Wednesday, January 11, 2006


My flatmate was researching for something on the net and she stumbled on that little article from the online magazine Slate.
I am publishing it as it appears on the website, with the links active. The webpage can be found here.
Tell me what you think about it.
I will leave a comment in my comments section...


Rappers and Bloggers Separated at birth!
By Josh Levin

P. Diddy gargles Cristal as his yacht sails from San Tropez to Ibiza. Atrios stares at his computer screen and ponders the effect of "increased central bank diversification out of dollar holdings." Nelly takes in the NBA All-Star Game from the first row while gabbing on a cell phone made out of a giant shoe. InstaPundit digests the latest developments in the Dartmouth board of trustees race and takes note of an update to C-SPAN's early morning schedule. What, do I need to draw you a Venn diagram? Rappers and bloggers—they're the same!
Those of you obsessed with external appearances may think I'm kidding. What, you ask, could those champagne-swilling, "bitch"-shouting rappers have in common with those Jolt-pounding, "read the whole thing"-writing bloggers?

For starters, both groups share a love of loose-fitting, pajama-style apparel. Still not satisfied? Bloggers and rappers are equally obsessed with social networking. Every rapper rolls with his
entourage; every blogger rolls with his blog roll. Women can't win an audience in either profession without raunching it up like Lil' Kim or Wonkette.

And don't forget those silly, silly names. Even if he didn't flaunt his devotion to pimping and pit bulls, you'd probably guess Snoop Dogg is a rapper. And Fedlawyerguy—yeah, probably a blogger. But the "blogger or rapper?" parlor game can stump even the nerdiest gangsta. Does uggabugga hate on wack emcees or wack Charles Krauthammer? What about Mad Kane? Big Noyd, Justus League, Uppity Negro, Little Brother, Cold Fury, and South Knox Bubba? (Answers: blogger, blogger, rapper, rap group, blogger, rap group, blogger, blogger.)

Essentially, blogging is sampling plus a new riff. Political bloggers take a story in the news, rip out a few chunks, and type out a few comments. Rap songs use the same recipe: Dig through a crate of records, slice out a high hat and a bass line, and lay a new vocal track on top. Of course, the molecular structure of dead-tree journalism and classic rock is filthy with other people's research and other people's chord progressions.
But in newspaper writing and rock music, the end goal is the appearance of originality—to make the product look seamless by hiding your many small thefts. For rappers and bloggers, each theft is worth celebrating, another loose item to slap onto the collage.
Rap music and blogging are populist, low-cost-of-entry communication forms that reward self-obsessed types who love writing in first person.
Maybe that's why both won so many converts so quickly. If you want to become MC I'm Good at Rapping, all you have to do is rustle up a microphone and a sampler. If you want to blog as AngryVeganCatholicGOPMom, bring a computer, an Internet connection, a working knowledge
of Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V, and a whole lot of spare time.

Although bloggers and rappers are free to write about whatever they damn well please, they mostly talk to each other and about each other. That's partly because it's so easy to communicate with your fellow working professionals. If Nas disses you for not having a moustache, it's easy enough to
come right back and tell him you slept with the mother of his child. When Markos from Daily Kos offhandedly admits that he doesn't read many books, Little Green Footballs steps up to hammer the softball.
But rappers' and bloggers' self-importance also has something to do with the supremely annoying righteousness that rides along with those who believe they're overturned the archaic forms of expression favored by The Man—that is, whitey and/or the mainstream media. Ninety percent of rap lyrics are self-congratulatory rhymes about how great the rapper is at rapping, the towering difficulties of succeeding in the rap game, or the lameness of wanksta rivals. Blogging is a circle jerk that never stops circling: links to posts by other bloggers, following links to newspaper stories about bloggers, following wonderment at the corruptions and complacency of old-fashioned, credentialed journalism.
Sure, there are a few differences between the blogosphere and the blingosphere. Although bloggers have a certain buzz about them these days, they'll never be cool the way rappers are cool. The blogger lifestyle is dangerous—staying up all night and eating Cheetos will eventually kill you—but not sexy dangerous. Rappers can afford to be more conspicuous with their triumphalism because selling millions of records is more financially rewarding than getting millions of hits. But if that blog ad gravy train ever comes in, I guarantee you that
Josh Marshall will pick up his mail in a gold-plated tank and Nick Denton will put a hit on any linkmonger who looks at him cross-eyed.
But don't get caught up in those piddling distinctions. Public Enemy's Chuck D once said that rap music was the black CNN. After busting a cap in Eason Jordan's ass, what are bloggers now if not the white CNN? If only the two schools recognized they could inflict more damage with a little teamwork. Today, Mickey Kaus sits alone in Los Angeles, valiantly spewing bile at hidebound East Coast elites. Just think how much more pungent that bile would be with a hot backing track by Dr. Dre. Hey, maybe that podcasting thing won't be totally useless after all.

