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The Working-Class, Anti-Trump Anger of Detroit Rapper Chris Orrick

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Chris Orrick.

Pop musicians are often dismissive of critics. From Ariana Grande to Young Jeezy, performers want to let you know that they don’t care, and that their response to criticism is “fuck the haters.” Artists like to inspire their listeners by telling you they’re impervious, free, and powerful.

Detroit rapper Chris Orrick takes a different approach on his new album, Out to Sea. The song “Wallow Too Hard” is about a negative review. But Orrick doesn’t dis his detractor. Instead, he admits that the criticism hurt his feelings:

I saw a critic say I wallow too hard…
I took it like a fucking knife to the heart.
I know most people won’t treat it with that same type of regard
They got a job to do, and I don’t blame them for it.

Rather than eviscerate the critic with a couple of barbed lyrics, Orrick swings immediately from his own anger to a point of common ground: The critic is just another worker trying to hump along, like Orrick himself.

Making apologies for one’s haters is unusual in America, especially in 2019. But it’s typical for Orrick. In fact, his willingness to listen to other people, and to see himself from their perspective, is one of the hallmarks of his music, his career, and his politics. At a time when working-class anger is supposed to be driving white people to hatred, Orrick’s experiences lead him to solidarity.

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