Power to the People: Citizen Journalism


As an avid rap music listener, I have noticed a major shift in the way I view my music information. Obviously there is an abundance of music reviews, blogs and forums all containing everything you need to know and never knew you needed to know about every possible artist making music today.

Whereas once I would refer to (hip-hop media) The Source, XXL or HipHopDX for new album reviews, now I look to forums in Reddit, Noisey, Complex, even comment sections of Youtube. For me, there is an element of trust involved. I know that larger sites and companies are most likely connected to even larger record companies with vested interests in the commercial success and sales of that record. I know that the various opinions of the average user are valuable and sometimes more warranted than 5 mics in the Source.

This is where I see benefits of ‘citizen journalism’. Without profit driven incentive, more honesty is achieved and real opinions get heard. While one opinion doesn’t hold as much weight as a major magazine such as XXL, many of these views can stack up and rise against biased and dishonest music and concert reviews with ulterior motives.

Hip-hop in general has always thrived on being a citizen-driven genre. It formed as a reaction against the mainstream and therefore holds more value in maintaining this position. As soon as the control shifts away from the streets and to the corporations, the genre ventures away from its essence. (See – Hip-hop as a citizen media)


Citizen control of media with the aid of the internet has, and will continue to, empower those involved with hip-hop ensuring its legacy stays in the hands of the people and not those with economic self interests absent of culture or passion in the genre.