I’ve been reading Chuck Klosterman’s book IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas this entire week. If you’re an avid fan of Klosterman’s work in Esquire, SPIN, ESPN.com, or any of his other books, most of these essay should be familiar to you.
The essay I’ve been dwelling on the most is his piece “The Importance of Being Hated.” In a hip hop sense, the idea of “being hated” is fantasticly flawed. People don’t dislike your music, your bullshit MP3’s, your gimmicky dance and your junior prom failure of a live show–they are “hating on you.” It’s hilarious to hear MySpace rappers with a Radio Shack microphone address their haters on their songs. It’s like a shield from being assessed or being honestly critiqued.
It’s almost as bad as having “swagger,” another term mutually exclusive to hip hop. I think people laud rappers with “swagger” and label naysayers as “haters” because rappers with swagger usually, totally friggin suck, but the fan of said rapper wants to feel good about rooting for a clown because he makes 2 songs they like. That’s fine, but to quote Common, “If I don’t like it, I don’t like it–that don’t mean that I’m hating.”
Getting back to Klosterman, he believes that hate is a GOOD thing. Apparently so does Byron Crawford, Doc Zeus, the Babygrande message board, and the Madd Rapper. With the exception of D-Dot on the mic, all of these things are pretty successful. Klosterman states:
“It rarely matters who is on your side; what matters is who is against you…you don’t need a friend and you don’t need a lover. What you need is a) one quality nemesis, and b) one archenemy. These are the two most important characters in the life of any successful human. We measure ourselves against our nemeses, and we long to destroy our archenemies. Nemeses and archenemies are the catalysts for everything.”
The key of Klosterman’s essay is dividing your hate between a nemesis and an archenemy. I currently have a nemesis who shall remain nameless and he fits Klosterman’s criteria perfectly:
“You kind of like your nemesis, despite the fact that you despise him. If your nemesis invited you out for cocktails, you would accept the offer. If he died, you would attend his funeral and—privately—you might shed a tear over his passing. “
Plenty of nemeses have come and gone over the years. Some even became my girlfriend in fact. My current nemesis plays his part and fills that void in my life. My success infuriates him, and vice versa. But I’d have a drink with the guy and would certainly call to check in if he contracted herpes or something.
But I want it all.
I want to become more successful.
I need an archenemy.
“You would never have drinks with your archenemy, unless you were attempting to spike his gin with hemlock. If you were to perish, your archenemy would dance on your grave, and then he’d burn down your house and molest your children. You hate your archenemy so much that you try to keep your hatred secret, because you don’t want your archenemy to have the satisfaction of being hated.”
Dom P. suggested Asher Roth, who obviously can’t be my archenemy because the hip hop world will simply label me a “hater;” I’m also a white rapper from Pennsylvania who isn’t co-signed by Cee-Lo, Beanie Sigel, and American Eagle. I have an idea for an archenemy but he is medicated, lives too far away, and is about as successful as the last few M. Knight Shamalamadingdog movies. So fuck him.
I need your help. Who can I base my hatred upon, that I can potentially threaten with violence if we cross paths, whose blog I can spam/album I can bootleg/girlfriend I can impregnate.
Make some suggestions in the comments, but please don’t be brash or course. If it’s that deep, send it to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org I am looking very much forward to this…