This past year saw the birth and breakthrough of several young artists in the local hip hop game. Due to outlets such as White’s Bar and the Internet many rappers in the area who were dismissed or not ready for the big events got a chance to hone their skills, develop their talents, and expand their fanbase. 989 hip hop went from being a few established elites to a whole squadron of artists with a myriad of styles.
The rising popularity and usage of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter gave many artists a new way to promote their music and brand themselves. Rappers could instantly put their music out for everyone to hear with just a click of the mouse. Lyrical MC’s could now reach the masses whereas before they most likely had to make commercial sounding music to get exposure. The artists took the music into their own hands instead of playing into the game of trying to make something for the radio or the clubs.
One of the most important role players in the process of breaking these new artists was Saginaw hip hop veteran Skeem. His popular hip hop show on Blog Talk Radio helped establish many of the younger rappers and gave exposure to vets who never had the money or push to get shine anywhere else. Skeem never saw a dime for his hard work, but was rewarded handsomely with the respect of his peers. Another Saginaw hip hop vet, Jeremy Jackson of Da Hype magazine was also in the field recording performances and pushing local artists. As a true journalist he covered any event he felt was important and showed no favoritism.
All the new outlets for artists leveled the playing field. It now became the job of the artist to make a quality product and be skilled to gain the attention of the people. Flint hip hop artist Jon Connor is currently getting feelers from major labels such as Def Jam. His superior lyricism and song writing ability was crucial in his new found buzz. While Fly city is now gaining national attention again, a massive group of artists in the Saginaw Area are starting to raise eyebrows outside of the city.
Collectives such as EST, The Gas House Gorillas Chamber, Dreem Ent, Identification Confirmed, L.I.F.E. Music Entertainment and other crews were getting spins on terrestrial and internet radio. 989 artists were gigging in major cities such as Detroit, Chicago, and Grand Rapids. Many people were beginning to look at the 989 as a beacon of genuine expression in Michigan hip hop.
The continuing growth of the scene is dependent on artist’s willingness to build with positive competition. People need to share their resources and utilize the strengths of others to make up for any weaknesses that exist. All styles of hip hop need to respect and appreciate each other for the scene to bubble over and make it to the next level. If not, 989 hip hop could fade into obscurity and never get the spotlight it rightfully deserves.