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    1. #1
      godisblack3 is offline Warrior

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      What Racial Demographic Buys The Most Hiphop/rap Music?


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      I found this to be an interesting read.


      Who buys Hip Hop article:
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------





      I admit - I haven't had a chance to read Bakari Kitwana's new book yet, but I did talk with Joe Schloss about it and one of the chapters he found compelling was where Bakari disputes the oft-repeated "fact" that "70% of hip-hop consumers are white." From what I understand of Bakari's argument, he tries to track down the source of this truism and discovers, actually, no one is quite sure where it started from but once it did, it acquired a life of its own and has entered into the realm of "common sense" - unquestioned and unchallenged.

      As it turns out, Bakari isn't the only person interested in this statistic. Back in May, the Wall St. Journal published a very similar article that examines the same issue except, in the case of author Carl Bialik, he discovers that going by what data-measuring services are out there (namely Mediamark Research Inc., and not SoundScan, who doesn't track racial information, despite assumptions otherwise), as it turns out, the percentage of rap buyers in 1996, 1999 and 2001 were indeed, white. However, Bialik goes on to say that when MRI changed their data collecting methods - asking people to self-identify by race instead of having the collectors make that determination (what do they use? A color wheel? Genealogy charts?), the number of white consumers actually slipped to 60%. (What I'd like to know is where did that other 10-15% go? To African Americans? Latinos and Asians? Other?) (BTW, there's some follow-up questions in a later Journal column that pertains to this one.)

      If you stop and think about this, there are several implications and additional questions that get raised (and I, for one, would like to know what Bakari makes of the WSJ column since obviously, his chapter was written months, if not years, before).

      For example, why does this matter? For a moment, let's go back to presuming the 70% stat was, in fact true. This could serve one of two purposes (at least):

      1) It's "proof" that hip-hop has crossed over into the mainstream, though I hardly think we needed quantitative data to prove that point. However, they wa I've seen the statistic used is to help people argue that hip-hop is no longer "just a black thing" but has become part of the fabric of multicultural American life.

      There's a certain naivete that comes with that conclusion unless people are willing to add: "hip-hop is popular but Black people still aren't." So much for the brave new multicultural world then. I just got off the phone with Jeff who also pointed out that a corollary to this would be that since white kids are the dominant consumer base, then record companies don't need to take Black community interests or desires into mind. Take this argument a little further and you arrive at:

      2) It's "proof" that if hip-hop has gone to hell in a handbasket, it's not because the Black youth community has decided to embrace sex, drugs, violence and general nihilism, it's because that's what voyeuristic white kids want and since white kids are the main consumer demographic, record labels push their albums to fill that consumer desire.

      While not a contradiction of Point 1, this argument has been used to explain why conscious rap is dead, dead, dead and why pimps, players and hustlers have become the new norm, and that, behind it all, it's white kids to blame. The unspoken corollary, as I just noted, is that more or less absolves the Black community from having to take responsibility for the content of "Black music" (whatever that term actually means these days).

      Which Point you're more lenient towards probably also has to do with what you think of hip-hop right now. If you think rap music is still the greatest, coolest thing ever, then Point 1 only bolsters your case that hip-hop is en fuego and then some. On the other hand, if you think rap music has gone to doo doo, Point 2 is your back-up.

      There's also a simpler Point 3 which could be made: hip-hop buying patterns are largely reflective of the American population at large, though as the Journal points out, if only 60% of rap consumers are white, then that's far under their actual population rate in the U.S. (which is 78%).

      I'm putting out two questions for discussion.

      A) How can one accurately determine this statistic anyways? Does MRI take into account records sold out the back of someone's trunks? This is where SoundScan, for example, is limited: it can only tracks sales through retail stores but doesn't take into account distribution methods that go outside of retail (and these are only getting bigger)? How do you model research like this?

      B) Why does it matter? I think this is the question Bakari is getting at: why do we want/need to know what the demographic breakdown is of rap consumers? Is it to push across Points, 1, 2 or 3? Or for some other reason?
      Already got a response via email from a grad student at Cal State L.A., pointing out that what's being ignored here too are int'l sales:

      "Pertaining to your last posting on the consumer demographics of rap purchases, there is also one very important area of purchasing power that always seems to be ignored: the global market. What is the actual impact of global sales among rap music? Which countries have had a strong foothold on this and what are the cultural impacts amongst the listener affecting their radio playlists?

      We here in this country always seem to place our "voice" as the overbearing opinion maker (obviously our construction and overwhelming creation of the vocal element of Hiphop has a lot to do with it, but still....), but I tend to argue that sure, Hiphop is a multicultural fabric within our society now...but what about the world's impact and effect? I personally have traveled throughout Central America/Mexico and I could not believe the appetite the youth have had for rap music. For instance in Belize last September, I witnessed b-boys doing their thing amongst "G-unit" clones in literally the backcountry in the western mountain hills. I was floored. In my travels through Mexico, Hiphop is alive and well. Surprisingly, in Cuba, I couldn't believe the knowledge base of not only the youth, but 30-something people (my age group) who questioned and asked about this music's 80's heyday that I believe our youth here in America have neglected to hear and basically understand. Within the Multicultural Studies of Hiphop I believe we are bearly scratching the surface of ethnography on such issues because I truly believe the importance is beyond what is East/West Coast, but what is transgressing over seas in the culture beyond our borders."

