Last week, I wrote a sarcastic little review of a rap concert I attended with my kids. I thought it would be a fun way to preserve the memory for my family and allow some of my blog followers to have a laugh. My intention, and all writers realize this, left my control once I hit the publish button. My blog blew up and I learned a great deal.
1. The Seattle rap scene is really interconnected, supportive, and for the most part a positive group. My review was snarky, but the groups themselves seemed to enjoy the review. The review got picked up on social media and I believe almost everyone performing that night read it and had a laugh. I doubt this would be the reaction from most urban rap scenes which made me feel even better about the connection my kids have with this music.
2. Prometheus Brown (Bremerton graduate hence the shout out to Bremerton) is a stage name and the group he was performing with that evening is called The Bar. The other members of The Bar are Bambu and DJ InfraRed. Brown also performs with a group named Blue Scholars (not Blues as I had first written.) This still confuses me a bit because I think of being in a group like being on a team, you can’t just play on two teams, but it speaks to how interconnected the Seattle rap community is. Someone wrote a comment that if I didn’t like The Bar and BFA I could listen to Wiz Khalifa. At first I thought The Bar in question was the club I went to, but it wasn’t. I still have no idea who Wiz Khalifa is and I am not going to Google him either. Ignorance is a gift in this case.
3. I am really out of touch with what is fashionable. I made fun of the BFA’s DJ and his fashion choices, but it appears I am the one dressed like a doofus. I watched a video by Macklemore yesterday about shopping at thrift stores. From what I can tell, the new thing is to wear old people’s clothing.
4. Social media really works. I blog but I don’t tweet or do anything else that pushes my blog out to more people. My daughter tweeted my blog to somebody and then the thing just snowballed. I think of the internet as a flat world where things are linear, but it isn’t. Twitter connects people one way, Facebook another way, Reddit (never heard of it until last week) another. I follow media in an old-fashioned way. I do one thing at a time, but people who are really connected toss all of the media together like a salad.
5. People are passionate about the music they love. While the groups I reviewed didn’t take much offense to what I wrote, the same cannot be said about all of their fans. One person thought I was a closet racist. (I really have nothing against closets. In fact, some of my favorite rooms are closets.) Others didn’t appreciate that I made fun of music that they really love. A few people couldn’t believe how clueless I am. I wasn’t always this clueless, but it happened. A few years ago (the 80s and 90s) I was ahead of the curve, I have the record collection to prove it. I worked as a college radio DJ and did a reggae show every Friday night, but one day I looked in the mirror and I was old.
6. Parents shouldn’t be too worried about letting their kids go see groups like The Physics, BFA, and The Bar. I wouldn’t take a bunch of ten year-old girls, but if your kids are listening to the rap music, why not go to a concert and see what it is all about?
Two Things I Want My Readers to Learn:
1. Buy your music. Don’t steal it off the internet just because you can. If you love music keep it alive. These groups you love deserve it. They are not millionaires, and if they are, it still doesn’t make it okay. I know music can be expensive but you have to feed the things you love. Music and musicians cannot live off of your love (unless your love comes in the form of food.) Supporting artists is a tradition that has been around since Man started developing culture. We would not have the great paintings, music, sculpture, and writings if it were not for patrons of the arts. Become a patron instead of a leech.
2. Get to know the reggae branch of the rap tree: Toasting/Dancehall. Yelllowman, and Eek-a-Mouse are pretty good, but when it comes to spoken word music no one was ever better than Linton Kwesi Johnson. If you don’t know him, you should.