With a population of nearly 400, 000 (398, 121 as of 2013) and almost half of these residents being under the age of 45, which coincides with the age group that has lived at a time where a hip-hop track was on the Billboard charts. It is apparent to see that Tulsa would be a great destination for rappers to come and perform shows as well as numerous promotional opportunities such as host dj-ing or club appearances. But recently a phenomenon has occurred, rappers who have scheduled months in advance have mysterously been cancelling and not weeks before are they cancelling, they're cancelling often less than 24 hours before. But why? Why is this happening?
Maybe its location. With surrounding metropolitan areas such as Broken Arrow, Bartlesville, Oklmulgee, etc., Tulsa has the potential to draw in people from all corners of the state, especilly with the right artist. We definetly can say that Tulsa has the venues for any artists no matter big or up-and-coming with the building of the BOK Center as well as the popular Cain's Ballroom and Brady Theatre.
Finally it could just be the support of the people. With the thriving renaissance of the local Tulsa scene it would seem like a great place for any artist to perform. That is until you actually see the numbers. Tulsa now more than ever has the venues and more importantly the talent to make Tulsa the hip-hop destination similar to how Atlanta has seen in the early 2000s. But unlike Atlanta. Tulsa artists do not have the same support that Atlantians have. Atlanta artists are put onto a pedistol in their city first and then the rest of the hip-hop world recognizes their potential. But Tulsa is more critical, less supportive of its artists. Its almost a city that expects its artists to make it out on a global level, in order to be accepted back in their hometown. It has been shown that Tulsans don't have much pride in its' artists, which may be attributed to a city still searching for pride and hope itself.
One important factor is price, and thus Tulsans willingness to pay. An average a Tulsan expects to pay at a club on a normal night is $10. But when you factor in an artist doing a club appearance and performance then the customers willingness to pay increases to $20 which is at the near top of customrs willingness to pay and leaves little wiggle room for negotiation. But if you raise this price by lets say $20 = $40 total the potential pool of customers is almost cut in half. This leaves venues to go use more creative routes by leveraging merchandise sales and tickets sells in order to get artists to come in the door. Even looking at a free show in Tulsa headlined by local artists has not enticed the "silent majority" of hip-hop lovers who may have seen this free as a price point that would indicate a poor quality product. But anyone who has actually been to a local rap shop knows that this is one of the best times to be a rap fan in Tulsa and to celebrate the roots of hip-hop in its most purest form.
So next time you look at your favorite artist's tour dates, just know that your favorite rapper will never come to Tulsa. But if you go be apart of the culture that is developing in Tulsa then you might get to see that we have some amazing artists in the Tulsa scence who are perfecting their crafts and waiting to take Tulsa to that next level. Tulsa has a long way to go before we become Atlanta, but in the words of Keeng Cut, "When you get your chance, bitch you better own it."