Thoughts on the Hip Hop Panel - Jasmine Omorogbe
I found the panel to be interesting, but at the same time, somewhat lackluster. The panelists gave long answers to the questions and sometimes, danced around the original question rather than giving a direct answer. I understand schedule conflicts and such, however, I would have enjoyed (1) more panelists (2) panelists from varied backgrounds, possibly an actual rapper as to illustrate opinions from both theory and practice.
I was quite surprised by fellow classmate, Sarah Osborne's comment in her blog response that she expected the panelists to be more "thuggish". What does that even mean? Do you automatically only associate hip hop with "thugs"? However, that is an issue for a different panel, i guess.
There were a few points that resonated with me throughout the panel:
I was quite pleased with the way Pate handled the question about the validity of academics in hip hop. I had never really thought of that aspect. Critics and scholars serve as "protectors" of the art form. There to record its history as well as constantly challenge it. They are objective observers who support the art but are there to ask the tough questions about it. They are still participants of the culture, just through the form of scholarship.
Secondly, the explanation that Melisa Riviere gave about the way music gets played on the radio was very informative to me. One of my questions was in reference to Tricia Rose's discussion about rap as "apolitical party music" versus it being more political, "complex and direct". (Rose 276). I was wondering if the mainstream music of today was an example of artists just "giving the people what they want" or if the artist create it and push it upon the people. Her explanation of how big record companies have departments and people specifically positioned to "jam the stations" was intriguing and the average person may not know that. It seems as if radio is a democracy, people call in and request songs, etc but really the gatekeeping aspect of the system is in full effect. In a capitalist system, it makes sense, money makes the world go round. However, as far as integrity, conglomerates/big controlling companies help make it so that that is not a core value within the music business. thus, in the end, radio is only another vehicle that is being used to drive hip hop into the ground.