"A Lot of People Aren't Really Talented" Karrine Steffans on the Music Industry Marketing & Behind the Scenes Help (Video)

Watch: Karrine Steffans: Drake Ghostwrites for Lil Wayne 

It seems that in 2015, many rappers have been called out for allegedly having ghostwriters. Recently, Toronto rapper and singer Drake was called out by Meek Mill for not writing his rhymes. In a interview with DJ Vlad, former video model and author Karrine "Superhead" Steffans touched on the subject of ghostwriting and the "behind the scenes" culture within the modern music industry.

Although many people are not fans of Karrine Steffans, I have to give props when someone speaks the truth no matter who they are. About a week ago, I posted a status on my Facebook page questioning whether or not artists get too much praise. I asked this question because numerous music artists have an entire team behind them to establish and maintain their brand and image. In current times, the image and brand of artists seems to be more marketable principal than the actual talent. There are hair, make up, and fashion stylists, creative directors, choreographers, writers, engineers, managers, and a plethora of other individuals behind the scenes who create the final product of these mainstream artists. When we watch music videos, we give credit to the artist, not the director who came up with idea for the amazing theme. When we listen to certain genres of music, we sometimes give credit to the artist, and not the engineer, the producer, or the writer.

Steffans stated that the reason the popular opinion was that Drake won the beef between himself and Meek Mills was because Drake "looks better". Even though I feel that statement is a bit of a stretch, I do see how that statement could be applicable in regards to colorism. I mean, it's no secret that skin tone along with physical appearance is a prominent factor within marketing in the music industry. "That's why you have packaging," Steffans continued. "That's why you have someone coming in telling you how to wear your hair and what to wear and gain weight, lose weight, get a tan, do this, do that, because the packaging matters a lot of times more than the actual talent. And a lot of people aren't really talented." Vlad and Steffans continued to discuss how they have witnessed many artists come into recording studios and perform horribly, but because there are audio engineers who can repair and mold their vocals, their music sounds better than originally recording it.

Steffans also stated: "No man is an island, and it takes a village to create an album so...there's all this packaging that goes in behind the scenes. The thing with consumers is that they don't know all of that, they don't see all of that. It's kinda like when you go to a movie everyone leaves when the credits start...The consumer doesn't care about that, they just wanna see the show."

This interview provided a lot of insight to the behind the scenes happenings of the music industry. While I'm still not sure Drake writes for Lil' Wayne (which I wouldn't put past), I think her commentary about packaging, marketing, and the lack of true talent in the music industry is spot on. As consumers and persons who are on the outside looking in, many of us usually don't take the time to research who the individuals behind the scenes who are the molders of many artists we glorify. Many of us consumers realize how we have been trained to appreciate artists based on their image and overall final package more than their talent. In general, our minds have been both subconsciously and consciously indoctrinated to accept images (of one particular standard of "success" and "beauty") and with no regards for the work that was put into creating them. In laments terms, we are extremely shallow as a society because of the standards that have been shoved down our throats since childhood.

Although these factors do not apply to every single mainstream artist, naturally a team is most likely needed when big name rappers and singers are so preoccupied with promotions, concerts, business ventures, and other music industry "necessities". However, I do feel that consumers should begin to do more research into the individuals who help mold artists into their "final package". Yet, this may crush the fantasies of stans and fans as well as mortalize and humble some big artists until the point the hype and fame is reduced once the behind the scenes power is revealed. Then again, many people are nonchalant about these factors and are concerned about the final package.

In closing, this is apart of the reason I personally appreciate talented underground artists and go out of my way to support them. A significant amount of them do not have the luxury of stylists, choreographers, writers, and other team members and have to put in work by themselves or with minimal assistance. These are regular, everyday people who utilize their own money and time into producing art. This does not devalue the talent of mainstream artists or mean they cannot be applauded for their hard work and artistry, but it does affirm that we should consider the equally hard work their team members contribute into creating and retaining their image and brand.



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