This week Rolling Stone released a timeline of Chicago hip-hop, which aimed to salute the Windy City’s musical contributions. The short piece missed a lot, and wasn’t well-received by fans of Chicago hip-hop. They focused mostly on Chicago’s big names, omitting acts like Crucial Conflict, JD Walker, Psychodrama, and Open Mike Eagle, staples of Chicago’s rap history. The slights were called out by several people, including Cold Hard of Crucial Conflict:
“Learn ya’ll history before you go to give MFers awards” seems like common sense, but once again a major publication has dropped the ball and people aren’t feeling it:
The writer of the article took to Twitter to defend it, saying it wasn’t meant to be a “comprehensive piece” — despite a subhed that aimed to “look at what formed the city’s scene.” He called the piece a “short timeline,” but it’s pretty hard to cover a city’s 25+ year contributions to hip-hop with just one piece — in five paragraphs seems even less doable. In the future, it seems like something this ambitious could be given more space. For instance, would a Seattle grunge retrospective get five paragraphs to work with?
As if we didn’t know before, it’s been confirmed: Hip-hop is the most consumed musical genre in America. I think that means it’s time for major outlets like Rolling Stone to start acting like it, which starts with giving pieces toasting to a city their just due with well-researched, well-informed content that gets as much space as it needs to be told right.
Crucial Conflict in particular might not be as relevant as in their prime, but they made a mark that belongs on any Chi-town hip-hop timeline. It could be argued that their The Final Tic album was one of the first nationally distributed projects out of Chicago to deviate from East Coast sensibilities — which is an achievement in itself. If 3.5 million records sold and a #18 charting single in “Hay” wasn’t enough to get recognized, what is?