Category Archives: Music

YouTube Musicians Growing In Popularity

What helps create a pop star in the modern era of music? This is a question that gets asked every time a new generation of music becomes popular among the masses. Whether it is the rise of Jazz and Blues in the 1930’s, to the Development of Hip-Hop in the 1980’s. Popular music tastes seem to change every decade since the art was able to spread to a mass audience. The textbook we read for class also agrees with this statement, the reason that I believe this is kids wanting to separate themselves from their parents, and what better way then listening to a different types of music.

Another thing that I believe helps create music stars is the quality and creativity of their music, rather than their public image. When a person or group starts out they have to rely on their music, then if they prove that their music is good. They can be signed by a big company and then they have to work to keep the public image they want. Sometimes this can be a big struggle, like the band Nirvana, a band from Seattle who was an anti-commercial  grunge band who became popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s. When the independent label they were signed was bought out  by DGC Records. Singer Kurt Cobain said before a crowd, “Hello, we’re major-label corporate rock sellouts“. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened in the history, even big names like Johnny Cash has felt this type of pressure.

Since we live in a world where you can get content from anywhere and everywhere, Youtube has become a big place where people can listen to some of their favorite artists. One of my favorite artists actually got his start on this platform. Adrian von Ziegler is a music composer from Switzerland that has 181,899,251 subscribers at the time of this writing. Being on a platform with as much freedom as Youtube helps Ziegler produce the content that he wants, which helps him produce the public image that he wants. He also sells Cd’s and his songs are on Itunes, which allows anybody to get there hands on his content. Also since Youtube has a comments section, it allows him to know what his fans are saying as soon as their saying it. This is why I believe he has risen to the level of popularity that he has.

The Power of Popular Music

Music and music stars definitely have changed from where it first started. From Edison phonograph to the radio, and now to all the different outlets of media like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Pandora, etc. The music industry has changed immensely. It used to be the Ed Sullivan Show which the Beatles got their huge break. Nowadays any social media outlet can give you a rise to fame if used correctly. Also, there has been many shows about finding the next star. Shows like The Voice, American Idol, and X Factor are all shows to get people famous which they have. With music icons like One Direction, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber, and a lot more coming off of these platforms the music industry has grown and changed over the years. I think it has changed for the better because music, in general, is taken for granted nowadays, and we underappreciate how much we need it in today’s society.

Celebrities I would say that are music stars all have some kind of impact. The impact we see as readers or consumers is that of a more negative light from my personal experience. The tabloids and websites want the juicy filled gossip. Yellow journalism at its finest. Even though that is the case the music stars that stay away from that light tend to have less recognition, which is sad, but true in some cases. That goes with about any celebrity you either live a gossip filled life or you are boring, and nobody wants to hear about a boring music stars’ life. Celebrities do have an impact, but it has more of a negative connotation in today’s light because people would rather talk about Taylor Swift and Kayne’s feud over something else because of it interesting. In today’s society, you will hear about a celebrity donating or helping out over twitter or something, but it will not be on the news or anything because the gossip usually surrounding these people get a lot more viewer interaction.

I still believe even today that the quality of music is the reason people stay on the charts. Your public image as a celebrity definitely can influence that, but it does still come down to what song is ultimately better in popular standards than if you are more popular in real life. I say that because indie artists always find a way on the radio eventually it may take a while, but it happens. The power of trends changes music almost every day for our generation now, and it influences us as people, which is why I still think that the quality of the music is the reason a song gets popular. It can be influenced by image, but overall it is more about the music than your image as a music star.

One music star today that I have a true connection with his music is Childish Gambino. A songwriter and rapper that generally doesn’t fit the norm, because he is a jack of all trades. In his young 33-year-old life he has already been an actor, comedian, and musician succeeding at all of them. He in high school had been already a good writer because he was voted    ”Most likely to be a Simpsons writer” in his yearbook. Also, he graduated from a Performance Arts School in New York for dramatic writing. Getting his first break, he went on to write for “30 Rock” eventually getting to be in his own series “Community”. Having music as a hobby similar to other musicians Donald Glover focused on his acting career with some mixtapes coming out in the late 2000’s. These were just underground labels, so not much came out of it. Donald would then start to gain popularity over doing covers of indie songs, and then his mixtape Royalty really launched him into success in his music career. He then left his TV series, he was about to focus on this career, he had for himself because he wanted to focus on his career as a musician. He then went on to release an album under the name “Because the Internet” which blew up in 2013.

