Saturday, June 06, 2015

Georgia Anne Muldrow Review

I reviewed Georgia Anne Muldrow's latest at RapReviews this week.

Also, I love Noz's response on his Tumblin' Erb site to the question, why do you say hip-hop journalism is over? He is making some clear references to Pitchfork and their Chief Keef debacle. That explains why he doesn't write for them anymore. Noz writes:

"There’s no infrastructure for it. All of the old guard hip hop institutions have become tabloids or aggregation zombies. And yes you can go write about hip hop music at a fashion magazine or an “indie rock” website or maybe the culture vertical of a multinational corporation that also sells dishwashers and tiny confederate flag lapel pins. You can make $45 a week accumulating content there and theoretically do some good work before you burn out or the building burns down but you aren’t going to be a hip hop journalist exactly. At best you’ll be a tour guide. Your job will be to explain hip hop to readers whose interest in the subject runs no deeper than their desire to add a tab for Significant Rap Talking Points to their Cultural Investment Portfolio. Because of this the core hip hop audience will forever approach your work with a hint of skepticism (rightfully so). And every time you file an article you will have to cross your fingers and hope the sloppily reported wow aren’t rappers with guns cool video documentary that your bosses’ bosses just got a few young black men sent to jail behind doesn’t pop up as a related link.

Imo hip hop journalism is about being a voice and responsible advocate for the primary consumers and producers of hip hop music. It’s about contextualizing the culture for people who are of the culture or at least seriously invested in the culture. It means telling stories about entire communities and sometimes even about humans who aren’t famous recording artists/being groomed to become famous recording artists. As far as I can tell none of the publications that still have an audience and a budget for covering rap music are especially concerned with any of that."

I never fit his definition of hip-hop journalist - I've always been too far outside of the culture to pretend to accurately represent it. I've written as a fan but as an outsider. And to be clear, what I mean by that is that I am a middle-aged, middle-class white professional who writes about music made mostly by poor African-Americans (although also plenty of middle-class and wealthy African-American, as well as people of other races and other socio-economic backgrounds). I don't go to shows, I don't live this culture, I'm not involved in the making and performing of it.  I hope I make that clear in my writing. I try to respect the culture, and the people involved in it, and not represent myself as something I am not.

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