Last month we announced our second reader blog contest, where one lucky commenter would get a shot at guest blogging for a week. After receiving a ton of submissions, a winner was finally selected. Give the man a hand…

I don’t love hip-hop. I mean, I like it a lot, but I don’t love it. Not because I’m a hater, but probably because I have commitment issues. Love is a strong word. You could call me a fan, a freak, or even a fiend, but I only love my family—and Nicki Minaj.

XXL wants me to tell y’all why I’m “an insatiable fiend for this art form we call hip-hop.” I wish I could say I am. I really, really do.

Therein lies my quandary. Simply put, some days I am, and some days I’m not. When Game announced he was dropping The R.E.D. Album and that he would be working with Dr. Dre, I was a fiend. The twitpic of Game, Snoop, and Dre together literally set my Internet cable on fire. But then he went and released singles like “Big Money,” “Krazy,” and “Ain’t No Doubt About It.” That string of releases stopped my fiend mode dead in its tracks.

Goddamn you, Game.

You had so much buzz and excitement, and you had to go ruin it, maybe because you felt pressure from a combination of Jimmy Iovine, Jimmy Henchman, and Pharrell. Although that “Shake” record did have my ear for a second, and I actually made it through the whole song.

Actually, that’s not entirely true.

I find myself going in and out of this fiend mode a lot. Eminem had me camping out by my computer (in my, er, room) waiting for the release of the first track from Relapse. And then I clicked on the YouTube link for “We Made You.” I was excited, nervous, curious, delirious, jittery, jumpy, and anxious. Mostly because I was waiting for that damn red line to move fast enough so that I could have the song play in its uninterrupted entirety, because the worst thing about listening to music on YouTube is having a song stop in the middle because that red line hadn’t moved all the way to the right.

I clicked play, and the second the hook dropped, I thought it was a mistake. Maybe it was a prank by Eminem? Perhaps I had clicked on some 1960’s pop record, and some YouTube punk looking for extra hits put Em’s name in the title to get clicks?


I immediately left fiend mode. The worst part wasn’t even the hook. It was the accent. Em’ sounded like a British ex-pirate who had contracted malaria on the high seas and lived off of a steady diet of seaweed and saltwater for 15 years.

But then came Recovery. It immediately hurled me back into fiend mode. “No Love,” “Cinderella Man,” “You’re Never Over,” and that mysterious Havoc track had me running back into hip-hop’s arms faster than Kat Stacks onto a Young Money tour bus. (You be careful now, Lil’ Chuckee).

I vividly remember when 50 Cent dropped “Straight to the Bank” and “Amusement Park,” both of which produced a collective sigh from millions of rap fans, in initial anticipation of his Curtis album.

My fiend mode checked out.

But then came “I Get Money” and “I’ll Still Kill.”  Then, a while later, he put out War Angel and Forever King. Once again, I ran back into hip-hop’s big, reluctant arms. This time, I felt kind of bad about it, though. Probably sort of how Plies felt sitting in his jail cell when he first heard Akon’s “I Wanna Love You,”  sans his original verse.

That’s the thing about hip-hop. It’s fickle. One day you love it, then the next day you say “screw this, I’m going to get a milkshake and listen to Katy Perry.” Maybe not, but you get my point.

It’s not that I'm unfaithful. I’m extremely faithful. Violently faithful sometimes, but when hip-hop goes a tad out to the left, I get turned off. I didn’t like Lil Wayne experimenting with rock music. I don’t want 50 Cent to release a Euro-pop album. I’m against Snoop Dogg releasing a sequel to Doggystyle. I’m weary of Tech N9ne’s growing mainstream popularity. I was weary of 808’s & Heartbreak. And, it irks me to death that there are many talented New York rappers who keep getting deals but can’t put out an album. (Except for you, Maino. You got yours, but don’t expect another).

So here’s what I am going to do. The next time a rapper does something that I don’t like, I’m going to clench my jaw and take it like a man. I’m going to focus on what makes me a hip-hop fiend. Every Lloyd Banks mixtape, Tech N9ne drop, Mood Muzik tape, all three Blueprints, Power of the Dollar, and Nicki Minaj’s ass, er, assets, uh, er, featured verses. All of those things make me very happy in some way.

While I do severely miss the days of battling, where the hottest Internet videos were Swann tearing apart Breeze Evaflowin on Scribble Jam (“That chain can’t be real, you look like you got it at a Happy Meal”), Jin emasculating Verse in the underground mall, Cassidy serving Freeway on a pupu platter in the studio, and Eminem’s grainy videos from the Rap Olympics, I’m going to be okay. I can access YouTube on a whim and watch any video I want, even with that dastardly red line which makes me wait.

I would say that while I’m not in love, I will forever be a fiend. Excuse me, an “insatiable fiend.” So let me know; can y'all relate to my love/hate relationship with hip-hop? What makes you fiend out? Shlomo