Musicians in 2022 Were Messy

Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

2022 was the year of the train wreck. Last December’s COVID outbreak showed just how loosening our fences are, and the fraught run up to the midterm elections weaponized a decade’s worth of festering ideological tensions, fueling the demonization of queer art and gender expression, the denigration of women’s bodies, and the dramatic. exaggerating data on inner-city violence. Political power was entrenched, and culture wars emerged with contested, divided constituencies tainting every inch of public life.

A central theme of the year’s big conflicts is people gleefully abandoning their better judgment, giving in to their impulses to subvert audience expectations and litigate. Rihanna’s fans were shocked to hear that Johnny Depp walks in her Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4 his and Amber Heard’s defamation lawsuit has hit the Internet, offering a playbook for the next celebrity gossip scandal. Katy Perry, her 2017 A witness For former Republican real estate billionaire Rick Caruso, who lost the Los Angeles mayoral race after promising to fill the streets with new LAPD officers, it was a public display of his every liberal political impulse. People converged on the girlfriend of late Philadelphia rapper PnB Rock, who decided she threatened him after she posted a photo of the scene of Roscoe’s murder on Instagram, but it was later revealed that the suspects were still there when the pair arrived. At various points this year, we’ve talked about the impact of uncertainty on music, how Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s albums rekindle deep anxiety, how everyone from Post Malone to Thom Yorke is writing songs about paranoia and depression. How musicians and their fans have dealt with the tumultuous news era off the record, how they’ve navigated the minefield of grief and beef as the years go by, and how our bad habits lead us down dark paths.

The millionaire and billionaire frenzy we’ve experienced this year has made being online feel like standing next to a dirty factory, like when the man who bought Twitter used his lordship to service it, flowing like water into the public square. to avenge his personal wrongdoings. The feud between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B has become a world of connected rifts between artists and fandoms, which have become increasingly difficult to contain as City Girls’ Latto and J.T. The tension felt like a decline from years of hip-hop where there was only room for one or two very successful women. Spieth took it all down. The fans turned infantry; harsh tactics were used. The horrors—age fights, body shaming, and death threats—proliferated. Cardi’s hilarious performance on GloRilla’s “Tomorrow 2” is the kind of show you can only put on when you know exactly how much people hate you. To be fair, Nicki’s gathering of talented women on both sides of the Atlantic to remix her No. 1 hit “Supergirl” is as much a cross-regional gesture of collaboration as “Tomorrow 2’s” tie-in between New York and Memphis. But if these camps had thought of forming a legitimate united front, they would not have allowed what was decided by phone calls to spill over into the public debate. It took a lot of attention away from fighting. People don’t know what to make of the influx of successful women in rap other than being critical.

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At the root of every controversy, especially one over space in the Grammy rap categories, is the fact that no one is used to seeing women in their 20s dominate the airwaves the way they did this decade, and few have to deal with it. The 40-year-old mother topped the charts with her twerk anthem. This is exactly what happens when a new class is considered disposable and its predecessors are called “washed”, right? Why Hitmaka is a producer formerly known as rapper Yung Berg, who compared his stroke game to that of Michael Vick on his debut single “Sexy Lady” and co-produced bedroom jams with Ty Dolla $ign and Jeremih. — suddenly A bar stickler and sex-centric music critic?

Being a savvy purveyor of trends, it’s hard not to check out Drake’s collaborative album with 21 Savage. Honestly, nothing — as a silent acceptance of the subterranean, gets into the story of the battle of the sexes, and knows that people love him. Crushing at Ice Spice and DRAM stores seemed like an attempt to determine the exact frequency of the trifle that people hum in 2022. But the thinly veiled darts at Meghan T Stallion Its loss‘s “Circo Loco” — “This bitch lies about shooting, but she’s still a stallion / She doesn’t even get the joke, but she’s still smiling” — was typical of a year when people took every opportunity to disparage women. and any excuse to protect men.

