Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Joell Ortiz talks gentrification

Most people have no clue how frustrating and draining the process of "Gentrification" can be to working class areas. The fluctuating economy has kept a lot of South London protected to an extent but it's definitely affected the potential job markets for local people, the class war is very, very real in the UK right now. The current gentrification of music is having the same affect. It's become more and more frustrating to see the soul of the music I make ripped out because it's an "In" trend. Too many suburban college boys read the Russel Simmons and Rick Rubin Def Jam story for my liking, culturally we're stagnating in the UK and the US. There are hurdles we are told to tackle that have nothing to do with us. Club nights that have nothing to do with us dictate whether or not our songs are going to be supported in certain media circles. When did they get that power? When did we give it to them? In these times of limited record sales, extended media and short attention spans, the privileged few call the shots. I'm going to get into this heavy on my second album.

LINK: Brooklyn Bullshit


White South London gentry said...

The gentrification of neighbourhoods is too complex an issue for me to comment on, but as far as the white middle class dictating the fortunes of black working class musicians, I don't think it is anything new.

Not that that makes it any less worthy of your anger. But I think that all great music to come out of black urban areas - UK, US, wherever - in the past century has done so against (and in spite of) a backdrop of negrophilia and exploitation. It can be overcome.

Marvin The Human said...

I'm really talking about the way that the middle class have decided in the last 20 years to take every corner of the music industry and in the last 5 or so years they decided to take the performance corner too. Of course the majority of successful and brilliant music has come from the working class, there's a soul, a passion and a frustration that encourages art and expression in working class areas and environments and of course there have always been people to exploit that. The west is built on exploitation on every level, you come to expect that, but at this point you would be hard pushed to get any kind of support as a working class performer in London because the middle class have decided what they want the industry to be. In terms of hip-hop, I can throw on some black face, make songs about nothing over a dance beat and they might get behind a single, maybe pretend to be one of them by rapping about clothes and other things with no apparent social merit and they'll be all over it. And I'm not even really talking to the industry. I got my record deal. I'm talking about the shit that goes on around the industry. It's acting as a block right now for anything meaningful. I'm not even bitter, I will always appeal to my niche, but they've got control of the "Urban" world that I never wanted anything to do with it and what they're doing with the music right now is horrific.