Indirect hype men. Yes Men. Stans. Mr. Me Too’s. They are many and they live among us. Do we count them as fans or the unknown, self proclaimed entourage who glorify whatever work the artist releases?
One time I was having a conversation with a friend and he said, “You such an antagonist to everything I say. Can’t you be a Spliff Star to my Busta Rhymes or a Memphis Bleek to my Jay-Z?” It got me thinking, how many people are “yes men”; the type to agree with everything without any backing reason except the affiliation of the said subject?
Music is an arena of opinion and fact on and off the record. We have music reviewers who analyse every single chord played, words that are said and quality of the design of the cover. Imagine if all those critics were “yes men”. Every single album will be regarded as a classic (I also have an issue with the “classic” tag but that’s a debate for another day). What will be then the defining standard of music?
It is a known fact that as listeners we will all have different tastes when it comes to music. Your G.O.A.T might be number three on my list or vice versa, but fact remains that in such debates facts need to be presented on the table to support such claims. In an ideal world, we will all go our way with a bit of insight of the next person’s taste and have proved our statements. Sadly however, in our music industry EVERYONE is a G.O.A.T when they release a song or offering. Any views otherwise, you get the nasty tag of being a ‘hater’.
This phenomena of “Yes Men” is a slow poison to our industry, it destroys the very fundamentals we rely on to become a worldwide player in music culture. When our standards and quality is questionable, no one will take us serious. Instead of growing, we breed mediocrity.
Many times I have heard people say, “Yo, that song is heat!” and I’m thinking it’s just a song. Chalk it up to taste but the same person who said that one song is heat will go out of their way to say every song that is made by that specific artist is a hit. Even thee most sub par music gets the mercury rising stamp. Sad thing is, the very same people who are quick to shout that the artist is a legend or king or the song is a classic don’t necessarily add to the support of purchasing albums or concert tickets. So why scream and hail a song if you won’t spend your hard earned money on it?
This gets me to the point that “Yes Men” will ride out whatever work you bring out but not really go out to support you. They quick to look loyal to the artist but after the acknowledgement from the artist they disappear. Should we take that into account of the general view of the album? As said before, this is mediocrity in its simplest form.
We have more stans than fans in the industry. Stans agree with whatever their favourite artist does no matter how much of wrong or degrading actions they showcase. Stans stick AND cheer the artist’s greatness. Based on the legacy that the artist has had hits before are irrelevant, they remain ‘loyal’ to the cause.
Go on to your Twitter timeline and search “Team”. The number of ‘team-whoever’ Twitter accounts are overwhelming, and to think that these are the people with the solo purpose of hyping the artist. It gets you thinking that people purposely brainwash themselves into believing whatever their favourite artists do is gold, or is it a validation-seeking-stunt to their favorite artist to notice them?
Yes, its hard to acknowledge that your favourite artist might have gone off the rails musically but our artists need us; the fans, to be completely honest as we the ones who propel their stardom. We are the ones who support them. We didn’t make them but without us they are left with non-buying Stans who only cheer their good and mediocre work with the same ferocity. These glorified hype men to the artists are doing nothing for the artist’s growth; neither for the growth of the industry.
I personally don’t agree with classifying a song a hit before I hear it. Expectations of a good record from an artist that is known to be talented is good, but don’t blow it out of proportion because when I do hear it and it’s bad, not only will I be disappointed in the song but the amount of hype it garnered. I frequently buy music because of one raving review from a close friend and most of the time it’s local music. I go and search for these artists as I respect my friend’s tastes and their preference in music most times overlap with my own. I would enjoy the albums, most parts or certain tracks.
Please don’t get me wrong; I don’t regret buying any of the albums I have bought. I bought albums of artists I wouldn’t name in my top 5 neither am I a big fan of, but the point is that spent my hard-earned cash and I supported. Unbiased and patriotic to the South African music scene, I went out to buy these albums. It was because of a fan who also supported that motivated me to go and buy the album despite my enjoyment of three quarters or less of the offering.
We need complete honesty in the music industry in order for us to grow. In turn, our artists will know that quality supersedes mere hype. A round of quality music is good and pushes artists to continue growing themselves in the art and their fan base.
We need more supporters – less fans and even less stans.
Written By: @SDotJR_