There’s been a shift in alternative culture, and I believe Drizzy is to blame.
2009. What a time to be alive! On any given night in that fateful year, I could be found, tying up my Jeffrey Campbell Litas, over my fishnets, under my studded jean skirt, paired with my oversized Joy Division t-shirt and my fur coat. I’d done it. I was a hipster. Back then (and now), being a hipster wasn’t necessarily a “great” thing to be called. Generally, it meant you came off as a snobby, pretentious know-it-all who gave the air that they were more sophisticated than you, by dressing not sophisticated at all. Fashion = anti-fashion type thinking.
A hipster in Toronto, to my knowledge, used to listen to indie rock music, like MGMT or something, and be found in a few clutch neighbourhoods: Bloor West, Little Italy, Kensington or Queen West. I spent 4/7 nights a week at Sneaky Dee’s. I was alternative! My friends from high school would come downtown on Christmas break and be like, “how do you hang out in this shit hole?” And I’d be all like, “I’m a hipster, baby! This shit hole is my life!”
The joke was really on hipsters though, because by partaking in the culture of hipster, you were not being a hipster. There was a certain unoriginality to this shtick. However, it was a shtick I was comfortable with, because it appealed to my lust for wearing whatever I wanted, reading old books, and listening to all ages of rock music.
So what has changed? Great question! I don’t really know the answer, but I have noticed there has been a shift in Toronto alternative culture, and I’m pretty sure it’s all Drake’s fault.
Listen guys, I like Drake as much as the next person. In fact, if I had a hall pass with my pretend boyfriend, it’s a 50/50 toss up as to whether I’d use it on Drake, or Jax from Sons of Anarchy — I’ve got an eclectic palate, what can I say. But Drake has introduced some type of wacko-culture to our city that I swear just sort of came to fruition one day. The hipsters have been replaced… with 6ix Gods.
There weren’t always 6ix Gods running rampant in the streets, am I wrong? Or was I just young and naive and only went to one bar, so I didn’t see them walking around?
In terms of trying to be individual without being individual, I feel like 6ix Gods and hipsters are relatively on par— the defining factor between which side to choose would be what fashion and music you like better. The issue I take with the 6ix God culture, that does not seem as apparent in the hipster culture (and of course it’s possible that maybe I just know the hipster culture better and therefore feel more comfortable there), is that there is a certain competitive nature to it. Which I guess makes sense, as RnB and Rap music generally focus on messages of being the best, undefeated, getting girls, getting YOUR girl, getting laid, getting (the best) drugs, getting more faded than you, getting more lifted than you, having more money than you, I have bottle service, AND YOU DON’T, kind of thing.
The point of being a hipster, contrary to popular belief, was never being better than someone. It could be that you wanted to be worse than someone. You just had to be different, and strive for individuality. It had nothing to do with having more money, being more successful, being smarter, living in a certain location, having a significant other, or being single. Anything could be celebrated in hipster culture as long as it was individual and by default, alternative, and most importantly, as long as YOU were behind it. The trick to being a hipster truly is, to not care. “She’s in a polyamorous relationship and she only wears beige.” It’s not supposed to be BETTER, it’s just supposed to BE. Hipster-like activities also supported this mentality: looking weird, eclectic, finding random fashion deep within the realms of the internet (Tumblr) and wearing it, looking for the person that will recognize it and getting a high off of that phenomenon, dancing like a maniac to garage rock at Sneaky Dee’s, the Hideout, Cherry Cola’s. I guess what I’m TRYING to say is, there is no wrong way to be a hipster, but it seems that there is a more limited way to be a 6ix God. I feel its ideals are contradictory — mainly, it seems to promote competition and not individuality. And if everyone is supposed to be on the same level, how do you compete or be celebrated? How are you individual if you’re mainstream?
Hipsters: the point is to NOT be mainstream. I feel like there’s more options there.
And hey, I COULD BE WRONG ABOUT ALL OF THIS! It’s just something I’ve noticed lately. I may just be a huge loser who’s behind the times and doesn’t “get it”. Maybe I’ve aged prematurely. Or maybe I’m absolutely fucking right and we need to make hipsters mainstream again, who THE HELL is with me?
Please feel free to comment on this phenomenon. Would love to know if I’m alone in this. I’m sure I will continue to “dive in” to topics such as this.