Editorial: We need to talk about gatekeeping
The Metal community has done it again! Well, let's be fair, a small but sadly very vocal part of the community. The passing of rap legend DMX has caused a stir amongst the gatekeepers of metal, who would have you believe they don't care about rap and hip-hop or anyone from that scene but paradoxically, they sure do have a lot to say about it.
So what exactly has the elitists up in arms again? Well, the sheer audacity of rock and metal sites and social media accounts paying tribute and respects to one of the most iconic artists of the past two decades and change. Yes, X is "not a metal artist" but this shouldn't matter, the mentality that our community can only focus on bands and artists within it is just absurd. Plenty of artists from the scene have paid their own tributes because they see the bigger picture, something, sadly, a number of "fans" can't.
I don't and probably never will understand the mentality behind this attitude that if you're a "true" metalhead then you can't even acknowledge any other genre or listen to anything outside of metal. This closed-minded and frankly bigoted view is laughable. Anyone calling themselves a "true" metalhead (or whatever they refer to themselves as) would understand the link between metal and hip hop, it's a real thing, wherever they like it or not.
The most obvious example of this link would be Ice T, a hugely successful rapper, decades of experience and records under his belt and the frontman of Body Count (who were a hit at Wacken festival 2019) a band he started to express his love of metal, the guy is a huge Slayer fan, working with the likes of Max Cavalera, Jamey Jasta, Amy Lee, Dave Mustaine and the late Riley Gale, concrete proof genres can co-exist. Then there is Travis Barker, drummer, producer and all-around creative force. Barker now produces hip-hop but still holds respect from the rock world for his contributions.
Then there is Cypress Hill, the hip-hop/rap titans have worked with the likes of Fear Factory alongside releasing their own heavy tracks 'Trouble' instantly comes to mind. in addition they have played predominantly rock festivals to huge crowds. Another shining example would beTech N9ne who's worked with Johnathan Davis, Corey Taylor and Serj Tankian or there is Slipknot's Sid Wilson, not only a Jungle DJ outside of Slipknot but also a rising hip-hop producer and let's not forget Ozzy himself teaming up with Post Malone, granted Ozzy may have not known exactly who Post was but they pulled off an impressive track none the less and Ozzy showed his open mind to work with other artists, Post himself has expressed his love for metal many a time. I could go on and on before I even touch the subject of Trap Metal which is fast becoming a huge sub-genre in its own right or the Hardcore genre that blurs lines ever further.
The point I'm looking to make and the reason I've sat down behind my keyboard is simple, the gatekeeping, elitist bullshit has to end. We've been here before, not so long ago either. Remember R&B vocalist and dancer Zaria who's big on Tik-Tok? She dared to wear a Metallica shirt. Called out by neanderthals to "Name three songs" only for her to shred through Metallica's catalogue on guitar, including some deep cuts, those in the comments just looked worse and worse the more she slew them, clearly, that wasn't a learning point.
Sadly this week it's the same with the passing of DMX, the kids are back with shouts of "He's not metal" or "Why are you covering this?" blah blah blah, the more you "more metal than metal" guys talk, the dumber you look, by trying to put others to the sword for their apparent crimes against metal, you just prove how little you know and how ignorant to music as an art form for you are. By attacking others you simply project your own insecurities on to the victim and everyone knows it, now run along and pretend you've never even tapped your foot to 'X Gon' Give It To Ya'
Rest easy X