Metal has nothing to fear from Tiny Doo arrest

tiny_doo-no_safety

A rapper in LA gets indicted on murder charges just for the cover of his rap album. That is what the headlines scream, and among the metal community and its media some are comparing this even to previous onslaughts of music-related censorship like the PMRC days.

That is not the case. The metal media likes to think it is, because it gives them something to write about in the midst of a dearth of events of actual import (versus paid promotions disguised as reporting) and it lets all metalheads feel self-righteous about being warriors for the truth and martyrs for free speech, or something like that.

Even more, the case of Tiny Doo and his album is more complex than a first glance reveals. The album cover was one piece of evidence but the bigger and more important piece was that he was in the gang that did the shooting.

[Tiny Doo] is a documented gang member with a “gang moniker” of TD, according to the San Diego police.

…The evidence against Duncan, Watkins said, consists of his rap album and pictures on a social media page of him and several other defendants.

So now we’ve got three data points: (1) known gang membership, (2) photos of himself with the killers, and (3) an album which promises “no safety” for snitches.

Is there an analogy to this in metal? Certainly: when Burzum named his first EP Aske, put a burned church on the cover, and sold it with a lighter with a burnt church on it, that too could have been considered evidence against him. If he had been in the Crips and had Facebook postings of himself standing among them throwing gang signs, his conviction might have been easier as well.

The point is that the prosecutor is using this album to tie it all together. And really, it fits in well: known gang member hangs out with killers and then puts out an album suggesting that he would hunt down his enemies and shoot them, at least from the cover. (We can hope that he has in fact pulled the ol switcheroo and instead released an album of ambient black metal about the Viking war against Christianity but this is unlikely to be the case).

For these reason, cool your jets about censorship. The case is more complex than the headlines allow, as usual. As our media devolves further into clickbait, rational and thoughtful headlines fly out the window, but even more, good luck expressing anything complex in 72 characters. It is the people who followed up on this with hysteria who should be embarrassed.

No, they are not coming for your metal. They do not need to. Your metal was always at best a tiny movement, a fraction of the sales and activity that big hard rock bands like AC/DC generated. It is not even on their radar for social trends. Further, they have something better than censorship: the genre has been taken over by indie rock. Now all songs are going to be about feelings, disguised in the usual blood ‘n guts material.

Not only that, but if authorities wanted to censor rap music, they would have done so long ago. Rap in the 2010s is like Madonna in the 1980s: everybody listens to it. While many of us consider rap and hip-hop the artistic equivalent of deathcore, and suggest a nice Coltrane live set instead, it is a huge moneymaker that now occupies the most respected position in pop music.

We wish Tiny Doo the best in his upcoming case. He is after all innocent until proven guilty. But metalheads need to chill out and stop seeing this case as the censors versus artistic expression, or a backdoor attempt to take your progressive grindcore with lyrics from ancient Olmec sorcery away from you. Only your Mom can do that.

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16 thoughts on “Metal has nothing to fear from Tiny Doo arrest”

  1. tiny midget says:

    i’m guilty of having sex with a racoon whilst wearing tiny flip flops and reciting shakespeare.
    i’ll take pictures of that and post them on that hi5 site, or maybe myspace…

  2. Degtyarow says:

    “and it lets all metalheads feel self-righteous about being warriors for the truth and martyrs for free speech, or something like that.”

    Kind of like how you took the headline of a methhead who claimed to be a Christian and tried to make it look like Christians were out to persecute metalheads I mean Hessians?

  3. trystero says:

    Online metal journalism is poorer than videogame journalism. It is entirely sensationalist, disconnected from the tastes and even values of the majority and often carries totally spurious stuff. If this Tiny Doo Doo stuff is lighting up conversation on metal websites that is probably more of a sign that they have little else to report on.

    On the other hand, plenty of ostensibly metal websites have openly or underhandedly supported the curtailing of un-PC stuff like Darkens output, NSBM etc. A hypocritical stance.

    1. Nomen Nescio says:

      NSBM is shit anyways (with a few exceptions).

      1. Jim Nelson says:

        It;s the principle of the thing, knucklehead

    2. Weltmacht says:

      “Online metal journalism is poorer than videogame journalism.”

      Yep! Not only that, but both genres are directed at roughly the same readers and are most likely written by the same people (or at the very least the same type of people). The main difference between video game journalism and metal journalism is that the former exists in an industry that actually generates revenue. The paid advertisements masquerading as content reviews alluded to in the main posting are rampant in both fields.

