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Rising Stars – The Assets (3 of 3)

Published on January 6, 2011

It was as if all were silent. No wind blew, no leaves moved, yet the sky darkened. The ground began to quake as the cliques would squeal running away in terror. The earth shook ferociously as our hero’s countenance began to change. Our hero looked different, unlike anything ever seen before on “Earthopolis”. He was beautiful, yet even more frightening than Mainstream himself. No one knew what was happening, not even the onlookers. Yet, this was the moment that Mainstream had feared for all of his existence. He had been made aware that there was a greater power lying dormant within CHH, yet even he was not prepared for this. Simply put, Mainstream was terrified.

A little boy clinging to his father’s neck, unable to continue looking at our hero would bury his face in his father’s shirt. He would ask him “Daddy what’s happening?”  And his father would reply “It’s ok, were going to be safe now. He had to truly understand what he possessed in order to be who he really is…”

Okay, okay so you’ve endured our fictitious characters through these last three articles, as we’ve tried to illustrate and compare the two different industries. We’ve finally come to the climax of this series and we’ve reached the final opinion as to why some have flourished in our genre and others have not. We’ve discussed “The Anointing” where it was stated that one reason for the unbalanced scales is that some are called to this ministry and others are not. We’ve also discussed “The Affiliations” where some have stated that the positive affiliations have begun to give off the aroma of cliques in which leads us to final area of discussion, “The Assets” or what a person brings to the table. So…

What do we truly possess in Christian hip hop?

What do we own? Is it any less than what a local church or a mega ministry possesses? Are we any less Christian cause we rhyme and display Gods character in a relevant light to a lost culture? At the end of the night, when we’ve punched the clock and taken off our work boots, removed our soiled clothes and settled in for the evening, aren’t we going to look just like any other Christian in the body of Christ? Shouldn’t we also resemble Jesus? I would think so, because it’s Jesus Himself whom we possess. He’s the greatest asset that mankind could possibly obtain and if you’re born again, you have Him as an asset in your life.  Now for the sake of the technically correct don’t get it twisted, He’s Lord and yes… technically He owns us. But continuing on this subject of ownership, besides the indwelling presences of Christ, what do we own? What can we claim as having mentally, spiritually or material within our industry? What can we label as assets within our genre? We could probably count the flourishing record labels within our genre on one hand. And before you pick up stones, I did say “flourishing”. Remember CHH as a whole is 2 genres deep beneath mainstream according to record sales so I was being gracious when I said “flourishing”. Yeah, we’ve got about 3 holy hip hop sites (I’m just being real with you) a sprinkle of radio shows and with just a smidge of magazines publishing’s. Oh yeah, and a boatload of rappers. Now on a positive note, one thing we aren’t lacking is believers, we do have the manpower. Yet the bible says that “My people perish for a lack of knowledge…”  So could lacking knowledge about how this industry works be a key factor? There’s still a concept of ownership that has seemed to escape us even though it’s the foundation of what this country is built on. Capitalism is all about ownership. If I have an idea, I have the right to capitalize on it and whatever the fruits of my labor are, “I” own them. Private property means that “I” own it, not the government. Government property means the government owns it, not me. Now let’s apply this concept to CHH.

Why isn’t the subject of copyright “ownership” a hot topic within our genre and what about publishing’s?

These are intellectual properties meant to be owned and they’re the financial backbone of the music industry. Peep it-a normal record label “owns” the right to mass produce from off of the master recording that it owns. That’s why they want the “masters”. Only they possess the right to make copies and distribute them, not the artist. It’s possible that an artist can be at home ten years later, hearing his song on the radio and not be making a penny off of it. Yet when it comes to publishing’s, for the most part (if an artist is smart) he or she will own the publishing’s meaning that whenever that song is played publicly, the artist gets paid. Yes, there are 2 copyrights within a master recording, the physical copy (normally owned by the label) and the actual song (normally owned by the artist). It gets much deeper, which is another piece altogether but…

Why don’t we ever hear this on our holy hip hop radio shows? Or read about this on ?

I know it’s not everyone cause some cats do have their thinking caps on. But as a majority it’s not so. You can ask a rapper what was his inspiration for his last album and get a whole sermon, yet when asked about his (business) plans for the project he’ll say “We’ll it’s going to be released on Itunes… Itunes!!!”  Now hear me I’m not hatin on Itunes at all. It can be very beneficial. You can just tell when someone is avoiding the question by statements like “my manager normally handles all that” or “well, we plan on putting out the mix-tape first then release the album” (which doesn’t answer a third of the question) all in an effort to avoid saying “I don’t know”.

We’ve got to remember that we’re up against corporate executives who have spent years in school studying how they can squeeze every dime out of this industry. And I’m not saying that we need to go back to school, but just do a little homework.

Yet this topic of “The Assets” would end up as one of the articles with an underlying tone for some as something being almost unfair. When asked why some rise and some don’t, the answers would be “money” (as if that artist had it and they didn’t) “affiliations” (as if the artist knew everybody and they knew no one) “a label” (as is the artist lucked up, and they’d never get signed) and the list goes on. It’s as if they were stating that the lucky ones possess things that others don’t have, which makes them an asset to their ministries/careers. If true than how could these things be obtained by others? Is it truly “unfair” for the Christian and has God favored some over others? Yet out of the three subjects, a number of things could be included under the title of assets also. As stated in an earlier piece skill is an asset. Money, anointing, affiliations, and knowledge also can be labeled as assets if used properly. But I repeat, one of the keys to this genres success is “ownership, ownership, ownership”. You can bring skill, money, knowledge, anointing, and affiliations to the table and still walk away empty handed or even worse have someone owning you. We need to start taking ownership as a whole. God told Abraham “Go and walk through the land in every direction for I am giving it to you”. God didn’t want him to borrow or lease, but own it. So when we release projects that we knowingly or unknowingly own the copyrights to, yet we shelve them and three months later come out with another project are we truly on our grind or just revealing that we don’t have a clue as to how this thing works? Owing it means that you have creative control to release and re-release any projects in your catalog. The industry has artist who’ll releases an album every 1 or 2 years, yet we got cats spittin em out every 4 months, shelve them, then move on to the next project.  All in the name of  “Hustle or Grind”. Or is it just that we’ve run out of ideas as to what to do with the music. Those who are on a serious grind have something to show for it. They bring assets to the table, but they don’t walk away empty handed. They’ve done some homework.

Finally to wrap this one up, we’ve asked why you think that only a handful of artist has shined in CHH and others have not. And we’ve heard your responses. As mentioned in an earlier post these articles are not meant to contain all the answers but to expand on the three major topics that have been discussed. So we want your feedback. Neither are they meant to tear any individual(s) down but examine and edify. We hope you’ve enjoyed our hero’s conquest of “Earthopolis” and the recapturing of the lost souls and understand that we too can prove to be victorious once we truly understand “Who” it is that we possess and act in faith. Let’s continue 2 build…

Written by Shine

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