There are bloggers and members of the media who doubted that Megan was shot in 2020, but when Tori Lanez came to the trial, they knew that this would never be an argument, they gave up this burger to test and question Stallion’s sexual history. testimonyLanes is more happy as a pariah than a musician or an influencer in the pandemic era, whose idea of ​​justice involves prosecuting a shooting victim. There are creepy goblins and gossip sites that care more about attention than accuracy and reporting. (Either you hate the gun violence that plagues hip-hop, or you don’t mind being applauded by someone who hates it. The position on both sides — “Ah, ah, they’re both annoying” — is terrible. Think about the last time someone got shot, you thought, I mean … This is probably a piece of cake that you won’t regret. Some killer or dictator.) Black women need the same diligence and protection that men seek. They don’t deserve smear campaigns over physical violence and institutional oppression.

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You started the year by portraying yourself as an inspirational figure whose altruistic mission gets in the way of false narratives, but spent the rest of the year pleading with fans, from Adidas executives to friends and family, to tone down the rhetoric. Walking DaBaby and Marilyn Manson last year Don rollout, Yeh showed that he is prone to the same ideological traps that have ensnared people in this decade – a willingness to see himself in the shoes of people under fire for disrespecting others instead of the people at the end of their actions, or for their gross rudeness. crafting personal politics from any random assortment of real or perceived frivolity—but his unrepentant embrace of white-supremacist conspiracy theorists and classic anti-Semitic rhetoric was a major event in the way new media swayed people to old ways of thinking.

When singer-songwriters delved into the joys of being unattainable and everyone in the entertainment industry was marketed for ideas they didn’t have, these events felt like a muddy-water era and a double-down. fully-thought-out, always ready to fall into the arms of right-wing reactionaries and make a hard sell about how identity politics is out of control.

But Yeh isn’t the first black superstar to undergo a conservative makeover that seems to betray his professed ideals, and he’s not the only American tycoon in history to be the source of racist, conspiratorial misinformation during a crisis period. Slavery promoted big business, and much of the fierce opposition to abolition arose from the vast fortunes that came directly from the backs of black families who were enslaved. Henry Ford spent the last years of his life blaming Jewish capitalists for World War II, doing everything he could to prevent the United States from getting involved, and building the B-24 bombers that attacked Germany in the early 1940s. . You’re tapping into a very popular well of centuries-old Jewish-cabalistic theories and equating it with people pushing “America First” nationalism, this time with the rise of technology that their grandparents heard about.

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Anti-Semitism, like any ideology woven around racism, sprinkles pixie dust on top of real frustrations, adds the absurdity of myths and monster stories, and divides neighborhoods and art communities by inciting fear and jealousy. Technology is new, but conservatism is holding the line, celebrating the old ways. And if no one reads, history repeats itself. But the latest apparent downfall of Yeh’s fledgling fashion and music empire isn’t just that the drums match the beat form of his own Greek tragedy. You’ve been trying so hard to get approval in a negative news cycle (its own creation) that it’s let the proverbial wolves in the door. Now the reactionaries with whom he mingles realize that well-rehearsed stories and any exposition are a chance to win converts, and many frustrated, angry people seek an organizing philosophy that makes sense of their social frustrations.

This guiding ideology can be solidarity or it can be hatred. You descend into fascism not over a cliff, but over a slope. Now is the time to put the houses in order as the former president has called for the literal dissolution of the Constitution. Hip-hop is media—and by extension, popular music not immunity to the lure of sexist, racist, nationalist rhetoric, even when people of color are often its primary targets. A year of stress tests on our capacity for kindness and our propensity to lie—fandoms clashed, punched below the belt, and chauvinistic rap media personalities treated Meghan T Stallion as the accused, not the victim, in the trial of the year—revealed. The divisions in the political climate in our communities that can tear us apart have become bloodier than the mass murders we read about every month, and the long-term outlook is nothing short of hopeless. This year, everyone’s trying to … let’s try not to repeat it, shall we? Let’s rein it in. Let’s restore.


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