Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Fans also liked - Music To Scare Your Parents

It isn’t exactly a hot take to point out that 6ix9ine is objectively bad, and a lot of people will tell you that this is in fact the point, or at least part of his appeal. 

Whether you hate him or just don’t mind him (I’m only giving you those two options), his skill as an artist has rarely been the focus of any conversation about the guy. 

What’s currently being debated in regards to his numerous guest spots on influencers feeds, is where the line is between ‘art’, and I use that term very loosely here, and the artist. 

For me that line runs pretty far behind having sex with a 13 year old. So bad music or not, let me be far from the first person to say, fuck 6ix9ine.

I know we’re all pretty accustomed to beloved celebrities being nonces at this point, but that’s the confusing part to me, because I don’t know if anyone would really describe 6ix9ine as ‘beloved’. 

As many other music journalists have pointed out, he sort of exists as a villain in hip hop. He shouts a lot, looks like ICP’s pubes, is actively involved in gang violence, and did I mention he had sex with a 13 year old? 

Yes. Yes I did. 

But hey! As I’ve been told by numerous people that’s just part of his thing! He’s evil and that’s perhaps the most fitting aesthetic for a year with a literal plague, recession, and popular music which seems determined to either put you to sleep, or just remake music from 20 years ago. 

Not that I don’t like a lot of current hip hop’s semi-conscious sound, or food for nostalgia like Dua Lipa’s latest album, but it’s fair to say that 6ix9ine fills an angry hole that’s currently growing in size with every global issue that comes to light. 

People need stuff to rage out to, to get their attention, to feel guilty about listening to in public, and all that’s fine. My only problem is that there’s only so much guilt I can take on. 
As most of us do, I’ll listen to songs lording gang violence, casual misogyny, and buying awful artist owned brands of vodka, but when the guy actually rapping them is (say it with me now) a PEDOPHILE, I don’t know if I can blare it out in the car with a clear conscious. 

So although it’s sort of different, this weeks editorial is a helpful list of music that’ll get you raging, but not actively supporting a nonce, and also that I’d like to think, just sounds a lot better. 

That being said, my first pick is better only by the smallest margin possible. What pisses me off about a lot of the stuff written about 6ix9ine, is that it seems to describe him as ‘awful but at least original’ which is bullshit. 

Put on Lil Jon and the East Side Boys, specifically ‘Kings of Krunk’, then remove all the East Side Boys (leaving just the legend himself), add a shitty trap beat, and then half the ages of the women in the fictional strip club you’re in (because that’s the only place that will play Lil Jon in 2020),which will ultimately leave you with whatever rainbow coloured nightmare 6ix9ine has just released. 

Honestly by comparing the two I’m giving him too much credit, as Lil Jon is much better, and strangely more sincere than this years favourite Clown Nonce. 

Yes I just used the word ‘sincere’ to describe Lil Jon, don’t believe me? Put on ‘I don’t give a...’ or ‘Get Low’ and tell me that he really doesn’t mean ‘Let’s go!’ when he shouts it directly into your ear over the literal panpipes that open the former track.

Moving on to the significantly classier stuff, most of my rage listening recently has been taken up by ‘RTJ4’. We’ll get on to talking about the political angle of aggressive music later, but Run The Jewels still manage to make hard hitting and non preachy music that makes you want to break stuff in a good way. 

Another constant well of anger I keep returning to is ‘Atrocity Exhibition’. While Danny Brown’s new album is decidedly a lot more laid back, when it comes to music that literally scares you, imagine 6ix9ine’s catalogue as The Bye Bye Man, and Atrocity Exhibition as Texas Chainsaw. 

Rage not being exclusive to rap, it’s impossible to not talk about Idles. 

Shamefully, I’ve always been kind of on the fence about them. Listening to ‘Joy as an act of resistance’ I guess part of the problem for me is that I’ve never really bought Joe Talbot as a ‘scary guy’, which I know isn’t the bands real intention, but there’s definitely an element of it in some of the tracks. The production and sound is basically perfect post-punk but for me some of the lyrics here and there have always taken me out of the sort of frenzy I imagine you’re supposed to be in when moshing to ‘Never Fight a Man With A Perm’, sometimes because I think they can be a bit weak, but mostly just because I can’t really take Talbot seriously as some kind of agro revolutionary figure. It’s definitely on me, and probably because I’ve just hung out with two many bearded guys who rave about him, but I’ve still only found one Idles song that truly scratches my angry boy itch, Danny Nedelko. 

To me it’s the track where I’m fully able to get everything I know the band offers so many people. Aggressive but intelligent lyrics, hard fucking drums, and a chorus that could be a football chant.

For me, the alternative to them has always been Parquet Courts. Although they definitely aren’t as harsh as Idles, ‘Wide Awake’ which came out the same year as ‘Joy As an Act of Resistance’ is probably in my top ten favourite albums of the 2010s.

Politically it’s the best set of genuinely insightful, anti-establishment lyrics that have come out of arguably one of the most divisive times in modern history. Yes it’s American in most of its critique, but two years after its release it’s just become more and more universally pertinent. 

Not to mention it’s good to freak out to. While the album does have a much more polished tone than the rest of the bands extensive discography, ‘Total Football’, ‘Almost has to start a fight’ and a few others on the record are pure shouty goodness. 

Finally, and to close the book on our multicoloured sex offender, there’s one sonic influence of his, other than car alarms, and that screeching sound foxes make, which can’t be ignored. I don’t genuinely suspect 6ix9ine cites them, although it’s all I can hear when I listen to his delivery. 

In hindsight, a lot of the Beastie Boys catalogue seems tame lyrically. In an age when to be threatening, you literally have to be arrested for racketeering (6ix9ine), or god forbid, sing about female orgasm (WAP), it’s easy to see why you might discard three white guys from Brooklyn who rap about cocktails and your mum chucking away ‘your best porno mag’.

In my opinion though ‘License to Ill’ will always be the perfect aggy album for effectively any task that requires physical activity, or any time you just feel like shouting about something. 

The combination of rock samples and the sometimes painfully playground delivery is still slapping decades later, and again coming back to the point of sincerity, maybe it’s because of the memeification of his entire persona, but I really don’t believe anything 6ix9ine flexes or raps about. Ironic considering he’s an actual convicted criminal, but three arguably lame white guys can scare an entire generations parents by posturing earnestly about crimes they haven’t even committed.   

To me they’re the perfect surrogate, loud, aggy, sometimes annoying, and most importantly, free from child abuse. 

All the music listed (except 6ix9ine) is in order on the Fans Also Like playlist: 

Fans Also Like aims to use music as a gateway to more music. It’s based on the fundamental principle that good musicians, really do love and listen to music, and that to be a part of that is to bring you closer to the artists you love.

- James Charalambides


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;