Bladee and the Resonance of Drain Gang
April 19, 2019
Why has Bladee, and #DrainGang by extension, resonated with the right-wing Twittersphere? What about his music lends Bladee and his branding to a reactionist perspective? His resonance can be attributed to the #DrainGang ethos and the extent to which this ethos aligns so closely with many twitter user’s, and Baudrillard’s, critiques of modern life.
In a 2018 Vice interview, Bladee provides a concrete definition of #Drain. “#Drain is about loss and gain; it could be good or bad — you could be drained of energy or you could drain something to gain energy. There’s financial, emotional and physical drains…” The constant inflating and deflating of finances, emotional stability, and physical well-being is a fundamental trait of modern America. Absurdly high medical costs paired with nonsensical profits on Wall Street, as well as the discovery of a vast network of peers on social media coupled and the arbitrary bans that rip individuals from their peer group, are relevant to and prevalent within the dissident right on Twitter and elsewhere. Above all, Bladee speaks to a loss of permanence. #Drain does not maintain, nor does it settle. There is no stability in modern America, and there is no stability in the music or ethos of Bladee.
Bladee’s musical aesthetic, a mixture of autotune and echoing dancehall beats, mimics modernity’s immolation of its common set of values. The death of god, the collapse of anything resembling a common narrative, and the corporatization of the American state have all created a culture that more closely resembles Baudrillard’s ‘carnival of mirrors’ than any meaningful community.
“a carnival of mirrors reflecting images projected from other mirrors onto the omnipresent television and computer screen and the screen of consciousness, which in turn refers the image to its previous storehouse of images also produced by simulatory mirrors. Caught up in the universe of simulations, the “masses” are “bathed in a media massage” without messages or meaning, a mass age where classes disappear, and politics is dead, as are the grand dreams of disalienation, liberation, and revolution.”
An auto tuned crooner is the perfect soundtrack to an America more concerned with transgender bathrooms than stagnant wages, an America focused on the carnival at the detriment of the community. Bladee’s message is nothing; his goals are empty. There is no ‘media massage’ more befitting modern America than Bladee, and we are lucky to have an artist that befits our era.
Autotune use is the hall of mirrors reflecting upon itself