Round three of the Shoutout Series is here! You can read last week’s article here. Today, we’re shifting gears completely from the perspective of a casual listener to the seasoned outlook of a recording artist. I’m pleased to present the opinions of Abilene rapper and English major Awkward Moment.
“The significant part of good music is its reliance on genuine response theory,” he begins. “When a song makes you tingle inside at first listen you know you have just listened to something special. As an artist (rapper) growing up, rap was merely catchy rhymes and slightly sensible punchlines. With growth and a variety of genres that absorb different styles and approaches to expression, and now the tingle I once got has turned into appreciation.” As a friend of his and a fellow music lover, I can certainly find common ground in what he’s saying. In fact, Awkward was one of a few key people in my life who changed my mind about rap music. I’m sure a lot of people still feel the way I once did, that rap is a means to degrade women and puff up the artist’s ego. Yet a real understanding of rappers and their craft blows any such understanding out of the water. Certainly, there are those (especially in the mainstream) who make large sums of money doing just that, glamorizing a hedonistic lifestyle that turns many listeners away just on principle – or by disgust. Awkward emphasizes that rap is like any other genre of music in its expressiveness, but it has a style of its own.
Awkward continues: “What makes a good song to an artist in a recording booth is the chemistry they have with their notepad or iPhone. Every sentence you write begins to matter. The music begins on your behalf, and as an artist you begin to hate any bone in your body that wants to tarnish your genuine expression. Music to me is soul; anything my soul refutes to feed on, I delete from my playlist. That is music to me, what my soul feeds on.” In saying this, Awkward expresses a sentiment not entirely unlike what any of us feel about really excellent music, not so different to what the Appetizer is all about. Looking back at some of my earlier articles, I’m reminded that genre, style, and format are merely questions of taste. It’s the message in the music, the expression of the artist, and the response of the listener that count.