Related in Slate
If you missed the link, don't forget to check out Slate
's own blog, Kausfiles. In 2002, Kurt Andersen and Andrew Sullivan debated whether blogs were changing our culture. Last month, Jack Shafer warned that blogs can't possibly live up to their prodigious hype. David Plotz wrote assessments of Sean Combs, Master P, and Eminem. Josh Levin analyzed the behavior of the hip-hop entourage.
Blogger Reihan Salam is leading the forces of blog-rap unification. Check out his rhymes at Evil Forces.
Josh Levin is a Slate assistant editor. You can e-mail him at


Marietta said...

While reading this article sometimes I laughed out loud, sometimes I nodded my head in agreement and sometimes I wanted to punch my monitor!

- The part about bloggers dying because of the late night blogging while eating Cheetos had me laughing but also it stung a bit because it is true, at least for me. I may not eat Cheetos (I eat my baby carrots...) but I have been sleep deprived for some time by working and blogging at the same time...

- I don't see what is so bad about bloggers visiting each other's blogs and saying a leaving nice comments to each other. It's good for the morale and it's very positive to send good vibes into cyberspace!

- As for the part that defends the title of the article, that Bloggers and Rappers are the same, this is where I wanted to punch the monitor.
First of all because I hate rap "music" and secondly because it makes fun of something I have found to be theraputic and relaxing.
It also speaks ironically about people I consider friends:
Multi-talented people like our Molly, KidRic, Mark T, Gary, Joe, people who make me laugh like Ali and Jill T,people who are sweet and caring like Tausha, PTfan, Dale and Anne Marie and other fantastic people in our little "Attic" community.

- It's true that bloggers speak mainly about themselves, but, isn't what a blog supposed to be? Like a journal? A kind of newsletter for our friends, family and fellow bloggers? Isn't Rachel's, Simon's and Mikey's blogs the perfect way to learn about their music, shows and news?

I believe, blogs like GreekZoe's about her feral cats community or Maria's (E.L.Wisty) with her wonderful writing and very interesting subjects and KidRic's The Journey would give Mr Ervin a run for his money.
And what about Pete Townshend's blog?
Mr President I rest my case...

I'd say we send an email to this gentleman with links to all our blogs...What do you say?

Dale said...

Hey Marietta!

Welcome back! I was gone, too. Funny we didn't run into each other.

What blogs has the author of that article reading????
I have sort-of checked out other blogs, but I don't have much time for anything that doesn't interest me.
But... some of them are pretty scary, to say the least.

It's a pretty funny article. Most likely from someone who has lots of time on their hands?
Not only to read blogs, but post on that online mag, etc.

Personally, I think we have a great thing going here. I don't post on any other online devices, except my e-mail.
I am so impressed with everyone's politeness, civility, enthusiasm & kindness.
That all often tends to go out the window with the anonimity of the internet.
I am happy to say who I am, what interests me & what I do. I really have nothing to hide.
As, I am sure, you do.

