Whereupon I admit that 20 years ago (last Sunday), I said something stupid on the interwebs: “Rap journalist Oliver Wang denied that Illmatic was a classic twenty years ago. We all have our regrets.”
Thanks to Wax Poetics for letting me get this off my chest.
One thing to add (that didn’t fit into the theme of this piece): I wasn’t a journalist or critic in 1994…just a college senior who had access to a primitive version of the internet.
But alt.rap and later, rec.music.hip-hop were completely formative spaces for me to work out ideas (even wrong ones) about music. It never dawned on me, back then, that I could not just read The Source but also write for them (that wouldn’t happen until decade’s end) but having a space to practice-how-to-write was incredibly important and useful. I’m sure most of what I wrote back then would completely embarrass me now (and likewise, what I write now might embarrass me in 20 years hence) but I don’t regret the growing pains process or the community of people I was able to converse with back then.
ONE MORE THING: RapGenius wouldn’t exist without the work of Steve Juon and WhoSampled.com wouldn’t exist without the work of Blaine Amsterd and those are both people whose labors of love blossomed during the beta-era of the hip-hop internet.