More attention is finally being paid to the real value added to many social media platforms by Hip-Hop fans and by black cultures in general. However, this relationship is not at all one way.
As social media platforms are affected by hip-hop culture, so too are social media platforms and their trends having an effect on the intra and inter-workings of the increasingly mainstream genre.
Earlier this year, Memphis rapper Yo’ Gotti released a single “Goes down in the DM,” a street song that took off on Youtube and Vin, quickly becoming a hit single and a comedic music video.
Gotti's Anthem of "Social Sexual Networking"
In the song, Yo’Gotti reports on and muses about his interpersonal interactions with various women on mobile messaging platforms that possess direct messaging features (hence the “DM”). He gloats about his about his ability to charm and woo women through such a simple and incognito channel.
Gotti’s sexual and social prowess are more than just words as his direct references to Snapchat and Facetime gives him a virtual but, yet ,intimate “view” of his potential conquest.
DJ Khaled, whose Snapchat Videos receive 3 million views each, cameos in Yo'Gotti's Video
However, it’s the last stanza that gets so many listeners going. Here, Gotti, elaborates on the unwritten but widely embraced rules and norms of social media.
The ideas discussed include: a person taking a ”screenshot” of a once private message from a suitor, the common pettiness seen in inter-user back-and-forth, the weekly MCM and WCW public declarations of affection and a general addiction to Instagram.
And while Yo' Gotti discusses the shifting way in which men and women pursue one another from their social account, his commentary is descriptive in how artists now interact with both the public and other artists.
Social Media changing "the how" but not "the what" of Hip-Hop
Influence of Social media on Hip-Hop, and thus pop-culture stems from disproportionate use of social media by African American and Hispanic American, as well as, Urban Internet Users
Social Media’s way of accelerating conversations in an incredibly public manner has played out in numerous ways in Hip-Hop.
It has been on Twitter that feuds have been sparked and wars waged between icons such as Kanye vs. Wiz Kalifa/Amber Rose and Meek Mill vs. Drake. On Instagram we witnessed former friends 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather have at it in real-time, as well as a brief feud between rappers, Young Thug and Plies.
And need we mention the antics of our sweet heart, Azaelia Banks?
The Drake vs. Meek Mill Feud was fueled and waged mostly on Twitter, Soundcloud and Instagram...Brands as big as White Castle and Toronto City Council Member, Norm Kelly join in the fray.
However, social media has also been an incredibly useful tool for Hip-Hop, providing the culture with a wider range of talent and personalities.
Cardi B, DJ Khaled, Kevin Hart, Chief Keef, Charlamagne , Danny Brown. These are all celebrities with careers that have been bolstered or down right created through millions of likes, follows and shares.
After Tisha Campbell-Martin of the hit series "Martin" publicly announced her current financial hardships and a debt of $15 million dollars, Charlemagne took to his morning radio show, Twitter and Go Fund me in order to raise $1220 for the distressed couple. They surpassed the goal with a total of $1,310. Some found the move noble, others like Essence thought this campaign was insulting, devious and petty of the infamous radio host.
- None of this mess would have been possible without social media.
While many major and established artists seem to despise streaming music platforms, which often possess various social validation features, others have thrived through these tools, gaining access to new and often international markets.
Cardi B's overnight stardom was born on Instagram where she now markets to 3.4 million followers. She's gone from exotic dancer, to reality television star, to rapper, and now, to a mini icon.
Social Media has surely brought about a heightened level of connectivity to the Hip-Hop culture and ecosystem. This connectivity, however, has produced nothing new. It has merely and drastically shifted the way in and pace at which everything is happening.
Average celebrities come and go, but now even faster. High album sales impress, but now even more so. And hip-hop artists will continue to be as petty and contemptuous as they were during the 1990s- but now they seem to be trading in their “trigger fingers” for the Twitters ones.
In short, nothing is better or worse, really. Everything is just incredibly different and quickly changing. The ability to understand and adjust for this new paradigm will determine an artist's level of success in the world’s most popular music genre and subculture.
Medvis Jackson is a web designer at Hindsite, curator at Kulchah and avid cricket fan. You can follow him @medvisjackson for his random thoughts.