Hip-hop is a dirty business. Beyond the lurid depictions of cut-throat capitalism that exist within the stanzas of the genre's most prominent poets, the most visceral examples of underhanded business practices in the world of hip-hop come from the corporate executives steering the ship. Like its sister genre, punk rock, rap's entire image hinges upon the veneer of authenticity. Rap fans love believing that their favorite artist organically rose from impoverished backgrounds and earned their status through producing quality work. Unfortunately, rap's edge has been defanged and reduced to a formulaic equation similar to punk rock acts in the 90s. Instead of artists organically garnering a following, record companies usually push their chosen favorites on radio stations through the illegal practice of payola.
Even though payola is supposed to be illegal, its fingerprints are still riddled across the industry of radio. What is payola, you ask? Well, in the video linked above, the YouTube channel Hip Hop Madness explains the concept of payola and its ongoing connection to rap music.