      These types of “controversies” — like Gamergate, that scientist’s stupid shirt, etc. — exist solely to avoid addressing the real issues that exist in a given milieu. Instead of freaking out over whether or not we’re two steps away from the gas chambers because of an album cover, or gossiping about why someone left a band (while simultaneously plugging the musician’s new solo album), metal journalists should be asking questions like:

      – Is metal irredeemably fucked?
      – If so, why?
      – Have digital distribution channels helped or hurt the genre?
      – Why do bands like Dimmu Borgir and Six Feet Under become wildly popular while others that are arguably worthier of praise languish in obscurity?
      – Which artists are helping metal and which ones are killing it?
      – Is it acceptable to shun bands and artists if they profess ideologies that are inimical to one’s own beliefs? Or should we just go with “good music is good music” and deal with it? (An old subject, I know, but at least it’s a more important issue than 90% of the shit that passes for discourse. I can’t believe I seriously feel nostalgic for 2003 when this was a big debate.)

      This is why I’ve always been a fan of DLA. It’s not just a source for album reviews. It’s not a list of numerical scores; you can get those on Amazon.com. I may not 100% agree with everything I read here either in terms of ideas or musical tastes, but at least someone is putting forth the effort to start the conversation.

      1. These are interesting questions:

        – Is metal irredeemably fucked?
        – If so, why?

        The day metalheads start rewarding quality music again is the day metal emerges from its slump. The problem as always is not with the few actors but the many in support roles. Metal “journalism” does not encourage quality, but exists to find new ways to hype whatever the labels are pumping out. Metalheads as a group have become uncriticial of music but especially reward emasculated bands of the indie and metalcore variants. When this reverses, quality will return.

        – Have digital distribution channels helped or hurt the genre?

        Helped, with a caveat. They make it easier for bands to get music out, which means that we’re drowning in music. So paradoxically, the best solution would be for them to help less.

        – Why do bands like Dimmu Borgir and Six Feet Under become wildly popular while others that are arguably worthier of praise languish in obscurity?

        People as a group always prefer what is mentally easy to what is profound.

        – Which artists are helping metal and which ones are killing it?
        – Is it acceptable to shun bands and artists if they profess ideologies that are inimical to one’s own beliefs? Or should we just go with “good music is good music” and deal with it?

        These are topics that deserve full articles. Briefly: I don’t exclude music for being against my worldview. I do lose some respect for the musicians when they lame it up to get brownie points with the herd, which is generally how I see that. It’s lame when bands like Napalm Death endorse ideologies that murdered hundreds of millions and left wastelands in their wake. But I still like Napalm Death.

        As far as bands that help versus hurt, our recent articles have tended toward exploring this direction.

  4. kvlt attakker says:

    Sshhiiiieeeett, mate.

  5. fenrir says:

    “progressive grindcore with lyrics from ancient Olmec sorcery”

    Great

  6. says:

    metalheads don’t let metalheads fear prison

  7. BB says:

    Metal do has to fear something from Invisible Oranges:

    http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2014/11/metal-as-the-second-romantic-renaissance/

    Interesting how they frame metal’s branching out as romantic. Could you guys write a rebuttal?

      1. My take on Dave Grohl — who’s quite a nice guy, albeit a bit into public image — is that he’s one of those “it’s all rock n’ roll to me” sorts of artists. He can translate anything into part of his vision of rock and so in his mind, it is all part of the same. He’s also surrounded by hipsters who may cloud his judgment.

  8. Richard Head says:

    I have no idea what Tiny Doo is because as a metalhead I don’t fucking read music sites to keep up on gossip about who is being indicted for what and also don’t care about some worthless rap zombie’s new album or legal troubles. Christ on a cross. The irrelevance is staggering. If this sort of topic concerns you as a metalhead then you need to go camping or something away from all the he-said-she-said celebrity drama-porn journalism brain-drain.

    Yes I’m mad.

  9. justsaying says:

    “We wish Tiny Doo the best in his upcoming case.”

    And I wish him the worst. In a sane society we wouldn’t even give these wannabe gangsters a trial–just take them in one day and hang them the next day. Scumbags.

  10. Anthony says:

    I didn’t even know that this was a thing. I think that this old Roman dude Lucretius put it best: “How pleasant it is, when the sea is lashed and churned by gales, to watch from the shore while someone at sea struggles to keep afloat. This is not because I derive any pleasure from someone else’s sufferings, but because it is delightful to realize that I have no similar problems. Equally, it is pleasant to look down on two great armies facing one another on the battlefield when you yourself are in no danger. But nothing is more delightful than to be high up in Reason’s calm temple, protected by the teaching of wise men, and to look down and see other men wandering about, searching vainly for a way of life.”

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