I’ve come to the conclusion that when people make a point of saying “I don’t listen to rap”, that nine times out of ten, they’re thinking that there is a specific intrinsic value to that statement. It’s like when you’re telling someone about a great TV show and they interrupt you to say “Oh…we don’t own a television”. They’re not simply stating facts. They’re letting you know that they’re different from everyone else and that they’re probably looking down on you from an elevated, enlightened perch. Otherwise there would be no need to interrupt your appraisal of a TV show with their lifestyle choices. With music, it’s the same thing more often than not.
Honestly, I can understand not being into a specific genre. However, I hate when people say they don’t listen to rap and then list everything that’s wrong with mainstream rap as a reason for it. “It all sounds the same to me” is a common complaint, but no; what sells to the public at large all sounds the same…I will give you all that. However, there is no genre of music more diverse than rap, in my opinion. Hip-hop has touched so many cultures worldwide and people from so many varying walks of life have picked up the mic at one time or another to where you’d be foolish to sit there and say that all rap is alike…but we’re also dealing with people who are saying this just to have something to say or to prove themselves to be a highbrow of some sort.
I can from first-hand experience tell you that you can be well-versed in other genres and still be a die-hard hip-hop fan. In fact, I recommend all fans of any one genre also be fans of others in order to truly appreciate the art of making music as a whole. I’ve said many times that I can’t trust the ear of a hip-hop fan who listens to nothing but hip-hop. If you can’t appreciate James Brown, then there’s a lot you don’t understand about the origins of rap. If you can’t get into the samples used from jazz, blues, country, etc. to create your favorite hip-hop tracks, then you’re only appreciating a small percentage of what’s available to you to enjoy. I heard “A Garden Of Peace” by Lonnie Liston Smith years after first hearing “Dead Presidents” by Jay-Z and it made me appreciate the craftsmanship that went into using the sample ten times more. On the reverse, if you’re making one blanket statement about your inability to appreciate hip-hop based on a handful of examples, you’re either in love with complaining or too lazy to make the effort to find what’s dope to you…or both.
A Garden Of Peace x Lonnie Liston Smith