Musicians and criticism

I don’t understand some musicians and their attitude towards criticism, especially rappers. Thanks to social media it’s become a lot easier for people to access musicians and share said musician’s work but naturally that means it’s easier for musicians to come across criticism. When I see people talking about how they don’t like a song that a musician has put out, it usually gets followed with a block or a response from said musician putting people on blast for not enjoying the work that they spent so long to perfect. No one likes criticism although it’s part of being human but no one is exempt from it, especially musicians, if anything they should really count on it.

Musicians receiving criticism from fans on social media

Music is for the public, so if you become any kind of musician who releases music for public consumption then you’ve got to accept that some people won’t like your stuff. What you can’t do is talk about how the consumers aren’t musicians so they wouldn’t know about properly critiquing music especially considering that’s not the attitude when the public likes a musician’s music. I can’t understand how people would want to release things to the public only to get pissed every time that it receives unfavourable criticism, I’m so sure that goes against the point. Putting yourself on the pedestal is a good attitude to have, because with everything in life confidence is needed but it can’t get to that point where you have such an excessive sense of self importance that you feel you’re exempt from all criticism. That’s nonsense.

It’s true that musicians have a skill that most don’t and some have developed that skill to such a point that they’re in a lane of their own but that’s the same with every profession. Everybody specialises in something and everybody also has an opinion on everything (or nearly everything) so I don’t really see how it’s valid to not want criticism on what you do especially if it’s from people who aren’t involved in the profession.

Criticism is a part of life and for the most part it helps us get better at things. It’s fair that people don’t like receiving criticism, but there’s not much that can be done about it. When you sign up for something you’ve got to be willing to take the good with the bad, in fact you don’t even have to be willing, you’re just going to take the good with the bad by force and it’s not going to stop.


Kalioen – Safe

Usually when it comes to music and posting it, I do a series like song of the week (which I’ve not done in a year… I think) or music feels (which I’ve also not done in a while) but I’m not doing that today, I’m just promoting a good song. Today I share with you the “Safe” a track by an upcoming artist called Kalioen. Kalioen is a friend of mine who’s been involved in a few musical projects over the years, ranging from producing songs to directing videos and during this time, he’s continued to work on his craft as producer and rapper in order to release his forthcoming project FREAK.

I can tell you personally, that there’s been a lot of work put into this track as well as the overall project and it follows a personal story of growth (I don’t want to reveal too much), something that we can all relate to. It’s not a typical rap song that people would expect to hear out of the UK but that’s one of the strong points as there is a lot of diversity within the scene that is overlooked. It’s a refreshing change of pace as there are a lot of people of the mindset that rappers from the UK still have a long way to go in order to prove the UK scene to the world and whilst strides have been made towards doing that this track is something that I feel contribute to helping people think more positively of the UK.

Kalioen – Safe

Questionable lyrics

Me trying to figure out if the artist really just said what they said

We all have those songs that we listen to where we hear a certain bar that makes us pause the track and say “hold up!” Lyrics that have been sprayed by the artist but give you the feeling that it wasn’t approved by everybody who was around at the time the artist said it in the studio. It’s kind of normal to be honest and I don’t know if that’s weird or not because some of the lyrics come with questions that need to be answered.

Not long ago I decided to listen to ‘Family Tree’ by Ramz, a divisive artist from the UK. The song itself sounds pretty nice, he’s got the kind of music that looks like it can appeal to people from the ages of 7-14 so I can see why he gets a lot of views on his songs, but not to stray too far from the point, he has line that goes “If I eat then my people are eating too, If it’s beef then my people are beefing too, If I’m dying my people are dying too.” Hold up, wait a minute? If I’m dying my people are dying too? Like as in if he’s getting shot in the head then so are his friends. I don’t even know the guy and I’m asking why he signed up his friends to this scheme. Why did he do it on a song? I want to ask if his friends are fine with this but his friends are singing it as well (fuck, one even has his hands in prayer sign).

The song is a nice way to say that there’s a strong sense of loyalty between himself and those around him but this sounds like some cult (or blackmail) shit. I’m not letting this one go, because this guy confidently said he’s taking his friends to the afterlife with him regardless of whether they feel like dying that day or not. Not a single person walked up to him after he recorded that line to say “it sounds nice bro, I’m not even down for that dying stuff.” If I was personally in Ramz’s position and said that, it would have meant that I’ve been buying my friends stuff they can’t afford. Taking ownership of all of my friend’s date of death is serious claim.

