Has anyone noticed that recently BET's Rap City has consisted of only commercialized music and artists? I guess Dbrad has spoken what some of us have been thinking aloud for some time. For sometime the network had an underground feel to it's video rotation, particularly Rap City, where artists like Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Mos Def, MF Doom, and so many others were given an outlet when big mainstream networks like MTV would barely even give Jay-Z the time of the day.
Almost 2 years ago, Little Brother's video, "Lovin It" was banned from BET due to the program director saying that the song was too intellectual for the station's 12-19 year old African American female demographic. As a result, the Atlantic recording trio, Little Brother got the cold shoulder from the network for not having dumbed down content, which resulted in their anticipated debut lp, The Minstrel Show not seeing it's full potential, due to no promotion.
Not to mention, some time ago, a memo floated about the internet with a banned lists of artists from the station which included AZ, singer Dante Dogg who mainly does hooks, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Talib Kweli, Lil Cease, and so many others. BET has played concious music from past etablished mc's who still remain relevant such as Nas, The Roots, and Ludacris' recent concious hit, "Runaway Love", but for those thirsting for more awareness, the network doesn't offer enough of that variety.
Former BET Producer, Dbrad has come clean for his disgust for BET's newfound corporate ways and neglect for the hip hop artform on his Confessions of A BET Producer, which will be soon be released fully on DVD, but currently has 4 videos on his myspace getting things off of his chest.
Dbrad claims the network had gone downhill in the hip hop artform once Bob Johnson sold the company to Viacom in 2002, where a dictatorship began to rule about which artists and videos were going to play on the network, particularly Rap City; Tha Basement. Dbrad made clear that up until 2002, videos on the network that were played were discussed among hip hop heads as to what should be played, whereas now the 47 year old VP, Stephen Hill rotates who and what video he likes and outkasts music and artists, he doesn't see any potential in.
The former producer claims that the VP is solely responsible as to why hip hop is dead for letting the radio dictate to him and his staff about what is hot, whereas BET use to be the blueprint for all networks as to what was hot in music. Dbrad mentioned breaking established artists and their videos on tv like Eve back when Stephen Hill was completely against her and not willing to give her video "What U Want" off of Ruff Ryder's Compilation:Vol.1 a chance. He also spoke on how he laid the foundation and broke the whole Ruff Ryders, Jay-Z, Nas, Lox, Ja Rule and DMX to be played on BET up until they reached MTV status.
In addition, Dbrad was candid on his disgust on how hip hop is only being perceived with stereotypical images to the young generation and claims that current BET isn't offering any balance in what they show. The former BET producer also is outraged about how BET portrays Tupac Shakur with certain images, which puts him in a certain light and perceives him to be a certain way to kids.
You can check out the 4 part confessions of Dbrad below:
When Big and Pac got killed back around 1997 it gave programming directors the power to ban certain types of rap. People were OK with it because most rap fans were in agreement that these certain kinds of rap lyrics contributed to the murders.
But what never happened after wards was that they held on to that power and used it to manipulate what people could hear and see as far as hip hop is concerned. Sort of like how Bush used the patriot act after 911.
This began way before 2002. You give people that kind of power over a billion dollar industry and they are going to use it for personal gain. They are going to find a way to use it to make their pockets fat. So what they did was deliberately dubbed down the music so they could bring in some of their own types of less talented rap artist. There are more of the sub talent rappers than there are good visionary lyricist. Around this time they flooded the market with lesser types of rappers. I wouldn't necessarily blame BET. It was a concerting effort on the part of the execs, rappers and fans who did this too.