My Take on the Music Industry

When I was young, I thought I was smart. People told me I was smart. Oh, I noticed there were still kids more intelligent than me. Some had faster brain reactions. That became evident when I figured out problems or other class work. The fact that I was young and stupid (about so many things) didn’t deter me from the self-assurance of my brilliance. 

Yep, I pat myself on my back several times a day. My father would tell anyone I did that several times an hour. As I enter my senior year, I realize I am not as bright as I once thought. It’s funny how the passing of time clears up inevitable confusion for most of us. It’s better than being in a place where you never conclude you cannot excel at everything.

A few facts stand out during my baby boomer generation of life. Number one has to do with music. I never did get to play an instrument, although I had an excellent singing voice.

 To give you a little background, I’m an old-school music lover. As a young boy, I imitated the sounds of Brooke Benton, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, and even Bobby Blue Bland. I grew into manhood with Motown, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass, The Commodores featuring Lionel Ritchie, Al Green, James Brown, The Isley Brothers, migrating to and filling my soul with the funk. Acts like Sly and the Family Stone, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Confunction, Maze, Ohio Players, Parliament, Slave, Rick James, Rufus & Chaka Khan had an entire era of putting the funk in whatever we did. Meanwhile, being a product of the late sixties and early seventies, I protested by joining the music of Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and even Bob Dylan. From there I graduated to smooth Jazz by the Crusaders, Ronnie Laws, Eric Gale, Donald Byrd, and The Blackbyrd’s. In short, I wasn’t just attracted to the lyrics. The sound of a record or performer’s musical notes struck suitable accord with me. 

Upon turning 21 years old, one of the most expensive units in my household was the stereo system, including the speakers. That practice only increased after I got married a few years later. Clarity of sound was my mantra. One could say I became a musical connoisseur. That was also when I found specific genres, Country-western, Blues, which I laughed at as a kid, or Rock, that attracted my attention. Surprise…surprise, like a musical performer, I evolved to understand how the instrumentals and lyrics complement each other in a song. Adding the performer’s appearance, song delivery, and dedication to craft enhanced my envy of them. 

You may have noticed I left out Rap. My reasoning is simple. One of the most lasting contributions from the Rap Artists is their ability to take earnings from performances and record sales and turn those funds into a viable business entity, contributing to their rise in wealth. It was no small accomplishment, given earlier artists’ lack of the same. As for musical talents, sampling gets in the way of their musical contributions. Add that to their reasoning that just because you Rap about your neighborhood issues does not speak to the world’s problems. It only allows you to verbalize about specific environmental occurrences. It is naivete to think that you, your crew, or others around you are experiencing everything life offers…My brother, please get real.

I know, I know, some who act as though they were born yesterday think they have a meaningful handle on the talents of Biggy Small, Tupac, LL Cool Jay, and an assortment of rappers. The only problem is they are not musicians. They have no training, industry practice, or identity outside of hip-hop. They are only holding a place for a natural performer.  

As for me, I’ve found ways to satisfy my shortcomings as a musician, performer, and frustrated singer. I play some of my favorite cuts as a host on Saturday morning. I’ve gotten decent reviews from the two to three-hour offering. I could probably get a good following if I was more consistent. This last time away was caused by selling an old home buying and moving into a new home at a new city’s location. I’ve got a story to tell you there, but then enough about the frustrations of moving after twenty-five years in Pittsburg.

Finally, I’m here to say…I am still kicking it from a new Rio Vista, CA, location. I am no longer in the Bay Area. As noted, I’m in the Delta, still doing my own thing. Check me out at

Listen to part of it at a time, all of it, or repeatedly. You will not be disappointed.            

Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                        Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

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