For some reason this year, I’ve been seeing more “Top n Emcees In History” or “Top n Albums of All Time” lists than I’m comfortable with on Twitter. I think we all understand that when these lists come from an individual, it’s clearly subjective, an honestly a fun way to start a debate with fellow hip-hop heads. I do take issue, though, when these lists are generated by so-called authorities in hip-hop. Blogs, podcasts, and the like that have the attention of many others.
I know that these types of lists are click bait, and some may consider that relatively harmless. However, the state that hip-hop is in right now – with literal legends still trying to recover from the devastating effect of the record industry and it’s exploitative business tactics – I find it to be just a tad irresponsible of any person or any entity with “clout” to fire off these types of lists for the sake of some quick traffic.
Right now hip-hop needs some true journalism and historiography on it’s side. This tweet came across my timeline today for example:
Here you have two influential people – albeit with great intentions – misinforming the public about who was really the machine behind a classic Eazy-E album. Luckily, Ice Cube sets the record straight. But how many people listened to that broadcast or watched this video that don’t follow Ice Cube, don’t even know how much The D.O.C. contributed to the whole NWA era, and are now regurgitating this half-truth about EZ-Duz-It?
After 40 or so years, there is plenty of history and subject matter in hip-hop to be covered and discovered. Literally hundreds of millions of people waiting to consume some ACTUAL content about hip-hop. Websites/blogs/podcasts/radio shows should leave those “top-whatever” lists to us mere mortals to create and spread on the internet. They’re just memes.