BTW I love the new picture. It looks great enlarged, with a bit of an artistic twist.
Your personality shines through.

I am beginning to go on here, & I'd better go. My kids are anxious to do their thing on the computer, too.

Keep well.


E.L. Wisty said...

Hey there Marietta! Sorry to hear you experienced bad karma with your computer!

Well well, this article is rather populist itself isn't it? "Look at me, I am brighter than all these sad bloggers and am revealing the truth about the whole thing." Some things I agree with: 1) the majority of the rap scene seems to be sexist, macho, bragging about guns and money (there are a few exceptions which are nothing like this which I love). 2) I'm sure the majority of blogs don't have content on par with Einstein's theory of relativity and that some bloggers really do it for the attention: free boost to your self-confidence (although the article ignores the fact that it's easy to start a blog but less easy to get anyone read it). But most do blogging because they enjoy it. And if you have some blogs like those of Pete and Rachel with lots of readers and commenters, these people visit each others blogs, it really creates a community feeling. Nothing bad with that. I wouldn't bother writing the author of the article though. Barking dogs don't bite...

Dale said...

BTW I don't think we need recognise this "person" or "whatever" for what it's worth.
I didn't check the links, because I am too busy.
I don't have time for negatives, either.

It would be fun, though...

Dale said...

Oh, Marietta!

I just read my 1st post. I didn't mean that you have something to hide.
I meant that "I am sure you don't, as well".
I am so sorry - here I was, typing away, but not making myself perfectly clear.
Oh, the perils of text.

Although, I am sure you took in in the correct context.


BallerinaGurl said...

ok didn't read the whole thing because I have to jet...but wow I am laughing pretty hard. Guess I never thought of it that way! So should I change my Links aka Blogroll to "Da Hommies in da House. WORD" One must carefully ponder this decision and be sure to use all slang-in-the-hood wisely.

Well you left a smile on my face. Back to read it later or tomorrow and comment. Maybe I should "roll on outta here with my pimped out low ridin' book (slang for computer)".

YO YO YO!-Molls

Marietta said...

Hi Maria, maybe you're right we shouldn't give this man a glimpse of our little community. Bbbbthththth!

Dale, no problem, LOL! Of course I have nothing to hide. Everyone knows I'm a guy ROFL!!!!!

Hm, sorry, by the way, the writer's name is Levin and not Ervin as I wrote on my first comment.

Marietta said...

Molly, now you crack me up!

PTfan said...

Hey Marietta. From your vcomments, this sounds very interesting. I can't wait to read it. But it will have to wait.

I was wondering about a favor. I have an e-mail address in my blog profile if you want to e-mail me. It has to do with this.

If you don't want to e-mail me that's ok, I understand.
I'll come back later to read this post!

greekzoe said...

"I'd say we send an email to this gentleman with links to all our blogs...What do you say?"

I say we ignore him like the trolls. E.L. put it succinctly in her comment. She is so good at this.

I like your new picture M! Hope your mom is doing better and you since your kitty died:(
Missed you around blogland.
Glad your back.


Mike S said...

Very cool article Marietta.I am
definitely sleep deprived from
being in the blogosphere!!The blog
world can be so fun yet so sad.
If you have alot of hits you feel
that people like you and are interested in you,if you have
no hits or maybe just a couple you
may feel that people are not interested,that people don't care
about you.One blogger writes "The
Dead" that's how I feel about my
blog says this person.So the blogworld could be total bliss
or total "diss".

AlianaDrex said...

That made this extremely fair (and I mean so damn white I scare the hell out of you), blue -eyed, blonde feel just a bit more colorful. I do love a good smartass and appreciate the analogy. You should hear the things i have been known to compare journalists to! So lets just pack it in with the self absorbed homeboys and be done with it. I need a new rapper wardrobe.

PTfan said...

