Abe Beame checks his pockets when Harmony Korine is in the room.
The Follow is an interview series I plan on putting out occasionally, or frequently, or maybe never again, in which I basically just talk to the people I enjoy following online who are willing to talk to me for a while. It will be about what they come to Twitter for, how they cultivate their online personas, the things they feel passionate enough to contribute to the infinite discourse on this app, and why they feel the need to do it. And on a basic level, it will be two people on Zoom shooting the shit.
What does it mean to be “good” at being online? I would imagine there is no one answer. The cool kids on “Trump Aunt Twitter” probably deploy an entire bag of jokes, tricks, and rhetorical feints we couldn’t fathom. So I think we all have to find our own lodestar, to define what social media success means for ourselves. For me, in my remote corner of middle-aged media rap/basketball/movie Twitter, it looks a lot like the great Harold Bingo.
Harold has the most muscular ears on the internet. He’s immune to the prejudices of taste that typically confine mere mortal music consumers to distinct regions, styles or eras. He is encyclopedic in his knowledge and wide open in terms of genre, sub-genre, and micro-genres of rap he’s into. His feed, where he posts whatever new artists and songs he’s fucking with throughout the day, many times a day, nearly every day, does the work that was once done for me in my life by The Box, Yo MTV Raps, Future Flavas on Hot 97, and any number of mixtape DJs in the late 90s and early 2000s. Stated simply, he puts me up on game. He’s earned my trust in his sonic palette, and a repost from him is the 2022 equivalent of a Flex Bomb in my childhood, which is why his feed is more than a personal social account, it’s a public utility.
But he’s more than a human algorithm. Harold has a deep and intimate understanding of the deeply fucked and potentially harmful ways we discuss and debate culture on the internet. He has the response time of an Olympic sprinter when an egregious, dangerous, or annoying poster drops a cringeworthy take. He’s ready for war but not mean spirited, not histrionic, and doesn’t get unnecessarily snarky or combative, but he’s willing to engage with the worst of us on their own terms and that’s one of the many reasons he has an impeccable online Q ratings and followers who love and respect him.
As you can imagine, when he actually decides to write for this site and others (which he doesn’t do nearly enough), he’s very good at it, and is one of my favorite people to spark yet another debate over ranked Nas albums when bored on a Tuesday afternoon. So I had to translate our occasional back and forths in replies to a real life (over Zoom) hourlong convo about rap nerd inside baseball, and a very meta debate about the rules on engagement online, and what it all means.
(Author’s Note: This interview has been edited and condensed to make me sound like less of an asshole)
(Second Author’s Note: Harold and I were shmoozing a bit before I hit record, and I thought this opening before we got into the “actual” interview was interesting so we’re drifting in, Marc Maron style)
Harold Bingo: I’ve been reading the series, and I really like the one y’all did with Lawrence.
They’ve all been interesting in different ways but particularly for our conversation today, Lawrence has a specialization that I feel like literally nobody else has.
Harold Bingo: Right! That’s the problem right now, it’s like, everyone wants to skim the cream off the top of every regional scene, but it’s like no, you need those people who are deep in the trenches who can give you more context for everything.
Alright, well that’s as good an intro as any. I might use some of that, if you don’t mind.
Harold Bingo: (Laughs) No worries!
I follow a lot of professional music critics and writers, but I think you probably listen to more music than anyone on my timeline. How many hours of music do you listen to a day?
Harold Bingo: It honestly depends. It depends on, when I’m with my son, I’m trying to expose him to all kinds of stuff.
I can assure you it will all end with him listening to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” 30 times a day.
Harold Bingo: (Laughs) Yeah, well. In a given day I can listen to 8-12 hours easily.
Harold Bingo: I work from home too which definitely plays a big role in that. I can throw on music whenever I want.
And you know, I usually have on music when I’m working or writing or whatever, but it’s not necessarily stuff I even want to engage with. And I think a lot of people, particularly my age have that relationship with it. It’s like the time to explore music is dedicated time, and particularly when you’re writing about it it’s work. It just seems to me that you have to be dedicating an incredible amount of time to it because of the breadth and the variety of shit you are posting or writing about, which I find really admirable.
Harold Bingo: YouTube is definitely good for that. It’s like once you get started, you click on one person and it’s like, “Oh this person’s music is cool.” Then you burn through a few songs and it’s like, “Oh shit, they have a song with this guy.” It’s like a never ending rabbithole you can fall into.
