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Thursday, December 30, 2010

One of the More Depressing Year-End Pieces I've Read Lately, or: Did You Want to Read an Essay About Kanye West?

Posted by on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Some serious, Kanye-themed self assessment from Nick Sylvester:

7. Sidenote: I am still waiting for some kind underpaid soul to make the distinction between Kanye West the excellent hip-hop producer, and Kanye West the just average writer of vocal melodies. I would attempt to write this piece myself if I knew I could be paid at a rate higher than whatever some 14-year-old makes working his first job at White Castle. This is not the reality of any music writer’s situation though. A piece like this would mostly serve Kanye West, and people who want to make music like Kanye West, and to a much smaller extent, people who are interested in the tics of West’s music. Not anyone else, at least immediately. It would start from the premise that Kanye West can, in fact, get much higher. It would start from the premise of wanting good music to be better music. Music in this piece would not serve as mere fodder for Ideas Inspired By Music. It would be technical as fuck. There would be no “takeaway.”

8. Instead you get something called “cultural criticism.” And cultural criticism on the internet is mostly a parlor game. It can’t afford to be anything else. It is entertainment for smart people with day jobs. A lot of that entertainment? Pretty entertaining. The ideas it produces are often meaningful on their own. There are Good Guys doing good things. Most of it is noise though — digital artifacts from the conversion of sound to text.

9. But right now I feel like I’m not one of the Good Guys. I’m dangerously close to becoming another noisemaker. Another person on the internet who writes about music he hasn’t fully processed — not even “about” music but “in the vicinity of” music. I am in grave danger of being slightly more full of shit than everyone else. My best idea about music this year is to stop having ideas about music. As for Kanye, I am glad I didn’t pull that trigger.

Did you want to read the rest of this essay?


Comments (2) RSS

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cosby 1
I can't believe I read the whole thing.

Best part of the article: "This will be the last you hear from me for a while". Thankfully!
Posted by cosby on December 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM · Report this
Josh Bis 2
That depressed me, too. First because it meant that I might need to relisten to that Kanye album seven or eight more times to "like it" and second because it was his last Riff City column.
Posted by Josh Bis on December 30, 2010 at 11:10 AM · Report this

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