RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Thursday, February 16

[HH3os] An Introduction to Some Fresh Stupid Shit


I often of late have contemplated upon the changes the internet at surface level has gone through in recent years. There are a slew of corporate chain sites that share something which claims to be information in a fast food or even slower fast food (think Chipotle) way, and pretend it is great. Additionally, social media (specifically Facebook) has become gatekeeper for dissemination of these outlets, and the insidious algorithms are tweaked so that your corporate chains show up first. There, or course, has been the rallying meme of FAKE NEWS since this past election cycle, about obvious bullshit, but even the not obvious bullshit has certain level of bullshit to it. Our stream of consciousness has been dammed, in order to flow through the desire channels (or so it seems to me).
This homogenization (or pasteurization, or sterilization, or white-ification, or – as I used at first – gentrification) results in “trending” minutiae as well as trending opinions on popular culture. Bits of consumer culture are immediately proclaimed as genius in order to A) not be late in giving something props, as if you are not in touch with shit, and B) because our bar has been lowered. (I realize all this sounds vaguely angry old man waving at you memebots to get off my lawn; I understand this, and acknowledge it. That does not invalidate all my points though.)
What this has led to is somewhat shitty sources being considered authorities on cultural matters. Very likely, this is nothing new, and has always been the case. Capitalism desires you buy shit, while it’s new, and the newness in fact increases the value in your emotional response. As soon as you have purchased cultural items, their value diminishes, and the proper forms of media you are trained to pay attention to are involved in timely rollout of hot takes about these items while they are being offered newly. It is a crescendo of trickery means to keep capitalism capital.
An example of this (perhaps) false authority is Pitchfork, self-proclaimed the important hot taker of musical opines in this digital era of our based-lord 2017. However, for me, a grown ass man deeply steeped in traditional hip hop, Pitchfork has always mostly been a shit hot-taker of hip hop opines. However, this leads to some self-doubt on having alternative opinions (which I used to do as part of a wack ass crew called the Xpert Whiteboyz, who ironically enough were not wholly “white”) due to the persistent presence within hip hop opinion havers and aficionados to always out-show and prove each other over who is most motherfucking down by utilizing crab-in-a-barrel psychology and shitting on other opines. I don’t want to do that necessarily.
So I had the stupid idea to just take the top 9 hip hop albums on Pitchfork’s year end albums of the year list for the past 9 years, and do a simple process of elimination reviewing thing, to travel back through recent times, and attempt a pseudo-scientific deduction of what was hot, and what was not. The first problem I ran into though is other than the most recent year, most years there have not even been 9 hip hop albums on the Pitchfork year end list. So I tinkered with that, and went further back in their authoritative archives as slots became available. This eventually took me all the way back to their 2004 year end list, in order to get 81 albums.
I guess I should explain the reviewing process, and why it is 81. One thing that seems to be missing from normal reviewing process is battle aspect – how does shit compare to other shit. But if you have simple one-on-one battles, you might get two pieces of shit, and then one piece of shit is falsely proclaimed as “good” simply because both are shit. So I went with three-at-a-time battle reviews. (Of course all three could be shit, but mathematically your odds of total shit are greatly reduced by the jump from two to three.) Thus we have a 3-way dance of albums, which I have very uncleverly called Hip Hop Trios. Having 81 albums means the following:

  • First round – 81 albums (in 27 3-way battles) are reduced to 27.
  • Second round – 27 albums (in 9 3-way battles) are reduced to 9.
  • Penultimate round – 9 albums reduced to 3.
  • Final round – 3 reduced to 1 grand champion.

Yes, it is ridiculous, and not really necessary even slightly, but it gives me something to do during my commutes to the soul-sucking job which ruins my general satisfaction with life, because the reviewing process I’ve arbitrarily decided upon requires me to listen to all three albums, in order, beginning to end, two times through, so that after first round of listening to all three, I can verify my hot takes with second round of listening. I think in frantic desire to have immediate opinions a lot of time, people have reviews up five minutes after they downloaded some shit, without even having absorbed the album, probably not even having listened to it all the way through fully. We pre-program ourselves to be ahead-of-the-curve.
So that is what this will be. I’ve got my stupid list of 81 albums, and will start them in chronological order, and slowly do this shit over the course of the next few weeks. It is dumb and unnecessary, and unpolished and not sterilized, but that is what the internet should be in my opinion.
Ending note: I will be applying the Xpert WhiteboY’Z personal brand tag to all this bullshit, because that is what we used to call our dumb groupthink list, and it still applies. Though I do not consider myself an expert in anything (who could be if they are being truly honest with themselves?), certainly people will assume that title is being applied to yourself when reading the dumb opinionz4u the internet is so famous for. Also, I try not to perpetuate whiteness in my life, as ultimately it is a social construct yes, that would be great to move away from at some point in our shared human history; but it is also a very real social construct that defines many many things in our physical existence, and I do benefit from the application of “white male” being put on me from that system. I can put on a Van Heusen button-up shirt from the Goodwill and look the part enough to trick these devils into trusting me (which generally means exploiting me). However, coming from shithole roots, where white dudes in certain not necessarily entirely white circles would often get referred to as “whiteboy”, that part of the branded phrase feels better, because no self-respecting upstanding (lolol) white male would ever call himself “whiteboy” willingly. It is a trash culture term of endearment, and ultimately I prefer trash culture to pop culture. And though it is a played out term at this point, I guess I am hoping to do this “for the culture”.

Thus ends your introduction to another ridiculous project. First three-way review (aka Hip Hop Trio) goes up tomorrow evening. Likely it will not register within the algorithms, but that is okay. Trash culture shall always fill the gaps, and we are cockroaches as well as gut flora, and as empires die, their sterilization processes become untenable, and we get brief moments of glory where we take over, where the wretched get to pretend we control the earth, before the shineface devils reclaim their self-ordained dominion.

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