I enjoy his story because of Donald Glover or Childish Gambino whatever alias he goes under, really had a lot given to him. He already worked hard on TV, and then it was a comedian even for a while, and then finally he went on to a music career because according to a letter written by Donald was that the anxiety and distress were getting to him. He has used TV as a medium, and he before that he was on social media platforms to promote his hobby, not his job which then turned into a full-time job for him because he felt it was right. I think that most of his success came from social media and the fact that he is a soulful guy which makes a true connection with his audience. That is something that doesn’t happen as much anymore because sometimes it is about just writing the next big hit. To Donald Glover, it is more, and that is something I really enjoy about his story and music.

21 Not So Savage

I am completely convinced that you no longer need any musical talent, or training in the arts of music to be successful in today’s music industry. So many artists in our generation rely heavily upon their image that they create to market themselves rather than actual musical ability. They turn to brand representation and pay per visit events to generate revenue rather than the music that they produce and put into the market. Due to this, the quality of the music is being produced is suffering dramatically.

One artist I believe to embody this idea of lack of true musical or talent is the up and coming rapper and hip hop star 21 Savage. 21 burst onto the music scene during the heart of the summer of 2016 after being featured on the highly anticipated 2016 XXL Freshman class.

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His songs are centralized of a slow 808 style beat with a recurring baseline that essentially plays on repeat throughout the entirety of the song. 21 raps about his life before he found the fame in his music, and what he is willing to do to keep his “Savage” image alive. However, that is all that 21 writes his lyrics about. There is little to no content in his work that isn’t involved with murder, sex, drugs and money. Below are some lyrics from one of 21’s most popular songs in the industry today courtesy of Genius.com ;

“Cup, woah767i7i-20
 Muddy, yo
Hit the yolk
Got the stick, woah
Keep it on me, yah
 Knew you got it, yah
One in the head, yah
Bitch I fuckin’ dare
Nigga I double dare
Why the fuck you stare?
Pew-pew, bet you ass don’t stare”

21 Savage, “Savage Mode”

 As you can see, young Savage has quite a bit of deeper meaning behind his lyrics. The lack of lyrical effort would even be bearable if 21 would simply put some effort into vocalizing his vision. He literally sounds half asleep of extremely intoxicated in every single song he has produced. But I can’t blame him, I would need a few drinks to ake it through a 21 mixtape as well.Below is also a music video for 21’s hit “Red Opps” just one of many of its kind;

But this leads us to pose the question, if he is selling so well, and has so many fans of his music then how could he be an artist with no talent? 21 uses his music to propel his image of being a “savage”. His music exemplifies the modern idea of what used to be known as a “gangster”. Staying out late, picking up as many woman as possible and killing anybody who crosses his path. While music is free speech and you can talk about or say whatever you want, I also believe that many before Savage have done a much better job of portraying this message with much better musical content. But that’s the issue with the industry in our generation. Every artist puts out radio hits to get signed to a record label and live out their career in mediocrity, producing sub par music in exchange for selling their image. Artists are more concerned with making money, and putting in as little effort as possible to achieve it. The worst part of the whole situation is that as an audience, we are buying into it.

Music: A Way of Life

To start out music goes back centuries and over the years music and artists have evolved. Many people that become big in the music industry gets discovered. Whether they go on a show such as American Idol or the voice, such as Carrie Underwood who won the fourth season of American Idol and now she continues to make music and win Grammy’s and Academy of Country Music Awards. Others happened to get discovered on you tube and became famous and still make music and produce albums such as Justin Bieber.   Sometimes artists just go their own way, performing wherever they can and climbing the ladder in their own unique way, and sometimes that’s what works best.

Now as we see these artists evolving and making music for their audience and trying to stay high on the charts, the music has progressively strayed away from where it originated from. Music used to be a sign of life and a way to communicate how someone was feeling. But now music has transformed into something more and meaningless. While music is still used to communicate feeling, it’s also expressing negative reasoning, such as drugs,  sex, and, money. As if these things are the key to happiness. It then leads to others going out into the world and creating their own form of chaos by either doing drugs or trying to get away with other crimes (graffiti,  theft, etc…).

There’s many artists to choose from but there’s one that speaks to me. A rapper based out of Kansas City, his name is Steven Cooper, formerly known as Lyrycyst.  Coming from a broken home the thing he had was the lyrics that he wrote. Starting out doing talent shows and then he moved on booking any gigs that he could get and going on minimal tours. In his early years as an artist he began as a Christian rapper but then just recently he strayed away from that label but still delivers positive lyrics. The reason for moving on from the “Christian music” label is because he wanted to reach a bigger crowd through his music in a positive way.

While getting his music out there he has been featured with Tech N9ne and Akon and continues posting music on Spotify and YouTube and selling his music on ITunes and Amazon. He’s had songs featured on ESBN and MTV. As he keeps climbing the charts and releasing new music while running his own labeling company.  He continues rising to success.