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Earlier this week, a war of words broke out between the founder of Cocaineblunts.com Noz and the good people at Rap Radar and Elliot Wilson regarding freedom of speech. Noz’ issue with the Rap Radar team seemed to stem from who they picked when it came to artists and music for their annual “Best Of List”. Rap Radar released their “Best Of 2012” list of albums and singles and the list may have had a little too much of a Maybach Music flavor for Noz to handle. So, like many others will do, he took to Twitter to voice his anger over what he felt was the downgrading of hip hop journalism.
He wasn’t the only blogger who took exception to Rap Radar’s choices. Brokencool.com also took the time to pen an editorial tearing Rap Radar and other sites a new one for what they felt was blatantly leaning more towards one particular camp, while overlooking what they felt were quality projects that were released in 2012. Both sides made good points advocating for a more inclusive environment when it comes to who and what blogs cover in hip-hop.
In many ways, I agree with both sides. I feel like blogs have more power than they may know when it comes to introducing the world to new music and new artists, but I also can see the flip side of that. There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion. If you feel that Rick Ross is the best artist of the year and that “God Forgives, I Don’t” was the best album of the year, then that’s your opinion. If another blog feels that Joey Badass was the best artist and “1999” was the best music put out all year, then that’s theirs. Who I am to say or do anything, other than provide an alternative to what they think?
these dudes only care about hip hop culture when it helps them to assert their professional identities and forward their personal brands.
— noz scaggs (@noz) January 9, 2013
What I don’t like is the bully mentality that says, you must agree with my side. We often complain about who’s voice isn’t being heard and who’s being overlooked, but the the quickest way to kill choice in hip hop is by ostracizing those who don’t agree with you. We’ve developed a “majority rules” type mentality where, right or wrong, whatever side has the most people cheering for them is the side that we have to go with. As long as we keep that mentality, all we will do is mute everyone’s voice!
Rap Rader’s choice of who’s the best is just that, their choice. Their list, like all lists are made for conversation purposes only. They’re not to be used as a personal guide as to what to listen to or who to support for the rest of the year. The best part of this debate is the fact that we are having one. It’s great to have people screaming from all sides who they like and who they feel like are the best. What’s not good is when we shut down someone’s opinion simply because we don’t agree. If you don’t agree, do something to support what you believe rather than just condemn what you’re not feeling. As long as we continue to that, then all we will do is put hip hop into little boxes and not allow ourselves to see and experience what else could be out there. Exercise your opinion, but don’t be a slave to it.
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