YouTube might be ruining hip-hop beef, but it’s doing its best to find rap’s next best thang.
The video sharing site announced Monday its OntheRise Rap Edition contest where, from August 10 through August 17, aspiring battlers and would-be rhymesmiths can submit their original music videos, with original beats and original lyrics for a shot at a singles deal with Interscope Recods, $10,000 to Guitar Center, and a spot on YouTube’s homepage.
Fans will pick the winner from 20 finalists hand chosen by 50 Cent, Common, and Polow da Don. As far as mainstream goes, that’s an eclectic selection committee. Hopefully they’ll display at least a few socially conscious rappers to show that hip-hop is alive and well, instead of a probable slew of thuggish ruggish G-Unit wannabes that make Nas’ claim seem on point.
The contest comes nine months after YouTube’s last effort to find undiscovered musical talent. In November 2006, the Underground Contest highlighted relatively unknown rock acts from around the US. Oakland’s poppy, British-invasion style Maldroid took home top video honors with its a-ha influenced “He Said, She Said”. The video launched them into popularity without ever having sold a single song or album or played a live show.