The Temptation of Master Lists in a Micro-Cosmic World
An addendum further discussing the folly of lists.
It occurred to me today that part of what’s so attractive about grandiose general lists is that we live in a micro-market filled world: hip-hop heads, nerds, vegans, fitness enthusiasts, young, old, online, analog….art, like most products is not made for a general audience anymore but rather for little slices of market share, aimed at the specific market that already likes a given product. So top 10 G.O.A.T. lists and Top 50 Hip-Hop Artist lists are reassuring, they remind us of an era where there was consensus, where everyone was watching the same shit but that’s just not the era we live in. Every hip-hop head heard Nas’ albums as they dropped- the same can’t be said about albums from Griselda, let alone Retch & Dash….
Anyway, the point is while I actually think the lists are harmless in an of themselves, it’s folly to expect one to be authoritative or widely accepted in an era where we are all hyper-catered to micro-demographics. There are hip-hop artists specifically aimed at nerdy stoner listeners like me, or rap-crooners aimed at the sensitive mixed kids of tomorrow’s America, or women producer-rapper-comedians targeting my little sister’s demographic and beyond- what can a given person’s list mean in a world where my easy listening Pandora station knows to play “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs but not “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire?
They’re fun, bloggers like me will continue to make them because they always attract attention but the cycle of indignant dissatisfaction will always surround a culture of larger general lists. I continue to be an advocate of smaller more specific lists and I suspect I am not alone among music writers who writes at all in part as part of an effort to create a record of artists I noticed as worth noticing. Take that for what it’s worth, stay sane!
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers