When OutKast released Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were nothing more than a twinkle in the eyes of an 18-year-old Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter) and a 10-year-old Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook).
23 years later, social media has completely changed the way we live our daily lives. From fake news reports to hot takes on all forms of entertainment, it's nearly impossible to log on to a social network and not come across a piece of content that will subconsciously alter your perception or opinion of a given subject or form of art.
On Tuesday (June 13), Big Boi appeared on Desus & Mero's VICELAND show to promote the Friday release of his third solo album, Boomiverse, and the first topic of conversation was social media and the impact it has had on rap—specifically, compared to when OutKast first began their recording career.
"It's different because we had to see someone in person," said Big Boi. "If somebody would say something [negative], we'd slap the shit out of them. [Laughs] And then that just never happens again. But now you got people that's in their mother's basement on the computer, eating Cheetos and shit, and you just can't pay attention to it. In this age, it can be good and it can be bad, in the sense of, you can put a song out and it instantly goes everywhere, but you can also get a lawsuit by slapping the shit out of somebody."
It's true that people feel more comfortable speaking their unfiltered mind on social media than they do in person, particularly on a platform like Twitter that isn't linked to their actual name and photo, but slapping someone who is talking shit about your music won't make them like your music—it will only quiet them.
While social media has had a profound effect on music publicity and has negatively affected the creative process and the way in which we perceive our favorite artists outside the studio, it has also made supporting artists easier than ever before and given rise to the viral sensation. And if an artist—or a DJ Khaled—knows how to really utilize and harness the power of social media, an entire empire can be built in under 140 characters.
Big Boi is right, though, social media can be both good and bad. Unfortunately, we have to take one with the other. But let's be clear about one thing: tweeting from your mother's basement while eating Cheetos sounds fantastic.