on social media. And for the young rapper, it is an opportunity to break through and become part of one of the biggest groups of stars.
Who do you think is most likely to create great classics today?
The people at the top of the business. Everyone says that rap will end the year 2014. Now the artists at the top of the genre will still be around as long as there is money to be made. Now, if Drake, Meek Mill, Big Sean. We will keep them around for the long-term. So it really is the artists at the top who will decide if the music will pass, and that is what the music industry
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