Monday, November 3, 2008

Dart Adams vs. Sam Chennault: The 3 Day War

A few days ago I was on my boy Jeff Weiss' blog reading his latest musings when I noticed something in Jeff's Shared Items in his Google Reader where I saw the heading "Indie Hip Hop's Surge". I'm thinking to myself "Finally, someone else that realizes what a great year 2008 has been for indie Hip Hop and underground Hip Hop albums!"...nah, son! I was pretty much pissed off with the entire article and it's premise after the first paragraph (it was on Rhapsody's website (?)). It went a little something like this:

"Count me among those who’ve been skeptical of the continued artistic relevance of indie/underground hip-hop in 2008. There is still a lot of great talent on the scene, both in terms of vets (Murs, Madlib, DOOM, Jean Grae) and rookies (Blu, Black Milk, Pac Div, Blue Scholars), but barely any decent new music was released in the first eight months of the year. The only indie hip-hop album with any replay value was Jean Grae’s Jenius, which was recorded three years prior. And then September hit."

Now let's address all of the problems with this opening paragraph, the most important one in any article as it lays the foundation for the rest of the piece. The author has already said that he/she doesn't really see the point or relevance of indie or underground Hip Hop anymore and then goes on to call Blu, Black Milk and Blue Scholars all "rookies". Never mind that Blu's been in the game since 2004, Black Milk since 2002, and Blue Scholars since 2003 so none of them are rookies since they've all done numerous guest appearances and released multiple EP's and LP's previous to 2008. The writer also stated that "barely any decent new music was released in the first eight months of the year"...what the fuck is this cat smoking?

The next paragraphs started off with stating that "The first great album of the season was Koushik’s debut album Out My Window. Koushik, a Canadian producer signed to Stones Throw, is only hip-hop by association". So let's get this straight, the first great indie Hip Hop album of the season (in the author's opinion) was an album that wasn't even Hip Hop? Huh? I did enjoy Koushik's record but I actually preferred his 2005 project "Be With" to this one and I didn't think that it was "great" by any stretch of the imagination. I read on anyways hoping that maybe the author would redeem himself and prove that he/she had any idea what they were talking about. I would end up extremely disappointed by the article's end.

The article only mentioned Madlib's "Madvillainy 2" and "WLIB AM: King Of The Wigflip" (no mention of his Jackson Conti album or his other 3 releases from this year?), Blu & Mainframe's "Johnson & Johnson", Black Milk's "Tronic' and Heltah Skeltah's "D.I.R.T". Jake One's "White Van Music" was called "hit-or-miss" and there was no mention of a number of albums that based on this article I was pretty sure the author never even heard of or heard at all. I was is 5 albums (only 3 of which were considered any good) considered a "surge"? I was so pissed off with this "article" that I wrote a couple of comments in the comments section saying so to the writer whose named was Sam Chennault. I even went back a couple of days later and those comments had still yet to be approved.

The next day I got an e-mail from Sam in my Gmail inbox. It went like this:

"LOL...what is your problem with me? Roockie may have been the wrong term, but all your other points are opinion based. I've been covering indie hiphip for 7 years and though there'd were some decent albums this year, in general shit has been weak. That's my opinion. Maybe you have a different opinion, but by launching into personnal attacks, the only things Im convinced of is that u r an ass, or hella young. Chill and learn how to express yourself without sounding like a facist.


Sent from my iPhone"

I was so amused at the possibility of reliving my exchange with Sach Orenstein from earlier this year that I sent him an immediate response:

The problem is based on what you wrote you clearly have NO IDEA what the fuck you're talking about in regards to Hip Hop/Rap and particularly indie/underground Hip Hop. You've been "covering" indie Hip Hop for 7 years but you don't know that Blue Scholars have been around for more than 5 or that their debut LP came out in 2004 therefore they're far from being "rookies" as you would call them? You then called Black Milk a "rookie" when his career goes back to about 2002/3 as well and he's released at least 3 EP's/LP's so far in his career. So yeah, "rookie" would most definitely be the wrong term to describe him as well.

You clearly have no idea who I am, Sam. If you did you'd know that the best thing to do would be to nod your head and take the L rather than to respond. I'm 33 so I'm not young and I've been covering indie Hip Hop since 1996. As far as what albums this year have replay value that's purely subjective and you're entitled to your opinion but if Nicolay and Kay's "Time: Line", Emc's "The Show", Atmosphere's "When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold", Invincible's 'Shapeshifters" and about 20-25 other LP's from the first 8 months of the year (Chaundon, Akrobatik, Torae, Tanya Morgan, J-Live, Substantial, All Natural, Common Market, etc.) did NOTHING for you then you may have no pulse whatsoever.

If I sound like a "facist" I apologize. You read like someone who doesn't have a clue what in the hell they're writing about. THAT is my problem, Sam.

Dart Adams
Sent from my PowerBook G4

I watched "Californication" and "True Blood" then went to sleep but an hour later he sent me this response that I didn't read until this afternoon:

"I told you that perhaps rookie wasn't the best choice of words, but the fact that you're chosing to focus on that out of the other 1300 words present in my piece is telling. And yeah, I am entitled to my opinion. I love Nicolay, I've followed his career since the jump and tried to support him whenever I could, but "Time:Line" wasn't his finest hour. It was overproduced, in my opinion, and only pointed to the more refined aesthetic he would adopt for the Foreign Exchange album, though I didn't prefer that as much as City Lights . Atmosphere...I jumped off that train shortly after Lucy Ford. There were several good hip-hop albums (Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, J-Live do spring to mind), but few had replay value after the first two or three weeks. Black Milk did freak the vocal sample in "Give The Drummer Sum" in a way that reminded me of Swizz Beatz. Jake One is a good producer, but his album was a collection of leftovers. His finest work is elsewhere. Once again, my OPINION.

