Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dart Adams On Rap Radar, Hot 97 & Hip-Hop Opportunism

I'm a big fan of Peter Rosenberg.  I don't listen to his radio show much, but I do catch his podcast whenever he has a guest of interest.  So a few days ago I came across a discussion between Rosenberg and his program director.  The program director was feeling rather self-important that day, seeing as Sean Price has done a lot more for Hip-Hop than he ever has.  But anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.  That video led me to this article by one of my favorite follows on Twitter, Dart Adams aka Bastard Swordsman.  It's a bit of a long read, but it's a good one.

Bastard Swordsman, Execution Of A Chump © Gang Starr

Back on December 5th, I was on Twitter and I saw a tweet from Brian “B.Dot” Miller of Rap Radar run across my timeline via an RT that seemed extremely hypocritical to me so I decided to add my two cents to it and RT it myself. It ended up looking like this:
RT @bdotTM: mainstream rap music sounds like this: swag, molly, rich, flexin’ (repeat). [But y’all don’t really promote shit else so….]

I was very amused by B.Dot’s complaints about mainstream Rap considering that his site Rap Radar upholds the status quo and the overwhelming majority of drek posted on said site falls under that exact description and is posted by B.Dot himself. What followed were a few RT’s of my RT and a discussion amongst some fellow tweeters that also felt that B.Dot’s comment was hypocritical and found it humorous. I didn’t think anything else of it until a couple of days later when B.Dot suddenly developed a conscience and made a post about the state of NY Rap radio on Rap Radar.

I was going off on Complex’s terrible “25 Rap Albums From The Past Decade That Deserve Classic Status” that morning and I spent the afternoon rehashing the career of my late fellow Bostonian Patrice O’Neal on Twitter so while I saw a debate raging on my timeline I really didn’t go too deep into it although the gist of it was B.Dot called on Hot 97 for not playing more New York Hip-Hop. Considering that I’d been calling out Rap Radar for not supporting Hip-Hop period from day one I found the entire exercise to be ridiculous. It was like the pot calling the kettle a “nigger” in my estimation. I ultimately decided to actually follow the debate closer.

I decided to read B.Dot’s half hearted post where he took Ebro the Hot 97 Program Director to task for not playing “at least 5 local records into their daily mix”. Really? That’s all you want? That’s your main issue with NY Rap radio? I read on and B.Dot pulled yet another hypocritical move by focusing on Ebro’s characterization of NYC underground Hip-Hop as being in the “minor leagues” in his discussion with Peter Rosenberg, host of “The Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg Show With Kay Foxx” and the “Real Late Show” on Hot 97.

I read on as B.Dot went off on Hot 97 for their inability to “showcase more local talent during the course of a full business day”. The same B.Dot who regularly ignores a gang of local Hip-Hop talent and fails to showcase it daily to instead post music that falls under the same umbrella that he just criticized two days previous. He then characterized Peter Rosenberg’s “Real Late Show” (the show that actually supports much of the local Hip-Hop that B.Dot himself ignores) as having “the dreaded, Sunday 12am- 2am time slot”.

Hold on, what other NYC Hip-Hop radio show occupied that same “dreaded” time slot? Oh, I remember…the Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Show on 88.9! The greatest and most influential Hip-Hop radio show of all times that aired in that same time slot on WKCR and spread nationwide and overseas via tapes in a pre-internet era. If B.Dot actually knew anything about Hip-hop or NY radio he would’ve known that. Actually, what Hip-hop head doesn’t already know that? Surely not one that should be criticizing NY’s Rap radio lack of local artists (that they don’t support in the first place).

In the closing paragraph of B.Dot’s supposed “Moment Of Clarity” he wrote this telling passage “This is bullshit. Hot 97 embraces artists only after they’re successful—or have money behind their songs.”. Well, I’ll be damned! Did B.Dot just criticize Hot 97 for not supporting up & coming rappers considering that he’s said on multiple occasions that Rap Radar doesn’t do it, either? When pressed about the issue he typically passes the buck and claims that there are other sites that do that and it’s not part of what Rap Radar does. In fact, he’s used analogies similar to the same one he criticized Ebro for using in the past to explain why there’s no support for underground or indie Hip-Hop on Rap Radar. Let’s go back to that for a moment, shall we?

A few days later, B.Dot posted Sean Price’s response to Peter Rosenberg after getting wind of Ebro’s comments complete with an iTunes purchase link to “Mic Tyson”. Just one issue with that, where was this same support of “Mic Tyson” back on October 30th when “Mic Tyson” first dropped? Oh, that’s right! On that day, rather than support any of the numerous indie Hip-Hop/Rap albums that dropped that day Rap Radar instead chose to promote MMG artist Meek Mill’s “Dreams And Nightmares”.

That means that Rap Radar chose to overlook Sean Price, Craig G, MHz, The Black Opera, Audible Doctor and Journalist 103 on that day. B.Dot decided to post Sean Price’s reaction to his “minor league” characterization by Hot 97’s Ebro when his own poor track record when it comes to supporting underground and indie Hip-Hop is made known with every passing Tuesday. This makes Brian “B.Dot” Miller look like an opportunist and a hypocrite simultaneously. Makes you begin to question the motives behind his sudden campaign to bring balance to Hot 97’s airwaves, doesn’t it?

