2DBZ Presents DJ Eclipse: Give the DJ a Break ep.5

By now, some of you may have heard the Hot 97 fuckery that went down a couple of days ago. If not, let us catch you up real quick. Hot 97′s program director Ebro, while on Peter Rosenberg’s The Realness, took shots at artists like Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$ and Sean Price whom he considered “minor league” rap. Ebro further ranted on, saying these artists are “Still on the come up. We put em on Peter Rosenberg’s Real Late Show until they make it to prime time.” Sean Price, who is by no means “on the come up” (Heltah Skeltah, anyone?), is not one to bite his tongue, and took to Twitter to express his sentiments on the subject:

The big homie DJ Eclipse, who’s currently on tour in Europe with La Coka Nostra, heard about this fuckery and decided to write in his thoughts on the subject.

DJ Eclipse: “Radio, 97 Never Plays Me”

Well, they did for a short time in the mid-90s anyway. By now I’m sure most of you have heard the statement made by Ebro of Hot 97 who is the Program Director up there. When asked why they don’t play more New York based artists his response was, “We support those records, but those are for the minor leagues right now” (allocating them to Rosenberg’s show). Granted, most of the groups he goes on to mention ARE new artists. Maybe they DO need to put out a few more records before getting rotation. Hell, I’m not even sure if all the acts he named even have sellable albums out. BUT, where I wholeheartedly disagree with him is when he mentions acts like Sean Price whose career not only has grown as a solo artist since his beginnings in Heltah Skeltah, but is also one of the bigger independent artists out now and can probably take the throne for “most featured on a record.”

But let’s not stop there. How about other New York/New Jersey acts like Masta Ace, Freddie Foxxx, M.O.P., Craig G, Large Professor, Dres, Pacewon, Talib Kweli, Public Enemy, Sadat X, Buckshot, Raekwon and El-P – what, they are not “new” enough? Ok, how about Torae, Skyzoo, Roc Marciano, Rasheed Chappell, Meyhem Lauren, Action Bronson, Homeboy Sandman, Immortal Technique, Brown Bag AllStars, AWAR…all acts from the New York/New Jersey region and all have put out NEW material for SALE over the last year. Let’s keep going though. Let’s not alienate acts from across the U.S. that came up on that “New York Sound” like Slaine, Chino XL, Bishop Lamont, Evidence, Termanology, Phonte, Big Pooh, Freeway, Guilty Simpson, Sick Jacken, Planet Asia, Apathy, Brother Ali, Blacastan….this is just off the top of the head. There’s a ton more, but these are acts that are a staple in our culture and aren’t going away. And that’s not to say that every record made by these artists are commercial radio playable, but you could definitely find enough material here to help balance out a 2012 commercial radio playlist. One could also argue the point that the lack of Hot 97’s support to Tri-State artists have caused New York City itself to go into a downwards spiral. Venues are not pulling the amount of people they were several years ago for these types of artists. Record stores that once flourished solely on Hip Hop music (and specifically local acts) are now extinct forcing whatever Hip Hop is left in NYC to be displayed in a bin amongst every other genre of music. Sure, technology and the economy are bigger factors in this plague, but one can only wonder what might have been if there was a stronger support system here.

But why should we be surprised at Hot 97’s stance? Commercial radio as a whole has never supported these kinds of artists during the day. When Red Alert and Marley Marl had the two biggest shows on the airwaves it was delegated to nighttime mix shows. During the day you would here R&B….and Hammer and Vanilla Ice if you were lucky. But when Hot 97 changed formats around ’93 or ’94, adopting the slogan “Where Hip Hop Lives,” it went from playing freestyle music to Mobb Deep album cuts. That raised the bar and set new standards for what New Yorkers expected from their radio stations. When shows like Boogie & The Barber (Stretch & Bobbito) got picked up by Hot 97 it further cemented the angle Hot was taking. The same way they set the bar for radio, the New York music scene in the mid-90s also set the standard as to what great music could sound like. MC’s like Nas, Biggie, Jay & Wu further propelled the style of those that came before them. Producers like DJ Premier adapted to sampling issues and started chopping up sounds taking his beats to another level. The bar was set so high in that era that the “standard” of what Hip Hop is supposed to sound like hasn’t swayed much. And when you hear music from all of the above mentioned artists you’re hearing them applying that same “standard” to their version of 2012 music. If the Bugatti Veyron suddenly took a backseat to a Hyundai Accent in popularity because they were all of a sudden “trendy”, that doesn’t change the fact that the Bugatti is a superior car. Setting standards. Now as far as what you hear on commercial radio during the day? I can’t relate to it. People tell me “well, it’s not for you it’s for the kids”. Huh? Wasn’t Nas and Mobb Deep and Wu and CNN and all of them teenagers when they were first making records? Why didn’t their shit sound dumbed down like what we here now? But let me not hate. I’m just frustrated.

The whole reason why we are ALL upset at this Hot 97 situation though is because they’re not giving us the same quality and variety that we’ve grown accustomed to from a NYC station. Well, those of us who still choose to listen to them. And that right there is why we shouldn’t complain. In 2012 you now have internet radio, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, college/community radio shows, podcasts and blogs (where most people go to hear new music first). So shout out to those that carry the torch in continuing to push this music form forward such as Premier, Da Beatminerz, Tony Touch, Statik Selektah, Freddie Foxxx, DJ Scratch, J Smooth, Sucio Smash, Maseo as well as many others. And shout out to Enuff, Camilo, Flex, Cee and Rosenberg up at Hot 97 that do what they can when they can to make a difference. As I’m typing this, I’m in Europe for the 4th time this year touring with ILL BILL, Vinnie Paz, Pharoahe Monch, O.C., A.G. and DJ Boogie Blind. All incredible artists who have put out new music in 2012 and keeps us all continuously touring the planet. Tonight’s show in Austria was a sold out show at a 750 capacity venue. Yesterday’s in Italy was 1500. Nothing minor about that in my book.

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