by Shunda Colvin
There are many things I love about Twitter but if I were to make a list, the discovery of new and new-to-me music would make the top five. And not just the discovery aspect; I find it fascinating this sort of tidal wave affect that happens when an artist drops a new single and announces it at 1 a.m. for the Twitter masses; or they release a new album and the reviews are instantaneous in all their 140 character-limited glory. It’s this act of armchair music experts creating their own niche via social media, often times taking their praises and critiques directly to the sources with mixed results. It can be amusing, reaffirming, and yes uncomfortable to watch.
Another aspect I find really interesting is how Twitter hashtags anchoring a particular push of new music enables the artists to ride that wave a little longer by doing some of their own legwork and interacting first-hand with other users. A few examples come to mind in this instance.
He is just a rapper.
First there’s Childish Gambino, is the musical front of actor, best known as Troy Barnes on the TV show Community, and around these here Internets for his campaign to become the first black Spiderman (and yes, he would’ve been awesome).
Donald is not your typical actor attempting crossover appeal in the music industry in that he actually has talent, and offers an impressive collection of hip-hop mixtapes and EPs via his website iamdonald.com to back it up. When he dropped his latest EP “Untitled” mid-March, current fans rejoiced. Two weeks later, Childish Gambino featured heavily on my Twitter timeline because one person, just one, had discovered Donald’s music and suddenly swathes of new listeners were exposed to the music I’d been listening to for the past year.
Odd Future will suffice.
No one really calls the group by their full name, but Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) has been a hidden gem in hip-hop circles. That circle has been widening with the group’s newsworthy coverage and critical acclaim from the New York Times, LA Weekly, Pitchfork and NPR to name a few, but they’re not the only opinions being shared. Once again, hip-hop heads take to Twitter after group members Tyler the Creator drops “Yonkers,” the freshman single off his anticipated debut album; and Frank Ocean releases a straight up, no chaser R&B mixtape titled Nostalgia, Ultra, that’s been slowly and steadily picking up steam.
It’s also been said that the hype surrounding Frank Ocean undoubtedly deserves some credit for his working with Beyoncé on her new album.
Ultimately, for many, Odd Future came out of nowhere and became an in-your-face-can’t escape-them rap collective who are likely deserving of the accolades they’ve received.
Searching the phrase ‘thank you based god’ on Twitter yields a substantial amount of tweets referencing the sentence, its originator, rapper Lil B the Based God, or both. While neither Lil B nor the term ‘based’ as he’s using it, are new, the catchphrase was revived when the rapper collaborated with 9th Wonder, Phonte and Jean Grae to produce an eclectic earworm titled, “Base in Your Face,” that hasn’t truly left my mind or the minds of others since its release on March 9.
Used entirely in jest, ‘thank you based god’ has garnered so much popularity as of late that it’s become an Internet meme. The track was announced on Twitter and linked by the involved parties on their accounts, and word quickly spread. By the next day, and certainly by some accounts that same evening, the phrase had already been integrated into the lexicon of Twitter.
Twitter is about immediacy, and constant connection to the flow of information. There’s always new music waiting to be discovered with just one click, but I also believe how we interact, how receptive we are to what’s being communicated on Twitter directly reflects its longevity. It’s true that we’ve definitely moved on to discuss newer tracks, but time will tell if these artists will be a trending topic long after their immediate relevancy has ended.
Links to check out: