I’ve been receiving quite a few inquiries about Bloggerhouse, specifically why was it started and what exactly is about? Let me first explain what it ISN’T about. The Hip Hop blog phenomenon really took off back in 2005, it was dominated by all kinds of different blogs each with a different distinct voice and approach. These pioneers laid the groundwork for the aesthetic of future Hip Hop blogs. They were often well written and dug up nuggets in either ripped vinyl, tape or CD into mp3′s. The beauty of the Hip Hop blog was that the fan was finally being serviced as well as having those fans and listeners that weren’t around before the post Telecommunications Act Jiggy Era educated about previous recordings. No one was breaking down the history of the culture or genre in the mainstream Rap/Hip Hop media at all.
A huge issue with Hip Hop & urban culture in general is that there’s a new generation every 3-5 years due to shifts in everything from the age of the listening audience, acceptance in the mainstream for the genre as a whole, technological or stylistic advancements made by artists and other things of that nature. If you came hot in 1991 there’s no guarantee you’d last or be able to grab audiences in 1993 or 1994. We’ve also had issues with the youth not knowing the full, rich history of Hip Hop as far as classic recordings or obscure gems. Of course, the younger generation was in the dark! Hip Hop had so many classic albums that didn’t go at least Gold that were now out of print that how would they have ever heard any of these tapes, vinyl or CD’s if it weren’t for the Hip Hop blogs bringing this music to light?
While Hip Hop fans were going online to find those hard to find remixes and releases that could only be found in used record stores, younger Hip Hop fans were learning about the culture that had become so commercialized that it no longer cared about giving primers or educating the youth. “Old school” means 2001 to them, after all. We had forums to discuss the new Hip Hop that came out worth listening to that the radio and Viacom networks gave no shine to whatsoever. We also could listen to those obscure regional classics we’d only read about but never actually got in our neck of the woods. Things were going great. The fans were the ones controlling the culture and the flow of information again. If the radio didn’t wanna break new artists then we’d do it our damn selves! If you won’t maintain balance in Hip Hop we’ll just take it into our own hands….then they showed up.
Starting around 2006, record labels and other corporate interest began monitoring and infiltrating the Hip Hop blog world. What had become a world of it’s own would soon begin to mirror the major label Hip Hop scene after a while. Few of you remember the early days of Nah Right when it would report Hip Hop news along with links. Oftentimes you’d see a picture with a few paragraphs beneath it. I think it was 2006 before I ever even saw a mixtape download link or a YouTube video on the site. Before you knew it there were a hundred other Nah Right inspired blogs on the ‘net. By that time, Eskay had figured out a way to spread his influence and brand and monetize his blog. Too bad people didn’t decide to do their own thing, they just played follow the leader.
I was always drawn to the blogs that unearthed classic material and helped to bridge the generational gap in Hip Hop or were just writer based. Hip Hop magazines weren’t like they were in the past anymore. XXL was essentially owned by Interscope. The Source was still under David Mays & Benzino’s influence. Mass Appeal was now online. A lot of the older magazines that inspired me to want to write about Hip Hop had gone the way of the dinosaur or were based overseas. There was no Source Mind Squad for this generation. We had no new Ego Trip. We had no new Stress. As far as I was concerned, that void needed to be filled by any means necessary.
How many of us remember what happened to Hip Hop in the years of 1979, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 & 1998? Key events happened in each of those years that led to things becoming completely watered down across the board. It’s time we take back control of Hip Hop blogging before it turns into a bunch of zombies reacting to the corporate side of things and catering to labels rather then dictating to them and affecting any real change. Companies and corporations should have to service the needs and wishes of the consumer, not the other way around. Once we lose sight of the power of our individual viewpoints and voices we’ll be as bland and predictable as the vast majority of major label music and the radio.
This is why I always welcomed indie music from individuals. Labels don’t listen to demos anymore. That’s why I never accepted content from an outside source. If it’s MY blog then it should be completely my voice, right? I also reserve the right to refuse posting something and I take no payment of any kind in return for a write up. If I don’t believe in it, I wouldn’t I not be moved enough to write about it in the first place? I began my blog January 1, 2007 but I studied blogging and the direction it was going for years before I stepped into the game myself. I had to bring what no one else was bringing into it or not bother with it at all. I was inspired by several other bloggers along the way I felt were kindred spirits.
