Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Memphis Chess Moves Pt.2:M-Town DJ's Don't Support The "M"?

photo: Memphis DJ Lil' Larry

Stand up slowly.

Step away from your computers and give a long round of applause.

I'll wait.

It doesn't really matter why you are doing it. Just as long as you can give some praise toward who I'm about to introduce to a lot of people again.

Can the city of Memphis (in conjunction with every radio station, rapper, producer, club owner and Memphis music enthusist) please honor Drumma Boy and the whole Drum Squad colective? I have sat amongst a dozen CD's and single-handed went through some of this year's hottest releases and his name (and the colective) continously kept coming up. This is what the new Memphis sound is and is ultimately the future of Memphis music.

One would think with those new musical strides would come new musical opportunities. But that is far from the truth.

The DJ is the gatekeeper and the bridge to get music played in Memphis on a large scale is the DJ. Even in the early days with Club No-Name and Club G, the DJ controlled Memphis. DJ Spanish Fly's mixtapes was a staple along with other DJ-based tapes by others like DJ Paul (Blackhaven), DJ Sound (Frayser), DJ Squeeky (Orange Mound), Juicy J (North Memphis), Lil' Larry (K-97), DJ 007,DJ Freddy Hydro (RIPP Squad DJ's) and many others.

You would think that with all of these legendary DJ's that anyone could get a major street presence in Memphis. That could not be further from the truth.

Payola, artist alligences and a unenthasicatic belief in the Memphis artist (whether rap, blues or rock) has been ingrained in the heads of a many of program directors at the local radio station. It's known fact that Three 6 Mafia are one of the biggest rap acts from Memphis. But we have many other artists that are lacking from that same radio presence that birthed the forefathers of Hip Hop in the city.

Where is the love?

DJ's like DJ Drama, DJ Kay Slay and DJ Chuck T have taken the role of the gatekeepers (to a certain extent) and opened their radio markets to the world. Young Jeezy, Papoose and many others have come from these gatekeepers with a limited amount of payola action to boot.

The younger DJ's out of Memphis like DJ EFeezy, DJ Mike Tee and DJ Kenny Kaign are blazing the trails to make those things happen. Even DJ Lil' Larry has gained a strong affiliation with DJ Drama's Atlanta-based Aphilliates. Most of these new DJ's are breaking artists because they want to see Memphis as one of the epicenters of the South. We are from the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock n roll. Now, we need to act like it.

I see it like New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey. New York is the birthplace of Hip Hop but more importantly, it's the center of what people recognize what is the East Coast. New Jersey is what I like to call the "swagger" of the East Coast. Philadelphia is what I like to call the "heart of the East Coast.

Atlanta is what New York is now when people look towards the South. Houston would most definitely be the "swagger" capital of the South with the screw music and the gold grills.

But I feel that if we all work and recognize the common goal is in Memphis, we will be akin to Philadelphia in that analogy. We all know where the "get buck" sound, juiking (jookin') and that undeniable soul sound comes from. Now it is time for our DJ's to stand up and let the world know.

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