Egging on a nerd fight
The other day, some guy did this post about how blogs are ruining hip-hop, by promoting bums like Wale, B.O.B., and Asher Roth, to the point where all three of them are now on the cover of this month’s issue of XXL.
Then this guy Brandon Soderberg (once described by my boy Ian Cohen as being “like Tom Breihan, but twice as long and twice as wrong”) offered a rebuttal, explaining that the ascendence of the aforementioned bums isn’t really a blog phenomeneon per se, and also accusing Eskay, proprietor of the venerable Nah Right, of sucking Asher Roth’s dick.
Figuratively, mind you.
This apparently set off a huge argument that took place in the comments sections of several different blogs, and ultimately led to Eskay posting a cryptic threat to his Twitter (which is where I caught wind of this mess), suggesting he might have to introduce Soderberg to the hand of god, similar to how Maino had to do Yung Berg the other day.
Is it really all that serious? In the interest of confusing things even further, for my own personal amusement, I figured I’d have a look.
Soderberg actually brings up a good point, in suggesting that blog rap, of the sort featured in this month’s XXL isn’t really a ground-up phenomenon. These aren’t guys, like Donny Goines, sitting around in their mom’s basement kicking freestyles, then someone at XXL heard it, thought they had potential, and decided to put them on the cover. Pretty much all of these guys are signed to major labels. And let’s keep it real, it’s probably not a mere matter of coincidence that the guys on Interscope – Wale and Charles Hamilton – ended up on the main cover, of which I’m sure they printed way more copies, while poor Kid Cudi had to share a cover with motherfucking Ace Hood.
(For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard an Ace Hood record before in my life. But I’m assuming he’s corny, based on the fact that he looks like he could be in middle school, and the fact that his name is Ace Hood. What’s next, a rapper named Lil Yung? Er, nevermind.)
Where Soderberg falters, I think, is in suggesting that the reason Eskay posts so much material from pretty much all of the guys on this month’s XXL covers, except for maybe Ace Hood (hence, presumably, my never listening to any Ace Hood), is because the major labels put him up to it. Specifically, Soderberg says that Eskay “has always had tight industry connections.” I couldn’t help but be reminded of John McCain alleging that Barack Obama is a socialist. (As my brothers in Hanson would say, if only!) If Soderberg was gonna go there with it, he probably should have produced some sort of smoking gun.
Eskay, for his part, claims that he only posts material by artists that he likes, and I’m tempted to believe him, both because, well, he says so, and because that’s the impression that I get from having read his site for the past few years now. He’s posted a lot of shit by guys like Asher Roth and Charles Hamilton, but he’s also posted a lot of shit by Donny Goines. And there’s plenty of artists I like, who could be considered blog-type rappers, who hardly ever show up on Nah Right.
If anything, Eskay could be accused of not having very good taste in music. He’s like that one friend at the party that pulls you aside and tells you, you need to check out a new comedian named Dane Cook. Then, if you’re like me, you just kinda nod and go, “Yeah, I’m gonna have to check that out!” then pretend you have to go take a piss. Which I guess, in this analogy, would make Asher Roth the hip-hop equivalent of Dane Cook. And wouldn’t you know, that song “Roth Boys” includes a reference to Dane Cook’s bit about turning out the lights and playing, who’s in your mouth? Coincidence? No homo?
What do you fruits think? Does the fact that so many artists he’s championed have turned up on the covers of this month’s XXL mean that Eskay is a tool of the industry? Or is he just that guy during freshman week who claimed he listened to “everything except country,” and then several years later you ended up working for him and hence hating his guts? Does it matter? Speak on it.