If there’s one constant in the world these days, it’s the music website coverage of rants by artists like Azealia Banks, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and the like. And just as those reports remain in our news rotation, so do the inevitable comments from annoyed readers. There’s a consistent outcry from some folks asking why we (and other sites) are covering these “stories” and giving diva-like artists the time of a day for something other than their actual music.
My first reaction to these comments is that the rants, particularly the ones we cover, are indeed news-worthy. In the case of Kanye West, he’s done fewer interviews than pretty much anyone else in the music world these past few years. Thus, his onstage rants become “news” because they are the only means of trying to figure out exactly what he’s thinking, where he’s going, and what makes him tick these days.
Should we be so concerned with these topics? Maybe not, but when it comes to someone as huge and influential as Yeezy, it’s difficult to turn the other cheek. That is especially true when he tones down the frustration to announce that he has new music coming. To deem that not worthy of coverage would cause at least a quarter of our posts to fall into that category. Sure, those pieces tend to arrive with album artwork, release dates, track lists, guest feature and producer announcements, and other information, but, again, someone like Kanye will not (and doesn’t need to, really) reveal that type of information on anyone’s terms but his own.
Where the coverage of his onstage rants hits its breaking point resides in whether or not he’s saying anything new or interesting, relatively speaking. Do we (and like-minded sites) need to report on his thoughts about designer labels, for example? I say no, unless you write for a site that regularly writes about the fashion world. Similarly, do we really care what he has to say about MTV’s Hottest In The Game list? Yes, of course we do. Not only is he on the list this and every year, but, again, this is a case of him breaking his press silence to voice his opinion on a timely topic. It also further propels the discussion aspect of the news, as it will lead to comments from fervent readers saying they agree or disagree and why. This is where the line between music sites and message boards can be blurred, but why is that a problem? What’s the point of having a comments section if not to create and fuel a hopefully intelligent discussion? I understand that the comments too often cross the line into absurdity and hatred, but that’s the way of the world (no EWF).