Former hip-hop publicist Sebastien Elkouby recently hit up Potholes in My Blog with a detailed email explaining his reason for leaving the industry after decades. In it, he discusses not only the misogyny, violence, greed, and glorification of drug use as issues in the game but also all of the people and the money behind it, who help perpetuate negativity.
Check out an excerpt:
It’s time I throw in the towel. As a freelance publicist who specializes in promoting up and coming rappers, it looks like 2013 will be the end of the road for me. As a 40-year-old Hip Hop head who grew up on Afrika Bambaataa, Melle Mel, Run DMC, Public Enemy and Rakim, my mission in life has always been to promote this culture I love. But the game has changed and so have I…
Between 2011 and 2012, I found myself turning down more potential clients then I was bringing in. The idea of working with aspiring artists who sounded just like Big Sean, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj or 2 Chainz disgusted me. And those few artists who did have something of substance to offer had little to no money or lacked the drive to take their music to the next level. Everyday my inbox would fill up with rappers requesting my services to help promote their songs about ass, weed, guns, cars, strippers, sex and money. As a freelancer striving to establish myself, I should have been thankful for generating so much business and could have watched my bank account grow, regardless of the musical quality. But as a husband, father and all around socially conscious person, I couldn’t. As a man, I couldn’t.
Behind every mainstream rapper glorifying money, sex and violence, there is a cast of managers, publicists, lawyers, program directors, DJ’s, bloggers, journalists, producers and other industry executives working hard to make that artist a household name. Behind every Chief Keef, Tyga and Trinidad James, there are college educated men and women whose job it is to promote music that contributes to the dumbing down of our youth. Behind every music video full of half naked girls, there are casting agents and directors who would never allow their own daughters to portray themselves in such light. Behind every rapper who claims to be a thug, there are countless professionals who send their kids to private schools while promoting music which sends our kids to prison. Behind every mainstream rapper on BET, MTV, Hot 97, Power 106 and any other popular station in your city, there’s a Clear Channel, Viacom, Emmis Communications and Radio One made up of powerful decision makers who would never in a million years listen to the kind of music they get rich promoting. And behind every rapper with a criminal record, there’s a publicist spinning a story to make crime more marketable.
Elkouby plans to relaunch the educational hip-hop program he began years ago that ended in 2011 because of funding.
Do you agree with Elkouby about the state of the hip-hop business? Do you think more people should be vocal about it?