dear hip hop, let's talk. sincerely, @justkels88


oh hey, 

awhile back, Forbes published an article that compared you to water, it said there is nothing anyone can do to stop you. nothing is more powerful than water. Forbes magazine. do not take that lightly. not many people reading Forbes magazine are considered to be in your demographic and here they were, speaking on your power. it was eloquent and amazing. i shed a thug tear. i almost put it on my wall. 

fast forward a bit, DJ Booth managed to publish an article while their head was fully lodged in Post Malone’s ass (lowkey impressive) that implied you, specifically what is popular about you in the mainstream, is no place for fans who are looking for “real shit”. and that you lack emotional support for listeners. they did state that lesser known sides of you offer support but the whole situation made me sick. mainly because DJ Booth and similar factions are influential on what becomes popular about you in the mainstream. their opinions hold weight and make them money, and this is how they feel about you. they literally directed listeners who are looking for fulfillment to other genres while tongue kissing a guy with a mullet. who just so happens to be popular in the mainstream. DJ Booth and some of their peers specifically cater to your demographic yet when they get to writing articles, they continually find a way to marginalize you. they are fine with taking your money to post your music, they just don't necessarily support or appreciate it as an art form *head explodes* 

so, let’s talk. you are a multi-billion dollar industry and over the past 20 years you have generated more purchasing power than some entire countries. the internet streaming age led to an industry shift that all but halted major label domination and centralized profits, making it possible for independent artists and organizations to dominate markets across the world. this digital shift in leverage increased your power and reach in ways that were previously unheard of. it is let ya nuts hang season out here and you seem intent on kissing ass instead. you’re batting your eyes and opening your wallets to the likes of DJ Booth when they are more detrimental to the industry than label execs. hell at least Diddy n’em had a studio, all these guys need is an internet connection. this perpetual circle jerk they call media is more profitable than some of your artist’s entire careers. online/print publications, podcasts, youtube shows, radio stations, promotion agencies, ticketing companies and even venues have swarmed to your energy and power. how are they able to discount the importance of your art form at every turn while lining their pockets with profits from it? either you don’t recognize your power or you just don’t care. who have you become? this isn’t you. i know you. 

you’re dope as hell. since the day i met you, not one day has passed that i didn’t love you. i can’t say that anyone has ever seen me at my best and my worst like you have. we been rockin for SO long, man. remember when i was handing out your lyrics in class and trying to play Z-Ro and Outkast songs on the cello? when i didn’t know who i was or if i had a reason to live? you saved my life and then you changed my life. you taught me how to feel and how to love all the corners of my reality. you have been emotionally supportive, unapologetic, honest, insightful and enjoyable as shit. you showed me an energy that i didn’t know existed. 

i need you to have that same energy with all these people who see little to no intrinsic value in your art or artists, the ones that continue to exploit you for profit. you are on the verge of having me fucked up, honestly. got me out here ranting and reacting on social media over you, like really going in. hell, i am doing it in real life too. but that’s no solution. we need a solution. a solution that facilitates that saaaame energy; that raw, emotional energy that took your influence worldwide in record time. that same energy that made me feel like THIS, about you; keep it.

the first step to a viable solution is realization of your power. you are water, right? unstoppable. forbes said so. and i seent it.

the second step is focusing your power so that you are in control.

these losers who sit behind a computer trying to make you and everyone who loves you numb for their own gain are powerful because you allow it. really, you facilitate it. they expect you to work harder than any other genre but are not willing to reciprocate. you have been feeding people who don’t care if you starve for way too long, my love.

we still need you. i swear we do. stop catering to these people who have no passion for you. stop supporting media outlets and personalities that make their own fame a priority. you know, the ones that see just how expendable they can make you to increase their profit on the back end. entire organizations have been built with you as their sole source of income and they don’t give a good gahdamn if you get addicted to xans and die a thousand tragic deaths. they will write 15 in depth, well researched articles about your love life or legal troubles and one half ass try of an article about your albums. they are too often completely unfamiliar with who you are, at a base level and the way they cover your music makes it and you dispensable. 

they keep using the term vultures, implying that you are dead. or dying. but you're thriving. i’ve never felt so alive because of you. every day i fall in love with you all over again just like when i heard “sumthin wicked”. those of us that know you can see how alive you are. we can hear it. you are thriving and they are parasites. stop allowing them to feed on you. 

media outlets are necessary for your success but without you they do not exist, at all. this is a business built on YOUR intellectual property. your artists have more power than ever. flex that shit. allow more time to develop, resist the pressure to rush. force the media to cover your content in a well researched way because their apathetic attitude towards your music has trickled down to your fans and now everyone is blaming YOU for the quality of the industry. 

as you move forward more independently than ever, don’t allow yourself to become dependent on those who do not appreciate you. be vocal, insistent and intentional about who you allow to profit from your music. you don’t have to kiss anybody’s ass. take time to really feel and harness the emotions that make you who you are and make us love you like we do. there are people out here that support you on public platforms for no other reason than love. all that shit you talk in your music about support and reciprocation but Herman over at wekindalikehiphopifyoupayusenough.com gets first dibs on your releases and concerts, every time. there is an entire sector of the world that is so concerned with your progress that they get off of their 9-5 job and work a double shift at the house to shine a light on you but they aren’t even on your radar. DJ Booth though, right? 

build relationships that will be mutually beneficial for the long haul. take a little extra time to support those who look out for your well being. do not yield your power to anyone else. especially anyone who doesn’t give a fuck about your music. give more looks to media outlets who purchase tickets to your concerts than those asking for free ones. pay attention to the writers who delve into your music, find all the beauty in it and scream your praises from the rooftops.

we are in a new day and you are free to take over the world on your terms. you do not have to settle. let the parasites feed on someone else. 

don’t squander this landscape the digital age has created for you by letting parasites take your power and use it to move your fan base further away from your art and all the reasons you started this. not now. not on my watch. not when you’ve worked so hard to get this far and are finally creating on your own terms. there are so many writers, event curators, taste makers, organizations and people in general that care about you on a soul level; it is time to take your power back from anyone who doesn't. 

there has never been a more opportune or necessary time to do this right. take a good look at where your power is focused. does that big name website recognize the worth of your exclusive content? does that blog take your money to share your content just to turn around and marginalize you? has that radio station supported you or been a pillar in their community? that expensive publicist company, do they show any concern for your ongoing success?  are you paying anyone in money, time or exposure that shows no sign of investing in your longevity?

don’t replace the old crooked record labels with parasites. if you continue to allow the media to hollow you out under the guise of building you up, you’re going to be worse off than ever before. realizing and focusing your power will weed out every single person who shouldn’t be here. mainstream artists, underground artists, major label, independent, producers, studio engineers, deejays, writers, radio personalities, it is time to unapologetically flex all this power that has been laid at your feet. 

i love you.

kels

(p.s. i will work harder)