Soul artists have been run underground! Or did they opt out given that their “playing field” was saturated with non-competitors…..?
The term NEO-SOUL was created by contemporary music industry executives (often non-white) who needed to distinguish between “old” soul music that had some root to the Old Motown sound that Berry Gordy created and the “post segregation” soul music that was birthed from the children of those survivors of the Civil Rights movement. The more aggressive socio-political soul music that was being created by Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Donnie Hathaway, and Marvin Gaye created a hybrid of soul fused with a poetry set to a staccato speaking pattern that would become known as rap. Rap would become the first cousin to classic hip hop.
Classic hip hop was art! There were children and young adults reciting POETRY in record speeds with exceptional Afro-centric perspectives being conveyed to the not only our community but the rest of the world about OUR continued struggles.
Essentially, the generations became so fixated on taking hip hop in new and exciting directions that they forgot all about preserving the growth, development and responsible production of the soul that was innate and uncontrived, authentic and not pre-engineered. There was a type of invisible vulture that sucked the life out of original hip hop. The
darkness Big Businesses minimized the movement of the young poets who spat knowledge at the drop of a dime to defeat any street opponent rather than seeking death and destruction.
There was affectual content in the messages conveyed to a hungry generation awaiting the marching orders that had yet to be delivered from the Civil Rights Movement generation. There was discipline and discretion among the artists and their “followers”. Objectifying women and demoralizing men weren’t the objective of THAT musical genre.
Who sold our soul?
Elvis arguably began a movement. He sparked the insatiable curiosity that would invariably draw the “colonists” to capitalize on the spiritually charged culture that was strong enough to bring slaves out of bondage-without “too many evident problems”. There was a power that even they felt. This power had to be eradicated but needed to be extracted and reproduced in mass quantities because without question it was golden.
Fattened Music executives were more invested in profit than in cultural preservation soon began regurgitating their interpretation of who WE were to them. There were even some among the ranks who opted to sell out for the sake of getting “PAID”. There were some who had no idea that their influence on a culture would be so destructive, merely by what they said or what they wore.
Shortly after the promises of the material trinkets that were sure to be provided if “you devour this newness”-individuals became less concerned about education, and more with the quick fixes that rarely prove fruitful and substantive.
WE THE PEOPLE…bought into the hype- lock stock and barrel. The children began to believe that their women were little more than hoes and that their men were “dogs”, “unreliable” and “not to be trusted”.
In an effort to be “open” and “tolerant” , we dared them to replicate what they heard. Teena Marie, McDonald & Michael Bolton exploded onto the scene in the mid 80’s and early 90’s to do exactly what was planned.
How in the world did we allow for THEM to sell our soul out from under us? The pop-ification of soul music has eroded the black culture into a veritable nub. The question becomes where do we go from here?
Artists like Adele, Robin Thicke, Pink, Christina Aquilera , Harry Connick Jr., and many many others have made their millions because they had a negroid sound. The audience is comprised of all races.
Black audiences who long for “good” music are flocking to hear artists who are emulating the sounds of Soul legends, regardless of their skin color. Black artists who sing instead of rap are finding it very difficult to maintain any kind of longevity in the mainstream.
Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Jeremih and Mary J. Blige are about the only singers that get any major air time on the national radio stations. Rihanna and Cierra have gone the way of the side show acts, performing songs with so many damn visual gimmicks that they look like clowns rather than the entertainers that they are seeking to become.
We all are in a constant state of personal evolution; however, today’s artists often find themselves having to change their appearance and now even their sound- just to remain relevant. It is interesting that there was a time when the QUALITY and CONTENT of the artists sound made the consumers interested in buying more and more of their particular favorite.
Today’s music offers nothing new for the customer. Once one has heard one Rick Ross song, you’ve essentially heard them all. There are other “artists” that also fall under this category.
Currently our artists are replicating THEIR sounds. Pop was created for less talented artists who were able to hook mobs of screaming teenagers with kitschy beats and simple hooks. They convinced the masses that the “Mickey mouse” musicals were worth the millions of dollars parents were willing to shell out to keep their kids entertained.
The Beatles were by far the first pop band. After them the music industry was saturated with boy bands and girl bands that offered light hearted cheery tunes that were catchy and repetitive.
It is predicted that true followers of real music will require- better yet DEMAND musicality that sustains their spirits and souls.
Lil Wayne & his young money team are hip hop’s version of the Back street Boyz or New Kids on the Block. The mark of the revolution has already become evident.
Overall sales in venues that sell the cd’s of mainstream musicians have decreased significantly. This could in fact be a result of more individuals opting to download music or my personal belief is that people don’t want to spend $17.99 for a cd that only has one good song.
WHO SOLD OUR SOUL?
WE GAVE IT AWAY!