Nothing Was The Same
Ben's a nice guy but he's way too passionate about country music. On more than one occasion we've exited the house and left him planted on the second-hand couch, Carlton Draught in hand, settled in for a night of watching videos, the television locked on the Country Music Channel.
We've been drinking. Sports have finished for the afternoon so we've migrated into the concrete backyard. Just enough confidence in my alcohol-depleted frontal lobe to tell the others to "turn that fucking Palms record off". Someone makes a joke about putting that new Drake album on instead. My passion is well-documented through social media channels. Ben's an offline guy and assumes they're all joking.
"You're being ironic?"
This Camel Cigarettes "Smooth Character" cap is misleading. There's no time for irony, not in music at least. What's the point of wasting even a second on attaching fondness to a creative endeavour purely for how that appreciation will be viewed from an external perspective?
Ben notes my obvious annoyance at that accusation.
"So, it's a good record?"
That theatrical "soul beat" switch just before the two minute mark of Tuscan Leather is the perfect encapsulation of modern hip-hop — unashamed and over-confident. A single, completely temporary moment. It's topless 2pac in a top-down Caddy, loudly boasting about unfounded accomplishments in an attempt to mask personal insecurities. Vulnerabilities which are openly questioned throughout the rest of the record, bluntly introduced on the very next track — "the furthest thing from perfect, like everyone I know". It's that balance that makes this record so fucking brilliant. Contemplation covered with confidence. Drug abuse to deal with pain, drinking in celebration. Addicted to attention, craving solitude. Drake is a constant contradiction, his stern opinions short-lived, his views frequently flipped, his dreams re-aligned. Human after all. I've been listening to rap music for 20 years, and this is the first time a rapper has actually felt real.
That's what I should have said.
Instead, I mumble something about 'passion' or 'flow'. Who bloody knows. The conversation fades into something about the Swans' additional salary cap allowance affording them star quality rather than increasing the wages of the entire roster and/or Tinder. As all this is happening, Matt takes a side profile photo of me, Photoshops it onto the Nothing Was The Same album cover and posts it to all fifteen corners of his webring.
Because rap music is a fucking meme, and nothing else. I suppose.