Robert Glasper's 5 ways to improve black radio:
1. Make a better record than the weak shit I'm currently pimping.
2. Make a better record than the weak shit I'm currently pimping.
3. Make a better record than the weak shit I'm currently pimping.
4. Make a better record than the weak shit I'm currently pimping.
5. Make a better record than the weak shit I'm currently pimping.
Worry less about black radio and more about making GOOD records that matter instead of "soul/jazz" (Read: Only slightly less washed out smooth jazz).
Ha! Gotcha Chuckie. My bad man. I do appreciate the hi-5. You ripped him so bad the first go round that I figured I slipped up on providing the proper context. But your points are definitely well taken. I do think the state of the industry has worsened in the last 15 years or so with all the label consolidation and bean counters being put in key executive positions. All the creatives have been pushed out for the most part. And even though labels may be on their last leg, they still carry a lot of weight on radio. It's like 15% of the music being created (labels) is 100% of what you hear on radio — another dying beast. But damn, they need to keel over already, or innovate.
But yeah, the Internet is the now pipeline across the board, and maybe the "underground railroad" as far as black music is concerned. But it would be nice to hear at least one song from Glasper's album make it onto V-103 (somewhere in between Wayne and Drake) instead of it being relegated to 91.9 (jazz) and 89.3 (non-prof) all the time. Cuz as u said (and I agree), the shit is jammin.
I agree that as a practitioner of the art his assessment of the craft he practices holds more weight than that of a casual observer or commentator…which makes some of his answers all the more frustrating (and I would also argue that someone who's an expert should be less biased, not more). He did acknowledge the imbalance as far as what the gatekeepers allow to get on the air (and I mentioned that he was correct)…but he also said that bitch-ho-money music degrades us as a people, when it's no more degrading than other brainless entertainment is to others corresponding races. The struggles of black people are real and attributing them to some ignorant ass rapper or half-assed singer sort of distracts and detracts from real degradation. Like Bill Cosby, his lack of awareness and unwillingness to grasp/speak about the larger issue is annoying. It's like bitching about some trampled flowers in the yard while the house burns down. And he's not being original in doing this, he's just parroting an oft-espoused fallacy (a la Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton).
His sweeping and shallow generalizations about producers (which is interesting, because at points in history jazz has been wrongfully dismissed as noise) is flawed. He made his point about hustlers in the "producing is a drug" analogy, yes, but in the absence of further context, he disparaged a large swath of musicians who are dedicated to perfecting music using these methods. Ironically, the people he collaborates with have created music with some of those MPC toting producers he's so dismissive of…I will say that there was some vacillation on this particular point, so maybe he wasn't being as clear about his feelings as he intended to be. But as it stands and without clarification, it looks like he's dismissing legit music. Either way, it would have been perfect to acknowledge that there's enough room on the musical spectrum for these things to co-exist successfully. They already do on millions of playlists, so it would just appear that the music industry is running counter to what people actually want, and as a critic he should have seized on this fact.
I take your point about Stax, et all, as the 70s did usher in a wider field of music, but I'd say that was pretty isolated. The music industry as a rule xeroxes its talent and has throughout its existence. You can point to blips in time where the range of offerings expands for a bit (remember the neosoul in the early 2000s?), but ultimately it contracts and we're left with artists who mostly stick to the formula. I just don't think there was this golden "back in the day" period of radio play where artistry trumped business, as Glasper suggests. As with all things, it's easy to get nostalgic and gloss over parts of reality when looking back (especially if you weren't an adult when it was going down).
And yea, man that was a real compliment. Surely, I'm not that much of an asshole where I can't give props without the subject wondering if I'm being ironic, am I? I thought it was good to read to NYT article which focused more on his work and then come here to get the man's feeling about the art in general (as wrongheaded as I think his assessment is in some places). You did a good job of feeling where he wanted to go and offering another dimension that wasn't out there for public consumption. Take the fucking hi-5! I'm holding my palm up and you're just looking warily at me with your hands in your damn pockets...
Hmm, not sure if you're being ironic with last comment Chuckie, but I really didn't see his logic as flawed. It was a reflection of where he's coming from as a trained musician. And I don't think he was speaking on the state of commercial black music in any sort of reactionary way concerning how wider audiences (i.e., white people) view African Americans. He was talking about the huge imbalance that's widely acknowledged in regards to radio and the industry. It's no secret that the industry is pretty one-note, especially when it comes to certain genres (rap, rap-n-b, etc).
But I can see how some of his comments could ruffle feathers in the same way that Bill Cosby did a few years ago when he started ranting about what he saw as a lack of responsibility among the black lower and working class. The main difference here is that Glasper is very much a contributor to the culture. He's a working class, studied musician whose cross-genre collaborations (soul/hip-hop/jazz) have afforded him the opportunity to critique the hell out of it.