So YouTube is your primary source for discovering new music?
Harold Bingo: Yeah, I’m definitely on the homepage everyday like, “Alright, what do you guys got for me today?”
Training the algorithm.
Harold Bingo: Right. There’s so many artists that just aren’t really good at keeping us up to date so it’s like “Oh so and so dropped a tape last week? I had no idea” And YouTube will tell me faster than the other services because a lot of artists don’t always put everything right on Apple or Spotify or whatever.
where were you when Drake invented drill music
— . (@HaroldBingo) February 11, 2018
It’s funny you say that because I was literally talking to Sam Hadelman about sample drill an hour ago, and in the middle of our conversation he was like, “Oh shit, did you know Shawny Binladen dropped a tape last night?” I had no idea and, you know, we’re both pretty close to the scene, so I totally get it.
Harold Bingo: Yeah, if Sam doesn’t know something dropped–
Yes! He reps some of the bigger artists! I made a list of the last ten artists you posted: Dom Kennedy, YSR Gramz, Curren$y, Camp Lo, Young Dolph, Rob49, ChinaTownRunner, Iayze? (Author’s Note: I completely fucked up the pronunciation.)
Harold Bingo: You’re supposed to say it “Jayce”.
Jayce, ok. Roscoe P. Coldchain, and Nigo. So that’s Cali, Michigan, New Orleans, New York, Denver, Fort Worth, Philly, and Japan. This is a dumb and vague question, but with that range, is there any unifying quality that appeals to you in the incredibly diverse music you respond to and post. It can be something as essential as an “energy”, an “attitude”, anything.
Harold Bingo: For me it’s a boldness. Because now, there’s so much stuff, it’s really hard for something to jump out at you. So it’s a natural process. Because sometimes you’ll daze out for 10-15 minutes and it all kind of blends together, but then you hear something and it’s like, “Oh shit! Who’s that?” And then you single them out and look into what they got going on.
Like Rob49 would be a good example. He’s somebody who- the Michigan guys are really good. They’ll teach you about all the regions if you let them because they collaborate all over the place. I learned about EST before he really blew up because Sada Baby did a song with him.
So Rob49 is somebody where it’s like, “Oh he did a song with Babyface Ray.” And then I click over on his “Suggested” and it’s like, boom, his stuff is good. And it goes from there.
And then of course production. I feel like people praise the same handful of producers but there’s so much good production out there. That’s something that will grab me quick too. If you’re using production that is interesting. Especially now that we’re in the two bar, sad guitar loop era.
— . (@HaroldBingo) April 9, 2022
I have written in my notes, “I fucking love Rob49” (Laughs). I like that idea though. When there’s so much content and there’s so much noise coming at you, it’s almost like this Darwinism that favors the artist that cuts through the noise being the person you tend to latch onto. I think that’s what we’re really talking about: The difference between active listening and passive listening. When I was 12, if you could’ve explained to me that one day your phone would have every album ever made on demand, my head would’ve exploded. But as a result of that, the amount you’re able to lock into has declined, for most of us.
So I hate the idea of a Top 5, but I’ll limit it to here, right now, at this moment could you generate Top 5 rappers and Top 5 albums?
Harold Bingo: Of all time? I have three that would be in my Top 5 anytime you ask me, and then the other two spots rotate. The immovables are Big, Jay, and Scarface. Then the other two spots? One day I could say Gucci, one day I could say Prodigy, one day I could say Cam’ron, those two spots are in constant flux.
Gang Starr 91-03 https://t.co/F08WJ48c6I
— . (@HaroldBingo) June 5, 2019
I have the same thing with Biggie, Big Pun and LL Cool J.
Harold Bingo: LL would be in there on a certain day. LL doesn’t get the credit he deserves. A lot of stuff doesn’t exist if LL doesn’t pave the way for it.
When that whole thing went viral a couple weeks ago where people were taking clips from his admittedly absurd music videos and turning him into a cartoon character, I was sitting back like, “Ok, ha ha, it is funny that he’s in the shower with all his clothes on.” But at the same time, you have to put respect on his name. This is one of the greatest–
Harold Bingo: You do. We all have a first favorite rapper growing up, and LL was my first favorite rapper. It was LL and then it went to Snoop. I was watching In The House and everything.
