We all know these kind of people who say that they don’t listen to any “commercial” – meaning mainstream or popular - music. These kind of people are usually men who grew up in a single-family home in a mainly white suburban area (for the record, I perfectly fit that description) and claim they don’t want to pollute their elevated minds with trash music. Let me immediately state the hypothesis and also conclusion of this essay: They’re full of B-S!
There’s a reason the title of this essay says “grown people”, ‘cause I want to show some clemency to the adolescents of this world. Puberty involves a lot of insecurity, searching for acknowledgement, trying to fit in, peer pressure, and above all desperate, often futile attempts at getting laid. This usually goes hand-in-hand with showing off and play pretend. In other words, trying to look cooler than you really are. During high school, I myself used to be a so-called backpacker and claimed I only listened to “real” hiphop (whatever that means), while alone in my bedroom I was bumping the latest song by Ashanti and Ja-Rule. It didn’t get me a lot of pussy, but at least it gave me the illusion of some form of identity. Although I still like to listen to 90’s Golden Era boombap and would still defend the notion that “artists” such as Pitbull and Flo-Rida shouldn’t be allowed to be labeled hiphop, I like to believe that I’ve grown past the attitude of shoving aside any commercially successful (hiphop) artist as a sell-out or a phony. The essence of growing up and maturing, in my opinion, is to fully become and accept yourself - including your taste in culture. I know this sounds pretentious AF and by now you probably feel like Kanye and want to shout that I AIN’T GOT THE ANSWERS and I AIN’T BEEN DOING THE EDUCATION, but hear me out here.
There's a reason certain music is mainstream, popular, commercial or whatever you want to call it. It's because it speaks to the masses. Now, I understand if you want to set yourself apart from the masses or if you're not attracted by most of the music that's directed at the masses. Most of the music I listen to doesn't end up in the Top 40 Music Charts either, but that doesn't mean you should abandon all popular music by default. Some music becomes commercial, because it's just really f#cking good - Kendrick Lamar, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, just to name a few. Why would you ignore their music on the basis of it being commercial unless you're "a massive snob who needs to be a dick to feel validated" (@Nick_Hamman).
I kind of understand if you're not acknowledging certain music, because it's made with the sole purpose of being popular and marketable, but that doesn't make you less of a snob. Look at it this way; even cinefiles who are fully into European Art House films enjoy an American blockbuster every now and then. Why? Because those movies are purely made as entertainment and sometimes you just want to sit back and be entertained for 2 hours. Even health freaks who regularly exercise, do yoga, meditate and mainly eat quinoa and salads go out and eat a Big Mac every now and then. Why? Because there's a reason it speaks to the masses - it's called junk food for a f#cking reason.
So this one is for all the immature, snobby dicks out there: Get off your high horse and admit you listen to Bieber, Rihanna or Drake every now and then! No one will judge you (unless they're snobby dicks themselves).
Shaw T. Godo
Shaw T. Godo is a highly opinionated unemployed merchant traveler, writer, former Olympic curler and semi-professional karaoke singer who will write an opinion piece for whatsgood. every now and then when he's bored.