In B.Dot’s initial “Moment Of Clarity” post he wrote the following passage in regards to Hot 97, ” Instead of being innovators, Hot has followed the playlists of other regions. Locals are now forced to play second string to outta town rookies like Trinidad James and Chief Keef”. Shortly after posting these words, both Chief Keef and Trinidad James make appearances on Rap Radar next to Bow Wow, Future, B.o.B & Taylor Swift and even an EDM duo YMCMB recently signed.

I didn’t find New York emcee Meyhem Lauren’s recently released “Mandatory Brunch Sessions” anywhere on Rap Radar after B.Dot’s post but I DID find multiple posts featuring Trinidad James (posted by B.Dot himself) whom he just used as an example of who radio is “forced” to play in lieu of New York Rap from local emcees. What gives? Well, that’s to be expected considering B.Dot pretty much ignored Action Bronson until he appeared on “Last Call With Carson Daly” last fall. I guess “Dr. Lecter” wasn’t enough on it’s own?

By now, the entire Rap Radar vs. Hot 97 debate was raging all over Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the blogosphere. Many were congratulating B.Dot for taking a stand for NYC Hip-Hop but there were a bunch of us that weren’t buying it at all. I judge people by their actions as opposed to what they say. If you take a position and you don’t follow it up with actions that contradict your previous position or stance then the only logical conclusion to draw is you’re an insincere or disingenuous person. Some laymen would typically categorize a person who fits these criterion as a “fuckboy”. I know I do.

In B.Dot’s second “Moment Of Clarity” post which occurred four days after his initial post (in which span of time he did nothing significant to support local New York Hip-Hop through his own actions) he offered the following tidbit about Rap Radar (in addition to passing the blame again and not shouldering any personal responsibility per usual), “If you’re visiting this website, chances are you’re a hip-hop nerd. Myself included”. Is that right? Most people that would categorize themselves as such would actually act as if they gave a fuck about Hip-Hop. In reality, most Hip-Hop nerds regularly critique the radio and it’s practices and have been doing so in excess of a decade. Not just four days ago.

You can’t call someone else out for not doing that which you’re not willing to do yourself. That’s just common sense. In that same span of time, Peter Rosenberg brought the issue to that fuckboy Hot 97 Program Director Ebro, let his feelings be known and even had callers express their feelings to him live on the air. Here’s the thing, I remember Peter Rosenberg from back in his college days in Maryland writing about Hip-Hop and interviewing greats for Roger Gastman’s magazine “While You Were Sleeping” and as an extended member of Low Budget Crew.

I know where Rosenberg stands in regards to Hip-Hop already. He’s been consistent in his position and convictions for more than 12 years now. He does what he can to support indie and underground Hip-Hop. He not only talks the talk but he actively puts action behind it. I’ve criticized B.Dot directly for his constant complaining about constantly being under fire for not supporting a wider array of Rap/Hip-Hop on Rap Radar for years.

What has he done? Fall back on the same tired excuse that it’s not Rap Radar’s place to do so. But he wants someone else to do it? I learned early on that I should be the change I’m attempting to enact. If I wasn’t willing to embody my beliefs and statements and back them up then I probably should shut the fuck up and have a seat.

B.Dot has shit on indie & underground Hip-Hop repeatedly over the years but now that it’s convenient for him and his brand new position now he wants to mention it. Let’s assume that B.Dot has always felt this way about NY radio and Hot 97 for years but held his tongue. In which case, he’s a huge coward. Let’s instead take the position that it took B.Dot until December 5th, 2012 for his tolerance level for bullshit to finally be peaked. That being the case then how come B.Dot’s actions nor his most recent posts on Rap Radar don’t reflect that? If B.Dot hasn’t previously supported the numerous New York emcees in his backyard then he should’ve began doing so. He hasn’t.

B.Dot and Rap Radar has overlooked quality New York Rap at every turn in 2012. I can find 10 posts featuring Lola Monroe from this year alone but when I search for any mention of Torae I get only 4 (none since 2010) total posts. Torae has released “For The Record” & “Off The Record EP” since then but he hasn’t warranted any mention?  I searched Skyzoo and I found only 8 posts (all made between 2010 and now).

I searched Homeboy Sandman and I found only one mention (from 2010). Homeboy Sandman has released 4 total projects since 2010 (that all were extremely well received) but somehow this top New York emcee hasn’t popped up on Rap Radar’s radar? Ka (who might’ve made the album of the year) wasn’t even mentioned ONCE. Roc Marciano racked up 10 total mentions going back to 2010 and NONE even mentioned either of his albums “Marcberg” or the recently released “Reloaded”. Very telling indeed.

By the same token Trinidad James has racked up 10 posts on Rap Radar in the span of a week. A WEEK. It took Sean Price more than a year to be mentioned that much and he’s a legitimate legend with a career that goes back to the mid 90’s. The proof is right there in the search bar. Rap Radar treats underground NY emcees like they’re minor leaguers but B.Dot wants to call someone else out for doing the very same. But we already knew that. After all, we’re not stupid. Are we? I mean how many cats gave B.Dot props for his halfassed attempt at raging against the machine when he is actually part of it himself?

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