Oh, of course I watched In The House.
Harold Bingo: So yeah. LL some days. Nas could be there, Snoop could be there, Slick Rick could be there.
I appreciate the diversity in your list. There was a time, I used to be mired in these God awful “Rap Vs. Hip Hop” debates. It’s a question that goes back to Migos, people who were like, “I just want to listen to Roc Marciano and be left alone.” And It was like, “OK, how about you listen to Roc Marciano and be alone?”
Harold Bingo: Right. I was lucky. I never even had that phase as a kid. I had friends who were like, “I listened to Hopsin for a stretch as a kid.” And you just have to judge it, if you want to listen to Roc, and I love Roc, I’m a huge Roc fan, but if I want to listen to him I won’t listen to Migos. It won’t scratch the same itch.
I always loved pop. So when people were having huge issues with Puff I was like, “No actually you guys are wrong. I can listen to Jedi Mind Tricks and this, and”–
Harold Bingo: Right. I never understood why people needed to make it an either or type of deal. And that’s not to say people should like the other stuff, but I’ve tried to get better with it as I age. I only have so much time on this Earth, so I can’t listen to stuff just to say I listened to it as much as I used to. I think I have to let my taste be my guide.
Yeah. Well I generally agree but I’ll never stop making fun of J Cole and you can’t make me.
ah these must be the people that needed to hear him with J Cole first https://t.co/f3Vkcmj3I9
— . (@HaroldBingo) February 12, 2022
Harold Bingo: (Laughs) He definitely occupies a weird space now. Because I think he realized, and other people realized “Oh shit, I took myself so seriously for way too long.”
I actually have a theory that the reason why J Cole remains a conversation is you’re actually talking about his fanbase, not about him. But he’s such a fucking apple polisher. Like, he’s so fucking corny. I can’t- it’s just not for me, and that’s fine.
Harold Bingo: Like a lot of guys he’s way too concerned with his legacy. And it comes through in a lot of what he does. And it’s like Cordae, you should just make a classic album rather than telling us you’re going to make a classic album.
That’s what I mean. A copy of a copy. If you copy a key too many times it doesn’t fit in the lock, and that’s the issue with J Cole. I try so hard to articulate what I don’t like about J Cole, like that’s literally my job if I’m a “critic”, but I keep being left without words, and keep coming back to the idea that he’s just fucking corny. That’s the best I can do. It’s an indelible quality. I can’t explain it any better than that.
Harold Bingo: It’s the lyrics can change the world guys. They love him and Big Sean.
But please, sorry. I derailed the whole convo, let’s get back to albums.
Harold Bingo: For albums, 400 Degreez would have to be one of them. From there you have to decide which Big album. I’m now leaning more towards Life After Death. I used to be a Ready to Die person but as time goes on I just feel like Life After Death covers so much more ground.
Our friend Jay will love that take, and I forgot to tell you at the beginning of the interview he says hi.
Harold Bingo: Jay’s my guy. Love that guy. No filter, but in the best way.
It’s already here 😌 pic.twitter.com/wt4VWmDGIq
— Samuel J. Robinson (@samueljrob) January 28, 2020
Yeah (laughs). I’m definitely leaving that in.
Harold Bingo: I think he’ll appreciate it. Doggystyle would have to be in there too because it was such a formative album for me. One thing I hate is people love to gloss over- they just jump to when they were into the gangsta shit, and it’s like, “Bro, I had to listen to Kriss Kross first” before I moved into the cool shit. But Doggystyle was such a big deal for me because it was one of the first adult rap albums I dug into.
Also, I don’t even know if this is a hot take anymore, but I prefer it to The Chronic. It’s a “more perfect” album.
Harold Bingo: I’m not going to say The Chronic hasn’t aged well, but I definitely go back to 2001 more now.
Wow. There is a hot take.
Harold Bingo: The Chronic obviously has songs I will go back to 1,000 times, but as a whole I probably listen more to 2001 now.
Harold Bingo: Yeah, with the skits on some of the old albums, like some were funny? Redman–
De La, Wu.
Harold Bingo: Yeah but it’s not like, I really need to listen to the “$20 Sack Pyramid”.