Travis Glave’s blog was a definite favorite of mine. Dude was a fan of Masta Ace, Kwame and Redhead Kingpin. He was also a fan of MC A.D.E and he wrote about First Priority Music because they were things he clearly loved. I liked how he put people on to new stuff, broke new artists and producers but still educated his readers at the same time. He also was into some cats I’d never heard of. There’s nothing I love more than hearing, discovering or being put onto new shit. Travis put me on to so many artists and albums over the years it’s crazy. He was also one of the first bloggers I ever actually had a dialogue with previous to beginning Poisonous Paragraphs.
In March 2007, a few short months after I began Poisonous Paragraphs another blog popped up that had me scratching my head and going back to the lab. I would bust my ass to come up with things to write about and concepts to fit with the subjects but Eric seemed to put it all together so effortlessly that he and Travis pushed me to be more organized and detail oriented with my blogging. He also put me on to even more producers, artists and releases than you can imagine. Between the three of us we eventually started emailing each other and sharing information because it was just the natural thing to do. I’ve been working and collaborating with Travis and Eric since 2007 so this isn’t much of a stretch at all.
One of my favorite all time bloggers is hands down Brandon Soderberg. Brandon has the same sense I have in regards to content and approach. He writes about what he wants to write about in his own way. There’s no banner. No ads. No distracting pictures. Nothing but the bare essentials. Only what’s absolutely necessary. No Trivia started 10 days before Poisonous Paragraphs did and I used to read it to remind myself that I couldn’t write anything half assed or Brandon would write something that would bury me later. The beauty of No Trivia is that Brandon will write about artists I don’t even like and I’ll come away the better for having read it. I hate Gucci Mane with a passion but when Brandon Soderberg writes about him I somehow hate him less. Plus, he’s a huge comic book fan like I am. Without Travis, Eric & Brandon’s constant presence and influence, Poisonous Paragraphs wouldn’t be what it is today.
With the aggregate blog on the rise what we’re facing a future of blogging that reflects the corporate world. Blogs are becoming increasingly reactive instead of proactive. Bloggers are looking for adspace before they even find a legitimate voice. Global Grind is an aggregate blog that gets it’s content from other blogs that in turn take their content from other blogs. WHAT THE FUCK? There’s already a New Music Cartel so why try to become the NEW New Music Cartel? There’s already a Smoking Section, The Rap Up & Illroots so DO SOMETHING ELSE!
Meka of 2DopeBoyz mentioned recently on Twitter that someone wanted to fight him for not crediting him for an mp3 that he sent him. The music wasn’t even his, mind you. It was already found or leaked. We want credit for leaks now? That’s worth fighting someone over? Some bloggers put watermarks on album covers so people know they got the image first. If you didn’t either make the cover or it’s not your album cover then what’s the point? That’s the future blogging is headed for if we don’t do something about it RIGHT NOW. Each time the four of us post it’s something WE want to say. It’s something that moved us enough to write about it. There’s no set format but “if you feel the need to touch on it, do so”. No boundaries. No restrictions. No regrets. No plea copping. No PAYOLA.
Every Hip Hop blog can’t be Unkut.com or Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. I’m not asking them to be. I want them to stop catering to labels so they can post up 100 videos and not offer any insight, passion or become a new voice that people can embrace and learn from in this bloggerverse. I’ve spent every day since August 26, 2006 fighting this thing by myself before realizing that there’s strength in numbers. I always complain there’s no new Source Mind Squad or Ego Trip or Stress Magazine or Elemental Magazine or Mass Appeal but I have a gang of bloggers that I look to daily and build with…why don’t we just begin working together instead? Imagine if the four unheralded leaders of Hip Hop blogging content got together? What you’d have is Bloggerhouse! When They Reminisce becomes Bloggerhouse.net. November 1st, 2009. More details are forthcoming…