Samuel is a student of Essex University. He has experience in creative writing for online journals, magazines.
The Seductive Nature of Dissociation
In 1895 the painting Self-Portrait with Cigarette was painted by Edward Munch, a Norwegian expressionist. The painting (above) is just that: a well-crafted oil painting with the artist himself, holding a cigarette. Bordering on mundane, the power of this painting, I understand, could be lost at first glance. But, as with all art, dear reader, for true meaning we must peer beneath the hood.
In 1895 Oslo, smoking cigarettes was very much still a taboo. Of course, like all taboos people still engaged in the atrocity, just away from the watchful eye of high societies' busy-bodies. Now why is this painting so powerful? Well one of the many things humanity has still not figured out since the 1895, is that back then—very much like today—high art was reserved for high society. So, as you could imagine, this painting was hated because to members of high society it was a picture of the filth they had spent so much of their hard-earned money avoiding. To the rest of free-thinking society, the filth that the authorities, the rich, and intellectuals tried to avoid-was bohemian, a testament to a dissociation from the strict values of the time, a prop that signified freedom, the painting was cool.
The Cozy Tapes by ASAP Mob is hip hops’ self-portrait with a cigarette.
Full disclosure: Although in my humble opinion this album is charming beyond belief, many of you will hate it. I recommend listening to it, but in the same vein this is the first article in which I cannot say wholeheartedly that the album is even good. The album is vain, self-indulgent, repetitive, and the narcissism that drives it is pungent like the scent of dying flowers. However, all art, including flawed pieces, have a societal mindset driving it. Not every piece that has something important to say within it is flattering, or even palatable. My argument is that the piece is important, not that it is good.
"Feels so good"- Asap mob
A hedonistic anthem
As with every decade, each generation has picked a side over the war of what counts as “real music”. The dance is as intricate- yet as pointless- as ever, but the older generation have begun railing against the youth for liking music with seemingly no substance. The question that powers this dance has been raised, time and time again- and hip hop is no exception to the choreography. For some reason, the same individuals who dedicated their youth desperately attempting to rationalize to adults the merits of NWA have now decided, in an utter lack of self-awareness, that it’s my generations time to suffer. All players gather on the cultural stage to finally answer the hip hops’ question of the day- is trap music all just sex, drugs and expensive clothes?
Many have attempted to answer this question with greater artistic finesse. Creating trap music, with obvious merit, purpose and even a message. P.O.S comes to mind with his chill dummy album. However, P.O.S is not the ASAP mob, for better or worse ASAP mob is currently one of hip hops most influential rap groups. Rocky alone has inspired trends of fashion, music and even language that have surpassed most multimedia companies- and he’s just the pretty one. The answer that asap mob gives to the question posed by the so called "old heads" in hip hop-like it or not-is important. And what is Asap mobs’ answer- Yes! It is all just sex, drugs and expensive clothes, deal with it.
And he's just the pretty one.
"Cozy" is the new cool.
I state again, this album is the most self-indulgent rap album I’ve heard all decade, including D.S.2 and the culture album. Every other trap infused, rattling high hats project at least had the sense that there was another layer to it. Even the Migos do occasionally state that selling drugs is not the best thing to do to earn a living, and future always sounds sad about his lifestyle anyway. Asap mob on the other hand- do not even show a second of remorse. The whole album is just one unapologetic-ally hedonistic anthem, so much so that I am honestly concerned I like it so much. Walk on water, for example- is a song where the members of the group, legitimately compare themselves to Jesus because of all the money they spend. Yet, this is what is what cool sounds like in 2017.
Asap mob is one of the most influential rap groups in 2017, because the "old heads" that have refused to adapt, or even relate to the music of my generation have become the intellectual powers we now need art to dissociate ourselves from. When you judge or condescend towards a group, they pull away and create subcultures to satisfy the human thirst to be accepted. This thirst has been building for a decade in black youth, and it has culminated somewhat comically in the "Cozy tapes volume 2, too cozy"- yes that’s the actual title. This is hip hops’ answer to what is cool now, like it or not- stay "cozy".
Support the artists if the album sounds interesting
© 2017 Iyunoluwanimi Yemi-Shodimu
Dharmielle on September 12, 2017:
I love your view on this. Rap and hip hop were borne from rebellion. Like it or hate it. The human mind is highly hedonistic. But as age and experience builds, other things begins to matter more.