Anonymous said: wish you were more specific about "the separatist college radio indie rap groupthink. " would show character. unless you think you're going to get less work if you do.
There was a period in the late ’90s/early ’00s when a lot of terrible “underground hip hop” emerged. This isn’t really a problem in of itself, it’s natural. The problem was that many of these artists ended up being promoted and consumed primarily by people who previously had little engagement with the genre.
These listeners (and journalists, and publicists and eventually artists and label owners) were suddenly hyper-invested in the fate of rap music, with little interest in establishing a historical perspective or contemporary context. So it got to the point where they would be championing these frequently amateurish and fringe acts as advancing or improving upon the flaws of this genre that they didn’t know shit about. I used “college radio” as a shorthand for this demographic because college radio (r.i.p.) was one of the main networks by which this stuff was being distributed. You might call it Indie today. Or hipster, I don’t know.
In any case the disconnect clouds the conversation in a weirdly imperialist way - I had a college radio show during that time and remember overhearing some random indie label impresario described as “The Suge Knight of Hip Hop,” as if Suge Knight isn’t already The Suge Knight Of Hip Hop. (Dude pronounced it “Shoogh,” naturally.)
The critical “poptimism" movement of the mid-’00s sort of corrected this (at the expense of some great underground rap, but that’s another blog post entirely) and realigned the center of the conversation in favor of, say, Kanye West and Rick Ross records. But I think it’s tipped backwards over the past year or two. Now people in the critical and indie communities - many of which once again have a low investment level in hip hop or maybe even just discovered it - are championing and canonizing artists who simply do not register amongst rap’s core audience.
I’m not about to name names because I generally try not to shit on underground or under-established independent artists - even the garbage ones - but I do think there are a lot of half baked indie rappers who have popped up in the past few years and benefitted greatly from the naivety of the people writing about them.
And I wish I did get less work.