I’ve always had a weird relationship with the press. For the early part of my career, from 1999-2003 when I was first putting out Greenhouse material on Weightless Recordings, they would either ignore us completely or clown us in the local weekly papers. Then once Soul Position came out things improved, but its always been weird. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, you take it with a grain of salt and you move on. Along the way I stopped giving a fuck and realized that while the press can to some extent make a star out of somebody that shouldn’t be, they also can’t really do much for artists that are bi-products of a more grassroots approach–which I am. I’m not sure if that realization means I gave up on their importance, or that I gave up on my potential to be a critics favorite, but I do know that things definitely changed for me.
But specifically, here’s my problem with press:
First, I think that there’s a strong tendency for writers (and press in general) to write very sensational or over-the-top things, and that this tendency usually undermines their ability to write with consistency and maintain journalistic integrity.
Second, I think that many writers are so focused on writing about what’s new and hot that they are unable to contextualize anything. More specifically, they can’t frame it in any other way than this is what’s popping right now, as opposed to this is what this piece of music means; culturally, socially or historically–and why it has merit beyond the need to supply constant content to a seemingly insatiable audience, if that makes any sense.
Long story short, along the way somebody decided that the truth wasn’t as important as a good story. You see it all the time, and not limited to music journalism. The natural question is which came first; did the writers decided they needed to sacrifice truth for story, or did the people decide that the truth was boring and only respond to over-the-top rumors, exaggeration, and negativity?
Either way, I was reminded of this situation a couple weeks back when I read a review of my SXSW performance on a blog. Peep this review first:
Reaction: Blueprint is the quintessential “backpack” rapper. We hate that label. He’s got a following that has stuck to his poetic, lyrical word play for years–and they love it–and probably will be the only ones to love it. We had been told earlier this year that his style has changed, but given the small crowd–we’d say no one noticed or well, it hasn’t.
Now, I’m not one to brag about shows or say I killed a show when I really didn’t. However, when I read this my first thought was that this writer couldn’t have possibly been at the show. I didn’t (and still don’t) care whether he liked my music, but that particular SXSW show at Emo’s was one of the best shows I’ve had all year. The entire crowd was with me front to back, and the room was packed. So I asked him about it and he basically said that the room was empty, nobody was really checking for me, but that he really respects and likes what I do. This was pretty confusing to me that somebody who respects what I do would report something that wasn’t true, but I had no way of really proving it until about a day or two later when a video of the show popped up online.
Please take a minute and peep this video, especially the end:
What you probably notice is that its the exact opposite of what dude said. It shows and entire room of my people holding me down, excited about what I’m doing. The sound of the crowd at the end of “go hard, or go home” is pretty damn loud, especially for a “small crowd” that wasn’t even checking for me, right?
I guess I wrote all this to say that it’s wild how the press does things like that. I know I don’t have a bunch of money behind me, and I’m not on tv or radio, or on the front page of every blog as this weeks “hot” rapper–but you cannot deny that I have a place, that my message is resonating with people, and that the people (my amazing fans) support the fuck outta me. But I guess it’s more interesting to write something negative about somebody who is gaining momentum, than to just say “yo, the show was packed and print killed it”
So, be careful about how seriously you take the shit some of these press people write, because as unfortunate as it is, many of them know that a good story is worth more than the truth, and they don’t care who or what gets caught in the crossfire when they’re in the process of telling it.
Word is blog.
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