I agree with EL, I really don't want to invite him into our world. I like our world. It is a community of sorts. We all get along well with each other, with common interests and we are respectful of each other. Of course we talk about ourselves, because we all want to get to know each other. That's what I do with my friends that I see face to face, why not you guys. It's not like a posse to take over the world or anything. I think it s a great way of sharing ideas, creativity and just plain old friendship. It's great for Simon, Rach, and Mikey to help their careers. And I love it that they are so accessible. Look, you actually ot to meet some of your new cyber-buddies in person! It's a beautiful thing! I hope to mee t some of you great people some day too!

I'm sure there are a ton of typos, but I gotta run to work this minute and cannot proof read.
Thanks for posting this!

JoeBoy said...

Interesting, some points well taken. A first for me, I have never been compared to a rapper. I think this writer is a bit too black and white on the matter. It is not difficult to take a subject, find a comparison, and then kick it around. I have not seen any right wing church groups go anti-blogging. That has surprised me. The circle we run in here has some common ground. We have common elements that have put us in the same spot on the internet multiple times. We chat, we keep up with each other, and we help each other. Positive things like this don't keep a writer in cheetos these days.

Anne-Marie said...

Welcome back, Marietta!

I actually didn't even find him all that funny, but I agree with ignoring him and his negativity (which just breeds more of the same and the world has enough snarky, clever people around, I think). I also want to add that it's easy to pick on people who seem happy together and find ways to mock- it's much harder to try to be positive and enjoy life. Personally, I'm working on the latter for 2006.


Suesjoy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Suesjoy said...

Well, I agree w/ your comments Marietta! Sometimes I feel terribly guilty for getting sucked in for hours - but blogging has been a healthier substitute for VERY bad habits. I have to monitor myself though and not neglect my family.
I also agree that it makes you feel connected to others - nothing wrong with spreading good vibes around the world.
I think the rapping/blogging connection is pretty random - except for the "sampling" reference! Guilty as charged! oh's still fun and has been very positive and uplifting - unlike rap which, albeit may be a Black CNN (oh wait a minute ah, eminem the most successful rapper, is not black) is for the most part, a fountain of hate and misogyny.
You are also correct in that blogging is very enriching and fun! A great place where art, history, pop culture and music are shared and celebrated.
I like blogland! I'm staying. :)

jillytee said...

My goodness he is so pleased with his own article isn't he! It must have taken him a while to write so maybe he has loads of time on his hands too?
Yes it can be time time consuming but it's a very good way of communicating with like minded souls and we are all so forgiving that if someone misses out for a while no one minds.I think that it can only be good to make contact and exchange views/ideas/ news/chat
so whats his problem?
Anyway who cares what this opinionated individual thinks! We all do our own thing and have a great time, as I'm sure he does (but just maybe he doesn't have such a good time) ....

Mark T said...

Mi Marietta, it is true about the hours we all spend Blogging and how late we get to bed because of it. The remainder of the article is crap. It's the writers view and he's entitled to it but I don't agree. Anyway although I look at several blogs every night I have not posted for a few days . I plan to get a collage up of bits and pieces associated with ITA and BJ etc. I also plan to to record Behind Blue Eyes on top of a backing track I have and if it turns out OK I will post it. Bed time now. Take care. Mark
PS When do The Vibrants play in Fulham? I've looked at their site but I cannot see it.

Tausha71979 said...

Hi Marietta,

Oh I agree with your reply very much! Though I have always wanted to be a rapper. I do like some of the music, depending on it or I just like the beat! I think it is sweet to have your friends comment to you & you to them. I'm going to change my blog name to T Murder, & get some braids in my hair & rap about nonsense & see if I make millions of dollars;)

Talk to you soon!

Nabonidus said...

I agree with everything you say, I related to this, and then I didn't relate to this, etc. :)
I actually had come and read it right after you'd posted it, but then I got distracted by all the ...debating going on in other blogs, lolol.:)xoxo