KJ-52: The “Drake Phenomenon”
By Jonah Sorrentino – a.k.a. kj52
Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial cultural rock, Aubrey “Drake” Graham is pretty much the hugest rap artist on the planet. Starting from child star on Degrassi and moving from the burgeoning internet indie scene to massive success as a solo artist with Cash Money records, it’s hard to ignore this singer/rapper/actor.
He’s weathered a few storms such as the accusations that he doesn’t write his hits (a huge no-no in the world of underground hip hop) to his beef w/ Meek Mill (which most declared him the winner) to his current tiff w/ the artist Pusha T (which hip hop declared him a loser). Yet through all this he just released his latest double album/playlist Scorpion to massive success.
I came up in an era of hip hop where authenticity was KING – you could get destroyed by a fake image/past/lyrics/etc. (see Vanilla Ice) but the truth is that this is out the window. Music is like cotton candy these days, we eat it, wipe our mouth, and move on. Drake has become a Teflon Don, nothing seems to stick and he continues to put up massive numbers.
The music industry has changed. You no longer have to sell units to win or lose – it’s just about how many streams you can generate. The industry is closer to WWF in many ways: there is no bad press anymore – even the most hated generate tons of streams online. The name of the game is that all press is good press.
With the negativity that hip hop pushes out, how does this effect youth ministry? The reality is that we all have access to the music – no longer is it limited to buying the album. Music is free, and we’re all being bombarded by what they are saying. We can’t shelter or sequester kids from the songs anymore, all we can do is equip them to deal with the messages that are sent and offer them alternatives.
CD burning parties (remember them?) are long gone. You can’t burn a Spotify account! Our efforts are better spent in countering what the world says and presenting students with God’s truth and hip hop alternatives (which are freely accessed also).
Negativity in our world is nothing new, we used to have to run from the lions just to survive (see the early church), but I have to believe that when the darkness comes in, the light shines brighter.
Don’t give up and don’t give in! Keep doing what you do day in and day out. GOD BLESSES FAITHFULNESS.
We hip hop artists with a different purpose appreciate you!