You aren't alt, just be normal

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Two weeks ago, the world was blessed with a collab album from Danny Brown and JPEG Mafia, two rappers who have maintained a strong presence in the music industry despite their relative lack of mainstream appeal. Their unique production styles put them in the umbrella of "experimental hip-hop," and they both seem to deliberately avoid making anything with a trace of pop appeal. I won't pretend that I'm super knowledgeable about either of these artists, but I am familiar with the types of online communities that love their music. This isn't a review of these artists or of the album, it's a rant about the types of people who have a weird superiority complex about their music taste.

I'm a big fan of this album. It's high-energy, funky, and the tracks are all distinctly weird in their own way. This music has found an audience in a particular kind of hip-hop enjoyer who falls loosely within the sphere of influence of Anthony Fantano, the bald-headed YouTube music reviewer everyone loves to hate. He's known for platforming a lot of artists outside of the mainstream, and he often puts people onto new music by drawing connections between different artists. People who watch his videos often find themselves listening to relatively obscure artists because of his very wide knowledge base.

The name of this recent album is "SCARING THE HOES." The idea of music which "scares the hoes" is tossed around a lot in this corner of the internet, and I get the sense that these artists are leaning into the brand that the internet has given them. It's also great marketing, because I would not be talking about this album if the name wasn't so weird.

But that doesn't change the fact that this is a really annoying way to sincerely view your music taste. Yes, I get that "scaring the hoes" is just a meme, but I sure do get the impression that lots of folks out there take this idea seriously. It's fine to like things that aren't mainstream, but you aren't some intimidating, stoic, sigma-male hoe-frightener because you listen to Danny Brown. Sure, his music can be weird, but it also gets pretty wide critical acclaim. Also, it's fine to like things that are extremely mainstream! A lot of pop music is popular because producers know what sounds people like. Not every song on your Spotify has to be esoteric underground experimental low-fi noise-hop, sometimes Travis Scott is pretty good.

In conclusion, enjoy the music you like and don't make a big deal out of it.