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Is there really a need for a talent on rap in Italy?

In a saturated market, The Rap Game seems to be the wrong choice at the worst possible time

Is there really a need for a talent on rap in Italy?  In a saturated market, The Rap Game seems to be the wrong choice at the worst possible time

As per practice in yesterday's day Rai unveiled the schedule for the 2022/23 television season revealing, among a long list of generalist programs, the arrival of The Rap Game, a music talent show dedicated-obviously-to the world of rap. Now in its fifth season in the United States, the program has seen the likes of Latto and Street Bud pass through in its original version broadcast by Lifetime, while since 2019 the British version broadcast by BBC Three conducted by DJ Target and the duo Krept & Konan has been on air. In the domestic edition, the burdens of conducting will instead be entrusted to the trio formed by Wad Caporosso, Roshelle and Capo Plaza, an assortment that retraces the formula seen in music talent in recent years in which artists are paired with the expert in their field of expertise. Rai's intention is clear, to capitalize on the genre that dominates the charts by trying to attract an audience segment far from Rai screens with the promise of filling a void present since the end of MTV Spit. The most interesting aspect of the announcement, however, comes from Rai's choice to present the talent as a production dedicated to RaiPlay, the state TV streaming platform that is the cradle of the success of Una Pezza di Lundini and seen as the "young" alternative to the usual three main channels.

It is unclear whether The Rap Game will have a television run before landing online-probably-but beyond the formula chosen, the real challenge will be to bring audiences back to follow a music talent show with interest. Needless to deny it, if years ago X-Factor and co. enjoyed excellent health, today the public's tastes seem to have changed and what used to be one of Sky's main formats last year closed with the lowest ratings ever. Call it the end of a dream or simply the passing of time, but the idea of making it in music through a talent seems to no longer appeal to aspiring artists, as does the idea of witnessing the birth of self-styled future music stars who, at best, will end up making a few appearances on the Sanremo stage. If today's Italian rap scene has taught us anything, it is that everyone can aspire to have his or her moment of stardom in a whirlwind in which, between digital releases and viral trends, the line between anonymity and stardom is decidedly thinner than it was a few years ago, compared to the heyday of music talent. This is another reason why the idea of channeling the Italian rap scene into the rigid schemes of a TV format seems as short-sighted as ever, all the more so if the format in question is that of a public TV like Rai, which has seen among its most successful talents The Voice Senior. Ultimately, the feeling is that the future of The Rap Game depends solely on how much Rai will be willing to compromise, putting aside its national-popular soul by trying to propose a program even minimally close to what is the reality of rap in Italy.