When in doubt, cite Thom Yorke.
When one invokes the wisdom of the almighty Thom Yorke, you know it's about to get serious. That's exactly what Phonte did upon reading the New York Time's latest profile on none other than Drizzy Drake, as pointed out by a report on HipHopDX. The extensive piece, titled “Rappers Are Singers Now. Thank Drake," certainly turned heads with its authoritative tone. Even in a peaceful climate, the direct invocation of Champagne Papi as an influential figure is bound to stir the pot to some degree. Especially when his own relationship with originality has been a touchy subject.
In direct response to The Times' piece, Phonte of Little Brother weighed in with a take of his own. To be clear, his intention was clearly not to slight Drake, nor his influence on the modern-day generation of melodic rappers. Yet it should not be forgotten that even the influential have been influenced prior, and the proverbial godfathers of the genre deserve their flowers appropriately. If that wasn't made abundantly clear by Phonte's invocation of Thom Yorke's "The Eraser," perhaps his further clarification should settle the matter.
"I’m thankful to make a good living doing what I do and awards/accolades never meant much to me," he writes, in a subsequent Tweet. "But I refuse to let you motherfuckers rewrite history while the ni***s who helped shape it are still breathing." Do you think he's fair to criticize today's perceived dismissal of hip-hop forefathers? Now more than ever should be a time for celebrating the cultural forefathers, even if they may not elicit the biggest click-through rate. For the record, that's not to invalidate the journalistic work of the New York Times, nor Phonte's opinion. But in an age in which digital consumption is at an all-time high, keeping historical tabs feels more important than ever.