(AllHipHop Opinion) We were among Hip-Hop royalty. Everybody from Gucci Mane to T.I., Lil Wayne to Busta Rhymes, Doug E. Fresh to DJ Khaled - to AllHipHop. An industry friend had told me as we walked the carpet in front of press, “You need to be here.” I almost didn’t go to the BET Hip-Hop Awards. But, we deserved to be there, even if I didn’t quite feel up to it ahead of time. See, in battle, you get weary, pain is normalized and abnormal things become normalized. The BET Hip-Hop Awards was a grand affair that we were privileged to be a part of as nominees for the Best Hip-Hop Site. There was another, somewhat self-serving reason we were in attendance.
Our movement has turned 20 years old. Honestly, it was just another day for me, as I have come to celebrate less and treat each and every day equally. The words of Rudyard Kipling echoed on my mind: “If you can meet with triumph and disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same…” Walking the carpet is not normal, nor is surviving 20 years in business in a field with a foundation in popular culture and technology. Both are fickle af.
Despite my nonchalance, this was - is - a big deal.
We started AllHipHop in the spirit of independence, love of Hip-Hop and adoration of the people we serve. Oh, let amend that. We also started AllHipHop, because nobody gave us the shot we so desperately wanted when we began this journey. So, if somebody gave me a gigantic, high-paying JOB, it is quite possible AllHipHop would not be here right now. If Greg’s earliest efforts to run an indie label pushed digital units the way he initially plotted, AllHipHop as it stands, might not be here right now. We exist in the spirit of Hip-Hop: making a way when there is no way.
This is why we still own the company 100%, which to some seems like a silly notion is business. A friend of mine, just today, sent me a meme of Sumner Redstone as the “owner’ of BET, which I found only mildly humorous. Redstone owns the parent company that owns Viacom that owns BET. Not new news, but If that is important, it is also significant to recognize and do represent the interests of Hip-Hop. AllHipHop does that and always has. When artists like Joe Budden, who is now a success podcaster, was a struggling rapper without a deal, we helped keep him viable. I was doing community panels with Nipsey Hussle before most people even heard of him. When Bill O’Reilly was slaying journalists left and right, we destroyed him on his own show - all in the name of Hip-Hop. We’ve fought battles untold. We’ve carried burdens that crumple other people. We’ve also failed time and time again. That is life, Hip-Hop and business.
Most people just want their Hip-Hop fix, no matter where it comes from. Most folks don’t care about AllHipHop’s little plight. Nevertheless, AllHipHop is never going to serve crack exclusively. We have to put some leafy greens in there sometimes and that is a big difference between us and other outlets. Caring is fundamental. Corny yet the second you don’t, all hell breaks looks.
Last week, I reached out to Sway Calloway, the famed Hip-Hop head/host/executive/journalist and friend of AllHipHop. In media, he’s one of the realest guys I know and he’s never fronted on what AllHipHop has accomplished. I’ll never forget reading an article on Complex that blatantly attempted to minimize us, meanwhile when they received an infusion of cash, an article in the Walls Street Journal has a picture of AllHipHop. We had just left their network, so it was beyond ironic. But, Sway, an Oakland native, is different and that’s why I hit him up. Suddenly, we understood the gravity of such a big, big moment for the site and the founders, myself and Grouchy Greg Watkins. I came up on Sway. I used to stay up obscenely late hours to listen to The Wake Up Show and am proud to call him brother.
On one side, you have Sway. On the other side you have a major, corporation like BET. And in the middle, you have millions and millions of site visitors, millions and millions of impressions, innumerable pieces of content over the course of 20 years. Every single day. Our former staff of contributors, sales people and more populated just about every one of these outlets, from Billboard to VIBE to TMZ to HipHopWired to Complex and many more. You get the point. Not enough people do or perhaps we are too humble, but the facts are the facts.
After 20 years of serving the community, AllHipHop will evolve and make changes, as does any viable, living thing. At the end of the day, I want to say I stood on my square, went down in history, made a difference and kicked some ass - metaphorically speaking, of course.
Hit me at @ChuckCreekmur on all socials. We ain’t going nowhere.