No More Hot Takes in 2017: Amplifying Your Taste in Music

Music is a commodity that, now more than ever before, is intertwined with multiple aspects of our lives. From the TASCAM multitrack that my grandfather used in his day to the iPhone so widely used today, the evolution of music consumption has underpinned the relevance of music in the human experience. Access like never before means better showers in the morning, commutes to work and school, workouts at the gym, sex, nights out, road trips…you get the point. It’s been proven that music influences human attitude, skills, performance, intelligence, creativity, and social behavior in various ways. You rarely hear phrases like,“I don’t really listen to music” which were common in the era when radio was the main source for what we listened to, and you needed a Walkman to have the freedom of choice.

Before I publish anymore work it is important that I emphasize in my first piece that no opinion is wrong or right. A music critic’s opinion is not a fact. If I tweet that Young Thug is the greatest addition to the culture of Hip Hop from this decade and all I get is objections, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong. However, there are uninformed and informed opinions. You’ve seen them everyday, but I’m just going to focus on one I was unlucky enough to witness firsthand:

With the release of “Big Man Drizzy’s” latest albu-I mean “playlist,” Twitter has exploded with this weird ass UK & American Hip-Hop beef. I get it; Giggs bars are complete and utter trash, but I’ve also seen a lot of strongly stated “Yeah, all UK rappers are trash bruh.” Trust me; I’ve listened to Giggs and Skepta so now I’ve listened to them all. Here’s my rule of thumb…if I can’t readily name 3 artists in a sub-genre…I don’t comment on that sub-genre until I do learn. This is why you have never and will never see me comment on sports…cause I don’t watch them. It seems pretty stupid for me to say that the Timberwolves are better than the Knicks (are they? who knows? I seriously have no clue)  if I can’t name the starting five for either team. If you’ve never listened to a complete project from Wiley, AJ Tracey, Stormzy, Chip, Skepta (not just that one song with a Drake clip in front of it you heard at that party one time), Kano, Bonkaz, Frisco, JME…why are you dismissing an entire genre, culture, movement with the stroke of one brush. I know you want to seem well informed on pop culture and current events, but spewing ignorance for some retweets is not the wave, my guy.

There’s nothing elitist or pretentious about being knowledgeable when it comes to music. We all love music. In order for us, as a community, to have new, fresh, and engaging discussions, or even just light conversations about music we simply need to listen to more music. Diversify the things that you listen to. If you truly love music, it will enhance your life in more ways than I can express. Think about the one song or artist you love more than anything. Now imagine you having that same feeling for another artist in rock, or electronic; you might never know the impact that variety has on your preferences, emotional reaction, and musical cognition.

That’s also why I’m not mad at Drake’s culture vulture ways, because although there are some negative aspects the clear benefit is exposure. Right now, there’s a kid that may not know that it’s called House music but loves it cause of Get It Together, or loves Sampha now cause of 4422, or is  researching J.Lo cause of the sample in Teenage Fever. At the very least Drake can be a gateway for uninformed listeners. That’s another story for another day though. I leave you in hopes that you experiment with your musical palette after this.

P.S. Big Up Stormzy: