“So what do we lose by shedding the hater-troll dynamic?”
“Listening to Kanye West makes me want to buy a bunch of expensive shit I can't afford with credit cards.”
Secondly, and more importantly, I think what we lose in the shedding of the hater-troll dynamic is the Symbolic mediator of the socialized Ego. The sublimation of this Ego (as culture) keeps the unholy matrimony of the Id (as drive) and the Superego (as desire) at bay, through a minimum veil of Symbolic appearances which are not “merely” appearances—in that although the Symbolic ego does not “exist” in reality, it nevertheless makes reality “consist.”
The Ego Ideal in hip hop is the result of a hermeneutic horizon that Rakim describes as “knowing the ledge,” where the reality principle of black disenfranchisement functions as the grounds for hip hop as a generative cultural movement. It serves as the ontological basis for the structural antagonism between the "inauthentic hater" and the "authentic b-boy" with aesthetic style, in a game of appearances where Symbolic cultural capital (via “signifying,” props, and respect) is created and exchanged over and above that of the disruptive “Real” of quantitative monetary capital.
Who is authentic or inauthentic, the b-boy or the hater, is here of little consequence in the ontological sense. The one can only exist by virtue of his antagonism with the Other; they are locked in a perpetual game of appearances and aesthetics one-upsmanship, which in it's wake creates its own universe of signifiers and meanings: in essence, a culture.
Hip hop here is a life-world that exists not only in spite of, but precisely because of, it's exclusion from neoliberal capital, via what Jeff Chang describes as "the politics of abandonment".
I see aesthetic style as establishing, at the very least, a minimum of Symbolic distance between the signifier and the signified. It’s that space (-) between re-presentation, where the one who swaggers is not yet overdetermined by his swagger. However, as soon as we enter the stage of swagger as being performative (and as performative being), the distance between signifier and signified collapses into the “Sign”—namely that of capital—and it’s liquidation of bodies and the Symbolic life-world into speculative dollar value, where money as Image is paradoxically the only thing that “matters.”
This inevitably results in more pain than pleasure, even and especially at the expense of one’s own well-being in the absence of a "reality principle". To put it crudely, it’s akin to an erection “which lasts for more than 4 hours,” where you can have too much of a good thing. With capitalist utopia, you must be careful what you wish for, because you always get more than you bargain for.
Hip Pop as the End of History
Hip Pop not only speaks to a Hegelian synthesis of the hater-troll dynamic, in which the latter consumes the former in a flattened ontology of Image = swagger = Capital (precisely sans the Symbolic/cultural realm of the socialized Ego); but it also speaks to capitalism as the mode of an “End of History,” precisely through the liquidation of culture in favor of a solipsistic individualism overdetermined by the mystification of consumption as production (i.e, a defanged hipsterdom).
In order to do the work of representing, one does not merely copy what once was. Here we must take our cue from Pusha T, who states:
The game can't go by just followin the leaders
You gotta be better than the ones who precede you
Upgrade them, upstage them
Change the whole body shape and just update them, Pagans (Pusha T, Alone In Vegas)
2. we are at war, "Biggie and Pac" May 18, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.