NEW YORK, NY. — With an American Spirit in one hand and an iPhone with a cracked screen in the other, local barista Tyler Johnson continues his five-minute lecture on artists you should listen to. You’ve reminded him multiple times that you know all of the artists, but your participation doesn’t seem to deter him. In fact, he seems more focused on adjusting his beanie than the actual human being in front of him.
“Yeah, Death Grips are a pretty revolutionary band,” he expounds for the fifth time. “They pretty much changed the face of music as we know it with The Money Store. You should check it out sometime.”
You remind him again that, yes, you’re familiar with Death Grips and quite enjoy The Money Store. You’ve seen them in concert multiple times. Nevertheless, he continues to suggest artists to you as though you’ve only recently had your hearing restored after suffering hearing loss as a casualty of war.
“Tyler the Creator’s a pretty influential artist to me, too. I know we’re only like halfway through the year, but IGOR is definitely album of the year for me. You should listen to him, but maybe start with Flower Boy. It’s more accessible, and stuff like Goblin might be too controversial for your tastes. Personally, I really get Goblin which I know not a lot of people do.” (You’ve been a fan of Tyler since Bastard.)
He suggests you listen to Glitter. (You know Glitter because it’s your favorite song. )He continues to ignore you as he sucks on his everlasting American Spirit and blows the smoke slightly to the left of your eyes.
“Yeah so like, these are Balenciagas, right?” He gestures to his shoes again. You can feel your eyes rolling farther back in your head than they’ve ever been before. He adjusts his orange beanie to ensure that it sits just above his ears. You suddenly feel an overwhelming urge to punch him in the face.
“Like, I like them just fine, but I want something more cutting-edge like Yeezys. Kanye’s so influential in my life. He’s seriously changed how I look at music and fashion forever.”
In a hurried frenzy, you order an Uber as he continues to rave about Kanye West’s influence and his extensive collection of records. You silently pray to yourself that the Uber’s just around the corner. (It isn’t.)
“Hey, so what are you doing after this? I just got In An Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel on record. We should totally go over to my apartment and listen to it. I know you probably haven’t heard of them, but like, they changed the face of indie music as we know it.”
You laugh uncomfortably and try to brush it off, changing the topic to music again as he takes another drag from his Spirit that, yes, is still lit.
“Yeah I’m a big fan of BROCKHAMPTON, too. They’re sort of the modern day OutKast. They fell off a little bit after they kicked out Ameer, but Saturation 2 is still legendary. Have you listened to them?” (You conclude that, on the list of densest objects in the world, this dude’s brain tops the charts.)
At long, long last, your Uber arrives. As you begin to slowly walk away, mumbling an incomprehensible excuse that is studiously ignored by your conversation partner, you see that he’s begun lecturing the air about “real” music and fashion.
“I cuff my pants because I want to stay on the forefront of fashion. It really matches my carefree aesthetic I’m going for. I’ve had a lot of difficulty in my life – a full ride to MICA isn’t the privilege everyone thinks it is, so I have to work to stay innocent. Hey, wait up! I didn’t get to tell you about my lord and savior Lil Peep!”