‘Da’ What is Hip Hop? – Sha Stimuli [Editorial]
After taking us from Baltimore to Seattle to Atlanta to North Caroline, ‘Da’ What is Hip Hop? is returning back to the birth place of hip hop with a new editorial from Brooklyn emcee Sha Stimuli. From his 2002 mention in the Source Magazine to 12 releases in 2008, Sha has always used his music to inform and speak his mind. He had a stint with Virgin records that was unfortunately complicated through the business side of things. His independence allows him to continue to make lyric packed hip hop and stay true to himself. Like many others that grew up on classic hip hop, Sha Stimuli is not happy with every aspect of today’s hip hop scene, especially what can be found in the mainstream. While hip hop originally “educated, entertained, enlightened and frightened [him] all at once”, he is no longer “excited about new albums coming out.” Hit the jump to read what Sha Stimuli has to say about how his love for hip hop has developed and where he stands now! What do you think? Are you happy with where hip hop is at?
“Hip-hop used to have a feeling for me that was powerful. It educated, entertained, enlightened and frightened me all at once. I was at one point a devout fan of Michael Jackson before my brother, Lord Digga, brought home a mixtape that had songs by Audio Two, Public Enemy, BDP, Fresh Prince and Salt n Pepa. I still loved Mike but I was enthralled with the genre that allowed so much diversity and storytelling. I knew about Run DMC and Rakim but I had no clue that there were other regions and styles and they were doing it from the heart.
Fast-forward to today and Hip-hop is for me what it has always been, expression and therapy as an artist, and a soundtrack to life around me. But the difference in today’s music is the fusion with the music business.
It clouds my view of a new artist when I’m analyzing how this person got so popular. Or I’m hearing the radio and all I hear is the same five songs that either sound similar or have the same people on them.
The old record label model that was designed to sell music to the youth is now different. The genre has grown up, artists must share their lives on social media to remain relevant and most of all everything can be quantified. The numbers game is very real and almost depressing for me some days. I often find myself watching a video I find to be a gimmick or not too good but the amount of views the visual has confuses me. In this era of Hip-hop, I hear label executives saying that polarized figures are better than talented ones. 500,000 views may not mean everyone liked what they saw but they shared it or told someone. Now when people happen to see the video they see how many other people viewed it and possibly assume it’s hot.
I still love Hip-hop for what it is but I would be lying if I said I was excited about new albums coming out or some artists. That may be because I’m too wrapped up in my own career and the ups and downs I experienced but I can attribute it to the lack of substance in the mainstream. I almost feel like there is a plan to infuse feminine clothing, ignorant messages and the degradation of women so that the genre loses its credibility.
The Hip-hop awards are somewhat embarrassing and I miss the variety that used to exist.
New York was once a powerhouse and leader when it came to trends. Now they follow what everyone else is doing because they don’t have supporters to make any NY artist successful when it comes to sales. But I never really care too much about regions when it comes to rap. This is the only area of music that cares so much about where an artist from.
So with that said, I don’t know what’s next for the home of Hip-hop, which happens to be where I’m from. But I see the cycle moving and the sound of the 90s returning. Hip-hop is altogether getting scarier when artists are wearing dresses and kilts and they aren’t women.
And the next generation may think it’s ok to cross-dress. And if that’s where we’re going that’s fine but I don’t know if I want to be around to see it go there.” – Sha Stimuli