Anonymous said: has anyone ever told you that because you are a white supremacist you're promoting minstrel show music like chief keef, wacka flocka and what not on your blog, because you want to make sure your white race stays ahead and the stereotypes of...well anyway, has anyone ever accused you of that? like being a worker for the industrial prison complex murda inc?
People say that a lot actually. More often than not this is because they don’t read very much of my writing and/or have a skewed understanding of blackface minstrelsy that doesn’t go much deeper than that one Spike Lee movie. But it’s something that I do take very seriously.
I choose my words carefully when writing about these artists. I try not to glorify the violence and crime that they rap about specifically while also recognizing that, as a music critic, I’m not necessarily in a great position to be condemning it. More than that though I try to respect the fact that they are artists - sometimes very important and even talented ones - and that the musical qualities of their work warrant serious consideration.
The problem is that these artists’ detractors tend not to agree with that last point. Not only do they disagree with it, they often assert that it’s wholly invalid in a really assholish and condescending way. As if Chief Keef’s music is so empirically horrible that there isn’t any possible way for a reasonably intelligent human to enjoy it without an agenda - despite the fact that thousands of people do just that! Many of his detractors are simply coding their aesthetic objections as moral ones. Then they go home and listen to The Infamous or The Chronic like it’s nothing. Because they’re classics yo!
This is why I take a pretty hardline stance against moralizing any art. There’s always a grand exception. The absolute greatest artistry will forever trump the moral errors of its content or creator. And great artistry is in the eye of the beholder. (As is great morality.) So it’d be impossible to have a conversation about basically any art at all ever if we were to strike stuff from the record on subjective moral or aesthetic grounds. Like let’s just start burning books again while we’re at it.
But yes the horrible things that happen in the communities that produce artists like Keef break my heart. And if I truly thought that not writing about Waka Flocka Flame would change any of that I would shut all this shit down in an instant. But I don’t. Poverty and the violence created by it cannot be ignored away. And imho hip hop is no more a cause for these problems than it can be a solution to them. It’s just a thing that some kids make and sometimes it sounds great and sometimes I want to share that.