Rap Music is Either a Complaint or Do Something Else
Every piece of art is an opportunity. It's an opportunity to re-imagine things and change the world. It's an opportunity to either make a complaint or do something else. Many people would attempt to argue that using that opportunity to tell someone to go fuck themselves is somehow innately wrong, or otherwise undesirable. I am here to make a brief case in the opposite. As a way of life telling people to fuck off is no good, but being able to tell people to fuck off is a necessary tool for the survival of all contemporary humans. Having grown up the eldest son of a criminal defense attorney, I often had a rarified notion of wrong and right. Without doubt that informs my capacity to be an intelligent, positive, and productive person who is amply prepared to tell someone to go fuck themselves when need be. Without any further adieu though, allow me to elaborate on a few key points of my recent song "Can't Hate Right", and why what I'm doing is not wrong, and further why it is necessary.
1.) This is rap music. Much like baseball, a sport where one cannot cry, rap music is not for those whose emotions are easily swayed. Rap music was founded, in part, as a nonviolent form of conflict resolution. From those roots it inherited a time-tested and honored code by which disputes are settled. If I feel that you have wronged me, or I don't like you, I can do something about it with music. Considering that any human worth their merit has at one point or another found themselves in the midst of a conflict this shouldn't be too hard to understand. If someone does something that you don't like, we all have ways of resolving that. Some people resolve it by beating the offender, some beat someone or something else, some inflict or invite pain upon themselves, some people lift weights, some people play sports, some people bake, some people fuck, some people drink, some people do drugs, some people drive recklessly, and on and on. Within our society there are myriad means by which humans resolve conflict, and there are no humans who escape conflict. So then, why is making a diss song a poor means for me to resolve conflicts that I've had? No one gets hurt or intimidated, and people get some great art based on them.
2.) Shit is fucked completely, and no one is going to fix it. That's right, music is fucked up right now, but more importantly our entire society is fucked. That's because all structures are dissolving, and while that in and of itself is productive because it means the dissolution of ill-suited and ill-intentioned institutions, it is not productive on the whole. Society needs structure to function, so that means that as structure is disappearing from our society, society is also disappearing. Unless we very explicitly, and intentionally create new structures society will either disappear, or worse be re-cast in a more resolute and refined version of its previous oppressive incarnation. New structures don't get created by keeping your mouth shut, and abiding things that you think are wrong. New structures emerge when people persist that there is a more favorable reality than the current one, and they become ingrained in our cultures and societies when those people do not cease to persist. I am one of those people. I don't think that the world has to continue to be how it was, and the part of the world that I have the most affect on is music. In music I get to choose who I am, and I get to choose how I behave within this perverse melodrama. In this case I am choosing to call bullshit on some bullshit. Part of being able to make something new is knowing who's here to build, and who's here to try and scrap the place in real time. I build every day, but some days I devote some time to calling bullshit on scrappers at the same time. At the same damn time.
3.) Who else could say this shit? I don't have to worry about someone abandoning me or fucking my career up. I do everything it takes to release music on my own. I have no fears. That is a very uncommon position in the music industry. No matter how it may seem, many people in the music industry are in somebody's pocket, especially the ones that try and act cool. Piss off the wrong people, turn down a request from the wrong person, refuse to work with the wrong person, or anything else that foils the plans of someone who has power over you, and you're fucked. There are a lot of precarious revenue streams in the music industry. And with so many of today's artists setting out with designs to control those revenue streams, there is an emerging trend to shy away from all conflict. People are scared of what might happen if they call someone an asshole, or draw a dick on someone's picture. So, they advocate a world wherein conflicts are not settled with music. I'm not sure how conflict is resolved in that world, but I also don't want to know. I think it's total bullshit to even breathe in the direction of such a proposition. I fart in its general direction. Thankfully I was not raised in the season of the bitch, and I got my start rapping in battles listening to people say the worst things they could think of to try and sway my emotions. From that I learned that there is nothing anyone can say that will sway your emotions unless you let them. I also learned how to be ruthless about deconstructing people's egos. I have a unique background for this, and I am the proud owner of a unique set of circumstances in the music world.
4.) Why should bloggers be the only ones who get to critique? This diss song is just a form of critique, but it's rendered in rap words instead of article words. And why shouldn't I be able to respond to the world of music bloggers? Potchfork can trash a record, Complex can diss an entire era or region, but how are artists supposed to respond? Further how are artists supposed to respond to this entire regime of grotesque media? How does an artist respond to the fact that it takes a $5,000 PR agent to make it onto "the right websites"? Don't try and tell me that if the art is good enough then it will rise to the top, because we all know that isn't true in the age of the deluge. So what recourse falls to the ambitious artist then who does not agree with the given system, and wishes to exercise influence to change the system? In the immediate and social realm of music what recourse comes to those who make the music, how might they improve the conditions of the industry they toil in? Well, artists can make art, and so that's what I did. When the impetus for art is the resolution of institutional fallacies, and the format for art is rap music, and the artist at work is from a place that thrives on conflict (even amongst friends), then the result is likely to be the song here. Sure I could write an article about the things that I don't like about the current music industry, but I'm not a journalist, I'm an artist who happens to write well. It's true, you can catch more flies with honey, but you can burn down all the bridges to neanderthal towns with a blow torch. Fuck these bridges, fuck these fucking neanderthals. This is my fuckin blow torch.
5.) Punk's not dead. The first music I really got into was punk rock. I can't really say I ever lived a punk lifestyle, but there are certainly major elements that resonate with my disdain for authority, and my desire to disrupt convention through calculated irreverence. What's more punk than telling the gatekeepers to kiss my dick? Plenty of stuff, but not much in rap music. I don't give a shit if no one thinks I'm cool, and I don't give a shit if I get blacklisted out of every major music website there is. Because I won't get blacklisted from all of them, just some or a lot of them. And the ones who don't blacklist me, those are people who respect me. Fuck this whole game of snake and grass, and worms. You know if I like you, and I'm gonna know if you like me. Whatever happens from there doesn't matter, but I'm not part of this bullshit party where everyone blows smoke up the next person's butthole and prays for a fucking handjob from an assistant editor. Blow me, your site sucks, you're not balling off of music writing money, and you don't stand for shit except hiding your insecurity under lies. I have a picture of me holding Afrika Bambaata's personal copy of Trans-Europe Express.
The long and the short is, I can do everything these fuckwads can do, and do it better, and I can do the rest of it too. I write just as well as any of these bloggers, and better in most cases. But none of them make rap music. I rap better than all these tampon goon fake rap stars, plus I make my own beats, and record my own sessions, and mix my own songs. And then I run the label that releases and promotes my music. So you tell me how the fuck any of these one lane lames is even in a realm to be able to talk to me. There are levels to this shit, and beyond the levels are people like me. Folks really can't touch this because they are all just fractions of a whole, and I'm the whole thing overflowing. I am Zachg. I am from Broward County, Florida and I live in Las Vegas. I founded and run the label Rad Reef. I started rapping in 1999, and my first album is coming out 04.20.2014. It's called South.Florida.Mountains.