I had a conversation yesterday that was quite peculiar. It's a touchy subject and one that needs explaining. How or why? I have no idea. But I'll begin by telling you, the term "sellout" has been used by almost everyone of my friends and most likely...all of your friends too.
What determines if someone is a sellout?
First: "sellout" (as described by everyone's favorite dictionary, Urban Dictionary): is an artist who conforms to the way record labels or managers see them to make money through commercial success and generally not the original fan base.
Now, being a struggling musician myself, I run everything I do on my own with no help from any outside source. Outside sources being...signed to a label, run by a manager, or being hassled or swindled for money from bigger corporations. I run every aspect of my business (because it's my business) and do what I can to make sure my music is heard. Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, and YouTube are all major key components in the music game but, I can understand when an artist is down on his luck...and needs to find a source of income. Why do labels exists? The same reason online social networking exists: advertisement.
The conversation I had with this genuine fellow, was about the rap group, "Atmosphere". Being no stranger to this artist, I felt thrilled someone else shared my enthusiasm about good music. A few members in the chat were praising this artist based on his lyrics, impeccable sense of "groove" and overall originally of compositions.
Until another person came in the chat shouting, "Yeah, he'd be great if he wasn't such a SELLOUT!"
Something snapped in my brain when I heard that. I felt as though, I...truly didn't know how to describe a sellout myself. So I began to question this individual who...had been, "high in the clouds". Was it pointless to start this argument? Possibly.
As it proceeded to go on and on, I searched up facts about the group, Atmosphere. All facts pointed to the same thing. Atmosphere was a group of rap artists who had been in the world of underground rap music for nearly the past 10 years and when they finally had the finances, they started their own label, "Rhymesayers Entertainment."
So not only did this group make their own music...they made their own label. I started to notice some similarities between myself and this group. They run everything themselves too.
So I guess the moral of this story is...check your facts. More importantly, know exactly what you're talking about before you say...what you "think" might be right.
My good friend, Jeroen Tel made a quote a few days ago, that sums up this mess of a blog...perfectly:
"The difference between -being right- and -thinking you could be right- is the difference between -breathing- and -holding your breath- (guess which one of each outlasts the other). Politics has a way with -holding it's breath-."
Thanks for listening, I'll end this blog with one of my favorite recent Atmosphere songs.