How does an artist affect the way their art is perceived?

Brendan Hall

Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of the Broward County Polic Department

Throughout the entertainment world, a common thread that is discussed is about separating the art of an artist to their personality. This is usually driven by scandals that the artists and entertainers catch themselves into. Multi-talented artist Chris Brown is one of those artists who has a past plagued with legal trouble and controversy. Many thought of the young artist’s past as something that was problematic In 2009, Brown was charged with domestic abuse against his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.

But,  there are another group of people who wish to separate the content from the artist because they believe the consumers will make superficial judgments and dictate the quality of their creative ability.

Someone who follows this belief is the enigmatic rapper and producer, MF DOOM. DOOM is well-known in the underground hip-hop scene due to his incredible rhyming ability that few have been able to replicate. However, what is even more compelling is his persona. DOOM wears a mask to cover his face to rebel against the culture of consumers putting emphasis on anything about the artists besides their art.

DOOM’s rebellion is intriguing and raises a fair point there is still validity in having interest in the artist’s personality.

On the contrary, Youtube commentator “D Respect” is someone who finds the artist as a person crucial to their art. i. He often discusses his opinion on rappers and Hip-Hop culture on his Youtube channel. In one video, Respect stated his thoughts on Rapper Earl Sweatshirt, analyzing Sweatshirt’s awkward personality and claimed it, “Outlives the actual work of the artist.” While this may come across as unfair to some, he was able to make an excellent point, defending his choice. D Respect stated, “Why are we supposed to divide the artist from the work as if one isn’t a cause of the other?”

SLA Junior and avid music follower Avi Cantor was interviewed about this topic and served as a middle ground for the controversial topic.

He stated, “If it mattered what they do outside of music then I’d be lying.” He elaborated on this statement giving examples of artists who have been accused of gruesome charges such as XXXtentacion (he was accused of domestic abuse). He also stated that wouldn’t listen to anyone that had intense charges of battery assault or possession of a weapon. However, during the latter portion of the interview, he admitted that the personal struggles of Kid Cudi helped him connect with his music. This helped him feel attached to Cudi’s music persona than most other acts.

It is truly impossible to come to an overall answer to this question. However what is interesting about the music industry is that their art is usually very personal. This is why music gives a sense of persona that acting does not. Since that is true it is difficult to ignore an artist’s personal life entirely. On the contrary, when an artist doesn’t make personal music it comes across as superficial to make judgments about their life.

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