Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Rap puts hipsters in a bind

We sometimes like the music just because it's good

Tipper Gore, thinking of the children
Tipper Gore, thinking of the children

Dear Hipster:

We hear so much about hipsters and the obscure indie rock bands they love, but I want to take that discussion in another direction. Specifically, a direction completely apart from twee indie music featuring bearded dudes in sweaters clutching banjos. Obviously, I mean rap. Are hipsters ambivalent about, hostile to, or favorably disposed towards hip-hop?

— Stanimal

Ooh. Good one. This may take some effort, so stick with me here.

There was a time when rap music was persona non grata in polite society. Of course, this made hipsters love it that much more, because it was perhaps the most counter- of all counter-cultures at the time. Fondly do we hipsters remember the days of Tipper Gore trying to make a public enemy out of Public Enemy. Fast forward a decade or three, and the other Yeezy has long since dropped. Nowadays, anyone who doesn’t realize hip-hop is mainstream culture has undoubtedly been living under a rock since about 2000, which, as far as I can tell, is about the last time anyone really demonized a rapper in the public eye (here’s looking at you, Eminem). Because the fear of hip-hop’s many variants has all but vanished, the plaintive cry of the suburban mom —help, help, rap is corrupting our youth — no longer struggles to be heard above the thunderous bass of a modified car stereo.

These days, the main complaints you hear about various rappers follow along the lines of “Mumble rap is killing hip-hop,” which to my ears sounds more like hipsters complaining about their favorite artists selling out than the raging klaxon of social alarmism.

Put another way, any musical genre subject to a host of quasi-intellectual think-pieces from mainstream media outlets isn’t anybody’s dark horse.

This dichotomy puts hipsters in a bind. On the one hand, we can’t in good faith cop to liking popular rap or R&B artists because half the fan base is composed of comfortable, mainstream suburbanites. On the other hand, we must profess a deep loyalty to the revolutionary, anti-establishment values that so badly scared politicians and our parents back in the day. It doesn’t hurt the cause that, as normal people might do, we sometimes like the music just because it’s good. Shh. Don’t tell.

The ultimate truth is that the hipster relationship with hip-hop mirrors the hipster relationship with pop music generally. The more time passes, the more likely it is any given artist or track has passed gracefully through the gnatlike attention span of mainstream music fandom, and the more likely it is you’ll hear some hipster profess to love it. Ten years ago, I would have rolled my eyes every time that Flo Rida song about the Apple Bottom Jeans came on the radio, or the stereo at a house party. Today? For reasons both ironic and sincere, I think it’s kind of catchy. Furthermore, I think I always thought it was kind of catchy; you just never would have heard me say that out loud when it was dominating the Top 40.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

One or two puffs for the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health

And so starts the procession of questions.
Tipper Gore, thinking of the children
Tipper Gore, thinking of the children

Dear Hipster:

We hear so much about hipsters and the obscure indie rock bands they love, but I want to take that discussion in another direction. Specifically, a direction completely apart from twee indie music featuring bearded dudes in sweaters clutching banjos. Obviously, I mean rap. Are hipsters ambivalent about, hostile to, or favorably disposed towards hip-hop?

— Stanimal

Ooh. Good one. This may take some effort, so stick with me here.

There was a time when rap music was persona non grata in polite society. Of course, this made hipsters love it that much more, because it was perhaps the most counter- of all counter-cultures at the time. Fondly do we hipsters remember the days of Tipper Gore trying to make a public enemy out of Public Enemy. Fast forward a decade or three, and the other Yeezy has long since dropped. Nowadays, anyone who doesn’t realize hip-hop is mainstream culture has undoubtedly been living under a rock since about 2000, which, as far as I can tell, is about the last time anyone really demonized a rapper in the public eye (here’s looking at you, Eminem). Because the fear of hip-hop’s many variants has all but vanished, the plaintive cry of the suburban mom —help, help, rap is corrupting our youth — no longer struggles to be heard above the thunderous bass of a modified car stereo.

These days, the main complaints you hear about various rappers follow along the lines of “Mumble rap is killing hip-hop,” which to my ears sounds more like hipsters complaining about their favorite artists selling out than the raging klaxon of social alarmism.

Put another way, any musical genre subject to a host of quasi-intellectual think-pieces from mainstream media outlets isn’t anybody’s dark horse.

This dichotomy puts hipsters in a bind. On the one hand, we can’t in good faith cop to liking popular rap or R&B artists because half the fan base is composed of comfortable, mainstream suburbanites. On the other hand, we must profess a deep loyalty to the revolutionary, anti-establishment values that so badly scared politicians and our parents back in the day. It doesn’t hurt the cause that, as normal people might do, we sometimes like the music just because it’s good. Shh. Don’t tell.

The ultimate truth is that the hipster relationship with hip-hop mirrors the hipster relationship with pop music generally. The more time passes, the more likely it is any given artist or track has passed gracefully through the gnatlike attention span of mainstream music fandom, and the more likely it is you’ll hear some hipster profess to love it. Ten years ago, I would have rolled my eyes every time that Flo Rida song about the Apple Bottom Jeans came on the radio, or the stereo at a house party. Today? For reasons both ironic and sincere, I think it’s kind of catchy. Furthermore, I think I always thought it was kind of catchy; you just never would have heard me say that out loud when it was dominating the Top 40.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Floating Outdoor Cinema on the Bay, Toy Piano Festival

Events September 27-September 30, 2020
Next Article

Who will take over those Nordstroms?

Zoom's effect on San Diego's landscape
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close