Anyway, now that we are completely and undoubtingly in the digital age where music is consumed in a fraction of the time it takes to read the menu at McDonald’s, the music industry is stuck trying to discover a model that works.
Everything changed when Lil Wayne went on his mass featuring and music releasing phase online and took the radio waves hostage. You could not go anywhere without hearing the Chris Brown’s Gimme That Remix or Bobby Valentino’s Tell Me Remix where Wayne came, saw and conquered. He was erratic, wild but charismatic, and people everywhere were drawn into his gravitational pull.
Artists everywhere freaked and tried to either use Lil Wayne to gain some notoriety or use his model to mimic the marketing genius behind his ploy. However, they had various degrees of success often ending in either fame or artists going supernova and burning out shortly after, either due to their public personas or label tie-ups.
Charles Hamilton is an artist that saw the model Wayne created and pushed out nine mixtapes in a few short months. He signed to Interscope and was an overnight sensation. He grabbed the Cover of XXL’s Freshmen Class and shortly burned out after a series of public Epic Fails (Claiming J. Dilla produced his album as a ghost, Imagined himself dating Rihanna and getting punched out by his girlfriend for making fun of her getting an abortion.) and actually putting out too much music where his quality got nowhere CLOSE to matching his Quantity (He’s put out over 30+ mixtapes with all original beats and lyrics. He would sometimes release. two 15 track mixtapes in a day, three in a week to the point where people couldn’t digest it and would just skip over it entirely.
Then, we have the meteoric rise of Drake. Strong mixtape following, powerful co-sign and he became the music industry’s cool nerd. Everyone feels he’s a lame but love his music and persona so much that he gets a buy. Double that with his strong music sense and talented friends, he went through the first 5-6 albums of Jay-Z’s lifestyle/Career in a little under two years. Now he has the charts on lock and puts in minimal effort.
But, due to the success of the few, we have everyone trying whatever new thing that worked for one artist for themselves. Kanye West did G.O.O.D. Fridays and by the end of the month we had Timbo Tuesdays, Swizz Saturdays or something like that and every artist was trying to make a weekly series that most people cared less about. But, the problem eventually came from so much music being released for free and so quickly that music listeners have lost the ability to truly digest music.
Sometime last week, J. Cole’s second album, Born Sinner leaked. Up until the day of the leak, people were debating whether this or Kanye’s Yeezus album would be the best released on June 18th. Overall, I love Kanye and all of his albums but I am most anxiously awaiting Born Sinner.
Kanye is an artist, I enjoy looking at the story arc and the concept of his albums down to instruments such into the background. I even still enjoy 808’s and Heartbreak especially during a down day or break-up. But, the excitement of a Kanye Album has dissipated in favor of general curiosity of product. I loved My Beautiful Dark and Twisted Fantasy but you really have to be in the mood. Sonically, it is by far the best ALBUM of the last decade invoking techniques from all of his previous works but all the musical magnificence hasn’t captured me yet.
J. Cole, on the other hand, is the everyday man building himself up from nothing to actualize his musical self. He handles all the production, concepts and musical development somewhat like a College Dropout Kanye but without calling upon his super-powered musical friends. Jay-Z gave him a platform and it is his job to make something of it. That’s what is so cool about Cole. You want him to succeed because it means we all succeed.
Born Sinner leaked sometime early last week. I am not even going to lie, I even have it downloaded and waiting on my iPod but, I haven’t listened to it yet. I don’t think I want to before June 18th. I’m a broke college student that has been struggling to eat regular meals but I respect the artist and want to truly see his whole vision. So, I will listen to the album in full, decide of it like it and go out and buy it if it is good. Ever since 2005 when I bought Bobby Valentino’s album off of the strength of his singles and found out his whole album was nothing but the three singles, I was turned off.
Now-a-days consumers want a project that’s well worth their money and the artist has to comply and compete. The artist has to make real fans that will go out and support, no longer just going out off the strength of one song.
Yet, I’ve been noticing another trend. Where an album leaks and within 20 minutes to an hour of the leak, people have already crafted reviews of the album saying its sucks or the next Illmatic or Blueprint. My problem with this is that music needs to age before we can tell if something is classic or not. Sometimes it is the hype behind an album that makes people believe it is greater or worse than it truly is. Take Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, a lot of people talked so highly about the album, giving it incredible amounts of play with it selling a million copies in a week but it retrospect, when was the last time you played it? Not saying that it wasn’t a solid album but anything with Mike Jones featuring is destined to only last for so long and get tiring.
But, that’s the problem now a days, because of the internet giving everyone an outlet, everyone wants to be the first person to say how great someone is, how horrible something is or how much the person above them is stupid and what they are saying is 100% true over anyone else when what they are really saying is opinion.
Some of my favorite albums of the past year have completely grown on me. I find myself slowly listening to them over and over again, not because of the hype but from sheer enjoyment. One of my recent favorites has been Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap. It is zanely but refreshingly pleasant. I’m not going to turn this into a review but I will say give it a listen and a couple spins with an open mind. It’s good. But for now, I a going to chill and wait anxiously until June 18th for my next Music Fix. Until then,