What’s good dear people, welcome to our third @WiseMenRadio Weekly Wise Words article. Apologies for the delay, it’s been one crazy week. So this week, we wanted to address something that is rather a hot topic amongst the local headz, from the MCs, patrons/listeners to event promoters. So let’s get into it then.
The last two weeks saw quite a few events go down within the streets of Jozi, events like the Eric Lau gig or the DJ Rasta Root gig and Maftown Heights. However, those aren’t the gigs we want to talk about, the gigs that are in question are the SA Hip Hop Awards and most recently what was supposed to be the SA Hip Hop Expo featuring the legendary C-Rayz Walz. Now I say ‘supposed to be’ because, as some of you may know, C-Rayz never pitched, as in he wasn’t there, he didn’t perform, he wasn’t in the country… I’m sure you get the point. Now C-Rayz himself has explained and let his fans know that it was out of his control, as the powers that be just wouldn’t let him leave the good old USA. However it seems that the message was not conveyed to the people who went to the gig and some felt as if the event promoter (who shall remain nameless) should have alerted them as to what was going on in regard to C-Rayz’s performance or lack thereof, especially because the promoter allegedly had three days to let people know.
Now with the SA Hip Hop awards, things weren’t as calamitous for the organisers. In fact from what we heard, things went pretty well for an inaugural event. However, there was the slight hiccup also known as AKA (excuse the pun); for those of you who aren’t in the know, SA’s self proclaimed prince of Hip Hop went at the event organisers because he wasn’t invited to perform and because he wasn’t given enough time to let his fans know about the voting set up (allegedly so) and subsequently, he boycotted the event because of these reasons.
Now this is what we want to know. In regard to the SA Hip Hop Expo, it was rather unfortunate that C-Rayz could not attend, but it was neither his or the event promoter’s fault. Could the event promoter have done a better job in letting the people know about C-Rayz inability to attend? Yes. But is the anger warranted? Just because C-Rayz could not make it to the event and people were not informed about this in time, does that justify making threats to both C-Rayz and the promoter? I mean, this guy did manage to organize twenty other LOCAL artists to also attend/perform, and is it not a slap in their faces when people decide to turn at the door and go spend their money elsewhere? Is the appreciation for our own MCs that minuscule that we as the patrons would rather not spend our money at all , just because ONE international act is not performing?
Now with the AKA and the SA Hip Hop Awards saga, it’s seems to be a tricky one. It’s not so black and white, some people feel that he had every right to feel aggrieved and seeing as he is the ‘man of the moment’, he should have been asked to perform. Others say he is not bigger than Hip Hop and that he was overly arrogant in voicing his grievances as he made it seem that it was his birthright to be on that stage and perform. But is it? Just because you are the man of the moment, does it mean you deserve to be on the stage? Does it mean you get to call the shots as to how the event organisers should put together the awards? What if their plan is to grow the awards and invite him down the line to perform when there’s a broadcaster involved and a bigger audience? Or maybe they have seen him all over the place, performing at countless award shows and felt that he might be too saturated? Who knows what their reasoning was for not inviting him to perform. What we are trying to figure out is, did any of that warrant AKA boycotting the first SA Hip Hop Awards? I mean, is this not a moment to support and celebrate local Hip Hop? With those actions, couldn’t one look at it as AKA saying if it’s not about him shining, then he’s not really about others getting a little bit of ‘his glow’? Some would say his ‘star power’ would have surely added to the prestige of the event and given the awards added clout.
Is this just a matter of looking out for number one? Will local Hip Hop ever get the support it so badly needs and has been crying for? With those questions asked, we come to our point. NO, local Hip Hop won’t get the support it needs, not as long as people turn around and go spend their money elsewhere just because some international act is not there, there were TWENTY other local acts performing on the same stage that C-Rayz would have, yet some people went elsewhere. How can we grow our industry if our money is only good enough to see an international? People are willing to pay R1000 to see Kanye, but on the average, won’t even pay the R50 that is asked of them to get into a monthly party. For as long as an artist makes an evening about himself and not the bigger picture, we won’t grow. We are sure AKA felt he had more than legitimate reasons to not go, and we are not attacking him for doing so, but highlighting the fact that, when an artist of his calibre boycotts such an effort like the SA Hip Hop Awards, it doesn’t help us grow as a culture, as an industry… most importantly, as a movement. He was nominated for eight awards, won four, but because he wasn’t asked to perform, he refused to attend! Does the fact that he got recognition from the awards with eight nominations (more so than anyone else) not mean a thing?
It’s not only the patrons who must support local Hip Hop, but the MC’s too. Just because you aren’t performing, it doesn’t mean you can’t go there and celebrate and support your fellow peers either, wouldn’t you say? Yes, the promoters have a lot of work to do, they are far from perfect; however, they are the only ones trying. There are but a few promoters within this country who specialize in Hip Hop events, and clearly they still have learning to do, but that shall come (we hope). But in the meantime it is up to everybody else to stop saying “we don’t support local” and actually support local, pay the R50-R200 they are asking for you to see local MC’s on the stage, go to that award show and support your fellow artists (even if you haven’t been asked to perform). Because it is in that way that we will be able to make the corporates wake up and take note of us and FINALLY invest the way they need to so that WE can put SA Hip Hop on the map. It is in those very gestures that we will finally be able to say we have arrived.
Let us know what you think. Do you think SA Hip Hop is just fine and doesn’t need support, the support is already there or are we on to something here? Till then, remember to check us out every Tuesday from 5-8pm CAT @WiseMenRadio, only on @rhythm100radio www.rhtyhm100radio.co.za or R100.mobi. Peace