The DJ is one of the pillars on which Hip-Hop was built, even coming before the MC. The DJ is as essential to rap as the guitar is to rock, as brass & woodwinds are to jazz. That role could never be filled by technological advances. And of course, bloggers will never show up @ the local club to spin records & provide commentary along with each track. Hell, bloggers generally don’t leave the house, do they?
But there was a time when the music played by Clue, Kay Slay, Drama, and other top tier DJs would be the “hot” song or sound for the coming weeks & months. If Flex dropped bombs over it, it was official. If Kay Slay brought it back two or three times & dropped one of his signature catchphrases, it was official. No questions asked. Even if it was new & you weren’t in tune with it, you listened to it several times to get your ass in tune, especially for those of us who breathe the music & not just listen to it.
When you think of Web 2.0 and relate it to where you receive your doses of what’s next, where do you go to get those songs & to whose suggestions do you listen? With the overwhelming amount of crap material out there, who do you look to for help sifting through it? When you want an unfiltered, non-payola opinion on an album or artist, who do you turn to?
Many of us are members of some online forum where we stay current with the e-pulse to see who or what’s hot in music. You may check for _______ (insert blog name here) to clue you in and/or put the music on your plate. You might come see us for suggestions…or you might find your way into the comments section to exchange new material with like-minded people whose choices you’ve found to be correct before. Either way you end up online, normally on some blog, looking for it.
And that same boat is filled with it’s share of artists as well. Years prior, a new cat looking to get on would be happy to be featured a Clue tape, even @ the end. While the hand-to-hand “listen to my demo” process will never die between little artists, bigger artists & DJs, many upstart musicians have turned to more accessible online avenues like Myspace and Youtube. They incorporate email blasts into their grind, making sure to cultivate a mailing list of sites & bloggers. These upstarts know that if they’re featured on those sites they’ll gain new listeners much faster than they could otherwise. Why? Because bloggers have the ears for the new artists and a direct pipeline to perfectly matched audiences around the globe. And once the e-avant garde deems it worthy, larger avenues & flocks of followers preach it as the gospel.
So do you still check for the DJ? Do you run to the barbershop or the swap meet to cop the latest mixtapes in hopes of hearing the next big thing in good music? Or are you the one now going into the barbershop selling burned cds and tellin’ them what to listen for?