Imagine this: it’s a beautiful day in 2008 when you’ve just come back from a typical day at work or school. With some time to spare, you go to your computer to surf the internet, spotting an array of websites that are releasing recordings from what could be a new generation of artists to dominate the coming decade. In awe of sharing this treasure trove of records from the underground and music, you upgrade you MySpace account and iPod playlist to reflect your new discoveries, and introduce people to this new group of emerging artists. This was the basis for what would later become the blog era.
With the market for physical mixtapes falling because of legal restrictions as well as the influx of fans and artists to the internet, which is now a booming medium to share music. It doesn’t matter if you share the project with a buddy or uploading a track that you’ve recorded, the various websites available helped make it easier for songs to be shared worldwide in a quick manner. It took a while until major record labels get the new ways of sharing music, and the majority of artists that emerged that they weren’t fake funk. It was a period when authenticity was at its peak in hip-hop, bringing it to the forefront and tearing down barriers imposed on the scene. A time that we thought was a given The purpose of this article is to examine the elements that made the blog era unique.
Within the extravagant Ringtone Rap and Autotune era in the 1990s, the music industry was trying to identify the next generation of stars that could bring the center for attention to basic elements of hip-hop. Barebones beats, rhymes were being replaced with repetitive tunes and billboards that were manufactured; however, things were going to alter.
Through the combination of YouTube’s growing popularity and MySpace’s massive access to the internet the artists were able to discover a way to make their songs heard around the world, bypassing the role of middleman labels have performed in the music industry. Although it appears as if that this change took place overnight but it will take some time before the general public could be able to catch up with these new strategies. At first they were seen more as social platforms for those with a lot of time to spare rather than as an opportunity to develop an empire in music. But the people who were engaged on these websites created a cul-de-sac on the internet where music was the primary kind of media shared.
The system could eventually be translated to personal blogs that share the latest music. Websites such as 2DopeBoyz, DatPiff and RapRadar will spotlight emerging artists with reviews and updates for hip-hop lovers to keep abreast with the evolution of the industry. As labels are slammed for the fake formulas they used to create the Billboard chart, these sites could be instrumental in disseminating the message of artists who had grown fed up with major labels who dictated what was popular in the music industry.
While the internet would receive its first taste of mixtapes from established artists such as Lil Wayne and Lupe Fiasco The world would witness its first product of the blog age through the unique duo from Chicago called the Cool Kids. Made up of ambidextrous hip-hop stars Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks, The Cool Kids were trailblazers through the latter half of 2000’s, gaining MySpace popularity, which opened the way for artists to be successful in their pursuit of art. Their retro-styled music and modern style practically spawned the music industry on the internet and brought attention towards the social network for mini-A&R’s that helped promote the upcoming talents.
The situation quickly exploded following the popularity in popularity of The Cool Kids as we saw the hip-hop fans of the future find the link that connects contemporary hip-hop with its origins. However, the most significant aspect of the time was the colossal quantity of risk taking musicians take in their music, largely because of the lack of restrictions and easy barriers to access. It was the time when anyone could sign up and publish an album, but how do you be distinguished as an individual from the sea of creativity. Due to this, rappers will begin to move beyond the confines of hip-hop in search of the new sounds that they have fused. Artists such as Kid Cudi and Drake would widen the horizons of hip-hop by going to the alternate and R&B space for their distinct styles, while Smoke DZA or Curren$y could be a bit more minimalist when traversing the different hip-hop scenes of the country to find ideas.
A reliable measure of the extent to which an era was successful out to be would be the output and the quality level it offered. Mixtapes played a significant part in the blog age in that they were a promotion tool for building a fan base based on the free music. Prior to this point, mixtapes were viewed as collections of loosies or beats that were repurposed with no significance for the artist, aside from being a collection of lyrical exercise (however the first mixtape period had its own weight in importance, which is often overlooked until the present day). With the advent of new horizons artists’ demonstrations would soon be transformed into fully-fledged albums which could be used as standalone albums. The ease of access to the internet allowed artists to publish new music regularly. In combination with an unparalleled amount in ambition time will see a new generation of hustlers transform their pain into passion, and releasing new music on a weekly basis.
Because the music we listen to is dependent on various experiences each person has each person has their own opinion on which project truly contributed to the blog time. The blog era’s veteran Andrew Barber (also known as FakeShoreDrive) addressed this issue the listeners were eager to share the projects that best represent the current hip-hop scene for them. Yet, no project created an impact on the hip-hop scene in the era of 2010 as much as Wiz Khalifa’s mixtape of 2010, Kush & O.J. What made this project unique was its instant connection to the present and the upcoming generation of people who had just entered the internet. Instead of focusing on the place he grew up in, Wiz rapped about the daily things he wanted to do, opening up the doors to accessibility for every kind of audience. While marijuana was a major theme for Wiz his project, it perfectly did justice to everything the blog era was all about making music that connects with people and having fun doing it.
At a time when signing with a record company was almost mandatory to witness a tiny amount of success within the industry the blog-era artists were making the impossible possible by achieving Billboard status and doing what they enjoyed. Artists such as Drake, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole and many more made their way into the mainstream, although some did stumble in their quest to discover their way and stumble, they resulted in a new generation of artists who could succeed by doing things the way they wanted to. from Black Hippy to A$AP Mob to Beast Coast, the latter part of the blog-era artists were able capture the social media intimacy of their fans and further develop their base to write their own legacy.
The stronger connection among fans with their favourite artists is another thing that truly made this era unique. Artists were once again available to their fans , instead of being hidden behind the fan club’s posts and paparazzi pictures. Being able interact with your favorite singer or rapper via these platforms made a difference for many fans as they were able to remain connected and be their true persona. There weren’t any middlemen or publicists involved and this led to some unexpected viral events However, having a direct relationship with your fans can help develop a more cohesive core and keeps listeners interested in the progress you’re making.
The splendor in the blog age stems from the many good ugly, bad, and good it went through. The humble origins that led to MySpace success to Hollywood transformations we hated and the independent hustle, to the overnight successes the blog era could be successful because people could watch their favorite artists as they made their climb towards the heights. Instead of consuming the information that radio was feeding the general public, hip-hop fans were able to remove the junk and eulogize those who were worthy of the national platform.
It was an exceptional time because it brought the spirit back into the sport. There was a time when people felt that the passion waned down, as the music industry was dominated by self-centered labels that dictated the path of the musicians. When it seemed like we’d lost our voice about what was successful in the world of music and the music industry, a new generation of people who were not a part of the mainstream but had a love for their music turned the direction of the ocean and brought attention back to what truly was important: creating music that stood through the long-term test of time.