Guest Post: Straight Garbage (via Mark Patton)

Custodial staff shouldn't be frowned upon; they should be recognized and appreciated. In this case, the custodial staff cleans up trash music. This guest post comes from Mark Patton, one of the people mentioned in my 5 Twitter chats for black and/or urban music creatives post. Check out his piece below and peep his bio for more about him.


Because there is so much product, an unavoidable byproduct is the amount of garbage produced. All of the music that we have access to isn’t sustainable, reusable and is unable to be preserved. This means it has to be disposed of. Hip-Hop needs custodians.

We think of custodians, primarily, as the folks who handle the trash. What we should also think of when we see or hear the word is that it primarily means to be the keeper or guardian of something. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe the person and the work she does are beneath us. Hip-Hop needs custodians.

When you love a thing, you’re willing to care for it, clean up after it, even. Cleaning is a labor of love. At some point during the cleaning process, we all chose to keep or toss music. Much of the music being tossed out isn’t invaluable; it’s simply excess. We’re throwing away good stuff because we’ve lost our pool of custodians that are able to work.

We were cajoled into believing the worthy work of a professional or intellectual was everything greater than the work of picking up trash. I can imagine my life without many of the things that are a result of daily professional or intellectual work, many I don’t even notice or come in contact with on a daily basis. I can not imagine my life without someone willing to remove my garbage.

As a custodian, I’m both responsible for removing garbage and guarding Hip-Hop. Without guard, protection, care, and trash removal, Hip-Hop becomes vulnerable to threats to its well-being and prosperity. The pool of custodians just got bigger.

Clean up on aisle 8.

Mark Patton (@plainblackboy)

Indebted former professional. Serial Entrepreneur. Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle. I take Hip-Hop music as a daily supplement and it fortifies my mind, body, and soul. Chief Custodian of AmplifiH.E.R. Media and creator of #thelistening, a cyber listening sesh which creates community while amplifying underserved Hip-Hop music.