Rox: MotivationWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the wake of the Grammys and the lack of categories for quality music, I found myself asking artists what was their motivation for making music? Is it to make money and buy big cars? Or are you the artist’s artist where it’s about the music and its content or perhaps, to reach listeners with an important message? Every genre took a loss with the eliminations of categories including urban music like rap, R&B and, the most heavily hit, gospel.
This absence of variety did not go unnoticed to (do you mean to say “by”) many of the local Toledo talent. As I watched I couldn’t help feeling that this is not just a game changer, but an opportunity for artists everywhere to step up their game and write, produce and perform from the heart. Hip-hop has lost more than just a few Grammy categories: Hip-hop has lost heart and you can’t spell heart without the word art. I get accosted by individuals that “do music,” but few are truly artists or even musicians. As a DJ, I can tell within the first few seconds of their song if it is real or just a replication of what they feel will land them on the radio. Some local talent will concern themselves with radio spins rather than creating a soul-searched, heartfelt, honest project.
Watching Adele sweep the Grammys with a “break-up” album was something you really couldn’t be upset about considering she did exactly what she was supposed to do. After going through what she called in her acceptance speech a “rubbish relationship,” she wrote songs about her feelings pertaining to that moment in time, left it all on the stage/album and the rest is history. Real will always beat out the carefully crafted or overly produced efforts and that is what we watched happen Grammy night 2012. I don’t know about you, but it felt good to know the musical bar had (re)risen that night and everyone was going to be held accountable for every aspect of their music from now on if they ever wanted a shot at earning a Grammy.
Emphases were placed on elements that mattered when considering music as a career, such as subject matter, vocal delivery and musical elements from production to mixing and mastering. An artist should be completely involved, working side by side with the experts working on their project.
However, none of the aforementioned is relevant if the artist’s motivation is money. For them the term “artist” is used loosely, because music is not a passion, just a means to an end, be it wealth or a job situation. Unfortunately for hip-hop and R&B, there is plenty of this type of talent where they just want to be famous and their music has little to do with art and more to do with money. What this type of talent fails to understand is that when the art comes, first the accolades and money usually follow. The commercial airwaves are clogged with meaningless music during a time when there is an abundance of social issues in America and around the world, providing the most interesting writing material to appear in years. The fact that the urban community is still stuck in the “party and bull****” era of the late ’90s has done the entire hip-hop and R&B genre a disservice. Steamy sex songs and declaration anthems have replaced love and social commentary as subject matter.
Pay attention to the list of a few hip-hop artists that have won Grammys, like Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” Eminem’s “The Slim Shady LP,” “The Marshall Mathers LP,” “Relapse” and “Recovery,” OutKast’s “Stankonia” and “SpeakerBoxxx/The Love Below” and Kanye West’s “The College Dropout,” “Late Registration,” “Graduation” and his 2012 winner “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Listen to these projects and when you’re done ask yourself, “What is my motivation?” Be real, be open, be original and above all be inspiring.
As we continue on …