      My response: I hear you but I don't think the global market is making a big difference in how record labels OR artists strategize their music-making, not yet at least. That's reflective of America's cultural exports in general: we operate with the assumption that we're the center of the universe and that whatever we put out, people want. The fact that you have backcountry Belize kids rocking G-Unit gear would seem to bear that out actually. On the other hand, you do have to be rather amazed at the idea that some kid in Nicaragua is rocking a "Free Tony Yayo" shirt right now.
      And just add an additional layer here...as Mark points out in the comments to this post, the term "consumption" is ill-defined since "consumption" is typically thought of an actual cash-for-item exchange and doesn't include, for example, the ways in which certain albums get passed around via bootlegs, radio, parties, and these days, MP3s of course (though given the racial gap in technological access, one might argue that MP3 distribution would skew even more White but that's another issue).

      However, this brings us back to the second question I left with: what does this all mean? What if you could measure the overall popularity of hip-hop - in any form, purchased or not - and that it showed that there were far more non-white listeners than previously presumed? Yet, if the cash register is still coming up "white consumer," is this where the most important act of "consumption" is taking place, as far as the music industry is concerned?

      By the way - one also wonders how radio and video consumption factors in here and whether Clear Channel or MTV is able to gauge who their audience is, demographically speaking? I assume they have entire marketing depts devoted to this.

    2. #2

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      I knew that. When you think about it, it shouldn't surprise you at all. They are the "majority" in this country for one thing.

      Number 2, everybody- including Asians, Jews, Iranians, Arabs, you name them- wants to be us but none of them know what it is like to actually be us.

      Number 3, look at the message in mainstream hip-hop. It's comforting to the average white amerikkkan. Niggers killing each other. Niggers projecting an image of the "amerikkkan dream", disrespecting their women, selling drugs/death to their own... this is comforting for mainstream amerikkka.

      Artists like Common, Mos Def, KRS-1, dead prez, Paris, Talib Kweli, and Nas aren't so popular amongst mainstream white amerikkka because of their lyrical content.

      These artists actually sell music of substance. White amerikkka doesn't want substance. They'd rather hear "I'll put da Ruger in the face of any nigga tryna snatch my bread..." and lyrics of that ilk.
      We are not citizens of amerikkka. We are victims of amerikkka.

    3. #3
      Im The Truth's Avatar
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      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      Correction:
      Artists like Common, Mos Def, KRS-1, dead prez, Paris, Talib Kweli, and Nas are mainly popular amongst mainstream white amerikkka.

      Point:
      I repeat.....EVERY MAINSTREAM ENTERTAINER IS LOVED MOSTLY BY YURUGUS. THE WORD MAINSTREAM MEANS YURUGUS SUPPORT....LOVE YOU. Why I have not clue? I'm not really interested in the answer neither, I'm more interested in why don't mainstream artist use there talents, influence, and resources to better Afrikan communities.

      "The only actions that count are the revolutionary ones" - Fuck The Police
      "If the enemy is not doing anything against you, you are not doing anything"
      -Ahmed Sékou Touré


      "speak truth, do justice, be kind and do not do evil."
      -Baba Orunmila

      "Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular - but one must take it simply because it is right."
      --Dr. Martin L. King


      Get Involved!

    4. #4
      manifestdestiny's Avatar
      manifestdestiny is offline Administrator

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      I live in a very diverse section of detroit, everyday I'm amused by the paki, hindi, banguli, arabs, polish, ukranians, and bosnians bumpin popular (commercialized) hip hop songs. It angers me sometime, to see the mass glorification of the superficial mentality that plagues our people.
      However, those statistic can be misinterpreted...Krakkas represent a large population of this country, 60% of krakka pop does not purchase rap music, But over 60% of Afrikan community do purchased rap music. The Point in me saying this, the population of caucasians (although growing)that listen is rap music is small compared to those that don't. It is just a matter of overall pop. size of each demographic

      NAS? I couldn't tell that from his music, I guess I check out his new joints

    5. #5

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      Quote Originally Posted by manifestdestiny
      I live in a very diverse section of detroit, everyday I'm amused by the paki, hindi, banguli, arabs, polish, ukranians, and bosnians bumpin popular (commercialized) hip hop songs. It angers me sometime, to see the mass glorification of the superficial mentality that plagues our people.

      NAS...I couldn't tell that from his music
      Nas is sometimesey with his... I'll put it this way, Nas is a very intelligent/conscious brotha though some of his lyrics don't reflect it.
      We are not citizens of amerikkka. We are victims of amerikkka.

    6. #6
      godisblack3 is offline Warrior

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      don't forget.....


