No Really, How Do You Feel About Illmatic?
I know. Meta-blogging is the worst. But I’ve been meaning to formally weigh in on the results of the Bangin’ & Weiss this 25 greatest hip hop albums poll, the subsequent fallout, and, tangentially, the rap blogosphere as a whole.
I don’t know what you guys (the readers) think music criticism exists for, but in my head it’s about sharing musical knowledge for the purpose of education. In my first year of blogging, I probably learned more about music than I did in the 20 years prior. And that’s saying a lot considering I’ve been pouring over liner notes for about as long as I’ve been able to read. When I look at the SB list I’m not sure what I’m learning from it. It’s a blogger group hug. “Yep, we all still love Wu-Tang.” Or, perhaps, more accurately “Yep, we’re all still boring, even in the face of exciting music.”
And me, I’m just bored with being bored by rap writing.
Despite often being branded with the term “tastemaker,” most rap bloggers (and most music writers by and large) have no taste.  And I don’t mean they have bad taste. That would be the least of their problems. I mean no taste. Their relationship with rap music is solely about finding what’s hot (the tastes of others) and either reinforcing it or tearing it down. Taste is not a binary decision. I want to read writing from people who are actively going out of their way to find rap music that they aren’t yet familiar with. And when they do find it, I want them to gut that shit and wear it’s skin like a new fur coat. Literarily, of course.
But I suspect I’m in a minority. In writing for XXL I’ve found that most of the readers are just looking to be coddled or alternately start shit when they aren’t being coddled. To many of these fruit flies, critical thinking means finding new ways to say “Fuck You, I disagree.” So by that measure I guess I can’t fault writers for catering to the audience. W.W.D4L.D.?
Besides, in recent times many “hip hop bloggers” have transcended music criticism. They’re about brand building, agenda pushing, cataloging rapidshare, gossip and shock. Anything but what I’m about. . So why should I give a damn what their 25 favorite rap albums are anyway?
[This is not a subliminal. I am talking to no one specifically and everyone in particular. Myself included. Complacency is a bitch and we all need to kick her to the curb.]
 If you’re offended, you probably deserve to be. Anyone with any kind of taste would be secure enough in it to not take this personally.
 Even though I’ve been falsely accused of all those things in the past.