So I'll begin by saying congrats to Sucio Smash on celebrating 7 years at WKCR. He's taken the reigns from underground luminary, Bobbito "DJ Cucumber Slice" Garcia, and has helped keep the "underground" alive.
However, I'm disgusted!!! I feel like the entire scene suffers from this elitist attitude which ultimately keeps it from growing. As I waited to participate in the festivities, and even as I got behind the mic, I realized I no longer wanted to be a part of this scene. My fondest memories of underground radio were those of Jay Smooth introducing me to Keith Murray's "Most Beautifullest Thing In The World" or Martin Moore & Meyhem breaking Junior Mafia's "Players Anthem". I fondly remember having my cassettes ready to catch Natural Elements cipher on Stretch & Bob. NY underground radio used to be instrumental in breaking the future stars of tomorrow. Their play list would be something like this; new Nas, new Roots, a relative unknown named J-Live, new Redman, new Natural Elements, new G Rap, and pre Reasoonable Doubt Jay-Z. The aforementioned play list is the furthest from an accurate representation of today's underground.
I understand the game has changed, but what made it so dope is missing. I'm not sure who's to blame; the fans or the DJs? Somewhere towards the mid to late 90's there was this shift to "preserve authentic Hip-Hop" amidst the Puff era, but something went awry. Isn't this the same scene that gave us Eminem, Mos Def, and Common? They've obviously lost their way, and I feel this was blatantly apparent last night. It's become progressively harder for me to listen to these shows when Funk Master Flex of Hot 97 does a 90's mix that's more reflective of underground Hip-Hop than the current mainstays. Instead of hearing the "next" Buckshot or being introduced to the next "King of NY", I'm left with some abstract, super lyrical, incomprehensible song about planets and toilet paper. WTF?
While I was ecstatic to see Homeboy Sandman rhyme next to General Steele and Rock of BCC and underground favorite, Pharaoh, everything else was a bit disappointing. As I listened to several talented emcees spit endless bars, I kept thinking, "this isn't it". These ciphers won't become the stuff of legends like "Jay-Z and Big L's? This isn't remotely close to that legendary night The Roots rocked NYU's radio show with a who's who of NY hottest like Lord Tariq and Sadat X. While I respect most of the emcees, with the exception of a notable performance by Cymarsahll Law, it was disheartening.
I often hear that NY's Hip-Hop scene is in shambles and is dire need of help, but it begins on the underground level. If the DJs don't partially accept accountability for not cultivating potential talent and ushering the future stars, NY Hip-Hop will continue to be irrelevant. Especially when foreigners like Pill and B.O.B are beginning to fit the bill.