hip hop music

November 23, 2003

Eff A Pop Critic?

I wonder what Jeff Chang thinks of this piece, especially the props given to Da Capo's Best Music Writing (AKA Best Music White-ing).

Almost famous

Rock critics with big book deals and TV face time are becoming stars on their own. But are they saying anything?

In the 1980s, a college student in Atlanta had a weekly jones for The Village Voice. In the pages of New York's alternative tabloid, Touré found writing like he had never seen before. Greg Tate, Nelson George, Harry Allen and others were talking about hip-hop in a way that was almost as inspiring as the music itself.

''There was this murderers row of writers who had voice, opinion, gravity, intelligence and style,'' says Touré, who goes by his first name only. ``The Voice not encouraged but demanded a voice from writers. To think of joining that group was like joining a successful sports team. If you really wanted to show your chops to the community, then you wrote something in the Voice.''

Touré moved to New York, where he wrote for the Voice, The New York Times and The New Yorker. He's now a Rolling Stone contributing editor and author of the short story collection The Portable Promised Land. But these days, you're as likely to see his talking head on TV, where he may be commenting on Michael Jackson for CNN or on Whitney Houston for Nightline, as you are to catch his byline. That's because, as he and many other writers say, pop criticism isn't what it used to be.

''I have no sense now that it matters in the same way, that people are paying attention,'' says Touré...

Speaking of not paying attention, I have a new policy of never acknowledging the existence of Touré, as it is bad for my blood pressure. So, no comment on this section.

When rock, punk and hip-hop were new, there was a push-and-pull relationship between creators and chroniclers, who compelled, repelled and propelled each other. Bangs and Lou Reed locked horns. Chuck D. and Tate had it out. Nowadays, J.Lo worries about paparazzi, not pundits...

Yeah but J Lo is hardly the same type of artist as Lou or Chuck, not really a fair comparison.. in Bangs or Tate's heyday there were plenty of bubble-gum acts who could care less what they wrote. And one could argue that for every J Lo today there are still plenty of artists like Liz Phair, who cares about critics to a degree that borders on frightening.

Interesting piece tho, nitpicking aside.

Posted by jsmooth995 at November 23, 2003 7:36 PM

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