It’s all subjective.
Music is subjective, an example:
I played a awesome show the other night at Church Of Boston. Can we all address how strange it is to play on a Sunday night at a venue called “Church Of Boston”. Anyway, The night hosted to so many talented acts from locals such as Elemental Zazen, who I had the pleasure of discussing philosophical issues and viewpoints with, to national acts such as Random aka Megaran, Open Mike Eagle, and Homeboy Sandman. Also on the bill was a rapper by the name of Clinical and electronic artist Pretensile (shouts to League Podcast for putting on the show). While I thought this show was going to be the Jump off, just swarming with fans/rappers trying to see an amazing lineup, it ended up being sparsely packed with people and that’s too bad for the many that didn’t make it out. I can’t express how humbled I am to play with 3 of the most talented human beings in the genre today. I can only learn and develop by watching these performers. While I felt like my show was adequate, even good by rap standards, someone who went to the show wrote a review of it and called myself and every other opener an “amateur”.
I’ve been rapping/performing/promoting myself for over 10 years. I have hang ups about the music I make, and at the moment I am trying to reinvent myself, my style, and sound. But, the main issue I have with the review is that Ben (also known as Emcee Hunger) while touting Mike Eagle and Homeboy Sandman’s honesty, denied the fact that my ramblings and insecurities/songs were honest as well. He lambasted me for being that way, for being ultimately honest. Folks who know me understand my hangups about music and my issues with my own identity in rap. I have always been the emotional Boston rapper, forever. But if there is one thing I have always been its honest. That’s the one word people always mention when I am done performing, “man you just seem so genuine, your music is so honest”. It’s about the only thing I can honestly say that is true about myself. Besides having hang ups about my life goals (aka being a professional/full time rapper), Honesty is definitely something I strive for in music/life.
2 years ago, maybe 3 years ago, this review would’ve killed me. I fondly remember the days when I got reviewed in Okayplayer with my group The Scribblenauts and was completely destroyed by someone. I hated it, It destroyed my sense of accomplishment, not to mention that the only reason I got a review is because someone else loved the record but wasn’t allowed to review it (shouts to Grant). This is the problem with anything you do in any category, for the most part its subjective to the viewer/listener/reader/etc. I can’t force people to like my music, Ben definitely seemed like he didn’t like me, He might even have not been paying attention while I was on stage. But I can’t fault him for feeling the way he did about the artists and myself. He doesn’t know me, and probably never will, but I’m down to hear any faults about myself and my music. I love discussion, even if its negative. I’m down to chat.
Advice to all aspiring performers: Do what you think is great, grow when you can, and never let someone tear you down if it isn’t constructive.