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The <i>Chicago Reader</i> has hip-hop hipster backlash against hip-hop hipster backlash

The rise of hipster rap has been well documented in the past 5 years, with Kanye West, M.I.A. the Cool Kids, and others rising to prominence in hipster and hip-hop circles alike. Lately however, there have been a slew of angry retorts to the rise of hipster rap, which can be curtly summarized as "white kids want the funky otherness of hip-hop...words, without all the scary black people." While this phenomenon has been around ever since suburbanites in Connecticut started listening to N.W.A., the recent complaint has directly addressed the current hipster culture, with polls on Unkut about The Biggest Douchebag in Hipster Rap, angry YouTube posts by Mazzi, etc.


Now, the retort to those criticisms has had its most prominent article yet, thanks to Miles Raymer of the Chicago Reader. Raymer makes the case that to dismiss hipster rap is an insult to hip-hop's legitmate and essential place in the rock canon:

Calling hipster rap fake doesn’t just insult hipster rappers and the people who love them—it insults hip-hop itself. The pioneers of the genre struggled to establish it as a legitimate pop form, and by the late 90s it had become one of the great common languages of global musical culture. Is it really respecting that triumph to insist that a movement of such world-changing scope isn’t big enough to contain hipster rap? The people going nuts over this stuff grew up immersed in hip-hop culture, whether they’re black or not, and it’s entirely predictable for them to want to start fucking with the formula. Hip-hop is grown-up now, with kids even, and it’s going to have to go through the tug-of-war over norms and values that always arises with a generation gap.

That's a fair point, but one that glosses over the larger cultural criticisms that exist behind the music itself. Has the dominance of hipster rap taken away from hip-hop's vitality, and is it a symptom of the larger problem of apathetic hipster culture? While I'll be the first one to criticize hipsters, I'm not sure what to think here.

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Kanye West
The Cool Kids

Im not that into this new hiphop hipster movement either... but seriously old heads complain too much.

Some dudes have been failing for years and are pissing on the success of newer kids. That's just aging sourly.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Al/batmulletjpg.jpg Al

I'd also argue the connection between hipsters and gentrification. Isn't this a musical gentrification of Hip Hop? (Not that this hasn't happened countless of times before in Hip Hop.) Also, there's the hipster's love of snooze-inducing mainstream artists: Jay-Z, Lil' Wayne, etc. (They're the opposite of MIA: They can rap but their production sucks.)
Either way, this isn't going to "kill" Hip Hop, lack of creativity will, but whenever Hip Hop looks like it's done it comes back with fresh ideas.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/J_bLo/coach_03.jpg J_bLo

Forgot to add: Hipster's did officially kill Indie though.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/J_bLo/coach_03.jpg J_bLo

indie will never die. no major genre does really, but that's besides the point. there will always be a subculture of people making independent music.

Hipster aesthetic "cool" or not. . .As a black dude from L.A. who goes to school on the east coast. . .I don't care how or why a kid wearing some absurdly large sunglasses happened to come across gangstarr, nas, and or Jay Z (Reasonable Doubt ,J_bLO,terrible production huh? I'm not on the Wayne bandwagon , but Carter II= bad production...huh?) , but when they hop in my car for a ride and actually bump to it and enjoy it. . .I can't help, but just be happy they dig it. . .I remember growing up and hearing "rap is crap" from hordes of kids. . .Trend following or not, you can't fake truly enjoying a song's vibe and opening your ears to something different, and perhaps it being trendy is the door opening that finally allows someone to really listen a bit harder. One of my friends hardly ever listens to hip hop, but she's a HUGE Beck fan, so I passed her the 6th Sense- Emergency Exit ft. Beck track and she was able to just listen because of the different musical aesthetic, though this might be categorized as hipster rap/production. The same with people and electro nowadays, who cares if the club is packed, and it's no longer strictly minimalist with some mashups thrown in : Artists and promoters finally get paid, and they're the ones that rocked ramen noodles and lost money on shows trying to bring you something they believe in.

However, I will admit, what does piss me off is some hipsters feeling like they are the arbiters of what is good and cool in hip hopor any other art form for that matter...But hey, when they actually hitch themselves (and their money) to something good...Phuk it, roll with it. If you don't like the Cool Kids, Wale, Pacific Division, and/or under the surface cats like Inverse, then I guarantee you'll enjoy the slew of next generation M.C.'s that these guys will inspire by proving people can actually dig folk being themselves on the mic and in their production choices. Already we have cats like 20 year old Charles Hamilton(give him 3-4 years, trust) from Harlem who has the lane opened for him to be creative as he wants to be due to folks like Kanye, Cool Kids, and Wale to show media outlets that he is viable as an artist without molding him into the next ninja with a Weezy Cosign, coconut drink song, and a youtube video encouraging him to "protect ya neck" courtesy of 40 Glocc(Tyga).


If this 'hipsters' are being characterized as primarily white kids. This is not really news as white people have always been into rap. The majority of rap music is sold to white people. I don't think it's news that white people are listening to hip hop/rap music.


jo there;s a HUGE difference between being a consumer of Hip Hop and a tastemaker..if hipsters make the mistake of believing that they are entitled to influence or worse control a culture that was not created by or for them then the are entitled to all the backlash. Being Hipster is not a substitute for being Hip Hop...


hipsters are nothing but back packers who love fashion!


What is a hipster? I find many people can give examples, but no definition. One of the only usable ones I've heard is someone who adopts the fashion of a culture without its content, or values. I do not believe that the majority of white kids listening to hip hop can not identify with the emotional content of the hip hop music they are listening to.


In the 80's, rap was hip and hipsters liked it. I knew plenty of black and white people who were called hipsters back then too who liked rap, punk and other indie music. Rap started to suck around the mid-nineties though and people didn't listen to it after that. I decided rap was always going to suck but now I like some of this hipster rap if I have to call it that and if some rap is cool, smart and creative and not crappy sell-out garbage now, I'm glad to see it making a comeback in the indie scene. People who don't like it just have moronic taste. Go listen to 50-cent and stop crying.


anybody who calls people "hipsters" is a hipster. so shut the ufkc up.


Why would "white kids want the funky otherness of hip-hop...words, without all the scary black people" listen to Kanye West and the Cool Kids? Last time I checked, those guys were in fact black.

Personally, I think people should listen to whatever music gives them enjoyment or satisfaction. Besides, isn't communication and collaboration between people of different backgrounds good for everyone? And isn't it good for well-off white kids in the suburbs to be exposed to something outside of the sheltered world they live in?


all this was said a decade ago
and a decade before that and so on
our worldwide community (internet) just hastens the process
but the complaining can't stop


who the F*CK cares.. all of you are wasting your precious time debating over some bullspit. quit being haters. If u dont like it... turn the other way u whiny sluts.

Music Is Love

quit fussing and fighting

start composing and writing


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