Nothing exists in pop culture without a mutation. Artists have borrowed (or happily stolen) from their contemporaries for centuries, but with the way in which the meme culture spreads raucously online, every part of today's pop art (rap songs, Marvel characters, memorable scenes of Bravo's reality shows) ends up being reused by fans through Add. A 25 second clip of The real Blac Chyna is reformulated as an Oscar-worthy performance On twitter. The Netflix psychological dating drama Your Find an amazing resonance on YouTube, where it became a "bonnet" parody of several episodes shared in group texts. "The truth hurts" of Lizzo acquires a new meaning through innumerable homemade videos. The mutation is becoming increasingly corrosive in TikTok, where white teenagers recklessly ridicule black culture under hashtags like #CripWalk and #Ghetto. These alterations live as fragments, shining shrapnel in an ecosystem of cultural products in constant expansion, but they also point out how art acquires a new meaning, both in fantastic and poisonous ways, when it is modified by others, especially on the Internet.
The question of creating culture from mutations, particularly when made by fans, is that the end is never clear or predictable. A song like "Old Town Road" experiences its first life on SoundCloud, where it loads. Then it catches fire in TikTok, where it becomes a worldwide trend. The trend feeds on another bubbly phenomenon on Twitter, The Black Yeehaw Agenda, both now playing with each other. As a result, other lost digital ephemeral are absorbed by this disturbing body: fashion photos of the NBA player Chris Paul, a random clip of someone's father"All of them conversing with each other." All of them help create a larger macro-narrative.
Online, pop art is mainly experienced through a contextual lens. Only, instead of focusing the culture, it becomes blurred and complicated, it becomes a sponge. However, over time, it gives us a better understanding of the world around us. That's why a burst of TikToks can crystallize better, more than any music critic, the ingredient-rich production of "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish. Or why a scene from The circle, the shameless Netflix reality series about Internet users who consume fame, is able to capture with force the essence of application connection culture at once Today, the speed at which we consume the culture demands that you live through context, infinitely applicable. It is art, and the perpetual experience of art, in overload.
Sometimes art is created for this same reason: to go viral. Drunk costumes, or even the artists themselves, want to seize the moment and reach as many people as possible. That is just a business. But a documentary by Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber does not add much to his own work, nor to the broader narrative. Occasionally, however, art that sustains itself is created, proof that the main vessel needs no addition. The only context for it is itself. The newly released albums of Kesha and Lil Wayne exemplify this. Logs work differently: in Highway, Kesha offers a carousel of atomic party hymns, where Funeral he finds Lil Wayne taking advantage of his demigod state of rap in the late 2000s, but both are human in every way one would expect: real, messy and surprisingly moving.
Funeral He is the best of the two, especially since he presents Wayne in a glorious polyphonic: swinging between his most associative freestyle AutoTuned gurgle and pop avant-garde, all about thick trap beats, syrupy beats, occasional blooms of souls and hard, fresh granite . Choose: "Harden", "Mamma Mia", the "Mahogany" produced by Mannie Fresh, or the last minute of "Piano Trap", each one is Wayne on top of the mountain. The vulnerability reports some of the toughest edges of the album; it goes through the use of drugs, health problems and past mistakes with what seems to be more consistent than it has been able to gather in previous projects.
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