You might think everything is all love within the Hip Hop bloggerverse but you’re wrong. Things might appear to be fine on the outside and everyone has their own lanes but there have been quite a few events over the past few years that have shown us that there is a definite us vs. them theme prevailing in the Hip Hop blogosphere. There are the aggregate blogs vs. the writer based blogs. The gossip blogs vs. the ones that report “hard” Hip Hop news.
The blogs that offer albums for download vs. the ones that frown upon that because it’s “killing the culture”. You have your blogs that the industry types read daily vs. the ones they have no idea they even exist. All it takes is for some event to occur and everyone begins to pick sides and point at the other from across the playground. I’ll detail a short recent history of this phenomenon in the blog below entitled “The Blogger Civil War Rages On…”
I’ve noticed the tensions between some bloggers on different sides of the fence for years now but it usually takes a big event for all of those issues that are just hidden beneath the surface to submerge. While there have been quite a few minor flare ups in the past it’s getting to be a problem as the blogs are becoming the new industry standard. Think about it, the magazines are failing and are going online at an alarming rate and guess why and whom they have to compete with? When music industry insiders are looking for who’s “hot” they hit the blogs. The co-sign or support from reputed bloggers can really help (or hinder) a budding music career. Let’s look at quite a few incidents that have occurred just in the past year alone:
The growing power and influence of blogs & the Bloggerati became painfully aware to us all when XXL presented their 10 Freshmen Of 2008 issue. It was clear that the emcees that were selected where greatly influenced by the hottest rappers/emcees on the bloggerverse. All it took was for one of us to point that fact out then the floodgates opened. The resulting fallout from these two posts alone raged on for weeks afterwards and you could see that there were clear cut lines drawn in the sand. “Us” on one side and “them” on the other. The previaling question was: Whose side are you on? Were you going to follow? Whom did you agree with? The selections made by a magazine led to a short dust up between the main players of the Hip Hop bloggerverse. The dust settled eventually but the fallout from it was about to finally take effect.
One of the main issues with the XXL Freshmen list of ’08 was that Asher Roth was on the cover after only releasing his mixtape a short four months ago among other things. When Asher Roth’s promo push went on steroids this past April it slowly tore at the very fabric of the Hip Hop bloggerverse. Many Hip Hop blogs simply refused to promote Asher Roth because so many things just seemed off about his entire campaign and promotional push. Many of these things I detailed on my own. There was a gang of tension between Hip Hop bloggers that finally came to a head when Asher Roth made the first of many controversial statements. While some bloggers were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt others weren’t. Just a short six months later here we were drawing lines in the sandbox again. It was only the beginning, though.
Two short weeks later, the Hip Hop bloggerverse’s wounds hadn’t even healed before yet another Hip Hop magazine published an issue that once again tore at the fabric of the peace that once existed. The offender was their “50 Hottest Hip Hop Blogs List“. This list was so godawful and unbalanced that it created a ripple effect throughout the blogosphere. There were a gang of offended and downright outraged bloggers that responded to the list after it was published (myself being one of the most vocal). This list was instrumental in pointing out who “They” were and who “We” weren’t based on if you were picked for the list or not. The other question was “who is and isn’t a legitimate Hip Hop blogger?”. I decided to make my own goddamn list to show how it was supposed to be done. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done.
Gordon Gartrelle @ We Are Respectable Negroes recently decided to post a blog about Hip Hop critics/criticism. What instead transpired was a shitstorm of comments and a heated debate. It does seem like there was a fair amount of baiting and finger pointing going on with that piece. Quite a few cats caught feelings about being thrown under the bus as well. The debate still rages on today and it’s gotten to be so much that Gordon Gartrelle still hasn’t posted the conclusion to his piece yet. I can’t wait to read it to understand exactly what his point was in the first place. *Kanye shrug* Then came Peter Rosenberg deciding to address his issues with Byron “Bol” Crawford and Combat Jack by playing the pronoun game and using coded language in a video interview. What kind of junior high shit is that?
We really need to cut this bullshit out because it’s only sidetracking us from doing what we’re all here to do: promote and educate our readers about Hip Hop and the full diaspora of the culture. I don’t care if you get a million hits a day on your blog/site and have a gang of ads on it as long as you’re doing whatever helps get the word out. We need balance in the Hip Hop bloggerverse just like we need it in Hip Hop. I don’t have time to be beefing with my fellow bloggers (unless of course they incite my wrath)…I’m too busy trying to crush the skulls of those that claim “Hip Hop is dead” or it’s been a bad year for Rap/Hip Hop releases. I’m the wrong dude to fuck with on that. Ask Sam Chennault. Remember, we’re in charge now. Let’s not allow outside influences to play us against each other.