After attending almost every hip hop session in Cape Town, I've had so many questions in my mind, which some of them I never failed to answer. Hip hop sessions are where most talented artists got discovered from, and its still a place where most promoters go to when searching for fresh new talent. In the last year, I attended sessions and noticed that people were coming out in numbers to watch artists perform. Some say people only come out because its free as we know most hip hop shows with entrance fees don't do that well in attendance. Nevertheless, people come out on sessions and that is good.
What gets to me, is seeing artists doing the same thing, performing the same songs for the whole year and getting the same reaction. I fail to see growth on most artists, don't get me wrong I don't say artists are not growing out there. There's a few that have elevated to the next stage, which is paying shows, events, festivals etc. but as much as we are getting new faces on sessions every month we need more artists breaking into the next stage. Recently, I asked my self a question "Are hip hop sessions still helping artists or we are just stumbling in the same place, doing the same thing and we just don't see it?". I was lucky enough to bump into people that were willing to share their views and understanding in response to this question. This is what they had to say:
The purpose for sessions is to help up-and-coming artists get their names "out there" so I guess since they are still doing that, they are "helping" artists. But it's up to the artist to grow and progress which is very hard in Cape Town because Cape Town hip hop is not an industry but a scene - there aren't a lot of paying shows here so artists because they love performing and still want to take their craft to the people, go back to performing there. So it would be silly to blame the artists and it would also be silly to blame sessions for anything. Sessions are what make Cape Town hip hop "raw" in that you start there and prove yourself to heads first before you can progress further. Or at least, in a perfect world.
ELLO: Well, I'm going to be as honest as I can. Hip hop shows are not what they used to be or must I say are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. In my own understanding, they are suppose to help an artist grow and expose those who still want grow. What we see these days is the same line up show after show. Same people, it doesn't matter if there are 2 events on the same day still we going to see the same people we see on sessions doing the same thing. That being one of the reasons why you'll never see me again, I can't spend all my money and time to see same people performing same songs.
MADIRA: To be honest, sessionS are still helping upcoming artists. Remember, sessions are where peoplget motivated and inspired. So for upcoming artists, its helping a lot. For those who have been doing it for long, I think they are driven by desperation. Most cats are so desperate to perform due to shows being scarce. I feel that established artists should use sessions when they have something new to offer that will open spaces for the young'uns/upcoming artists to be recognized. Today you can't see a difference between a show (Paying) and a session. It's because what you see at the sessions is what you will get at the shows. Mad-Era #Team_Huslin
Personally, I haven't been to sessions for a long time now as I didn't see much they did for me on a personal level but for others they might have been good so to answer your question, no they not doing much. We now live in an era where technology is very influential and everything is on the internet so MCs feel like what's the point of going to a session with a few people from your hood to perform your music while you can get on the net and share links to your music and reach thousands of people at once. With that being said though they still are necessary in preserving the true culture of hip hop because after all it did start in those sessions and many MCs were born there so its basically a 2 way stream as to which is the greatest between the two Cyber world or the Streets, I take cyber though.
"To me, sessions are really helping, because I take them as a tool to sharpen the art." - NDLULAMTHI
The state of hip hop development is hideous and its more of benevolent, artist aren't getting paid for performances, that's killing motivation. Artist that are getting paid either they got a good management team that handles all the A&R duties. The moment you demand your own rights from a promoter which they can't meet they becoming dingy towards you. As well artist turn to fail undertaking enterprises, form an ensemble where there's discussions, about unity, creating easy platforms for artist accessibility(database to be specific). Entertainment is no promenade but a cut throat industry, and very few artist are successful in Cape Town other than that Hip Hop here is retrograde. That's just my point of view.
It's all up to the artist, that's just how I feel about it. It's what you as an artist do with the platform given to you. I know artist with skill but are too arrogant to use sessions to gain the popularity and fan base they need because they want to get paid. The industry has sold us the idea that its easy to blow, they just didn't tell these dudes that before blowing up you need a fan base. Hard work and a positive attitude bro, there is too many expects and very little rappers who can actually penetrate and hold their own at sessions.
As for me, I don't feel the urge to attend a hip hop session because it seems like its a just a place for a bunch of friends to catch up and bond. If ubani uyaya then sure thing nobani uzoya screw whoever is on the line up, but somehow they do help artists in terms of building a fan base i think..That's just how i see it.
I'm not an artist or something big in the music scene, I'm just a big fan. In my own opinion sessions are good for beginners, people who wanna horn their skills and make a name for themselves. Your more established artists should however avoid these sessions and get a good PR person who will make sure they get paying gigs.
I think they are helping, especially for young and upcoming artist because that's where they test their skill of rapping, nurture their skills and launch their new songs.That's where most of us started performing and gained confidence.It's also a great platform to network with other artists. Hip hop session are a good platform, where artists can gather and socialize. It's a platform where everyone from every corner is welcom to perform and expose themselves to the public and also get a chance to showcase their latest projects..All in all I think they still benefit some other people.