The only point he's trying to make in his "producing is the new drug" analogy is that he feels music is more of a hustle than an art form to the new generation. Sure, he has a biased definition of "real music" (instrument-based, etc.) just like some folks have a bias regarding "real hip-hop." But I think there's no denying the influence and allure commercial radio still holds, even in an Internet age. A young kid on the come-up is trying to be seen and heard, so he's going to re-produce what he's seeing and hearing to a certain extent to ensure that. And sure, there was a Motown back in the day, but there was also a Stax, a Philly International, a Curtom, and so on — all representing a wide range of sonic blackness, and all getting airplay at the same time. Impossible to say that today.
When I talked to Glasper he said he's done over 200 interviews for this album, most covering the same ground, so I tried to expand on the convo a bit. Good discussion though.
Hats off to Rodney for getting him to speak frankly, btw. The writeup in the New York Times didn't expose his flawed logic at all. You know how to make people human, don't you?
I downloaded Black Radio yesterday and it's quality shit. I mean real quality shit. I'm playing it now, in fact....but maybe Glasper should shut the fuck up more and just play:
"I think they just play stuff that most of the time puts black people in a bad light. The songs that are so-called hot now talk about bitches and hoes, or money, or just the same stuff that degrades us as a people."
True, they do pick the same bullshit to put out over the airwaves and it should be more varied in regard to what black artists have to offer...but that's where the problem ends. Fuck the good light/bad light bullshitshit. Fuck the perceptions of ignorant, simple minded, racist mutherfuckers who are unable to understand that black people aren't homogenous and represented by a few songs that get played on the radio. Demanding social awareness of every black rapper or singer that gets attention so we'll all be accepted is destructive, unrealistic, and counterproductive...and if you subscribe to the idea that it's necessary, then you make yourself an accomplice of racists. I don't give a fuck about what ignorant niggas do. And if I want to entertain myself by indulging in their ignorance, I can do so without contributing to the impugnment of the black race.. Besides…Chasing/wanting/bragging about bitches, hos, and money is human. It's relevant. Nothing particularly degrading about wanting to get off and get money. I'm a pretty intelligent guy, yet today I'm going to get paid and then later tonight, I'll get laid. And here I am talking about it on CL. Throw in the fact that it's a WHITE piece of ass that I'm plotting on, and it really muddies the waters, doesn't it?
"But back in the day it was the opposite. It wasn't a money thing, it was how different are you and how good are you."
What imaginary time period in commercial music is this fool referring to? Every since the marriage of radio waves and records, music execs have clamored to copy and re-copy successful acts...with the results being very homogenous sounding commercial music. Think Motown. Everyone gets all sentimental about it, but Gordy was churning out some really formulaic sounding shit in the 60s. Nothing new here. We have our moments where the American audience embraces a mold-breaking sound, but that's always been the exception.
"There are certain things you can't translate to a machine or a loop that instruments can do with each person putting that emotion into that guitar part, that drum part, that piano part"
And vice versa. Electronic music made with a sampler, beat machine, or computer is just as relevant as the traditional instruments in a live performance. If I'd been saying this in 1910, sure you could have called me crazy…but the MPC has a respected place in music now; there's some beautiful art being created with USB instruments. True, there are a lot of shitty mouseclickers calling themselves producers, but to characterize all of them as irrelevant shows a terrible lack of awareness -- maybe even a little insecurity. What a fucking dipshit this guy is.
Love his music though.
Welcome to the party, black guy. White people commercial radio has been just as barren for even longer.
I think he means Cumberland Mall. River Bend Apartments, the famous ones, are just inside 285 across the river from Ray's on the River.
Clermont Lounge this Wednesay Feb. 8th - DJ Klever, Grip Plyaz and more (Blondie) bring some ones and have some fun. $5 before 11pm
@miss.quidice look whose STALKING, now...haha. and I didnt say touch it, I said see it..."honey".
@ yelawolffan I am pretty sure he would'nt let you touch it honey.
i wanna see his dick...
riders OF the storm
riders OF the storm
I MAKE MY OWN DAMN WORDS
THEY'RE TOO HARD TO RECALL
LIKE A WHITE GUY FULL OF INK
OR A BRAINDEAD BUNCH OF TWINKS
riders OF the storm
Riders of the storm...ummm a little band called the Doors...for real..??
"riders of the storm"?
i wanna see this "storm" chick before i pass judgement on what is, on the surface, a terrible tattoo.
I like that he's out there, takin' it sleazy for me.
Vox, it was with airtime and mass popularity that Neil Young, Sabbath, CCR, etc. were able to change consciousness with their music. Maybe the reason today's "alt" musicians aren't pulling their political weight is exactly what they're griping about in this article.
And maybe they're already discussing social inequities in their lyrics...have you checked?
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