How The Blog Era Shaped Hip Hop

Before streaming services we had to use the internet in a different way to discover new artists. Nowadays we can just go to the Related Artists tab and let the algorithm do its job. Or, we just let our phone hear a song and then let it tell us all about it. But before all these advancements we had relied on Blogs to put us on to what’s new. This gave localized artists a platform to reach the world and allowed mutuals to connect via their appreciation for an artist.

Benefits of the Repost

Paying for reposts is something that people either agree with or disagree with. The fact is they are a great way to get exposure especially if the account doing the reposting has real and active followers. During the Blog Era however, this process was slightly different. The writers would find the artists on their own and reach out to them about posting their music. Sites like The Masked Gorilla, No Jumper, 2DopeBoyz and DJBooth have been doing it this way since their origins and thus have reached a high level of respect amongst those in the music industry.  This showed that the writers had a genuine interest in the music and thus established a mutually beneficial relationship between the two of them. On the artists end they would tell other people to check the blog out thus increasing page views and respect within the world of hip hop. On the writers end, their reputation would increase positively and more artists would reach out to them thus increasing opportunities for them in multiple areas. Nowadays we have people like DJ Akademiks and Joe Budden who are pretty much loved or hated depending on who you ask (while I think the feeling is pretty unanimous for AK) But, the point remains that a co-sign from either of these men means something.

New Sounds Emerge

Before I typed this I went to see what the Billboard Hot 100 songs from 2010 were. And let me say…it was a GREAT year. Bedrock, Find Your Love, Deuces, Empire State of Mind and multiple others all came out that year. Crazy right? Overall the core sound of this year in the mainstream that year was catchy hooks… not repetitive – catchy. There is a difference. And, production on all these songs was not trap based as it is now but a variety of sounds that make you feel good or emotional. Drum patterns were closer to boom bap but weren’t quite as simple. During this time you could really only find trap based production on mixtapes hosted by Trapaholics or 808 Mafia which could be found on DatPiff and LiveMixtapes. In the underground, artists like SpaceGhostPurrp and the members of his group Raider Klan were putting the South Florida sound on the map with pitched down looped vocal samples and eerie melodies paired with trap production. Many blogs connected these artists to the style of 3 6 Mafia and thus put the South back on the radar since Lil Jon and his associated acts had since faded away. However with the success of Hard In Da Paint which released in 2010 that sound and style officially hit the mainstream courtesy of Virginia (My hometown of Suffolk specifically) based producer Lex Luger who had a variety of production credits under his belt already with Juicy J and other mixtapes. After this he had hit after hit under his belt including H.A.M, BMF, Hustle Hard and even That Way. (Yes – the Maybach Music song) With these songs and Versace from the Migos hitting the radio in Summer 2012 it was safe to say that the trap based production style was officially broken through and was here to stay. Sites had been vouching for the Migos years prior, praising their unique flows and energy (and of course ad -libs) and thus helped fuel the style we are accustomed to (and sometimes annoyed with) now.

Success Is Earned By Making The Right Moves

As I mentioned earlier, a co sign from the right place can catapult an artist to an entirely different level of success. In 2010-2012 we were still checking WorldStar regularly (right?) and that was a key place for an artist to blow up. Eventually, artists would make their music videos “WorldStarHipHop Exclusives” so the site and the artist could benefit from the immense success. Artists like Chief Keef and his associated acts in the Chicago Drill Movement benefited from this website greatly. Also at this time Young Money was in full effect with Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Tyga grabbing a feature on practically every single released during this time period in addition to doing songs together. Blogs praised Drake for his ability to transition between singing and rapping and Nicki for putting females MCs back on the radar with confidence and bars to match.

While people continue to say “Blogs are dead” and various artists have voiced their distaste for the way they are run now, there are still some out there that support the up and coming talent. While the bigger sites seem to have been overrun with gossip there’s no doubt that there was a time when they all shined for providing insightful and intriguing content.