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      have you guys ever thought about the INTERNATIONAL consumers? What about the BOOTLEG consumers? What about the lil MOMS & POPS shops?& of course, INTERNET sales? These CANNOT be OVERLOOKED when answering this question.& I also wonder WHO buys MORE CONSCIOUS HIPHOP,as opposed to who buys more GANGSTA? Daveyd from www.daveyd.com saids that the 80% of sales by yurugus is a MYTH that was specifically used to gain ADVERTISING $$$.Check out the debate:http://p076.ezboard.com/fpoliticalpa...tart=1&stop=20

    7. #7
      Raha's Avatar
      Raha is offline Be EASY.

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      My question is: why do we even care about which "racial" demographic buys the most hip-hop music? Why aren't we concerned with why WE as a people aren't supporting our own music (whether it be so-called "gangsta" or so-called "conscious" hip-hop)?

      Holla back.

      P.E.A.C.E.
      Pyrrhic Victory (New songs are up!): http://www.reverbnation.com/pyrrhicvictory

      Some people take themselves WAY TOO SERIOUSLY, when in actuality, no one else is really taking them as seriously as they think.

    8. #8
      manifestdestiny's Avatar
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      I don't support them, mainly because of the company's behind them...If some of this brothas got in production, distribution, and actually caring bout how their music effect the youth...I won't, rather it be conscious or not. Caucasians pimp the hell out of them.

    9. #9

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      Quote Originally Posted by Raha
      My question is: why do we even care about which "racial" demographic buys the most hip-hop music? Why aren't we concerned with why WE as a people aren't supporting our own music (whether it be so-called "gangsta" or so-called "conscious" hip-hop)?

      Holla back.

      P.E.A.C.E.
      Sorry but I'm not supporting nothing that's selling poison to the youth. I won't listen to/support any kind of music- no matter who makes it- that isn't geared to supporting/uplifting/inspiring my people to rise above our current condition. I REFUSE to believe that we should support all music that is produced by a Black hip-hop artist simply because he/she is Black.

      Hip-hop should be used as it was originally intended: A voice of the people, for the people for a greater cause other than promoting one's self, self-interests, and/or his assets (legally acquired or illegally acqired assets).
      Last edited by Revolutionary_Student; 07-15-2006 at 11:20 PM.
      We are not citizens of amerikkka. We are victims of amerikkka.

    10. #10
      Raha's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Student
      Hip-hop should be used as it was originally intended: A voice of the people, for the people for a greater cause other than promoting one's self, self-interests, and/or his assets (legally acquired or illegally acqired assets).
      It has nothing to do with the artist being black or not; what I am talking about is EXACTLY what you mentioned in the above quote: them being a VOICE of a people that don't have a voice themselves.

      Who are we to say that the stuff dead prez spits is any more valid or representative of a part of our people than let's say something T.I. says?

      They both represent a voice of our people. T.I. ain't tellin' people to go out there and sell drugs to make a living; he is just saying that that is what HE did to survive (which he hasn't been the only one that did it). In fact, he regrets doing it. That's why he took the old house that he used to sell in, cleaned it up, and moved a family into it.

      Instead of us criticizing these artists, we need to start dialoguing, because a lot is being lost in translation.
      Pyrrhic Victory (New songs are up!): http://www.reverbnation.com/pyrrhicvictory

      Some people take themselves WAY TOO SERIOUSLY, when in actuality, no one else is really taking them as seriously as they think.

    11. #11

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      Quote Originally Posted by Raha
      It has nothing to do with the artist being black or not; what I am talking about is EXACTLY what you mentioned in the above quote: them being a VOICE of a people that don't have a voice themselves.

      Who are we to say that the stuff dead prez spits is any more valid or representative of a part of our people than let's say something T.I. says?

      They both represent a voice of our people. T.I. ain't tellin' people to go out there and sell drugs to make a living; he is just saying that that is what HE did to survive (which he hasn't been the only one that did it). In fact, he regrets doing it. That's why he took the old house that he used to sell in, cleaned it up, and moved a family into it.

      Instead of us criticizing these artists, we need to start dialoguing, because a lot is being lost in translation.
      That may be all well and good; and I ain't knockin' that brotha for anything positive that he's done. All I'm saying is that the bulk of the music that we hear isn't telling us anything substantial. I hear T.I. and I hear a lot of "self contained" music. "I got this... I can do that... my watch costs $50,000"... I can name a million other causes that $50,000 could have went to.

      And it's not just T.I. Name just about any rapper who's big right now and he falls in that same category. This is where the problem lies. These brothas are the ones lost in translation. The kids don't know no better! They look up to these characters!

      Case in point, my 5 year old nephew gauges success on wheather or not you have big shiny rims on your car or big gaudy jewelry on your neck and wrists! Where you think he gets it from?

      My point is, this music that you say we should support isn't working in our favor. It's selling our kids pipe dreams and mis-information.

      And might I add that white people are making money hand over foot on hip-hop! They are well aware of the affect it has on our youth (many of them more aware than our own people) and they are laughing it up! Billions of dollars are being funnelled into the hands of people who have absolutely nothing to do with the hip-hop culture what-so-ever! To these corporate pirates we are nothing but a meal ticket when it comes to hip-hop! Forget about who's buying it for a minute. Look at who's getting RICHEST off of hip-hop!
      We are not citizens of amerikkka. We are victims of amerikkka.


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