In a brief but searing Twitter rant, young artist Russ, who — let me be clear — is incredibly dope, had some less than flattering things to say about Hip Hop blogs. After being what he perceived as stonewalled on his epic come up by “pompous” writers, he now is vehemently spreading a simple message: blogs don’t matter.
As a writer, it obviously rubbed me the wrong way. More importantly, though, it made me stop and consider the reasons I even do this. I’ve been in love with writing since a child. Although I’ve dabbled as an artist — which you can explore if you’re interested — I’ve always been fascinated with Hip Hop journalism, and am fortunate to be in a position to contribute to some of the most respected sites in the game.
Why do I do it? I love having critical conversations about “art,” which is what I view Hip Hop is; but more than that, I love to share stories. I love to research, discover and share stories that hopefully put you on to elements/angles of the music you’re listening to that perhaps you didn’t consider. I also like to shine a light on music that maybe you haven’t caught on to yet. I’m a storyteller; I’m a curator, I’m a creative. I’m not necessarily a make or break platform for artists. My nod or approval doesn’t necessarily equate to an artist’s success. It does, though, often create compelling conversations, and give their built in fans something to enjoy.
Is it my job to show love to every single artist that exists? No. Russ, like many artists before him, was stuffing writer’s inboxes, and — back in 2014 — was spazzing on them for not responding in a timely fashion. Even though he did get mad love at a point. However, Russ did make it, and his debut broke the top 10 Billboard 200, without blog support. Much like G4shi, Hi-Rez, and other artists who have been building massive followings under the radar — systematically and organically.
Does his success mean that blogs don’t matter? Well, no. Not quite. For every 3 Russes, there are thousands of artists who find new audiences and expand their industry — and social — credibility using blogs and curated online Hip Hop platforms. Also, consider the relationship between writers, PR, management, and labels. To a degree, shunning media is shunning a great faction of the industry.
Russ, and his like-minded peers, are entitled to their thoughts on the credibility and usefulness of blogs — and writers — but don’t generalize and put us in a box because you perhaps didn’t catch the ear or imagination of the contacts you reached to. Speaking for myself, I put my heart and soul into contributing to the culture and lending my pen in support of good music.
Can I live [*Jay-Z voice]?
(BTW, Russ’ album is fire.)