According to the Pareto Principle , 80% of problems in anything come from 20% of the causes.
I would like to make a hypothesis today that 80% of problems faced by Zim Hip-hop artistes in marketing their brands have a lot to do with reputation of genre itself. Remember I said 80% is totally hypothetical.
There has been no actual academic research to substantiate anything I will say in this article. However it does not mean all of it will count for nothing. You will definitely find some gems in it. Are you ready?
Reputation is spoken of more than 32 times in the Christian Bible. That is how important it is. I am sure you have read countless quotables on the subject. The one relevant to this discussion is, “Your reputation precedes you.”
It was written by my home girl Unkown. Many quotes she has.
“80% of problems faced by Zim Hip-hop artistes in marketing their brands have a lot to do with reputation of genre itself.” – Hold this thought.
In my observation of humans I have noticed that cognitive biases, fallacies and so forth shape pre-judgments (prejudices). This is not unique to Hip-hop, we see it in daily life.
People associate certain things with certain things. Now I will not give you lectures on “Law of Proximity” or “Classical Conditioning” but to better understand the degree to which associations affect judgment you may want to look at that later on (or now).
In a capsule, you cannot blame people for thinking that a person who wears Red, yellow and green striped regalia and wooden African necklaces listens to reggae.
Stereotypes, prejudices and so forth do not make themselves up. They are formed based on REPUTATION and prevalence.
Nobody just woke up stereotyping rap dudes as “egotistical dudes who rap about things they don’t have”. Let’s admit it, some people among us and before us were doing such and some are still doing it hence we built a reputation of that.
It was so terrible that even after we woke up as an industry and became grounded on presenting realities, people had already made their judgment.
Everytime, Plot Mhako posts about Zim Hip-hop I always get emotional as I see neutral people commenting badly on the culture. Usually I am agitated because they are wrong about the culture and they say misinformed rhetoric which is untrue for most rappers.
I take it they do not take time to listen. Why?
“Your reputation precedes you.”
A few stereotypes and/or prejudices surrounding Zim Hip-hop
- Zim Hip-hop Artistes like to portray an American influenced image around themselves which is not authentic. (True to some degree. We do derive slang and dressing fro America a lot but so do other subcultures.)
- Zim Hip-hop artistes portray a flamboyant lifestyle which they cannot afford. (Not true for the most part, however it used to happen so people who are not into Hip-hop assume it is still the case).
- Unruly high-school kids clearly drunk at local malls during holidays Are probably Zim Hip-hop affiliated. They dress hip-hop. (probably true, but let’s share this one with Zim Dancehall)
- Zim Hip-hop people are cry babies and have excuses for airplay. (Well guilty as charged… maybe.)
You can add your own in the comments but basically you know what I am talking about. That’s a glimpse of the mental barriers you have to crack down on before someone even accepts the mp3 in to their PC.
People are already holding these judgments as soon as you drop your artwork. I mean even if you manage to finally get an award. The main award show itself has had years of bad reputation.
So what do I propose is the solution.
Let’s Rebuild Our Reputation
Reputation takes a lot of time to rebuild positively but it does not mean it can’t be done. We are already in a process of renewing peoples stance on Hip-hop if Hip-hop artistes like Mudiwa are being allowed to tour universities and speak to the youth.
Among many other initiatives, such as all the artistes who contribute their voices to charity events. TGH (Twimbos Giving Hope) is mostly dominated by Hip-hop acts. So that’s association with positive community events.
Begotten Sun, Gze, Sharky, Outspoken, Jnr Brown, Noble Stlyz and R.Peels have been brave to open conversations on politics.
Unfortunately on the gate-keeping side we as gate keepers we have often dented budding careers by giving our so called criticism. I think savagery is over-rated in this time where the Charlamagne tha god’s are worshipped for concerntrating on the one flaw an artist has made as if the 80% he she did right didn’t exist.
If we are to build our reputation we must be able to contribute in things that raise our public standing.
Let’s try our best to make Award shows more transparent and also not be sore losers to discredit them when we lose.
Let’s keep supporting efforts like Zim Hip-hop summit.
We must not be seen acting unruly in public, dressed in what is known to be hip-hop affiliated. Let us teach our little brothers how to behave.
That dress code must rather be associated with good deeds for the community. Litter picking campaigns initiated and run by hip-hop activists. Campaigns against rape, child labour and gender based violence.
Some people can team up and teach poetry in Schools as volunteers.
I am not talking about having an opportunistic track drop because it’s world AIDS day. I mean a life dedicated to any form of positive activism. Activism which is not self centred.
I can go on, but you’re smart enough to deduce what I am saying.
Well the other answers on what to do can come from you. In this conversation. Perhaps you disagree that one of our big issues is reputation.
You can air your alternative view in the comments.
Personally I am convinced that reputation is indeed a major barrier we have to get rid of. I have not however said it is the only existent problem.
Follow @Mcpotar on twitter and let’s talk Hip-hop.