529 Words of Hate*

I’m about to complain about the Internet.

Putting it in print on this site will force me to minimize social media use for a couple of days. I need a mental vacation.

So there’s the death of XXXtentacion. As a crotchety old rap fan, I didn’t know much about him other than his history of violent crime. Still, when I saw that he passed, I thought “Damn.” People don’t deserve to die, no matter how I feel about them. (Refer to the collection of anti- death penalty papers I wrote in college). Grief and honesty about the deceased can–and should–co-exist. My father abandoned me the minute I was born and died seven years ago. Death did not make his neglect any less harmful. Nor do I have to spin him into a better person to justify my occasional struggle to say “My father is dead” out loud. I say all this to say: people can do terrible things, die, and leave behind people affected by the loss.

What else? The Carters.

I don’t think I’ll listen to Everything is Love. 4:44–brilliant as it was– was like watching Professor X inject himself with the mutant cure. I prefer my superstars distant and regal. Furthermore, don’t want to hear Jay try to ride trap beats in 2018. He’s given me 20 years of music to rock forevermore. I’m good.

The reactions to the album were my “The Dark, The Messy, & The Ugly” post come alive. I HATE “stanning” and “faves” SO VERY much (enough to defy writing rules with the redundant “so” and “very”). Even at the height of my intense fandoms (Jay-Z and early Wale come to mind), I was more geek than “stan.” I’ll immerse myself in song catalogs and interviews, but never with the idea that artists owe me anything. They don’t, after all, belong to me. And this is my biggest beef with “stans”: the audacity of thinking fans’ whims matter more than artists’ humanity.

What else is chapping my ass right now?

Ah, yes. Music streaming wars. This isn’t a real war, by the way. It’s a thing happening in my overactive mind now that Google Play Music will disappear at an undefined future date. I’ve sampled Tidal, Spotify, and the new YouTube Music. All are more aesthetically pleasing than Google Play. None fit my needs. I am an active participant in my musical choices. I make my own playlists, have a collection of rare mp3s not published on streaming sites (like the Aaliyah catalog), and don’t need apps to anticipate my mood based on location. I just want to control my own shit within an app that understands my music tastes. Why can’t Google leave well enough alone? Such a stupid first world problem.

Finally, the world is falling apart. I have to figure out where to lend my efforts. I contact my congressional representatives on matters that concern me, I’ve voted in every local election since November 2016, but that doesn’t feel like enough. I need to engage beyond “amplifying” and stern letters and $15 here or there, which means stepping from behind screens and engaging in the physical world.

Now to figure out where to start.


[*] Catch that reference, Orwell readers?


  1. bre

    *bonus points this took me approximately 2 minutes to read.

    WHY DOES GOOGLE RIP EVERYTHING AWAY FROM US?! maybe i am still upset about Google Reader. nothing has been good since on any platform.

    Beyonce music is not my love language but in effort to keep up with instant pop culture i gave the album a listen. and that’s what i did. my question is where do i even go to download (not so legally) the rare live tracks and underground tracks and UK tracks and WHERE ARE THE LINER NOTES that i have moved from computer to computer to hard drive to cloud and old ipods and will never delete? i am an old.

    lastly, my only advice for this overwhelming terror that is 2018 is that i picked a one cause and say “at least i can do this thing consistently” and i give my money to Planned Parenthood every month. i can’t do all the things but i can set up autodraft for at least this one.

    • Re: where to download rare music in 2018 – I rip from YouTube videos. (this is how I have the Coachella version of “Everybody Mad” and the “I DID NOT COME TO PLAY WITH YOU HOES” version of “Formation.”) Download the mp3 from YT and upload to my Google Play collection. Which will apparently disappear or be absorbed by YouTube Music or what-the-fuck-ever. It’s annoying.

      I’m feeling like voting rights might be my thing. The repetition of “40%” reminds me 60% of the country is held hostage by wing nuts and that 60% deserves to have its voice heard in the voting booth.

    • Also: I think a LOT of Google’s problem is they are excellent at function and bad at “cool.” So they keep revamping perfectly functional technology to keep up with the sexiness of their peers instead of developing its simple shit that just WORKS (i.e. Google Reader, Google Hangouts, and now Google Music).

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