The other day, a friend of mine came up to me and told me about a radio DJ that he’d spoken to, that said he wasn’t going to play my “Say Wassup” single feat. Phonte, because my name wasn’t hot enough in the streets. Back when I was signed to
, this type of information would’ve shaken me up enough to ask for the DJs number, call him, invite him to dinner or do whatever it took to get my record one or two spins. My reaction however, was almost the complete opposite. “Fuck em! I ain’t got the $150,000 it takes to make a real push for radio anyway.” In order to support my claim, think about it like this. How can you tell me the top 8 at 8 is damn near the same all over the country? Who are the real record breakers in the age of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and whatever socialsite.com. I barely know anyone who proudly proclaims to listen to terrestrial radio anymore and club DJs tend to play what people already know, so again I ask, where do new records get broken? The majority of new records that I’ve heard this year whether it be Drake, Skyzoo, B.o.B., etc. I’ve gotten from online/ It seems as though these are the only entities that aren’t scared to profile new music anymore or are not holding for ransom new music.
So then the question comes back around, how can the DJ keep his/her relevancy? Artists find themselves in almost impossible situations. There are thousands of DJs in every state, that all want drops, special freestyles and a phone call when you get to town. Everyone wants to be the artist’s friends, just as the artist needs to be the friend of the DJ. However, the DJ isn’t obligated to the artist, but more and more the artist is in debt to the DJ. When 80% of the time, DJs are not playing who they like or who they know. In the case of radio, they are playing what they are ordered to play. And in the case of some club DJs, they are playing whatever they think people want to hear. There are very few brave souls out there, that DJ the way they want to, and still have the talent and skill to make people feel it because of how they mix, blend and rotate the music. But these tenacious spirits are becoming so rare that new artists and artists who’ve so-called lost their relevancy are turning to he blogosphere. Once their songs blow up, they are not as warm to the DJs who passed them up the first time.
More and more hip-hop sites are popping up every week and becoming popular because of the endless new music, news and unique perspectives on hip-hop. If radio, music television and yes, even the DJ is to survive, they must be able to compete; meaning the same music you love to listen to when you’re in your car should kind of match the music you play on your show. I submit that in order to compete, the DJ must take back his courage and begin to not only play records, but break them.