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Can bad people make good music?

Now I feel it is rather important for me to stress that I will never EVER condone the behaviour of any artist I mention here, I am simply looking at them from a music critic’s standpoint and not from the perspective of them being vile humans with vile intentions (which most of them are).

In this new world of PC judgement and protection you have to tread very carefully when it comes to your likes and interests, it might just offend someone without you realising. With that being said, music has come under plenty of scrutiny thanks to this rule, particularly when looking at certain artists and how they act outside of the musical sphere. The real question people appear afraid to ask these days is this, can blatantly bad people make objectively good music?

Now I feel it is rather important for me to stress that I will never EVER condone the behaviour of any artist I mention here, I am simply looking at them from a music critic’s standpoint and not from the perspective of them being vile humans with vile intentions (which most of them are).

I suppose the best place to start when discussing musicians who aren’t great people is none other than XXXTENTACION, a man currently under major scrutiny for numerous counts of domestic violence; some of which is absolutely sickening. He has gained a serious amount of heat over the last 12 months and became the king of Soundcloud for a little while with massive hits like ‘Look At Me!’ and ‘imippinteainyohood’ but the diversity of his artistry has shone through in 2017, releasing songs like ‘Revenge’ which have a stripped back vibe rather than this distorted screamo-rap he painted his image with beforehand. The release of his debut studio album ’17’ initially brought huge hype and songs such as ‘Jocelyn Flores’ soared into the charts as well as into the hearts of his fans. The issue is that it coincided with the accusations made towards X by his ex-girlfriend, these accusations were very graphic and are enough to make you feel sick to your stomach. There is no denying in my mind at least that X is a troubled but talented soul, that doesn’t come close to warranting forgiveness though because his actions make me shiver with fear. He is yet to be found guilty but you can’t help but feel weary given his track record.

Another very awful person is Kodak Black but his case is rather different. I don’t deem him anywhere near the talent that X is and he is nowhere near a lyrical conscious rapper, instead he creates turn-up anthems that will blast the club and hit the top of the charts. ‘Tunnel Vision’ went crazy, as did ‘Lockjaw’ and a whole host of others; but no matter how many hits he makes he won’t be able to run away from his consequences. He has been convicted numerous times on counts of sexual assault which for me is one of the most sickening things that can be done, especially when in a position of power like a multi-platinum selling artist is. He dips in and out of prison all the time and yet he continues to get recognition and heat every single time he gets out and drops a project. Also he manages to make music that is actually less enjoyable than that of the Cash Me Outside girl Danielle Bregoli so make of that what you will.

Azealia Banks burst onto the scene in the summer of 2011 with the huge hit ‘212’, a song which continues to slap even to this day. She was tipped to be the new queen of hip-hop and to take the female side of the genre to new heights thanks to her energy and ability on the microphone. Unfortunately she has taken quite a slippery slope downwards and in the words of Complex, “she gets more attention for her public feuds than she does for her music”. These feuds include some very nasty words said about certain artists, including racial abuse towards Zayn Malik and homophobic comments about MNEK. She is a very volatile character with some horrid things to say, so I guess it is a good thing that she has disappeared musically.

So in summary, to answer the question of whether or not bad people can make good music I will say this; of course they can, but that isn’t the real issue here. The problem arises as to whether or not we should even be listening in the first place. It is a common human being trait to acknowledge that bad people do not deserve to be rewarded for their actions, no matter how important they are in society. When people are listening to the music of artists like Kodak Black and XXXTENTACION all they are doing is supporting the movement, promoting the brand and putting more money in the pockets of these borderline evil people. So yes they can make good music, but we shouldn’t have to listen to it out of the principle that they shouldn’t be given promotion, you’ll find yourself feeling guilty for enjoying their music and rightfully so.

 

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