Why Do I Need To Like It?

Before I get into this, I was wrong. I said an artist sucked purely because I didn’t enjoy their music. As an artist myself, I should know better than to throw around such words just because I don’t like someone’s music. Just because I don’t like their music doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty of people out there who love their music.

I was an earlier Drake adopter and for the longest time, I was trying to get MI to listen to his earlier stuff (Room For Improvement & Comeback Season) and MI was insisting that he just didn’t like the music. When Drizzy blew up in 2009 with So Far Gone and Thank Me Later followed, I urged MI to listen again, and he still wasn’t feeling him. While he’s never one to hold back his feelings about an artist, he was at least honest enough to say he didn’t like Drake’s music and didn’t just tell me he sucked (that time).

The topic was Young Thug and I said it then and I’ll say it now: I don’t like his music. Now, on one hand, my friend Korey made a very good argument which boiled down to my opening statement of saying an artist isn’t just for me. But then another friend urged me to listen to certain material, hoping to change my mind… just like I tried with MI and Drake. To bring this full circle: Why do I need to like it?

Not to put myself on a high horse because she certainly won’t change her opinion about Young Thug because I still don’t want to listen him. Maybe it’s my past radio experiences where I was exposed to new music every day and I had the final say on what I deemed good enough to play (on my shows at least) on air. Maybe because we’ve had past experiences of enjoying an artist together and she really thought I was missing out (like I did with MI and Drake).

E had asked me a few weeks ago if I was excited for A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown, Vince Staples, and Tyler, The Creator to come to Morgantown later this month and I had to say no. This wasn’t even as extreme a case of the music not being for me, I just don’t listen to any of them. I really do like Tyler, I just haven’t made an effort to get into his latest material but I did like some of his bigger Odd Future tracks. But I don’t feel the need to spend money just because a rap show is in town. I’d rather see local music (and my friends) at 123 Pleasant Street.

I don’t feel like I’m missing anything though. I know what I like so if you’re an artist I’m a fan of or if you’re someone new that I’ve never heard of, chances are I’ll put your music on my iPod and leave it there. There have even been cases of me changing my mind about an artist. I used to not really be a fan of Rick Ross back in 2006; now I can’t imagine missing any of his projects. But considering the limited time I have anymore (Nikki got be a pair of Beats by Dre and I had them for 4 days before I tried them out. I’m not kidding when I say I have no time), I’m not going to waste it listening to Young Thug. Or Future. Or Fetty Wap (but dammit, I’m starting to like “My Way”). Or Rich Homie Quan. Or Rae Sremmurd.

They’re not for me. I haven’t been in radio for 4 years now so I don’t have to play what’s hot right now. I play what I love and what I want to listen to. Matter of fact, I just finished checking out the Memoirs Of Dayne Jordan by Dayne Jordan and I really dug it. I’m pretty sure DJ Jazzy Jeff tweeted out the link (he produced the project and he’s responsible for Dayne getting his shot) and I hold anything with Jeff’s name attached in high regard. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I checked out Eric Bellinger’s Cuffing Season and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Not because the songs were bad; they were really catchy, but the music just wasn’t for me. One look at Bellinger’s songwriting credits and you can tell he’s no slouch but I’d rather be listening to something else when the iPod’s on shuffle.

I mean, I’m a simple fan I think. I can’t stand Boosie’s voice but I love everything that 2 Chainz puts out even though the lyricist in me says I shouldn’t. While I understand and appreciate To Pimp A Butterfly, chances are I’m going to choose Rich Forever over it if given a choice. And that’s okay because I don’t need to like everything that comes out just like my friend doesn’t have to like everything that comes out. That’s our right as musical connoisseurs; mostly because there’s far too much music coming out every day to get to it all like in the stone age of rap blogs. And just because I don’t like an artist’s music doesn’t mean they suck.

So my apologies Young Thug. Just get Birdman to let Wayne off of Cash Money so I can get Tha Carter V and we won’t have any other issues.

And then I complain about how Wayne sucks.

2 Replies to “Why Do I Need To Like It?”

  1. I think the system for quality control in hip-hop in the golden years was “if its hot then its hot.” There wasn't really any animosity if your music wasn't up to par because after someone told you to step your game up you took your lumps and whatever track you released became obscure and forgotten. But now money backs a lot of the tracks that get released – even the lousy ones. The power of money to keep subpar music in rotation means that eventually the human ear gets conditioned to hearing it and the song becomes internalized and accepted by the masses. That's the power of exposure and music, and it's something money buys consistently in pop music every day.Take a person neutral to Drake – they don't like him or hate him. Now lets say that person has a great time out with their friends and the song happens to play on the car ride there and at the club. They're much more likely to associate those good memories with those songs and have a preference for his music. Multiply that effect by the fact that that Drake was played 35 times per day on radio and the chances of his songs being played during a good moment are exponentially increased.If there is anything I've learned in researching my books, it's how the big record labels have crafted this system to take advantage of human biology and psychology to tell the masses what they like. Most people don't share the same connection with music as a musician does, so they are more likely to choose music that “just makes them feel good” as opposed to choosing a song for craftsmanship.Watch closely what happens with this “Slim Jesus” character – I have a feeling he will be a great example of what I'm talking about….

  2. And I probably won't like Slim Jesus when I actually hear him either!Good points all around though. Hip-hop is more business than artform and has been for a long time.

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