Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hip Hop Talking Points 7: Hip-Hop and the Corporate Function of Colonization


      In Jared Bell's "Hip Hop and the Corporate Function of Colonization, the main argument is that the corporate center of what is distributed is controlling how hip hop is getting out there.  "These developments can only be understood in the context of a continuing process of subjugation in which media play a primary role in suppressing dissent."  This is basically explaining that media plays a major role in suppressing the other.  Those that are on the outside of pop culture are ignored.
     The first thing he mentioned was the increasing of postal for magazines.  He also mentions the charging of per song royalty fees.  This was the only piece that I wasn't quite sure how it led to control.  Independent radio stations would pay more for songs but independent artists that are not signed might benefit from having a way for them to get some royalties.  I know a lot of record companies are doing things like this because they are dealing with illegal downloading. 
    It then talks about censorship with Interscope and Young Buck. I was curious about other artists on Interscope Records.  From wikipedia: (
Looking at this list which also includes Eminem and 50 Cent many of those artists have gotten away with much worse stuff.  There is a lot of anti female and anti gay lyrics in those songs.  Fuck The Police may have been a polically driven song.  Even Lady Gaga is on this label. I can't really picture someone telling her not to record a song because it has lyrics dealing with being transexual or gay. It is interesting to think that the record label is controlling what can be put out there and what can't.  Different artists are associated with different thinks.  Maybe Eminem and 50 cent have been told no, or maybe they are just making the sales.  How does money figure into this?
   Also I thought of the company I work for Walmart.  Walmart is known for censoring music before it is sold on the shelves.  It is not just hip hop but heavy metal and rock acts like Green Day that fall victim to that.  I am not a big listener of hip hop but I know that a lot of it is poetry and the lyrics mean something.  I can't help thinking about the 1960's when the protest movement was going on.  Was anyone censoring Bob Dylan or other musicians at that time. Hip Hop is the almost the modern day equivelant to that.  It is the way that teenagers relate to the world outside and learn to question authority.  Questioning the authority, in this case corporate America, is something that people do not what to do.  If we have seen in Egypt and other places in the middle East, it is the way that social change and growth happens. 
Points to share:  Does Hip Hop relate to other movements in earlier decades?
   Is it a money issue or a media control issue?
  Is there any other ways that corporate media controls the content we hear and see?

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