I know it’s just lyrics but some of these lyrics are just asking for problems, I’m just saying if my friend and I are in a fight with some other people and my friend has told me if they die, I die then this is me.

Not dying bro.gif

Let me show another visual representation of me if my friend says I die when they die just to make it clear.

Not dying bro 2

If there’s something that I’ve learned from this, it’s what I’m not letting any musicians I know associate me with.

Rap is an art

Music is an art, I think rap is an art as well as other kinds of music but because I listen to rap more than I do others, I feel like I can personally relate more to what I’m saying if I describe rap. To be honest, I could never change my view on rapping being an art just because of how I’ve personally learned about how diverse it is as I’ve listened to it over the years.

A while back, I was thinking as people usually do and a couple of songs popped up in my head which made me realise how many styles of rap there are (again) and within those styles of rap, there are sub-genres which involve different things like the beats and the delivery. The lyrical content is sticking point for me when I understand the lyrics because the lyrics could be a critique of society, a group of catchy one liners that happen to rhyme, a story, some bragging, or something else that I haven’t mentioned.

As I said before, this could be said of other genres but I mostly listen to rap as my song of the week posts will tell you. Some people talk about rap having gone downhill in recent years and all that jazz because people mumble and the lines are hard to understand. I used to agree with it but the truth is that, with every era of rap, the genre diversifies and allows for more potential greatness within the genre. Every rapper plays their part and whilst not every rapper is good, they bring something to the table because they appeal to somebody.

Music is something that does a lot for those that listen to it, or at the very least it does a lot for me. Like I said before, rap is an art; hopefully one day I’ll be able to explain it better but for now I’m going to appreciate it.


Music feels again

Can you believe that sometimes I think of ways to start off my blog posts so that when people read them, they think “WOW! How did Jeffrey come up with this one?” unfortunately life doesn’t go that way so pretty much every time that I write a post, I ramble (some maybe/hopefully insightful things) for a little bit which makes up the word count but never really gets to the point. I’m doing the same thing now but if you’ve read through this then this post might just be doing its job.

This time around, I’m going to say it straight! I’m feeling myself for this song choice (I’m not feeling myself a bit too much, otherwise I might as well just top myself off… I’ve met people like that and they suck), if I can get you to understand why I’m feeling myself for this song choice then it might seem a bit reasonable but at the very least, you know. The song that’s responsible for all of this is ‘Deep Fried Frenz’ by MF DOOM and this song just makes me feel like a fucking genius; maybe not like a genius but it does make me feel smart in the sense of understanding lyrics.

MF DOOM talks about crappy friends in all of their shit stained glory on this song, which admittedly I don’t feel like I can relate to because every terrible person I’ve met has been ret-conned out of existence. I can always appreciate a DOOM song because one, they sound good and two, he’s what some might call a rapper’s rapper; if you listen to any of his songs it’s easy to understand this because he’s arguably one of the most lyrically gifted rappers out there. I still haven’t really explained why I feel smart listening to a MF DOOM song which I probably should have by now but anyway, the reason I feel this way is because his lyrics aren’t very easy to understand and honestly when it comes to understanding lyrics, most of the time I’m a fucking idiot. Going back, it doesn’t really make much sense that I said DOOM is very lyrically gifted if I’m not good at understanding lyrics but you know what? I’m feeling good writing this so I’m not allowed to make sense.

Personally I feel that if you take in loads of MF DOOM songs and fully understand what he’s saying then you’ve definitely got a higher understanding of lyrics and it probably makes more appealing to the purists out there.

Kind of music feels

I don’t know if I’d say that this song gives me feels but I had to post it. Whenever I talk about this song, my brother is the only person in the world that remembers it exists but everybody else looks at me like I’m on crack. The song I’m talking about is ‘Glory Days’ by Just Jack (see what I did there?), I don’t know why this song is so obscure, maybe it isn’t and I’m around the wrong people which is something that I’m willing to consider.

Sometimes this song comes into my head and I feel that it’s easy on the ears so enjoy.

