The recent raid and arrests of DJ Drama and Don Cannon have shaken up the extire mixtape tape world and some of the largest mixtape distributors, sites, and DJ?s have ceased selling their products. Many in the industry are running for cover and contemplating what the future has in store for Hip Hop, mixtapes, and their role in the music industry.
The importance of mixtapes and CD?s to the vitality and promotion of music is undisputed and has been recognized by major record labels for quite some time now. This acknowledgement is not typically spoken of publicly, but at the same time is very real and known amongst those involved in the inner circles of the business. With mixtape DJ?s wielding an extraordinary amount of political power and being heavily supported by major record labels, why is it that the RIAA seems to have such contempt for the very same people who are directly responsible for the commercial success of artists and their labels?
I?ve come to believe that these recent events could just possibly be the moment that many hip hop fans realize how much influence and control corporate entities have exerted on Hip Hop culture and music. From such companies as Sprite, Courvoisier, Gucci, etc., many of us have seen the writing on the wall for a long time, but have had no single event that has shed such a clear light on the nature of the industry. I remember a time when counterculture fans and underground artists dictated to the establishment what the trends to follow were. Unfortunately, it seems that in current times corporate America dictates to society what is popular and trendy. In my eyes mixtapes are the last stand in Hip Hop, showing major labels what people really want to see and hear. They offer up and coming artists the opportunity to be heard, established artists a way to connect with fans, and record companies a chance to test market new material.
How long can hip hop fans endure persecution and prosecution by the same companies that we have continued to support and build? Perhaps it is time that the rest of us begin to show the music industry just how we really feel about issues such as file sharing, so-called bootlegging, and mixtapes. After all, we are the ones that keep the music business alive.