Maybe I’m basic, but the first time I heard the word “basic” used as a negative adjective was in Kreayshawn’s 2011 single “Gucci Gucci.” The basic, in this case, were the bitches. I recall being really impressed with the malice that “basic” brought with it. What a wonderful way to describe someone who simply doesn’t get it.
In the purest sense, “basic” means you don’t get it. You’re not in, not hip to whatever it is I’m hip to. You’re not at the events I’m vipping at, you’re not even in the comment section on the articles I’m reading. And with social media, this social competition is very public. To be somewhere, to do something, to share an idea that is better/cooler/firster than everyone else — it’s a way to say “Yo, I am way more up on this than you. Please send the fanmail to the gmail.” Social media has made simply being about things a form of currency. Knowledge is power which is why I can’t believe you haven’t read that piece in New York Magazine about long distance relationships being healthy you fucking simp.
We are living in an era where the monoculture is fractured. There are so many outlets in which to express yourself. From the TV shows and podcasts you frequent to the websites you trust to recap those TV shows and podcasts, everyone has their own algorithm of things they are into, and that mix of interests is defining. It’s because of this that basic is becoming a much more meaningful diss. There’s a lot more for you not to know about. Even the New York Times is basic.
Basic is hurtful because it suggests you do not have an edge. You are dull and mainstream and your clothes are bad. The reason that basic has so much potential to be the next power-insult is that it’s all super relative. To you, I may be basic, but that doesn’t stop me from throwing the word around at all the people from my high school who went to Stagecoach. Or in the case of the Noisey article titled “The Basic Bitches Guide to Coachella,” which I saw posted on my Facebook feed more than any other Noisey article before, you can call out the people who are also going to the music festival who just aren’t as cool as you.
At first I thought the relativity of “basic” made it a nice counterpoint to “hipster.” Everyone cooler than you is a hipster, and everyone lamer is basic. The difference, however, is that “hipster” in its current form occupies too many lifestyle definitions. Basic doesn’t have any baggage to it yet. You can call someone basic without really backing it up.
That’s why everyone is going to start calling people basic soon. It’s the perfect insult. Honestly, maybe everyone already is and I’m just a basic dude who doesn’t even read the best trend report blogs.