Excellent essay about capital and hip-hop at LARB:
Ross’s and Jay’s response is to dwell in the strangeness of black wealth. Fantasy blows the idea of wealth and accumulation up to widescreen, cartoonish proportions so rappers can poke fun at the duty to represent either lack or its flipside, responsible black artistic consciousness. To paraphrase Meshell Ndegeocello, hip-hop makes black wealth grotesque, irresponsible, garish, a niggafied and future shocked version of black America unrecognizable to both itself and white people — and that radically unrecognizable quality is precisely the point.
On Yelp vs. Food Critics:
I don’t always agree with the restaurant critics in the Times or elsewhere, but I trust them—in the way that I trust certain critics of film, television, art, or literature—not to predict what I or anyone else will like (how could they possibly know?) but to entertain me; to provide carefully researched historical and cultural context; to make me think. I trust them to write so thoughtfully and distinctively that I don’t have to wonder if they’re biased; rather, I know that they are, and, over time, can learn their biases and balance my own judgments against them. The relationship between critic and reader is exactly that: a relationship, between two people. You can’t have a relationship with stars.
N+1 killed this:
The little magazine always originates as an image of utopia that it then betrays. It starts with love but very little money, and because it is edited for free (mostly), it gets writing for free (mostly) in a nonexploitative way, since no one is extracting any surplus value. This is the utopian stage, where writing as a competitive enterprise, as a sphere rife with greed and envy, disappears. It is replaced by a pure and purely unnecessary (in the sense of not being directly useful to the reproduction of biological life and material needs) contemplation of essential, fundamental problems—that is to say, it becomes art. But then, almost immediately, the little magazine becomes a way to “graduate” to the world of hackery—for its editors and writers to become journalists, novelists, overpaid business school speakers—and in this way can serve more as an instrument than an opponent of the hack world.