Is it possible to like music but despise the artist?

Created by Alissa Briscoe

Alissa Briscoe, Staff

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Not liking a musical artist but liking their music is a very popular thing. Throughout history, many artists have given us reasons to not like them. Two popular examples are hip-hop artists R.Kelly and Chris Brown.

Kelly has been in the news recently for the show “Surviving R.Kelly,” a documentary about his risky sexual behavior. As the series continues, questions arise about whether or not one should continue to support his music.

R.Kelly has been around since 1990 and some people deem him as untouchable. R. Kelly: The king of R&B, a legend in the music industry. He truly started from the bottom, in a single parent household in the slums of Chicago. He currently holds multiple award-winning albums, successful tours, and several collaborations under his belt. Yet, he has done some pretty questionable things throughout his career.

In the documentary, they go through the different scandals that have arisen around him. Survivors of his devious acts explain their experiences. The girls still involved with R.Kelly were obviously not able to show up, but their parents were at the studio to share what they have gone through.

In 2008, R. Kelly was arrested on charges of child pornography. He was found not guilty because the victim, who was a 14-year-old girl, did not appear in court, most likely paid off with hush money.

The judgment depends on the listener, though. Many people continued to support him after he was found not guilty on all charged, yet many fans decided to no longer support him or his music.

It depends on the morals that one sets for themselves. Anyone can like a song by someone and continue to think that that artist is still the embodiment of human garbage. This is how it might be with R. Kelly, especially when thinking about all the negativity with his career and the fact that it seems to still be going on.

Chris Brown is another example of an artist whose music might be supported without supporting the artist himself.

After word got out that he pushed Rihannah out of a moving car, fans start to wonder whose side they should be on. Chris Brown jumped on the music scene at the same time as Rihanna did. By both gaining immediate popularity and success from their first singles.

They started dating in 2008. Everything seemed fine until they got in the car to head home. Something angered Brown enough to where he pushed her out of the car and then told her he would beat the crap out of her when they got home.

People then started to wonder if they should continue to support his music and him or not? There were few who wondered if they should support Rihanna or not as well. Throughout music history, there has always been the question of “Do we still support a music artist after they have done something controversial?”


Today, Drake is the number one artist on many music platforms this year. Most people have most likely had one of his songs played in the car, shown on TV, or stuck in their head. If not Drake possibly Post Malone, Cardi B, Juice Wrld, Ariana Grande, and Fall Out Boy. These are artists that have been blowing up because of their cool beats and catchy lyrics.

This is also the year when music artists have become very messy. They get caught up in things they shouldn’t or say things they shouldn’t. Because of their carelessness, people have stopped liking the artist, as well as the music.

But everyone can appreciate the art without liking the artist.  Taylor Swift, for example, is an artist many people don’t like, not because she has committed acts as deplorable as R. Kelly and Chris Brown, but just because they think she is whiny and fake. However, they love her music and can very easily bop to it, even if they cannot stand her.

Liking music doesn’t mean they have to like the artist. They may sing the song and it might be something they write but that doesn’t mean an automatic attraction to the artist.

Music is something that everyone can connect through. Music is what helps some students meet friends and other people probably would never have gotten along with. Music becomes an outlet for people feeling different things.

Anyone can find a song that relates to something they are going through right now. Half the time, it probably isn’t by an artist one likes. It may even be a completely different genre from the ones people tend to listen to the most. It’s the words that appeal to most.

So does that mean that if you like a song, you’re betraying your values if the artist isn’t someone you respect?

Many people think that just because a certain artist made music they can’t like it. Anyone can like music and not like the person who made it. Music is an art form that is meant to relay a message to someone else through sounds and words. People don’t have to necessarily like who makes the song to like the music. Taylor Swift and Cardi B are prime examples. So many people don’t like them for whatever reasons but enjoy the music they create. “Look What You Made Me Do” was a summer anthem in 2017 and that is a Taylor Swift song. So many people have said that they were mad that they liked the song because it was by Swift but they loved it. Cardi B is someone a lot of people know by now. There are people who don’t like her though because she has said some very homophobic and racist things in her past. She is one of those artists that can make really good music, but because of the things, she has done people don’t want to support her. People also don’t want to support her because she used to be a stripper. It’s something she is proud of and something that she hasn’t hidden from anyone. Almost everyone can say they like music by an artist they don’t like because artists make music they know will sell.

Music artists do things that people may not agree with, but it is up to the listener on if they continue to listen to that artist or not.

If you would like, take the poll at the bottom of this article to express your opinion.