Digital Hip Hop godfather website OnSmash (among many other similar sites) was seized by the government last week, in what’s turning out to be quite the tumultuous crackdown on illegal music. (As if there’s such a thing as illegal music.)
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re familiar with the situation, & don’t need a lengthy explanation. If you’re not familiar, & you chose not to jump the previous link, here’s your chance to redeem yourself.
Briefly, the feds decided to shut down a fist full of hip hop file-sharing (fancysmancy term for “piracy”) sites for off-loading their illegal wares, respectively. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, nor will it be the last time. However, this is the first time I’ve been so close to “ground zero” that I could see how it’s affected the Hip Hop community. Or more specifically, the bloggersphere.
The blogger has become the new DJ, as I’ve mentioned here before. Several times, in fact. Now, with this being a proven fact in 2010, it seems the majors would be more willing to play ball with The Internets, if only because people aren’t so quick to toss hard-hustled recession dollars at disposable bullshit. [Sidenote: People are generally lazy & cheap as a primal reflex, & that’s such a given that I’m surprised certain laws still exist in the 21st century. Just saying.] In a day where the dollar is as limited as people’s attention spans, any thing worth selling, is worth taking. Possibly even more so, depending on the type of thief involved. Point is, the buyers & sellers coexist with the takers. To combat such a maximum force would probably just end in a bunch of shenannigans that neither party really wanted to deal with in the first place. Clearly the type of “bit off more than I’m willing to chew for this long” scenario that usually happens when people allow their emotions to guide their proverbial hand(s).
Boycotting The Machine wouldn’t help much in the long term, because like many rap fanatics will concur, Hip Hop music is addictive. Niggas (& I use the term extremely loosely–as I always do) even call it “crack,” even though there’s an 80% chance that one of their close relatives is dead or in prison behind crack. Which kind of further validates the point that, no matter the adversity, Hip Hop music is oddly resilient. Unstoppable, even.
I saw on Twitter where somebody tweeted “shutdown 1 [site], 50[more] pop-up,” in reference to the OnSmash situation. & as basic as that statement is, it’s tantamount to a battle cry. The cry, alone, may be meek & hard to make out, especially with such a recent uproar, but it’s still a call to arms. & all it takes is for 1 other soldier to answer.
If the major labels, & all their trolling henchmen, refuse to allow a communication bridge to be built between their glorious tower attics & our humble basement dwellings, then the new breed DJ’s may need to find “work” elsewhere. See, the sole reason there’s an “underground” to begin with, is the divide of success & failure, so to speak. Who determines that? The audience. Why? Because of what they’re exposed to. If that changes, then that changes, if you smell my cologne. Ask Master P how easy it is to change a million minds.
The Machine is in charge of it’s property, & I totally respect that. So, like my father taught me many moons ago, “if they don’t want you to play with their shit, fuck ’em. Go get your own.” Indeed. Sound advice I should probably apply in a bunch of different places as well.