So we have Doggystyle, Life After Death, and 400 Degreez… And then the same debate you have with Biggie, I have with Nas, like I’m an It Was Written person, which gets me yelled at a lot. Like I love Illmatic, I’m not taking any points away from Illmatic, but it’s the same thing with Life After Death, the second one just had such a broader scope to it.
life after death > illmatic > ready to die for me
— pxt (@paulxt) March 10, 2018
My friend Sach would be very into this argument.
Harold Bingo: Well it was Paul [Thompson] that pointed this out to me when I was being a stick in the mud about Ready to Die, and he said “Well it doesn’t really jibe with your Nas take.”
Yeah but, “Nas is Coming” is still on the album. You can’t refute that.
Harold Bingo: I get it. I get it.
It’s just tough for me, and he’s definitely….. doing a bit!
Harold Bingo: No there’s definitely stuff you can say about It Was Written that’s true. He definitely jumped from staring out the window to mafioso. But it’s so well done to me that I can’t even be mad at it. I just find myself throwing on It Was Written so much more in the present day. The peaks are higher to me. I could listen to “The Message” a million times.
“The Message” is a perfect song. So much of it.
Harold Bingo: So yeah, that. I could say an Outkast album, I could say UGK Ridin Dirty, I could say The Infamous, which is about as close as you get to a perfect album.
That would be one of my fixed, always on my list albums. ATLiens or Aquemini?
Harold Bingo: I lean to Aquemini.
Oooof. Most people do, I think. I think this is my version of the It Was Written debate.
Harold Bingo: I think I was once in the minority on that, I think the debate swung to me over time.
I mean there was the whole 5 mics thing. I’ve just always loved ATLiens, for the tone I guess?
Harold Bingo: Cam’ron Purple Haze is another one that’s just right there. I also think we don’t discuss Diplomatic Immunity enough. That right there belongs in the double album pantheon.
That’s a great argument. I love it. It never occurs to me to lump in with Life After Death or All Eyez on Me but I probably should.
Harold Bingo: 8Ball Lost is another one like that too.
But wait! That’s a three disc album (laughs)
Harold Bingo: I just don’t count the three because the third disc is five extra songs of random artists that Suave House was trying to push on people?
They just slapped it on to pump the retail price.
Harold Bingo: That’s the thing now. You can pay $10 or $15 or whatever it is to have the history of recorded music in front of you, but that wouldn’t have even gotten you Ready to Die or Life After Death 25 years ago. You didn’t even know how many of those songs were good you just would say, “Oh it’s Big, I heard two or three songs, let’s do it.” And you’d spend $20 based on that whim.
Yeah. And I think there was something important in that investment you made in the artist and the album. It was something physical and tangible and it made the work and your relationship to it less disposable.
(Author’s Note/Warning: Harold loves standup and this was the Thursday of the week of The Slap, so I just kind of wanted to kick the tires and get his take on it with a position exceeding Tweet length. Harold immediately knew where I was going and I didn’t even need to finish my question before we dived in, if it reads confusingly to you. If you’re traumatized/exhausted by The Slap and the conversation around it, feel free to skim ahead)
Uh, so ok. We can scrap this if you want, we were supposed to discuss yesterday, but even in one day the discourse has become even more exhausting, so it’s up to you, but as somebody who I know appreciates standup–
Will gotta go ahead + slap some more people cause theres no way the gender wars wheel landed on packed lunches https://t.co/7yxIPLgyxC
— . (@HaroldBingo) March 31, 2022
Harold Bingo: Oh boy (laughs emphatically).
I mean I know it’s been an exhausting couple of days–
Harold Bingo: Nah it’s cool, it’s fine. As long as we’re approaching it from an uber-serious angle–
Yeah, more to discuss the echo chamber and how the conversation evolved around it more than the actual thing, that I find far less interesting.
Harold Bingo: I think on social media right now there’s a big problem people have where they’re not into standup, which is fine, this isn’t like a “You need to watch standup” interview, but I think when people are constantly exposed to standup in a negative way, whether it’s like, Dave Chapelle controversy, or this comedian said something people didn’t like, it’s like this reflexive thing that people are starting on social media where they’re just anti standup.
Which I get, if I only saw people arguing about something and only heard negative things about it I’d say “Get rid of this shit too!” If I wasn’t engaging with it normally. So that’s the part about it that’s interesting to me–
That The Slap gets interpreted as anti-comedian?
