“I get why certain industries have high barriers of entry. Look what happened to the DJ industry.”
I chuckled when I saw this tweet on my timeline. Usually, I hate when Twitter shows me tweets based on what the people I follow like but this time, I actually chuckled because I’m pretty sure we’ve all felt like that about whatever we do for a living or for pleasure.
Disclaimer: I am an advocate for being a multi-disciplinary person. Do whatever you are curious about. Sometimes something sticks. Sometimes it was fun for the moment. Sometimes it’s not fun at all once you actually try it. The point is: life is too short to live dormant.
But today, I almost didn’t want to have that stance. I switched on our YouTube app and it recommended a video that surprised me. A show called The People’s Party. Hosted by Talib Kweli. Essentially, it’s a podcast where the rapper interviews famous people.
My initial thought was: whyyyyy?
Then I thought maybe that was the hater in me and proceeded to put on an episode where Kweli talks to Lamar Odom about his book. I thought: “nope, you’re not a hater, this is wack.”
To be clear, I don’t believe you have to be a journalist or media personality to be a good interviewer. Those things can help because you’re trained to speak to other people, but they aren’t the prerequisite. What is? To me, anyway, one of the prerequisites is the ability to hold an interesting conversation.
And Kweli is boring as hell because he lacks that ability. Add to that, a guest like Lamar who, in general, isn’t someone who likes to talk a lot and it’s a recipe for WTF. You’re interviewing someone for an audience. It’s not enough to just be famous. You have to be able to have a conversation. I especially hated when Kweli started a question with “do you think that…”
It’s so leading. Like the guest has to answer in the affirmative. So why have the guest if we’re listening to your covert opinions recited back to you?
It reminded me of how much I hated when Cassper Nyovest started his questions to Nadia Nakai like that. Again, another rapper conducting interviews on camera. Initially, I thought the Cass interview was simply part of Nadia’s marketing roll out plan for her debut album, Nadia Naked. But I definitely didn’t want to see him interview anyone ever again. Not as a real show, anyway. And that’s because being on the other side of the interview isn’t his forte.
I’m pretty sure these two rappers aren’t the only ones who have paused what we know them for – actually rapping – to “create content.” Let’s all sigh together. Obviously, it’s because I am an interviewer that I find it so jarring to see this happen. And that’s why that tweet resonated with me. The barrier for entry when it comes to being an interviewer is pretty much non existent.
And to repeat: if you’re good at it, regardless of your disposition, please keep doing it. But if it’s just another way for you to occupy a public space now that your music is not receiving widespread love, then please, please just don’t do it.
What do you think? Am I being too sensitive?