I know you read the title of this post and were like, oh no you’re not gonna tell me I’m not relevant. Fuck that! Yes you are.
I kid, I kid!
I had to get you in here somehow.
But seriously, in media there’s this whole question of relevancy which always comes up when it’s time to do a story on someone. It’s always a wonder to me when people pitch story ideas on different artists, producers, events… whatever…. and you’re just left sitting there like, is this relevant? Do people care?
We gotta be realistic here, there’s really nobody in hip-hop that is really relevant like that. The biggest stars can’t even grab the public’s attention for more than three seconds before people log back into their facebook page and send some stupid widget to someone they were trying to hump back in junior high.
The playlist concept, that’s what makes you and your music either irrelevant, or just as relevant as some schmuck making music in his basement on a Shure SM58 and FL Studio (see: Soulja Boy). The fact is that a person can download whatever the hell they want, throw it in iTunes and now everyone’s on an equal playing field. Used to be what separated the established acts from some underground/indie artist was placement in a retail store. Could you get on the shelf in Sam Goody? Now the question is, do any of you fuckers even remember Sam Goody? Google it.
Maybe the only rappers who are relevant right now are Lil Wayne and Kanye. Because they’re the only rappers who I can see that are unanimously supported everywhere. I mean, every genre of music respects them, from trendy hipster crap to rock to pop to new age to world music. You might even see Kanye collab with Herbie Hancock in a minute. It’s that real.
TI? Not so much. Sure he sold some records, and I’m not arguing the quality of his music (Paper Trail is dope, for real). But maybe Jim Jones is right. Does anyone really wanna have swagger like TI? Ummm… no. I don’t think anyone’s trying to be the next TI. But then, is anyone really trying to be the next Jim Jones either? Ummm… no.
You can talk that talk all you want, but the only thing makes you relevant is hits. Sure, TI has hits. But even with hits, again it’s like, what else are you bringing to the table? Are you also a trendsetter? Are you pushing the creative boundaries of music? Are you respected by your peers? How does the mainstream view you? Are you some larger than life Axl Rose-like rock star? Are people crying just to get a glimpse of you? (see: The Jonas Brothers)
Truth is, with rap music, I feel so out of place. I’m sure many others feel the same. I’m up on everything that drops, everything that is upcoming, and more… but when I walk in my barbershop (shout to Against Da Grain in Staten Island), we can’t even get into a real discussion about rap anymore. It’s just segmented, the things people like and all. You got people who don’t go online, so they don’t know who Charles Hamilton is, Mickey Factz, Kid Cudi. And then you got people who only listen to mixtapes, and all they like is Papoose, Maino, Grafh. And then there’s people who still like what’s on the radio, TI and Jeezy. And your forward thinkers, who like Kanye and Pharrell. And your oldschool heads, who like Nas and…. well, Nas.
It’s not the summer of 1997 anymore, when there were really only two choices– Wu-Tang Forever or Puff Daddy No Way Out. On one side of the coin was the real shit, the other side the fluff (aka the “industry”).
And so it goes, we’re all just into whatever it is we’re into. We’re on the train with earbuds in our ears, shut off from the rest of the world, not talking or hearing what anyone else is saying, isolated and vibing to whatever the hell it is that we have on our playlist.
May the best song win.
But does anyone really care on way or another?