Harold Bingo: Yeah. Comedians came rushing out to be like, “Ahhhhh! This sets a precedent!” Like bro, no one is going to come on stage to slap you. I’m not Will Smith, this is not the Oscars. They’re escorting my ass out, I probably get arrested.
So that’s what’s frustrating, it’s like I watched the comedians doing that and it’s like, “Stop! Stop!” You guys are only fueling the idea that you’re going to become obsolete with this kind of behavior.
Interesting. So you’re saying them getting up in arms and being alarmist about what happened exposes they’re out of touch with how things actually operate and they’re making everything about them.
Harold Bingo: Right. I’ve seen so many comedians and comedy figures I like saying the absolute wrong thing about it was heartbreaking.
I think what they’re imagining is a scenario where if you’re at The Cellar, there’s literally, I don’t know, two feet of separation between you and these bridge and tunnel douchebags you’re basically expected to make fun of. I can see some idiot’s drunken thought process where it’s like, “Is this a viable path to going viral?”
Harold Bingo: I think that’s the fear. Somebody feels strong and security can’t get to it in time. I just feel like most of the people who go to places like that, you’re not going to go to The Comedy Cellar to do something like that. It’s a huge waste of your time, and “I’m going to catch an assault charge” Cause Jim Gaffigan got up there and said something I didn’t like? It seems far fetched.
But then again, I say that now and a week from now there will be a situation where someone hauls off on a standup.
I’m imagining someone telling themselves, “It’s time to take Chapelle down a peg” and it has a political component-
dont really care to argue people about what they find funny but Dave's POV is way too mainstream to be considered "brave". people gotta stop acting like they're hearing these specials on ham radio, they're beamed into every home with Netflix + Dave is paid handsomely https://t.co/pedfIK70bv
— . (@HaroldBingo) October 7, 2021
Harold Bingo: Chapelle has been lifting weights for years hoping for that to happen. Anyone who thinks Dave–
Harold Bingo: Oh my God, Dave would’ve probably- I guarantee you Dave will have a bit at one point about he would’ve beat the shit out of Will Smith.
That’s awesome, and yes I can also see that coming. Every comedian is going to be- man, I should’ve went to the Cellar this week I’m mad at myself.
Harold Bingo: I can’t even imagine the bits this week. But yeah, Dave has been sitting around pumping iron and smoking his vapes waiting for somebody to run up.
So, I’m slow witted and pretty deliberate in my thought, takes me a while to figure out how I feel about most things, and as a result, something I am terrible at and you’re really great at is the instantaneous Quote Tweet clapback.
Harold Bingo: (Laughs) I’m trying to get better.
When that happens, is it ideas you have locked and loaded or is it kind of a reactionary muscle?
Harold Bingo: Sometimes. Sometimes I’ll see a discourse or conversation going for a while and I’ll have an idea germinating in my head, and then finally somebody says something and I say, “Alright enough! I’m going to get this idea out of my head before it kills me. And then sometimes it’s just a snap.
I try to avoid the snap ones because it’s like you just get tired of arguing on there. It’s just pointless. I’ll say my piece and you’ll say yours, and nothing is going to materially change. We’re just talking at each other instead of to each other.
Have you ever taken an L on a QT?
Harold Bingo: Probably at some point. I’ve definitely jumped out on stuff where, more and more now on Twitter it’s hard to read people’s humor. That’s a reason why I try and refrain. There’s definitely been instances where I’ve jumped out on something–
Oh, you take the bait on a sarcastic Tweet.
Harold Bingo: Yeah, and then somebody who knows them a little better will say, “Oh dude, they’re playing.” So definitely. It happens. That’s why I’ll try and do some background, and think, “Is this really worth commenting on? Is this person being serious? What’s their schtick?” It happens too often. You see somebody being dumb, you make your pithy comment on it, and it turns out they’re some D-List comedian and you look like an asshole.
That’s what tough about quoting. People come on to be dumb on purpose, so for me it’s like, “In my day, we found people who were actually being dumb.
That’s a good point about the layers of irony that are on top of everything now. There’s a kind of shorthand that’s like its own language on Twitter in terms of the prompts and infamous bad Tweets and shit. I only- I say only, at this point it’s a long time, but I got on Twitter at the beginning of the pandemic, and there’s so many things that you don’t understand.
