Since the heated exchange between Funk Flex and Conway The Machine, Flex has done what people have said hasn’t been done in decades; Breaking new music on the radio. It’s hard to believe, but it’s absolute fact. It’s 2022 and a legendary DJ has been breaking brand new music from great artist on terrestrial radio. And if you’ve worked radio you’ve been told that this couldn’t be done. Wild right?
We may not have liked how this started, but boy is the result what we’ve all been asking for. Funk Flex and Conway have proven that radio matters and that when done right, the people will win. Now that every artist has to find a lane in streaming, fight algorithms and pay label price tags just to be seen on their drop dates or to make playlist; Free terrestrial radio is now getting a boost from doing what it was meant to do in the first place. Serve its local community and give them quality music. And we have Funk Flex to thank for that. I’m sure the PD has a hand in this as well so salute to them also.
Flex has put together Common Sense and Genius actions together in an effort to serve hip-hop and we really should salute that. Why? Because Flex got on offense instead of defense. He challenged artist that swear they’re the greatest and hottest to give him something that he could play. Flex also tapped the artist that he sincerely wants to hear from to drop music. Crazy concept right? Get artist to drop music. Not podcast, blogs, cannabis companies or liquors; Music. And the artist did it. They recorded the music and sent it directly to the DJ. Not the DSP’s or Influencers; The DJ. And not just any DJ, the Radio DJ. And that’s important to highlight where we sit today.
Rap artist and DJ’s whether on a label or not, should not be playing by analytical tech rules. They should be playing by Hip-Hip rules. Hip-Hop rules are real simple. Be nice or be dope. Record what you feel is going to grab the people and give it to the DJ to hear it and put you on. The DJ should be putting the record on for Free. Cause the DJ should be more concerned about loving the music in their folders and not the lining of their pockets. Cause if you were a great DJ that loved music, you wouldn’t be asking for money. It would be coming to you because you would be in demand.
As a culture we’ve gotten away from that and I salute Flex, Conway, Juelz Santana, Math Hoffa, Fabolous and The L.O.X for living by hip-hop rules.
Artist have complained so long about what gets played. Flex challenged artist to make something he could play. You want to be on radio? You got to understand the audience is bigger and broader than “real niggas”. You got to do music that people want to pull up to the club to. You need music people want to throw on at the party. You need to understand that the majority of the audience is women, children and working class men that don’t want to entertain the streets all day. We can never discount the fact that the first big rap song ever was Rapper’s Delight and nobody sold a pack, got killed or said Bitch or Nigga for about 15 minutes. And that song inspired some of the greatest rappers dead and alive. Rap Songs are for the people of Hip-Hop Culture. That’s all the people in it. Cast a wider net if you want radio play. That’s step 1.
Step 2. Artist and DJ’s need better relationships. I don’t know where we went wrong thinking that the two don’t need each other, but we need to bring it back to the beginning. It’s a make or break relationship for both sides. Without the artist creating, the DJ’s won’t have anything to play. Without the DJ’s, you can’t get your message and vibe out to the people that you want to support you. Now you’re both out of work. That’s wack. Let’s get back to the core values and relationship basics.
Artist: Find a DJ and build a relationship. Send them music that’s not out yet. Let them be your marketing and promotion. Show them love and come out when they are DJ’ing too! Treat their career like yours. What would you do for yourself? Do that for them. Or even better, do a show together. An artist will always need a DJ. Never think differently.
DJ’s: Specifically not ones in radio. Kill the playlist. Play the music you mess with. You supposed to be rocking parties with the music you love. We come to the DJ because the DJ is supposed to have the best taste in music no matter what room they walk into. Uphold that standard. Stop letting machines and trends tell you what’s hot. You tell US what’s hot. Motivate these artist to be great. Make them want to record new music and give it exclusively to you. Then if you sincerely like it, play it. Play it with no contingencies or favors. Just play dope music. The DJ is the pulse of Hip-Hop Culture. Keep the culture on beat and in tune.
Salute to the music lovers out there that rep Hip-Hop. Thank you Flex!