Arts & Culture
STANTON | On Hip-Hop and Nostalgia
Nostalgia — that seemingly endless pool of artistic inspiration — motivates at least half (by my less-than-scientific calculation) of this year’s major pop culture moments, from Netflix’s Stranger Things all the way to Frank Ocean’s Blond(e). As source material, it’s a tricky beast, at its best capable of drawing on shared memories to remind us what made something great in the first place. At its worst, though, nostalgia invites a kitschy reimagining of the past that too often morphs into revisionist history. Perhaps nowhere is this division more hotly debated than in the realm of hip-hop, a former subculture whose influence now runs far beyond its original parameters, sparking important questions as to how it should continue to evolve while remaining true to its roots. “No one alive can name me one rapper that was bigger than the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC or Spice Girls was in the 90s and mean it,” asserted rapper Vince Staples in a recent interview with Noisey.