As someone who walks around in the world and engages with other people, there’s a whole thing happening on people’s phones that you don’t have access to or really understand at all that people are participating in if you’re not familiar with the bizarre customs and rituals of the space, and the way people communicate with each other here is completely fucked, for the most part.
my favorite is when the number of tweets complaining about "thinkpieces" outnumbers the actual thinkpieces by a 100:1 margin https://t.co/9lpf1EhAjc
— . (@HaroldBingo) April 13, 2022
Harold Bingo: It’s weird, when you first get started on there you think, “Oh this is a realistic way people actually talk.”, and then you realize as time goes on, “No it’s not.” (Laughs)
There are people on my timeline that I really treasure, Jayson would be a good example of this, he’s as much of a real person as you’re going to get on there. Jayson will be wrong about stuff, Jayson will be right about stuff. He’s very three dimensional. It makes you appreciate how many people on there are less grandstanding, they’re trying to communicate how they really feel about things, and then you have your reaction merchants.
What’s incredible about Jay is- there’s some people that I’ve met in real life, where the person you meet is completely different from their account, Jay is exactly like–
Harold Bingo: That’s what everyone I know who has ever gotten a chance to meet him says. The person you know on Twitter is who he is (Laughs).
(Laughs) It is stunning. He could be hanging out with my kids at brunch or arguing with a bot about Scorsese flicks, he’s the same guy.
Harold Bingo: Yeah, it sucks that everyone’s not like that. I think that’s why the hit rate on the QT thing is all over the place. It’s always the dumbest shit. I have Tweets I wish everyone would see, and five people like those. And then the dumbest offhand comments go crazy.
When the Awkwafina AAVE controversy happened people tried to clap back by using the Wu-Tang Clan as an example of the Black appropriation of Asian culture, so Tweeted something like “Oh yeah, Wu-Tang, the group that famously raps with Asian accents.” And the thing happened to me that we were just talking about. A bunch of people were in my mentions trying to dunk like, “What are you talking about, they don’t rap in Asian accents!”
Missing the joke.
Harold Bingo: Yeah, like how do you not read the sarcasm in that?
I find it fascinating. What is it that appeals to people about certain posts yet causes them to ignore others?
Harold Bingo: It’s weird. I’ll have a little sarcastic joke that’s just traveling through people, everyone gets a normal response out of it, and then it’s like one person reads it the wrong way and you get eight more people who read it the wrong way. It’s very interesting to watch.
So when it goes from something that people find agreeable to something that’s misinterpreted as offensive or wrong, that’s when it blows up and gains traction.
Harold Bingo: Seems like it.
Pretty bleak when you follow that thought to its logical conclusion. It’s so funny that popularity is built on miscommunication if you buy that interpretation.
So one of my favorite genres of Quote Tweet you do is you have a very strong institutional memory when it comes to bad Twitter takes.
The example I have is when Macklemore won a Grammy over Kendrick, which people dredge up to get mad about every six months.
we're only 4 years removed from Macklemore beating out Kendrick Lamar, y'all gotta stop acting like your personal tastes "scream Grammy", rewarding popularity is what they do https://t.co/EBHRnj7qJs
— . (@HaroldBingo) December 9, 2018
Harold Bingo: Every six months is generous. It’s like once a week at this point. “Do you guys remember when that happened?!” No not since the last time someone mentioned it fifteen minutes ago.
I think what you’re doing is this very sharp micro form of media criticism even though its just shmucks on their phone. You’re holding people accountable for lack of awareness or laziness and correcting the record, which has value in my opinion.
But since we did our top 5 for rap earlier, could you give me your top 5 worst regurgitated, reheated Twitter takes?
Harold Bingo: McDonald’s Sprite has gotta be at the top of the list at this point.
McDonald’s Sprite? What do you mean?
Harold Bingo: I guess the belief is McDonald’s Sprite comes out stronger than regular Sprite? Everyday there’s something on it.
JR Smith drinking Hennessy. Thank God he finally retired because that one seems to be falling by the wayside. That one really got me because they asked JR Smith about it and he said, “I don’t like Hennessy. I don’t even know where they got that.”
Then yeah, the Kendrick/Macklemore thing is constantly brought up.
