February 13th, 2010

Art of War vs. War for Art: Who Will Prevail?

According to The Lox, Lil Kim, and DMX, “Money, power, and respect are the keys to life.” It might be that way for them, but what about the artists who think their “creative freedom” is the key to life?


Many artists may feel like it is hard to break the mold of producing music that  is truly genuine because they are more focused on what records that the general public will like. Artists such as Monica and Fantasia have taken their fight for their creative rights to the small screen with their reality shows. Seeing artists like them who have traveled the world, sold millions of albums, have true fans and still continue to  play tug of war with their record labels can become discouraging for budding artists.

Who will fight the war for real art? Things that people can relate to instead of fantasize about.

Many see the entertainment business as glitz and glamour. Yes, it can be and that portrayal makes it very attractive for many of us, but what about the quality of what we are being exposed to? It seems as if the industry is really shady and needs to be taken over. Or maybe that is the problem. The industry has been taken over by big budgets, high CD prices, and entourages. Nonetheless, many musicians and actors with a steady passion for their art are making an effort to keep it true and real. I applaud them and remain a fan. However, I worry about the future of the industry.

Will the art of war prevail with its big checks and gimmick artists?

Honestly, I find myself caught in a catch 22. Many of the artists that I feel lack a true art form have the catchiest beats. As a music lover, I know that the beat is what ultimately makes a song, but it always feels like there is a void that should be filled.

Many artists get on their grind just to get in the game and rape it. Can we be mad at them? I can’t. Not when there are so many perpetrators out there lacking talent. Do most artists grind? Yes. Do they have that hustler’s spirit? Yes. Do they have real talent and artistry? Not always.

Who is going to fight the war for art?

Many are still fighting this war as we speak. It is almost like a battle between good and evil. Just as Jay-Z said, “Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.”

Think about it… Which side will you be on?

About the Author

Demaris Bailey
Demaris Bailey is an Editor for Socialtik Mag and public relations scholar from the Bronx, NY. Attending high school in suburban Massachusetts and a Historically Black University has helped her understand cultural boundaries and differences.



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  1. I agree with the Catch 22. The majority of my Ipod is filled with independent artists who truly have love and sincere appreciation for what they do. However, Gucci Mane and Lil’ Wayne control our radio stations; and I can’t help but nod my head to the beats, even though I know the content is garbage.

    The industry needs a huge makeover. However, some independent artists stress that they want to remain independent because they refuse to fit into the “quota” that indsutry heads set. If I was an artist, i’d probably be independent too. Yet at the same time, it’s always nice when your God-given talent can make you money.

    Let me stop before I write another article…excellent topic though!

  2. I agree! Independence is what many of the artists on labels are still trying to hold onto, but sometimes the grip just isn’t strong enough.

  3. Personally, I would rather listen to Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill (when she was still mentally with us) than bootsy ass Lady Gaga any day.

    It is true that it is hella hard to remain as an independent artist, especially when going mainstream is the most financially appealing path. But I feel it is important to stay true to yourself and what you feel is most important. Having potent lyrics is important. Having a clean ass beat is most definitely important. Independent artists, such as Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics, Mos Def, and Jay Electronica, whom have proven to successfully combine the two are the artists that I respect because they ain’t sell outs. Those are the artists that I would pay to see live at the Paramount because you paying for quality on both levels feel me?

    And just look at it this way, what is more important…money or respect? Money can only get you so much, until people start getting hella tired of you. Respect, on the other hand, runs deep. Loyalty goes hand in hand with respect.

    In the long run, people can go to the club to listen to your auto-tune music. I ain’t gonna knock T-Pain though cuz he is hella good at what he does in terms of lyrics and beats, but the club don’t make you money…live shows do. When you stay true to yourself like Erykah Badu and Mos Def, people want to see you live. People will pay to see you…only after they didn’t win free tickets off of KMEL of course, but they are more willing to throw down because they respect the artist and the quality of music produced by that artist.

  4. Very good article….

  5. hi, you have a perfect blog! If you post more I Will visit your website again!

  6. Hello a huge thank you for that well prepared information.I am bookmarking your page for future research.Keep up this great materialwebsite.

  7. It would always be a great idea to appreciate art as it always give us some leeway for self-expression and the like.

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