Thursday, 22 February 2018
Stars like DMX (pictured) are breathing new life into old-school hip-hop and rap. Stars like DMX (pictured) are breathing new life into old-school hip-hop and rap.

Is Hip-Hop a Passing Fad?

In the 30 years since hip-hop developed from basement jams and Bronx block parties, it has run the gamut from fame (and infamy) in the late '70s through the '90s, to a somewhat recent fall from grace and every stop in between.

But rap is not dead.

One has only to look at artists like DMX and the Beastie Boys - both of whom are dropping new albums this year -- to know that hip hop is alive and well and enjoying something of a rebirth.

The point is underscored by noting that the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year and that the 40-year-old X, who was recently released from an almost one-year stint in prison in Arizona, is releasing his seventh album.

This, said Jake Shapiro, COO of Big Jake Music, a Los Angeles-based indie record label that represents DMX, is a testament to the fact that hip hop may have started back in the '70s as a popular trend, but is still relevant today.

"Artists, like X, are hip-hop's most beloved and influential people," said Shapiro. "He embodies everything that is hip-hop - an amalgam of barking and rhyming in loud bursts of manic ... energy."

Born Earl Simmons in December 1970, DMX was signed by a subsidiary of Columbia Records at the age of 22 and has enjoyed almost two decades of honors and accolades, including multi-platinum-selling records, and being the only artist in Billboard history to reach number one with five consecutive albums.

Even with various legal woes and drug problems plaguing him over the last decade, his supporters are not about to count him out.

"We're thrilled to be working with DMX," said Shapiro."His fan base continues to support him, and he is still clearly able to produce good music. We believe that great things will come from our partnership."

With the help of his new record label Seven Arts Music, DMX has released the singles, "Already," and "I Don't Dance," featuring Machine Gun Kelly -- both of which have received much radio play, prior to the release of the actual album.

Related items

  • Rapping Pastor Mase Once Again Drops Jesus For MIC

    Former Bad Boy Associate, Rapper Turned Pastor Mase has apparently gone back to his entertainment ways.

    reporting the Harlem Born Pastor quit his role as a pastor after his marriage broke down last month and ended in divoce.

    The pastor has been sometime now coming back and dropping some music and then later going back to religion.

    Mase left his El Elyon International Church attendees confused after he dropped an album full of Godly content a couple of years ago.

    Mase left the rap game in 1999 to take up a career as a pastor of the Lord, he quickly built up a huge base of followers from Atlanta and Phoenix where his churches are based.

    The pastor had preached about the virtues of marriage and family values and so when his family life came crashing down, most of his church goers left in Anger.

    Mase has broken off all the ties with church and is performing regurlarly in the L.A area and sitting in the studio making worldly music.

    Mase was born Mason Durell Betha on August 27, 1977 and comes from Harlem New York.

    He was Formerly signed by P. Diddy to his Bad Boy records and was supposed to be Bad Boy’s new king after the unfortunate death of Biggy Smalls.

    Mase had featured heavy on R&B songs and his hit Mo Money, Mo Problems tok the world by storm, being the biggest hit in the Biggie Smalls Life After Death (1997).

    He was married to Twyla Betha and lead the El Elyon International Church.

  • Digital Revolution Yields New Opportunity for Films

    Digital distribution revolutionized the music industry to such an extent that it's still reeling from the transformative power of mass downloading. As the music industry adjusts to the rocking changes of the digital wave, the film industry is going through its own set of uncharted waters.

    Though not without hiccups, digital distribution met widespread success in the music industry. The digital revolution, however, has now shifted focus to the film industry with the dawn of Netflix, digital streaming and video-on-demand.

    "There's never been a better time to be in the movie industry," says Peter Hoffman, CEO of Seven Arts Pictures. "Large studios are relying on big-budget pictures like 3D titles, but that opens up space for independent studios to work on small-budget films and capitalize on digital distribution."

    Seven Arts embraced the opportunity afforded by digital distribution and staged a digital release for their most recent comedy, "The Pool Boys." A digital release via on-demand took place just days after the theatrical release. Seven Arts recognized the profitability of electronic delivery and the home-video market.

    According to the annual Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report, North America expected to $12.2 billion in box office revenue but $27.9 billion in home-video profits in 2011.

    The home-video market is growing in significance as Blu-ray discs become increasingly popular, ticket prices continue to rise and electronic movie delivery transforms distribution. The Entertainment and Media Outlook estimates an 13.8 percent annual profit growth for electronic delivery.

    "We're seeing significant market opportunity due to the cutback by major studios on producing small-budget films and the proliferation of digital distribution alternatives," says Hoffman.

    Digital distribution made CD's practically obsolete, yet a new world of music was born with iTunes, Pandora and Spotify. Who knows what changes the digital revolution shall yield for the film industry? For more information on the changing movie industry, go to

  • Sound of Music Lends European Influence

    Americans love to dance. And today, more than ever, they are moving to the beat of electronic dance music.

    So much so that artists like Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Britney Spears are filling their music with these electronic elements -- a popular form of dance and rock that hails from Europe.

    This cutting-edge style was made popular in the early 80s and 90s by British band Duran Duran and Swedish band Ace of Base. Since then, Europe has become a recruitment destination for American executives looking to sign new acts.

    Enter Abie Flinstone -- a 19-year-old R&B and hip-hop artist from Lommel, Belgium, who is making headlines with her distinct sound.

    Infusing her flow and lyrics with a 90s feel, but with a millennium twist, Flinstone says she's in a category all her own, and Jake Shapiro, founder of New York-based Big Jake Music, agrees.

    "The most important business aspect of dance music is a great hook. To that point, you also need artists who are marketable. We believe we have found that in Abie," said Shapiro.

    With songs like "Have Dat," "Love You Like Davao" and "Get Outta My Way," Flinstone believes she is ready to take on the music industry.

    From writing and recording in her bedroom, which she calls Bedrock, Flinstone is a star on the rise. According to Shapiro, she has the potential and credentials to go as far as she wants.

    "Besides being sexy and fun, Abie is cutting-edge with her lyrics and beats," he said.

    Clearly, dance music is suiting American tastes more and more each year. The cross-over appeal between America and her European sister is at an all-time high for the genre. Branding opportunities have opened up, and record company producers are taking notice, making it easier for artists like Flinstone to get a foothold in both countries.

    Having recently been acquired by Seven Arts Pictures (NASDAQ: SAPX), the indie music label believes it can now better focus on up-and-coming new artists like Flinstone.

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