Then this one, there’s like a whole group, whether it’s Chris Brown, or Kanye, whenever there’s a celebrity that’s polarizing, there’s group of people that have to argue everyday that people aren’t nice enough to this person. It’s like, no one has to be nice to anyone, this is Twitter!
all the “Twitter is better than stand up comedy” pandering tweets better stop before we end up with a special with McDonalds Sprite bits + 5 “did you know depression causes memory loss?” jokes
— . (@HaroldBingo) October 12, 2021
Ok, I’m very familiar with that one. I could have this wrong. I think when I joined Twitter at the beginning of Covid, I don’t think you were on. But you had been on–
Harold Bingo: Nah I wasn’t. I took like a year off, but the pandemic boredom broke me.
What made you get off in the first place?
Harold Bingo: Cause you start to feel like you’re having the same conversations a lot. You get to a point where it’s like, we definitely talked about this not that long ago.
Makes sense, well, you clearly have these heartfelt opinions and beliefs, artists you care about championing. And that’s what your writing has always been about. I’ve always loved the stuff you’ve written for Passion, and obviously the Complex piece.
I know you have a kid and of course that’s going to eat into your productivity because you have to have the time to dedicate to it. But is there anything that made you step away?
Harold Bingo: That I didn’t even want to do to be honest with you. I wrote that with such a heavy heart. But I was like, “You’re going to want to strangle yourself if you see someone else write it, and you’ll nitpick it, so you might as well do it yourself.
Did Skelton reach out to you?
Harold Bingo: Yeah Skelton reached out, and the crazy thing is he only reached out because he saw what I wrote on Dolph for POW, so I was like, “Damn. I kind of have to for the home team.”
You’re doing God’s work of calling attention to these artists that you’re passionate about with those pieces. Does it make you want to do- like with Rob49, don’t you want to get up on a soapbox and say, “Hey. Listen to this guy. He’s fucking nice.”
Harold Bingo: I feel like the gestation period for these guys are getting shorter and shorter. Like Rob49 would be a great example, but he already got a Lil Baby remix. It just happens so fast now.
Isn’t that a good thing?
Harold Bingo: Yeah of course, no one needs to languish in the cellar for three years anymore so I get to feel like I’m up on something, but it definitely cuts down on- like if I’m going to write on somebody, I want it to be a situation where not enough has been said, or I want people to know- and I feel like those periods are shrinking. And that’s great. I want people to know. Another good example would be the Baby Stone Gorillas. They’re rappers from Cali I’m super enthused about at the moment, but it feels like that period in between, “Oh shit, I found this on YouTube” and it’s cool, and they have a proper album out and people know about them is shrinking, which is great.
Well, I would respectfully argue that perhaps your proximity to it–
Harold Bingo: Yeah that’s probably true–
Personally, as a fan I would love to see more of this passionate advocacy. There’s a big difference, for me anyways, between hearing a song that Lil Baby has done with Rob49 and reading an eloquent articulation of what he’s doing and why it’s interesting and what he’s doing. It would be easy to say, “Oh, this Lil Baby track is really good! Who’s this random guy?”
Harold Bingo: I guess another factor is writing is really painstaking for me. You’re writing about someone’s livelihood. And that’s a battle I have with Jeff. Because Jeff will be like,”Just talk your shit.” So it’s those two competing impulses between just write something fun, and treating it with the necessary gravitas. So that’s something I struggle with now.
Like last year, Jeff asked me to do a breakdown on Stockton California.
Yeah. Incredible piece.
Harold Bingo: It took me literally weeks, because I was torturing myself making sure every word was in place. But you don’t- especially being a white dude writing about rap, you don’t want to fall into the trap of being overly ridiculous about it. You don’t want to do the Pitchfork thing where people are rolling their eyes, right? That’s a prime example of what happens when you don’t put the proper care into it.
So last question, you don’t post under your government, or with your image. I was wondering what your reasons are?
Harold Bingo: Honestly, I never expected an actual following or people paying attention to what I said- so it was as simple as, “I’m a big Curb Your Enthusiasm fan”, I’m a Larry David disciple all day, so it was either going to be that or Bob Sacamano.
Well thank you Harold. Keep spreading the gospel, and for all of our sake, WRITE!
death, taxes + Twitter reacting en masse to a tweet that insinuates men are gay if they enjoy an innocuous activity
— . (@HaroldBingo) March 22, 2022