Rappers, particularly those trying to assert a threatening image – whether believable or not – have taken to claiming themselves as the last of a dying breed. Kevin Langston is exactly that, though he’s not trying to push tales of drug deals and street shootouts.
Langston, whose rap name is Akshun, is the last of a conventional dying breed: People who go to the record stores on Tuesdays, the music industry’s traditional release day, to buy CDs. This year, analysts expect digital sales to overtake CD sales for the first time.
And Langston prefers shopping at Manifest Disc & Tapes, a so-called mom-and-pop store, rather than big retailers. He’s watched hip-hop sections expand in record stores – and then recently retract. He owns more than 1,000 hip-hop CDs.
Langston, a 31-year-old Richland Northeast High School graduate, regularly posts links to music on his Facebook page. And he asks questions like this: “Sc rappers. Real talk. How many of y’all are actual FANS of sc music, NOT including the people you work with and are friends with.”
He’s followed hip-hop in the state, both as a performer and as a fan. I met up with Langston, a rapper on Dan Johns’ Magnum Opus label, to talk about the overall state of hip-hop, and where South Carolina fits – if at all – in the genre. The following is an excerpt of the interview.
I don’t care how many dope beats he gets – and don’t get it twisted, I like some 50 stuff – but it’s to the point where it’s redundant. It sounds like he’s spitting the same exact rhyme. It’s generic. That’s the thing. In my opinion, he’s always been generic. He’s a good chorus crafter. That’s been his thing.”
When it comes to music, it’s like people don’t gravitate toward it. And the music’s there. There’s tons of dope artists. I think people have to learn how to work together or how to build a team. That’s probably the hardest thing. I was talking with (producer) MIDI Marc, the rappers with the big teams that can get radio, can get shows are the wack rappers. It’s like anybody good comes around, nobody wants to help out that guy. It’s because he’s competition. With South Carolina, I think everybody wants to be the first.