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Friday, May 7, 2010

WHWN Asks What Are Your Thoughts on HipHop? DJ Soul Sister says, "It Is the Culture that Brought About Rap Music"

The interviews have been all male. So finally, we had a lady brave enough to step up and let us know her thoughts on HipHop. She is a New Orleans local, who by my standards has helped keep the soul, funk and groove sound well alive and booming in The Big Easy. Without further delay, here is DJ Soul Sister and her thoughts on HipHop. 

by Zack Smith

"queen of rare groove" * new orleans * usa

mia: What is your stage name?
DJSS: DJ Soul Sister
mia: Is the music industry your primary job?
mia: In the music industry, who do you work for? Or are you independent?
DJSS: I have been lucky to work for non-profits that support arts, culture & music. During times that I have been unemployed, then, yes, the music industry has been my primary job for several months to a year at a time.
mia: If you are a DJ, producer, writer or an artist what is your content?
DJSS: DJ artist specializing in rare groove, deep funk, classic old school soul & R&B, and true school/old school hip hop.
mia: How long have you been in this profession?
DJSS: 15 years
mia: What is your relationship with HipHop and music in general?
DJSS: I was a pre-teenager during what's known as the "Golden Age of Hip Hop" in the late 1980s and have always loved the culture and music even before then. I have been collecting funk music (vinyl) since I was a little girl and began paying attention to learning about the sources of rap music samples during that time of the late 1980s when I was buying lots of rap records.
mia: What is HipHop to you?
DJSS: Hip hop to me is always the 4 elements: dj, breaking/b-boy/b-girl, graffiti & MC. This is a static definition to some, but I choose to uphold the definition in respect for the culture.


mia: Do you think HipHop has a purpose and what?
DJSS: n/a
mia: Are you influenced by HipHop and why?
DJSS: Most definitely, because I learned about lots of funk samples through hip hop. Hip hop did not entirely introduce me to the original funk & soul music, but it did play a role.
mia: When do you think HipHop was born?
DJSS: 1973.
mia: What is your understanding of the birth of HipHop as a music genre?
DJSS: I'd say that hip hop is the culture that brought about rap music. The music of hip hop was influenced by the landscape of the Bronx, where hip hop was born, and the musical genres of funk, soul, disco and reggae (with the Jamaican sound systems & toasting). You would not have hip hop without those genres.
mia: How often to you think about HipHop?
DJSS: n/a
mia: How long do you think HipHop will be around?
DJSS: Forever.
mia: Do you remember the first HipHop song you heard?
DJSS: Most definitely "Rapper's Delight" - someone played it at the preschool I went to.
mia: How did it make you feel?
DJSS:  I don't remember. I think I recall that it was very different from anything else I'd heard. And I remembered thinking it sounded like Chic's "Good Times." I specifically remember seeing the original orange label that it was pressed on, and seeing that spinning on the record player at my preschool.
mia: What are your 3 most favorite HipHop songs and why?
DJSS: "Peter Piper" by Run DMC because it was the anti-song off of the Raising Hell LP. When the pop charts were eating up "Walk This Way," all the hardcore kids partied to "Peter Piper," plus that song really shows the genius of Jam Master Jay. "That's the Joint" by Funky Four Plus One More, cause it's the essence of the true school of hip hop & because it includes one of the early examples of the female MC. And "Rock the Bells" by LL Cool J, because it's just a classic that I love.
mia: Who is your favorite HipHop artist and why?
DJSS: That's hard, but I'll say Run DMC because I was around when they were trailblazing and it was a very special feeling to watch hip hop culture rise with them. They are the reason it has crossed over the way it has.
mia: Who is your least favorite HipHop artist and why?
DJSS: n/a
mia: Do you think Rap and HipHop are the same and why?
DJSS: No - rap is the music and hip hop is the culture.
mia: What, if any, would you change about HipHop?
DJSS: n/a
mia: Do you think HipHop is used positively or negatively, and why?
DJSS: It's used in both ways - anything that is as massively popular today as hip hop will be exploited in all ways.
mia: Why do you think most HipHop videos and songs are filled with stunting, sexism and violence?
DJSS: Many of the songs today include that because everyone is trying to be more shocking, but it is damaging because it is targeted at young people (10 years old and younger) who have no business absorbing and understanding these types of images.
mia: Why do people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds like HipHop?
DJSS: I'm not sure - you'd have to specify what type of hip hop.
mia: Do you think HipHop is a global industry and why?
DJSS: Yes - because it's popular with young people.
mia: What do you think when you hear of people in third-world countries, bumping HipHop?
DJSS: I think it's great.


mia: Do you think HipHop transcends all languages, cultures and boundaries, and why?
DJSS: Yes - all music transcends these things.
mia: Do you think HipHop has a negative perception in the media, and why?
DJSS: I would have said yes 10 years ago, but today it's not even considered subversive or underground music/culture at all. It's pretty much mainstream for the most part. It's now integrated into all mainstream music programming. During the late 80s, you'd only see rap videos on MTV for 1 hour a week on it's own special show.
mia: Do you think HipHop is under attack, if so why and by what?
DJSS: Again, I would have said yes 10 or 20 years ago, but not today. It's way too popular and accepted by the mainstream.
mia: Do you think a person can stay conscious and achieve platinum success?
DJSS: Most definitely.
mia: Why do you think is it more difficult for conscious artists to cross over?
DJSS: Because they don't have the marketing push behind them, the mainstream radio stations (which are mainly owned by conglomerates like Clear Channel, as opposed to being owned and controlled on a local/community level) are scared to give a shot to something that's not wildly popular at first, and because the artists give up too quickly.
mia: Why do you think it is more difficult for a platinum artist to produce content of value and keep the support of their labels and radio stations?
DJSS: n/a

mia: Did you or have you ever paid (or received money) to have a song played on the radio/TV? If so, do you think it is right or wrong, a necessity or not and why?
DJSS: No. This is wrong, but I'm a different kind of DJ anyway as I only play older music - nothing past 1986 and on vinyl only - so this would be an impossible scenario for me to be in.
mia: What is your opinion of the “Where Do You Stand: Why Platinum Artists Flee Underground?” series? Have you joined WHWN’s, if not why?

DJSS: Haven't joined it unfortunately, because I've found it difficult to keep up with all of the blogs and social media that I want to participate in.
mia: Why did you take out time to complete the survey?
DJSS: Because I was asked.
mia:  I really appreicate your taking the time to help me out.  Thank you.


You can find DJ Soul Sister at the following links:

MySpace - DJ Soul Sister
Facebook - DJ Soul Sister
Twitter - DJ Soul Sister
Please share your thoughts with us and let's keep this discussion going. There are many more interviews to come and as I always promise to deliver them, in the persons words unedited, without any bias.  This is a safe zone for us to talk so let's keep the discussion going! Follow the blog. Please share your thoughts with comments and of course pass this along to a friend!


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