Members of the Internet community, including The Roots' drummer ?uestlove, came to the defense of classic hip-hop and remonstrated an NPR intern with nearly 81 comments last week over a music review he wrote.
Austin Cooper found quickly that the famous fans of Public Enemy’s 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back rushed to defend its status as a singular musical work after Cooper wrote in a review that he’d keep the album on a “metaphorical shelf.”
Cooper’s review was written as part of NPR’s “You Haven’t Heard?...” series, in which the organization’s “unimaginably young” music interns review classic albums with fresh ears.
Cooper writes in his review that he’s no expert within the hip-hop genre. He explains his less-than-affectionate feelings for Public Enemy’s album, drawing comparisons about the album’s style with the musical choices made by artists he enjoys.
Many of the commenters attacked Cooper’s personal hip-hop and rap selections, such as today’s popular music artist Drake. While Cooper argues in his piece that Drake’s music is “viscerally pleasing,” commenters bashed Drake’s style.
One of the most popular comments was written by ?uestlove, who chastised Cooper for not taking advantage of his generation’s “advantages in technology” by looking up greater context on the album.
However, another commenter, “Charlie Kaplan” wrote that he also had written a “You Haven’t Heard … !” piece as an NPR intern and that the segment’s bosses explicitly asks interns not to read any existing literature on the albums they review.
“That’s the single most important – and for my money, the best – element of this feature: it forces the NPR interns to react to a piece of art without being influenced by prevailing opinion,” he writes.
Many commenters debated the merits of NPR’s intern project, too.
Read the full review here, and let us know whether Cooper deserved the virtual tongue-lashings or if raw perspectives should be welcome to the cyberspace.
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