Artist: Young Jeezy
Album: Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition
Critic: Jayson Greene
Publication: Pitchfork, 2012
Writing Disorders: Jargon Palsy, Ambiguity Sickness
Hi Jayson. I’m going to start with something you all seem to like: a long analogy.
I’m reading Game of Thrones, on page 134. And so far in Game of Thrones, there’s pretty much the Dothraki and the white folks. And before every nerd drops his nob to get it through my idiot head that Dothraki are ACTUALLY based on Abyssinian warriors or something…just give me a minute here.
Anyway, Jay, reading your review of this black man’s album got me thinking about the Dothraki and what it’d be like if some bookish little Lannister got a grant to study the way they do things out in the open. Maybe he’d write how their body of song “somehow seems both airless and over-inflated” too.
And for anyone itching to mash whatever racism alarm is closest…relax. I’m just saying that the idea of a man writing things like “satisfyingly huge- and evil-sounding” about a guy’s rap album is making me laugh.
Jayson, it’s cool to find fault with a rap album. And hell, feel free to write about it — that’s why the keys are there. But really man, roll your shoulders a bit…get those kinks out — relax — ain’t a black man gonna jump through the window and knife you in the kidney if you write in plain English that his brother can’t rap past a 6.8.
So for the love of Christ, please never write “satisfyingly” or “shockingly” or “baldly” again. The first two shouldn’t even be adverbs and the other one looks like BADLY — like Jayson Greene writes BADLY.
I could crack your writing in half it’s so stiff. Seriously, read some of this stuff:
“The hoary details of the song’s poverty lament”
“appearance by of-the-moment ATL star Future aside”
“You can hear the lack of organic excitement”
Enlighten me, Jayson. What organically excites a man like yourself? I’m reading that, wondering if there’s more or if I’m supposed to guess. Well, I’m going to guess.
You can hear the lack of organic excitement you’d get from juicing a grapefruit
Silly? Well at least it’s a vantage point instead of you just standing there, moistening the sideline of black culture with ambiguous jargon so you don’t upset anyone. Maybe if you took half a second to remember it’s possible to write without sounding like NPR’s anus, you wouldn’t swing with goofy-ass nonsense like this:
“Nothing much is visibly wrong with Thug Motivation 103”
Right, because music is usually heard, not seen. Or since there’s nothing visibly wrong (to the ears), you had no choice but to push deeper into dog whistle frequencies. Sorry, am I being too literal? Okay, let’s go back to you being a ginger snap:
“a verse…that induces misplaced nostalgia shivers for classic Lauryn Hill”
Jeez Jay, I was starting to think all the crummy writing was really just a Batman alter ego to your everyday Bruce Wayne sense of clarity. Now I’m not so sure. So you’re telling me if you got a chance to tell this fellow what you thought of his music, you’d say that it makes you think of Lauryn Hill — and shiver — but not in the right place? That’s…oh, what’s the word?…weird. Yes, that’s it. Weird.
What I’m really getting at here, Jayson, is that you’re making the road to breezier race relations a nudge harder by writing about rap like it’s a very interesting type of slime mold. If stuff written about black music by white men is going to be this graham cracker stiff, then maybe we should just go back to listening to the stuff because we like doing it and telling our friends what we think.
…not probing “dubious sociopolitical implications” or describing a “head-spinning cross-breed of trap-rap and cloud rap.” Speaking of that, why does trap-rap get a hyphen and cloud rap doesn’t? And speaking of THAT, WTF is cloud rap? Again, is there more to that or am I supposed to guess? You might have considered enlightening your readers, because I’m pretty sure, like, 14 people on the Internet are aware of that particular subgenre.
Jay, it’s been a year and a half since I last featured you here, and it doesn’t seem like your writing has changed much in that time. I’m not asking you to dumb it down. Just for the love of God loosen up a bit. It’s easy. Just let it flow…like rap.