So as I continue to cover independent hip-hop in Baltimore, I have had several debates with people. The main argument I have is that a lot of artist have a conflict of interest that hinders their advancement and the overall advancement of the culture in this city.
Let’s look at some of the factors I am alluding to. Baltimore City has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, a stifling graduation rate and high levels of mass incarceration. Did I mention the drug addicition, life below the poverty level and unemployable skills. So coming from a place where such situational depression exists, it’s hard to imagine where creative life can exists.
Well it does. the city has had a burgeoning music culture for decades, even in hip-hop however most home grown hip-hop artist have not been able to fully break on a national stage. There are a few that are close but for the majority it’s just a dream. However for many such as Lor Scootor, and his manager, Young Moose’s brother, G-Rock, FMG Twizzle, Lor D’Shaun and others that dream has been deferred. With the violent nature of the city, many artist music reflect the harsh realities of street life, but here that line between entertainment or art has been inexplicably blurred.
So much so that more often than not what is being spoken is being carried out in the streets. No longer do we hear the cautionary tales of an ex hustler, now we get the killer or dope dealer on the come up. High on prescription meds saying RIP to a dead homie. Why rap if not to get away from that lifestyle. I asked on IG are you an artist or the plug. What happens when you have the talent but your charge sheet is as long as your discography?
Is art imitating life or is life imitating art. Hustlers have always influenced or financed hip-hop we know,but to what extent have we reached when what we are hearing is actively happening in the streets. How can we fix this issue. Is that what Baltimore hiphop is going to ultimately be known for. What happens when you have a break throught then something you have done comes up. Do you have a Bobby Shmurda/ GS-9 situation? Do you think the person who pulled the trigger on any of those that happened to up and coming artist really cared that they were trying to rap as a career, not at all that’s not believeable.
There are plenty of artist in the city making inroads in the business, but my fear is the the Murdaland reputation proceeds them.
You have the Damond Blue’s, Tate Kobangs, Los, YGG Tay, Tadoe, YBS Skolas, Lil Key and a host of others but will they fully reach their potential. Lets not let another potential star fade because of hood politics.
This is my concern for Baltimore HIPHOP.. we must get better.