According to a recent article in the Memphis Business Journal, record labels from across the country are gobbling up Memphis acts, many of which are burning up the charts.
"I think Memphis is ready to blow up in terms of rap and hip-hop," says Wendy Day, founder of the non-profit Rap Coalition. "Every major record label that exists has had at least one representative come into the city."
In the article, it also states how nationally, hip-hop dominates the music industry stating that Urban music, which includes hip-hop as well as R&B, is the second-biggest seller category in the U.S., outsold rock in 2002 and generated almost a quarter of the $11.8 billion of U.S. music sales in 2003.
"Hip-hop also has very deep, significant cultural influences," says Rey Flemings, president of the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission. "In much the same way as rock once did, it appeals to youth culture and has captured youth culture."
And major corporations have taken note. Hip-hop stars are now major elements in celebrity campaigns for Volvo and other blue-chip brands seeking to appeal to the buying power of racially mixed young audiences.
The article goes on to mention and quote such names as Artemis 'Peppa' Williams (who has managed some of the city's hottest musical acts, including Three 6 Mafia, Criminal Manne, Yo Gotti and the Block Burnaz); Shemkia Cole, co-owner of S&S Entertainment (a local promotion company that recently put on CrunkFest 2004) who says she would still be booking shows at the club level if Memphis rap and hip-hop weren't so big; Adam Shanks Anderson, owner of Response Records who says the Memphis hip-hop scene was partly responsible for his recent move back to Memphis; Maurice 'Mo Better' Rivera, marketing and promotions director for Hot 107.1, KXHT (who states he thinks it can take over what Atlanta has done in the last five years); 8 Ball & MJG (who recently signed to Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs' Bad Boy label); Justin Timberlake (member of NSYNC and a native of Millington); and even our very own Memphis Mayor, Willie Herenton (who also has recognized the growing power of the hip-hop industry in Memphis).
"We need diversity on the commission," Herenton says. "We want the Music Commission to be reflective of all aspects of our community, including the hip-hop community."
Source: The Memphis Business Journal
CONTACT staff writer Amos Maki at 259-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org