Since dropping his album Landlord to mostly positive reviews last week, Giggs posted a video on Instagram celebrating by purchasing it himself in HMV. Yet yesterday, he uploaded a less positive video, responding to an inaccurate and defamatory review of the album published by NME.
In the original article, screenshots of which have been saved to Twitter, writer Louis Pattison reviews Giggs rather than the album, describing him in a stereotypical, amateurish, paint-by-numbers approach to critiquing a rap artist, concentrating on his “old [gang] lifestyle” and his “menacing presence” rather than his wordplay or flow. But the line that really shows the writer’s ineptitude is when he refers to Giggs’ song The Process, describing it as a “particularly unpleasant track that starts like a love song, but ends with a rape.”
— Laura Brosnan (@hyperfrank) August 8, 2016
The line Pattison was referring to is actually sweet, summing up the feelings you get when you’ve been in a long term relationship. “There’s bare thoughts out my mouth / like man hates her / but then I thought a couple things / and man rates her.” Pattison has misheard the line “man rates her” for “man rapes her”, a line that, had it been heard accurately, would have been completely random in the context of the rest of the track.
Obviously, Giggs wasn’t happy. “Now, you’ve put an article out saying that Giggs is a rapist,” Giggs says in the Instagram video he posted in response. “I don’t even want you to write about my f**king album anyway if you’re not going to f**king get it right and listen to the music properly.”
In a second video, Giggs addresses the writer of the article directly, saying “maybe I flew off the handle a bit, maybe I shouldn’t have dissed the whole NME I should have just focused on the writer.” Instead he points out the ludicrousness of him mishearing the lyrics. “Louis, mate, I know you’re listening to the album and thinking ‘fucking savages, gang bangers, they rape women’ and that, but we don’t rape women, mate, if you listen to the song properly.”
It begs the question why music publications allow writers with narrowed and stereotypical views of underground music genres like grime and trap to review albums in that genre. Giggs is a clever lyricist, and a reviewer with a knowledge and understanding of his back catalogue would not immediately be convinced that he’d use rape as poorly constructed plot twist. “I don’t think I’m going to make that beautiful song about a woman and then at the end say ‘then man rapes her’…use your brain,” Giggs says. It’s embarrassing and degrading that Giggs should have to, mid-album promotion, pause to explain this.
NME has since taken down the review and issued an apology, saying “This was gravely inaccurate on our part, and has caused unnecessary pain to Giggs, his management and his fans. We accept all blame for the error, which should never have happened.” But until music publications are committed to assigning experts in black culture and rap art forms to cover our homegrown rap artists, it’s likely that stereotyping reviews like this one will keep appearing.