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Consumer Backlash

I’m not a fan of doing lists. Sure, they’re good for a quick fix and all, but most of the time I just view them as an unoriginal, passé and bland formula used when the writer or writing organization either runs out of ideas or cannot compete with today’s Ritalin-flavored model of writing.

No shots.

So of course I was thinking of compiling a list for today’s post, something along the lines of my personal choices for the definitive misogynistic songs of all time (just in time for Valentine’s Day, of course), because I’ve had about a weeklong hangover from my trip to Toronto last weekend. That idea became rather stagnant, though, after I got to Ghostface Killah’s “Wildflower,” so I deaded the entire idea and flipped to listen to something that spoke more to the California native in me: weed songs [1], eventually shifting into rap’s latest pot purveyor, Wiz Khalifa.

Or, known now as the latest addition to the “the milk’s gone bad,” alleged wack music legion of doom.

Over the past half-decade or so Wiz has slowly but surely morphed from an angry Pittsburgh spitfire to an easygoing universal hippie, eventually trading in the electro-bleeps of Alice Deejay and the first level of Sonic The Hedgehog for the cryptically smooth stylings of Frou Frou, Demi Lovato and Chrono Trigger, finally hitting a proverbial gold mine with “Black & Yellow.” Unfortunately for him, achieving a level of success translated into the legions of pre-Taylor Gang zealots denouncing him as the latest telltale “sell-out,” as is the norm for any rapster that makes it out of the muck of today’s YouTube and the Twitter tomfoolery and into the public’s collective consciousness.

The million-dollar question, however, is why so-called “fans of the sport” are just as quick to spit on the faces of the artist who, just a few weeks ago, they were championing as the one who will take rap to that “next level.” This isn’t like a Ja Rule, “already a washout starting from his Cash Money Click days” type of disdain either; it’s more an “on-off switch” type of backlash. Whether you’re 50 Cent, whose sing-song flow was evident as far back as his pre-Bullet Tooth Tony, Power Of The Dollar days, or Jay-Z, who simply got older and richer (while mating with R&B’s Venus de Milo in the process), it seems pre-destined that an artist will not be liked by their “original” fan base.

Isn’t the point of rappers rapping is to, well, become successful at their craft? [2] To me at least, rappers who rap in any form in these days are trying to get noticed in some manner. Celebrity isn’t remotely guaranteed for most of them, but that has never stopped any of them from trying to grasp it. Fans should not be aghast when their favorite lyricist doesn’t want to stay in their tiny, cramped pocket of regional acclaim and underground (read: those who are quick to cop a free mixtape, yet turn away in disgust once said artist releases a project for sale) success, and if they are perhaps they weren’t “fans” in the first place.

Give it some time; I’m sure there will be a way to dislike Slaughterhouse and J. Cole soon enough.

[1] ScHoolboy Q’s “#BETiGOTSUMWEED” from his spectacular album Setbacks has been my weed anthem this year.

[2] I don’t believe anybody who isn’t in their thirties and above, has rapped for roughly three presidential terms and owned either a Dreamcast or the very first George Forman Grill saying they solely rap “for the love” at this point.

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