You're 33 years old, and you're angry because of someone expressing an opinion different from your own. Show some maturity.



I was done with the whole exercise because clearly Sam didn't get that he'd just proven my point for me already so I finished him off with this e-mail at about 1 PM EST:

I don't have a problem with someone having a different opinion than me. My problem lies with you saying in an article that pretty much the first 8 months of 2008 that there were no albums worth buying as "no replay value" means it's not worth purchasing. THAT I absolutely don't agree with and it's a bunch of bullshit...why pull punches? If you don't like those albums then it's on you and I don't care but with that article you shit on between 25-50 excellent projects that dropped before the Summer and completely dismissed them all as garbage in one fell swoop.

As far as "maturity" goes if I didn't write anything in that comments section (which none of my comments have been approved in as of yet) then I would've been wrong. I could write a list of 50 more albums that you didn't mention in your article or in these e-mails (Buff1, Invincible, Theory Hazit, Hustle Simmons, Mighty Joseph, Time Machine, Vast Aire, Vordul Mega, Little Vic, All Natural, Blue Sky Black Death, Hell Razah, 9th Wonder & Buckshot, Tanya Morgan, Cyne, Guilty Simpson, Reks, Torae, Chaundon, Shawn Jackson, etc.) but I guess NONE of these LP's held your attention for longer than two or three weeks either so it's a waste of time.

Just continue to paint the picture that no excellent indie Hip Hip albums came out until the Fall since that's your opinion. I'll just continue to think that you're full of shit.

That's just MY opinion, Sam.

Dart Adams


Children, the moral of today's story is: Don't fuck with Dart Adams. The other moral is: Don't say that there has been little or no good underground or indie Hip Hop LP's released this year because chances are that you didn't even know most of them ever existed or you never heard them all and I did. Sam Chennault is entitled to his opinion but if he's clearly under/mis/uninformed about the hundreds of indie/underground Hip Hop albums that came out in 2008 then why should anyone care about his opinion in the first place? Didn't this dickhole just compare Swizz Beats to Black Milk in his article? One last question: No mention of either Elzhi's "EuroPass" or "The Preface"? SMH + FOH = It's a wrap for you.



Domenic 'Dom Corleone' said...

what up dart.. i feel you, he definitely overlooked some bangers especially tanya morgan, emc, gza, black milk and jake one.. got a question, what do u think of q-tip's? i'm feeling it thus far, real chill and great lyrical content..but just leaked and i haven't made my whole way thru it yet.. i'll let u know, holla

much love

Dart Adams said...

@ dom corleone:

I reviewed it on Friday. Just scroll down and there my review for Q-Tip's "The Renaissance" is.


Anonymous said...

hahah dart you kill me man. totally right by the way, this dude's article isn't good enough for my crappy college newspaper. to call white van music hit or miss, overlook WLIB, and compare Black Milk to Swizz Beats (Eww) is unacceptable journalism.

Suckapunch said...

Took me a second, but I actually recognize Sam's name is being one of the first guys who wrote about hip-hop on, and one of the rare writers who knew what he was talking about and not the slightest bit pretentious. This has got to be years ago though. In short, he does know what he's talking about.

He also makes a fitting (and funny) jab at you: "Chill and learn how to express yourself without sounding like a facist."

For real. Your article here is 1500 words long and it could have been 2-3 paragraphs. There has been some good albums this year, like every year. But overall, this the albums you mention didn't break any new ground.

brandon said...

Great exchange Dart. I too recognized this dude from old Pitchfork and so it isn't a surprise that he mistakes music criticism for music snobbery....

Anonymous said...'ve written up this entire thing just for me? Damn, Steve. I'm about to go vote for Barack Obama, and then I'm going to do what I've done for the past 7 years: think and write about hip-hop. I haven't got the time or desire for this, but keep at it. In the spirit of this day, I wish you well.


Sam Chennault

Dart Adams said...

@ suckapunch:

You missed quite a few things in this exchange. First off, Sam's 1st e-mail was more like "Why must you bust my balls and call me on my bullshit because I made some mistakes and wrote a half-ass article about a so called "indie Hip Hop surge" that omitted about 10 albums I could've easily gave shine to if I actually cared enough to listen to them". If you knew how many really good indie Hip Hop albums actually dropped this year you'd understand my frustration.

His second e-mail was pretty much conceding that he DIDN'T know what the hell he was talking about. As far as that "jab" it was heavily outweighed by the fact his "article" was based on "his opinion" about something he clearly outlined in his articles and his e-mails that he was under informed about.

Since you subscribe to Sam's views I'm sure anything I write hear won't convince you otherwise so continue to think Hip Hop sucks nowadays.

*Rolls eyes*

Dart Adams said...

@ Sam Chennault:

What a coincidence. I, too am going to vote for Barack Obama and do what I'VE done for the past 12 years: Think and write about Hip Hop and whatever the hell else I feel like.

If you don't write any more bullshit articles that are full of factual errors and just not say "you got me there, since I already said that indie Hip Hop sucks anyways in the first sentence of the article the rest of it is pretty much moot" when I call you on it in the first place we'll be cool.

Good luck in the future, Sam.


elgringocolombiano said...

it takes no talent, effort, or enthusiasm to cry "hip hop is wack this year".

OTOH it takes all of these to search for 100s of new albums yearly like Dart, WDYU, WTR, etc.

Fock an ethered Bitchfork Media "hip hop is dead" crier verbal diarrhea.

Dart thoroughly ethered this lame.

Small Pro said...

lesson a: dont fuck w/ d.a., thats that