After a rather ominous “greatest hits” post on Friday, Tom Breihan has officially announced the end of his blog, Status Ain’t Hood. Obviously, this isn’t the end of Tom Breihan’s music criticism, so there’s no need to get too upset, not that such an event should be too upsetting anyway, but I do want to stop for a moment and pay a little tribute to one of my favorite music blogs.

Tom Breihan is not always the best critic. He is pretty self-absorbed, and he ranked “Party Like A Rockstar” as one of his favorite tracks from last year, despite the fact that it is pretty much the worst song ever made. In fact, he routinely stakes out praiseworthy stances of trashy, overproduced commercialized rap tracks. However, I like reading Tom Breihan’s blog because at heart, he’s pretty similar to me. That is, he’s an indie kid who fell in love with the world of hip hop, even though he is perennially forced to observe it as an outsider. This presents problems, since he often seems condescendingly amused by rapper antics, but I can forgive him because rappers do a lot of ridiculous things. Also, he’s just about the only voice in the mainstream music criticism establishment who sincerely likes Southern rap. As a fellow lover of the genre, I can’t help but be drawn to him.

I don’t always agree with Tom Breihan, but I like to read his opinions because he is one of the most cogent voices in hip hop criticism. Compared to some of the almost laughably obtuse reviews on HipHopDX or the repetitiousness of Okayplayer, even Tom Breihan’s dumbest moments seem pretty inspired. And most of the time, he’s right on. Even though I didn’t really like 8 Diagrams when it came out, I realized after a while that his review was pretty much right. Likewise, I came around, after a while, to really liking Tha Carter III despite my first impressions. He usually makes pretty valid points, and he likes a lot of the same artists I do for a lot of the same reasons (Kanye, Lil’ Wayne, Ghostface Killah, UGK). Most importantly, as he pointed out, the (sort of) new T.I. track is absolutely awesome.

As an occasional music blogger and reviewer, I certainly respect Tom Breihan’s ability to write consistently interesting and well-written blog posts, and I will be sad to see Status Ain’t Hood go, even if Tom Breihan will still be writing all over the internet and kind of annoys me. Also, his blog was pretty much the most interesting thing that the Village Voice had to offer. I don’t want to be lumping too much praise on some music blogger, though, so let me pose this post as a challenge to the internet: write some interesting hip hop criticism. Otherwise, I’m going to be stuck reading stupid Byron Crawford posts on XXL, and I don’t really have any interest in doing that.

-Kyle

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