We have a double serving of KORN photos for you. Two of our photographers, Andy Jones and Joshua Hoover, got their faces melted off in the pit at the Fillmore Silver Spring. It was great seeing the return of Brian “Head” Welch after his extended absence. KORN played for almost two hours, and the (all ages) crowd was eating it up. Seriously, there was a seven year old kid in cornrows.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have ascended from being a small time Seattle rap duo only covered by the indie blogosphere (except for the ever contrarian Pitchfork) to the biggest Billboard sensation since golden era Gaga. Their journey was swift, and unsurprisingly there was backlash-on-backlash-on-backlash. They’re not “authentic.” His raps are weak or pretentious. They make hip-hop for frat bros (i.e. white people who are likely super-psyched for the ODB hologram at the up-coming Rock the Bells X). Even Rolling Stone gave them a negative review, and I thought that never happened. It all stinks of condescension that reads: “people who like Macklemore are not real hip-hop fans.”
The majority of professional criticism, especially the suppositions that Macklemore is culturally insensitive, has been focused on the recent single “Thrift Shop”. Spin has levied some kind of personal vendetta against the duo, publishing multiple articles in which they kind of baselessly fling critical shit at the wall to see what sticks. They even go so far as to say that critics who have praised “Thrift Shop” “should know better”. Well thank god they have you to let them know? No but really, like what the fuck. Of all of the toxic SHIT that gets spewed in hip-hop, this is what you’re getting on your soap box about? THIS?!
Another rapper who has been entangled in a MUCH more complicated scandal as of late, Danny Brown, gave an interview with Village Voice a few months ago where he pointed out that
“When I was a kid, there wasn’t a [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based white rapper] Mac Miller, so that kid didn’t have a rapper to listen to, so he listened to Pearl Jam or some shit. Now if you’re a kid, there’s somebody speaking for you in this music, so you have something to relate to.”
So if a couple of white kids from Seattle want to come out and rap about their conflict over consumer culture, and make music videos with wacky jackets, and happen to have a few other earworm singles on their first LP: you don’t have to crucify them. Similarly conflicted kids from cities all over the country will be like, “Yeah ya know, sometimes I’m so worried about my shoes and I don’t have to be!” It might be dumb and superficial and it might not espouse the normal values that are sung about in hip-hop, but that’s what’s so great about the direction hip-hop is going. There’s more room artists like Kitty or Shabazz Palaces or Le1f to put forward music that comes from a different perspective for fans who would otherwise ignore the genre completely.
Undoubtedly, M&RL will fuck up along the way and send mixed messages and give critics plenty of fodder to continue on with their crusades. But guess what? They can do that because they never expected their music to get this big and they’re on the wildest ride of their lives. I personally cannot wait to see them bring their energy to the Infield Fest on Saturday, as long as it doesn’t interfere with placing my Orb-Goldencents exacta bet. Tickets (sans unlimited beer) are still available.