You can’t really know where you’re headed unless you know where you’ve been. For that reason, we’re taking a look back at Pazz & Jop 2012 to drill down into the ballots of contributors and voters who participated. Maybe amongst the rubble we’ll find clues about what lies ahead for music lovers in 2013. Here, Noisey‘s Drew Millard defends his ballot.
Okay, Mr. Millard. First things first. Tell us who you are and how many times you’ve voted in Pazz & Jop.
Drew Millard: I’m an Assistant Editor at Noisey, which is VICE‘s music blog. I work in Williamsburg, enjoy the rap music, and am wearing a plaid shirt today. This is my first year voting.
What colors are in the plaid, and how did it feel voting for the first time?
Teal/Navy/Yellow/Brown/Light Brown. And I kind of rushed my ballot in a way that I shouldn’t have
Thanks for taking such care with it.
My Pazz ballot was based off of my Passion Of The Weiss year-end ballot, which I spent like five hours on. I think I moved around the singles a bit, but it was a ballot that had a lot going into it, promise! It just doesn’t really make sense to do different lists for different sites! I’d rather have a master list that I adapt for various polls etc.
Okay okay, I believe you. Well, let’s talk about your ballot a little bit. The only non-rap or R&B album in your top 10 is Taylor Swift. What’s up with that?
Well, I really like that Taylor Swift album and I felt like those were the albums that both progressed music a bit in their own way and appealed to me personally. I mainly went off personal appeal but, like, Meek’s the first Philly rapper to go national in a while and that felt important, the Chinx Drugz tape encapsulated a lot of what I enjoy about new NYC rap, Frank felt like he made a successful reach for the canon, etc. And that Taylor Swift record felt in a way like the FutureSex/LoveSounds of pop-country. Maybe the Justified, and the next one will be FutureSex/LoveSoundsM. Am I good at this?
Yeah you’re okay at it I guess. You talked about what went into your decision making, so how did that play into your choice for Future as number one? Why is that your number one record? Isn’t it just a bunch of auto-tuned crap? (NOTE: I like Future)
FUTURE IS THE FUTURE OF MUSIC. RICO WADE GAVE ME MONEY TO SAY THAT.
What else has Rico Wade given you money to say?
I HAVE ACCEPTED AMERICAN CURRENCY TO DEFEND LATE-PERIOD CEE-LO. “FUCK YOU” IS NOT THE ONLY GOOD MODERN CEE-LO SONG. HE HAS ALSO MADE AN ENJOYABLE CHRISTMAS ALBUM.
He’s a great judge on the Voice, too. Explain why Future is the future of music.
THE VOICE IS THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN TELEVISION. IT IS THE DUBSTEP DROP OF VISUAL BASED THINGS.
On some real shit, Future probably isn’t the future of music, but he’s adapting the madcap creativity of the Dungeon Family to modern pop-rap, and it’s something that’s singular and special, and shows a hell of a lot of creativity.
Also, er, FUTURE WEARS SPIKES ON HIS JEAN JACKETS BOTH LITERALLY AND METAPHORICALLY.
Do you think spiking is something we’re going to see more of in rap music?
I WOULD HOPE SO. STUDS AND SPIKES MEAN THAT YOU ARE WEARING A WEAPON. I MEANT TO INCLUDE THE ROAD WARRIOR SOUNDTRACK ON MY BALLOT AND GIVE IT 90 POINTS.
Well, you already told us you half-assed the ballot so a mistake like that isn’t too surprising. Let’s talk about your singles. How many times do you think you tweeted the word “swerve” in 2012?
Oh god. Forty? Fifty?
I feel like that’s low.
Probably not a hundred, but maybe sixty. I did tweet a screencap of my drafts that only contained a bunch of tweets with the word “swerve” in it. That was a meta-swerve I guess?
Because of those tweets, I was pretty surprised “Mercy” only landed at number 9.
Well, I kinda got sick of “Mercy” to be honest
Oh, really? But it still made your Top 10!
Yeah, well, “Mercy” was a movement. And kinda signaled the full ascension of 2 Chainz.
Totally. Let’s talk about 2 Chainz a bit. Even after his somewhat disappointing record, people still love the shit out of him. What is it about 2 Chainz that is so appealing?
2 Chainz gets it on a subatomic level. Literally everything he does is amazing. Also, there was an opening in terms of a ubiquitous cameo-doer in hip-hop after Weezy fell off and his rates went up
Outside of his ridiculous looks and actions, what does he bring to the table as a rapper?
I don’t think 2 Chainz is that ridiculous, actually. I think he’s doing everything in a really calculated manner. Consider his last line on “No Lie”: “YSL belt buckle, y’all n–gas sure is lookin’.” The thing is the way he pronounces it makes it sound like like, “Y’all n–gaz Sho-is Lookin’,” which is an acronym for YSL.
That is some real rap nerd shit right there, and I love it. You reviewed his album for the AV Club, and if I remember correctly, didn’t quite love it like you expected. Is that true? Why do you think he struggled on a solo record?
Because he willfully made a singles album, which I guess is what I should have assumed was going to happen. There’s a lot of great stuff on that album and a lot of hot songs, but then there’s a some dogshit. And it found 2 Chainz adapting himself to beats in ways I haven’t seen him do before. Like, he decided this Young Jeezy song was not, in fact, about selling crack, and instead was about 2 Chainz.
I kind of think 2 Chainz just thinks everything is about 2 Chainz.
That’s fair. I am actually about 2 Chainz.
Well then I guess the 2 Chainz album was a bit feature-heavy for even a major-label rap debut, and also it featured a few unfortunate production decisions. (Read: Mike Posner guest spots, unfortunate use of dramatic rock guitars.)
Do you think 2 Chainz will continue his role as Awesome Guest Verse Guy in 2013?
Erm, maybe. Off the top of my head I think he’s probably the most exciting single-serving rapper since Wayne or Nicki, and it’s not like guys like Tyga or French Montana are exactly known for their punchlines. Maybe people will start throwing money at Earl Sweatshirt? But he seems like he doesn’t really care about getting money so I dunno.
What do you think will be in store for Pazz & Jop 2013?
Pazz & Jop will turn into a resource for cat videos.
I think that will only happen if we get bought by BuzzFeed, which… actually, they probably already own us.
Pazz & Jop will turn into an elaborate system for ranking 2 Chainz guest verses. Pazz & Jop will be struck down and become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Pazz & Jop will be topped by this.
Welp, we’ll go ahead and end on that because I can’t really think of anything else right now except dick puns. Thanks for defending your ballot, Drew Chainz!
Was I a good interview? Did I make you giggle? Did I come off as a smarmy, self-satisfied piece of shit with an overinflated sense of self-worth?
You did. But that’s okay, because, as music writers, we are all Very Important.
Interview by Eric Sundermann.