View Full Version : Can It Be That It Was All So Simple Then?

01-17-2011, 05:41 PM
Today I look at whether or not it's good that young artists are forced to release so much material so early in their careers.


Before the barrage of YouTube videos, and free songs every week, and 5 mixtapes per every official album, there were few ways for artists to generate hype. It was a much simpler time when you either got put on by an already established artist, or you got lucky and some record exec decided to take a chance and release your single. Now while the shift in promotion may have to do with the generation of kids becoming fans of hip hop while still teething and therefore all being convinced that they can be rappers too, it’s a telling sign that the forced oversaturation has eliminated the days when one verse could change a rapper’s life.

Back around the time when Phife was proving he could actually rap, a young rapper by the name of Nasty Nas was being championed as the next big thing after he set off Main Source’s “Live at the BBQ”. While it took three years for his debut to drop, he only dropped one more verse and single and yet his buzz continued until we were blessed with Illmatic. For anyone looking to understand why Nas was so hyped, all it took was about 50 seconds of hearing the verbal assassin and then it was obvious why everyone was so pumped for this Large Professor protégé. Same with Snoop (Doggy) Dogg, who made his first appearance on “Deep Cover” and almost overnight became popular enough that he was able to basically run the show for The Chronic. My question is, can you name a rapper from the last couple years that could have done that? Is one verse enough to generate a buzz or do you need 5 mixtapes and two free EPs before anyone cares?

These days it’s all about the constant grind. You gotta drop a track a week, a YouTube video every 2 weeks, a mixtape a month, and a “FreEP” (please dead that term) before your album comes out or else no one is checking for your shit. Is this a good thing? Does this help when I say “hey show me why Kendrick Lamar is a good rapper” since that means I gotta sift through 4 or 5 mixtapes, some of which might have wack material. With Nas it was “check out this track” and you were mesmerized and hooked and ready for an album, with J. Cole it’s which mixtape do you check, what features is he the best on, which songs are only halfway decent and how many tracks are already played out? CyHi Da Prince beasted “So Appalled” and Royal Flush (http://www.livemixtapes.com/mixtapes/12487/cyhi_da_prynce_royal_flush.html) is a damn good mixtape, but it’s not flawless, just having the verse on Kanye’s album I’d probably be much more hyped for him releasing an album simply because I would have no idea who he was yet that verse alone would give me enough reason to wanna hear more. Now he’s just another rapper who I know will eventually be dropping an album, eh.

They say it’s about quality over quantity but is that really the case anymore? Whatever happened to leaving people wanting more? Isn’t that the best way to create hype? Give people a taste and make them anticipate the full meal? Now we get the bread, salad, appetizer, main course and dessert and all that’s left is the cigarette after. If your album is the equivalent of smoking outside the restaurant then what’s the point? I understand it’s 2011 and since everyone is a rapper you gotta constantly give the people fresh material, but is it better to have a new song every week, some of which are sub-par, or one verse that makes the whole rap world stop and pay attention? Is the oversaturation helping or hurting hip hop in the long run, and really, what should I check out by Kendrick Lamar that’s actually gonna make me anticipate his apparent features on Detox? Not that it will ever actually drop anyway…