Following their 21st annual concert, Summer Jam, Hot 97 was criticized by hip-hop pioneer and Public Enemy front man Chuck D.
In multiple tweets that lasted over the course of a few days, Chuck D touched on monetization and the cultural responsibilities that radio stations have on the mass, especially considering the role Hot 97 has had on the culture for supporting local acts and becoming a mainstay.
Chuck D blasted the station.
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) June 2, 2014
Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 defended the station, responding to Billboard. While they agreed with some of Chuck D’s talking points, they did place some of the ownership on fan involvement and album sales and how they influence radio.
“I think there’s validity to what he’s saying as to, ‘I guess Hot 97 could be more local,’” Darden replied. “But people that listen to us when we research the songs don’t vote those songs high enough to stay around. I have this debate, and I put the onus back on the public to participate.”
“I’m sure that if I was to have a conversation with Chuck D, I would agree with him on certain issues about what more radio could do,” Rosenberg said. “But the way he stated it now, it’s not accurate. It’s not reflective of what the actual role of the station is.”
As the Twitter back and forth continued, the hip hop culture conversation spiraled into current debates of who “controls” the culture. Because the N word has become liberally used in mainstream rap, the “Fight the Power” emcee questioned whether the response would be the same if they were to use anti-semitic slurs.
“If there was a festival and it was filled with anti-Semitic slurs… or racial slurs at anyone but black people, what do you think would happen?”
“My goal by year’s end is to change the face and sound of urban radio,” D promised. “I’ve been in this sh*t 30 years, too long to just sit and let it be. I’m not going to be the grim reaper. I don’t want to be the grim reaper. But people have to stand up and we need some change, and it’s time.”