3. Let me reiterate: Macklemore is selling you an idea.
Not only is he selling you an idea, he’s making money off of telling you how to think about it. If all proceeds went to some charity, fine, I cede that I have no argument. But they’re not. HE’S PLAYING YOU. He’s a Bob-fucking-Dylan. He’s a smart guy: he knows our generation is risk averse, that we’re flooded with information on a regular basis, and he knows how neo-hip-hop fans complain about braggadociousness—he knows that these kind of merge into this hipster-ism and that that’s a popular scene right now… But in the end he’s making money off of you.
What other entity makes money off of telling you how to think?
Oh right, schools and universities. And how do we feel about those? We feel good about all the beliefs and thoughts we get to have in our special little brains, so good that we’re willing to pay money for those ideas. Even if we do nothing with those thoughts, at least we have them to shuffle around our unique, individual minds and believe in! Because we certainly love our opinions.
I’ll leave the analogy at that.
It’s incredibly marketable stuff. It sounds poppy, it’s written “thoughtfully”. It twists and combines into this candy that you can eat and you don’t have to feel bad for pigging out. In fact, you can feel good about it! It’s convenient music, and it does what previous/traditional non-hip-hop listeners needed to enjoy the topic: comfort and catchiness. Before, hip-hop and rap was this genre where the subject matter was too brutal, too savage, too unchained and out of control to be appreciated. No matter that it’s poetry and wordplay at its finest, never mind the iambic tetra/penta/heptameter, analogies, short/long narrative, end rhyme, internal rhyme, block rhyme, rhythmic phrasing, metrical transference, and please ignore the use of similie, metaphor, assonance, consonance, alliteration, imagery, and onomatopoeia. None of those matter if the story you’re telling is hard to swallow.
After that, hip-hop was too in your face—too Immortal Technique-conspiracy-theory-esqe, or too laidback-Atmosphere-ic.
Oh, but now hip-hop’s got this white knight who’s repackaged the hip-hop from the 80s, 90s, and 00s—the consciousness of the 80s, the underground style of the 90s/00s—and crams it down your throat with pop. Not to mention, the story he tells is mostly PG now.
Horseshit. We decided a long time ago that plot was a minor element to a great movie, book, story, or play, and that standard should apply to music too. Just because he’s telling a story that’s easy to deal with, or makes you feel good for agreeing with it, doesn’t make it a more valid art form. It makes you ignorant, and it makes him rich.
In the end, you’re still buying into consumerism.
IN THE END YOU’RE STILL BUYING INTO CONSUMERISM.
I seem upset? You’re goddamn right I’m upset. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I have a fundamental problem with someone who says, “Spend money on my song that tells you spending money is dumb.” I have an issue with “Give me money to hear me talk about how being mean to others is bad.”