I have been wanting to ask this question on Facebook for months, but decided it was worth more than a grunt. So here goes: Am I the only person who exclusively appreciates just one kind of music?
Really, is there anyone else out there who makes Bill O’Reilly look like Boots Riley when it comes to open-mindedness and musical preference? Better yet, if anybody reading this appreciated my using the honorable Boots Riley of the Bay Area hip-hop staple the Coup as a comparison point rather than something more contemporarily trashy, are you by any chance like me, and completely turned off by all sounds that ring outside the category of Rap Music That Would Make Any Conservative Cry?
Before you hammer me for having narrow tastes, first consider that while I’m admittedly close-minded—my East Coast boom bap preference runs from around the mid-’80s to an ongoing variety of arcane contemporary rappers, though I still favor my Golden Age heroes—I have consumed a ridiculous amount of music, both live and recorded. As a hip-hop critic for more than a decade, I was serviced and stockpiled dozens of releases a week sometimes. When I did a major purge of compact discs and records two years ago, I estimated that the original trove packed approximately 20,000 pieces of vinyl and plastic. Every one of them was a rap release of some kind or another, which as you might imagine kept me pretty busy. It’s not like I was listening to the same B.I.G. and Tupac albums over and over, cursing other forms of music. I’ve just always been content with steady streams of beats and rhymes.
This is a position that’s been mocked by my friends and associates for as long as I can recall. They laugh when I cringe upon having to hear a pop song in public, while some have sent group pics of the crew having a blast without me at rock shows. On several occasions, coworkers and fellow writers have made serious attempts to bend my ears, even though I’ve told them that such efforts are more futile than gay conversion therapy. They’ve never worked. I’ve enjoyed some punk and reggae shows on occasion, and definitely have a soft spot for classical, but my digital playlists, like their analogue predecessors, are hip-hop through and through. It’s the only thing that moves me.
Luckily for you, I am not the DigBoston music editor, and instead rely on the talented Nina Corcoran and others with kaleidoscopic interests to sniff out national and local acts that, in total, appeal across the board. But as hip-hop melts further and further into the pop culture consciousness, for better or worse, I thought I’d go on record as one of the last stubborn dedicants left.
I’m sure there are some others out there, though unless they want a heap of shit from everyone they know, they should probably keep their tastes to themselves.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.