That being clarified, what I am trying to sell you is something you already have. That’s right, I’m the best capitalist you’ve ever seen. At least I’m in a better state than some capitalists…
If my humor thus far is disturbing to you, I apologize. This is my humor and if I don’t laugh at my blog posts then who the fuck will?
What I’m getting at is something I can’t actually sell you, so much as sell you on:
Truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, and intentions.
In this situation I am referring to authenticity in art, specifically spoken word poetry and rap. (That’s right, rap is an art.) Specifically, I’m going to make reference to my two favorite rap groups (or at least the one’s I’ve been listening to most lately) Macklemore and Atmosphere. I recommend looking into the histories of the two front men, Ben Haggerty and Sean Daley (respectively) to get a better idea of where these individuals have come from. The music these guys put out is inspirationally honest.
After a brief discussion with Thomas, we came to the conclusion that while these songs might not best represent the best of the talent of these individuals, these songs best represent the individuals themselves. Atmosphere is still a “wannabe rapper guy” and Macklemore is still addicted to Nike Swoops. Maybe that’s why these guys have hit the ground running with their fans; they’re relatable. And despite a desire to become famous, their integrity in staying honest to themselves is what makes them awesome. These are no rap-gods. These are rap artists. These are honest, hardworking men.
We can take a lesson from this model. As artists, our creativity is derived from our imagination and our experiences. When we are honest about our experiences the audience can empathize because, most likely, someone else has been through the same shit. And if you tell it straight, they’ll be more open to your message. But your messages should be your own: there’s a schism that’s created when you misappropriate someone else’s struggles. And when people feel that disparity and even suspect you’re not being genuine about your emotions or story, they’ll close off and write you off. Some examples:
- Racial discrimination is fucked up. Total bullshit. No one should be denied anything because of their skin color.
- Right: Write a piece about/involving racial discrimination, forcing the audience to empathize with the subject and situation so they can adjust their opinions accordingly.
- Wrong:“I WAS DENIED THIS JOB BECAUSE I’M BLACK.” (I’m not black.)
- Sex is awesome! And so is love! Here, let me tell you a story!
- Right: “My first time having sex was ridiculous. We were in my bedroom on a summer afternoon. I was 17 and wasn’t allowed to have a girl in my room and the door closed so we ended up fucking under a heavy comforter with the door open. I had to keep an ear out the whole time to make sure no one would even walk down the hall. It was awesome and terrible at the same time: Terribad.”
Those experiences are what shape you and give you a unique voice. If you have an opinion, be honest and voice it. If you’re not being honest with your audience and with yourself, you’re no different from a porn star: you get up there, make a lot of noise, get some applause and walk off having touched your audience only on a superficial level. As an artist you should be aspiring to bigger than that. No one likes someone who fakes it.
Alright kids, I leave you with Macklemore’s And We Danced, performed live in a truly ridiculous fashion: while dressed like glam rockers with affected British accents. I hope you appreciate this artist as much as I do. You can find most of his music on youtube in one form or another; well worth some investigation and if you have the money, well worth the investment.