People don’t listen to music and form their own opinions on it anymore. They rely on social media influencers, blogs, charts and radio personalities to do it for them.
Two notable examples are Tyga and Meek Mill. Prior to their controversial rap beefs and/or high profile relationships, both were relatively popular in their own right.
Meek Mill’s ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ intro was once called “one of the best rap moments of our generation” and he was viewed as the voice of the streets and widely celebrated as competition for rap heavyweights like Kendrick Lamar and J Cole.
Tyga has never been heralded for his lyricism; however songs like ‘Faded’, ‘Rack City’ and ‘Dope’ and his many collaborations including those with Chris Brown were still successful.
Following Tyga’s relationship with Kylie Jenner and Meek Mill’s rap beef with Drake, the media turned against the artists.
Suddenly, the voice of the streets had become “trash” and the premium collector of Ls. Meek Mill wasn’t cool and if you listened to Meek Mill, you weren’t cool.
The praise of his newly released LP ‘Dreams Worth More Than Money’ quickly ceased and the masses suddenly forgot Meek Mill could rap. He quickly became “Weak Mill” and the inferior boyfriend of Nicki Minaj who was on his “girl’s tour”.
Tyga was soon viewed as the worst rapper alive and merely Kylie Jenner’s accessory.
I’m not arguing that Meek Mill didn’t underperform and disappoint in his rap battle with Drake or that Tyga wasn’t wrong for dating a 16-year-old.
As a Meek Mill fan, his initial responses to Drake were frustrating and painful, I knew he could do better. And as for Tyga, he deserved the backlash for dating a then underage Kylie.
However, social media developed amnesia in response to the controversy and forgot that they once celebrated and loved these artists. Now they were being attacked every day on social media, the radio and in magazines like Complex and XXL and labelled as talentless and wack.
Now it seems to be popular and acceptable to like Meek Mill and Tyga again. Meek’s ‘Wins and Loses’ is being praised by the same publications and social media influencers that were saying he had no talent and should retire months earlier.
Tyga’s newly released ‘Bitch I’m the Shit 2’ is being called his comeback album and the revival of his rap career.
Some would argue Meek Mill and Tyga simply redeemed themselves from their Ls by making better music.
I’m not buying this.
I think that instead, it became popular and trendy to hate these artists because social media influencers and celebrities like Drake, Charlamagne the God, Amber Rose and The Game all joined in on the hate parade. The memes and YouTube parodies were in constant supply and the culture simply made you an outsider if you liked these artists.
Now that the Meek Mill and Drake feud has died down and Kylie Jenner has moved on to Travis Scott, social media has run out of jokes and bandwagon hating Tyga and Meek Mill isn’t fun or the popular thing to do anymore.
The fall and recent rise of the artists has lead me to agree with critics who have argued that the music industry is merely a popularity contest where people listen to what is seen as acceptable in order to fit in. I hate being cynical but Hip-Hop culture in the age of social media seems to be proving this to be true.