The internet's good for a lot of things - online banking internet porn, non-profit fundraising internet porn, keeping in touch with loved ones internet porn - but it's proven to be especially good at showing just how many people care passionately about something you don't know about. For about an hour every Sunday night my Twitter timeline is nothing but "Walking Dead" talk, to the extent that although I've never watched the show, I could probably fake it just through what I've picked up by cultural osmosis. (Go ahead, ask me about The Governor.)
Or to put it in more rap terms, this week my timeline, and some of my favorite other sites, have been filled with nothing but Lil Boosie talk. There are thousands of people who care passionately about the release of Torrence Hatch, but honestly, personally, in my own little rap bubble, it barely registers.
I know we live in an era of both reflexive "fuck you hater" responses and people afraid to admit they don't know everything about every artist who's ever breathed, especially in hip-hop. So let me be clear, this is all about me admitting my ignorance.
I certainly know who Boosie is on a shallow level, but when he was jailed I was still just coming out of my east coast/underground elitism phase. And even if I were to go listen to every song he's ever dropped, I don't think I'd really get why so many people, especially in the South, are celebrating like it's a national holiday. Some artists are legends because they represent a certain region's culture so thoroughly, but that means that unless you really, truly, know that region's culture, you're just not going to get it. It's like traveling to Mexico if you can't speak any Spanish - you'll see the sights, eat the food, but you're only going to have a very surface level experience.
I think that's the case for E-40 in the Bay Area, DJ Screw in Houston and it looks like Boosie in the South. I may never love the man's music or get it like someone raised in Baton Rouge, but I also don't like being so in the dark about something in hip-hop so many people love. Ignorance is always a bad thing.
So this is coming in the spirit of enlightment. I'm the student, who wants to teach me about Lil Boosie? Why do you love Bad Azz?
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks on podcasts/radio/TV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]