Music thoughts

(Really didn’t know what to title which is why I have a title with no effort put in. If you have any suggestions, I’m open)

As I’ve grown my music tastes have developed (or just straight up changed), I sometimes go through cycles when listening to music but there always happens to be one specific thing that I’m interested in. For a long time that was hip-hop of any kind, in fact I think to an extent I’d be able to say that it still is (as my song of the week posts will tell you) but I’m more invested in stuff that is coming out of the UK which brings me (closer) to my observation.

The UK has a lot of gems, which could be said about a lot of countries but when it comes down to music that I’ve heard from here, I can very clearly hear punchlines, wordplay, occasional lyricism but what I fail to see often is a story. At this point in time when it comes to the urban scene in the UK, two types of music are really popular: grime (which is a genre of its own! Not every song that has rap in it is grime which people need to understand) and drill. I’m not a huge grime fan if I’m honest, whenever I’ve listened to that genre it’s been for flows before anything else and I’m not a huge drill fan either, but given how much drill the UK pumps out, it’s very hard for me not to hear it and the truth is that it all sounds the same.

I like to compare music from the UK to music from the US and when I listen to both of them, I always come to the conclusion that music from the US is much further ahead. There are many reasons for this but one of the biggest things for me are the stories, (this is my observation) music from the UK seems to have a serious lack of concepts, if you look through music from the UK you’ll quickly come to realise that a lot of music videos have people standing outside an apartment and rapping, sometimes they’re different and they involve people driving in a car but it will be some braggadocio shit.

Not to say that this stuff doesn’t come out of the US but even when they’re doing that, the videos seem to have more thought pumped into them. Getting back to my point, I’ve always found it weird that in the UK more people don’t try to add a story to their songs given the talent that is here. It probably isn’t something that matters much given the strides that music from the UK has made in recent years, the thing is that I can’t help but admit that I love a good story, I feel that it shows a level of versatility that pure lyricism can’t do because it’s the rapper using their words to create emotion and put a picture in your head (a picture that you have some freedom to interpret). There’s no doubt that stories add a lot to a genre as well, looking at someone like Eminem in his early days, I’m sure people thought that he was a silly horrorcore rapper but I can name plenty of songs where he had stories (As the World Turns has two stories and Guilty Conscience has three) which were well told; as silly as horrorcore is, there’s no way that I could say that these songs didn’t add depth to the genre (if those songs weren’t hip-hop).

Some rappers do have concepts to their songs but they’re far too underappreciated. I can’t talk about the effect that this has had on the UK on a wide scale but personally it is something that has bothered me for a while; the UK is still continuing on its path so I can confidently say that it’s too early to be worried about what the scene possesses and what it doesn’t but I think it would go a long way to closing the gap in quality between both countries.

A song from the UK with a story

Yet some more music feels

Have you ever listened to a tune so good that when it comes on and you hear the first three seconds you stop it and put it on repeat whilst whispering to yourself “fuck off”? (because doing it loudly on public transport isn’t a good idea). This is how I feel whenever I listen to ‘Killing Moon’ from the Street fighter 3: Third Strike OST. If I’m honest, the game itself has a great OST which is part of why in my opinion people should consider music from games if they’re ever looking for anything new to listen to.

I can tell you this, I’ve never been so gassed (hyped up) by a set of drums ever in my life. This might be my favourite video game song ever (until I hear something better). Whenever I hear this song I just want to close my eyes and say ‘oh my days!’ but most of time that I hear it, I’m travelling so that doesn’t let me do it but quietly appreciating the song is also good. To listen to a song and feel amped isn’t anything new, there are a few songs that do that for me but back to the super important question at the beginning of the post, does it make you repeat it and whisper “fuck off”?

Even more music feels

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these music feels blog posts and if I’m being honest, it’s because I’ve been a little scared. At the moment my playlist is full of just ignorant music, as in ignorant music topped up with some more ignorant music. It’s kind of weird that I’d be scared to post that kind of music given that a lot of my song of the week posts consisted of it.

I’m not sure what I’d do if I had this song on 24/7 but the plan is to be as successful as I want to be so that when I’m driving my car I can blast this at full volume. The song doesn’t make me feel any other way but then again I don’t think I’m meant to feel like an intellectual or anything listening to this.