Dealing with oversaturation in Hip Hop

While sitting back listening to Migos new album Culture 2,  I took some time & analyzed the mixed responses to the new record. Some people liked the album; while others weren’t so fond of it. Unfortunately, I was hearing more bad responses than good.

The album hit my expectations, even though there was a lot of filler that could have probably been left on the cutting room floor. I knew it wasn’t going to surpass its predecessor, but as long as there were records that I could jam to then it wouldn't be a problem. The primary complaints for Culture 2 were about the lack of energy on the album, how predictable Migos' flow has become, and the nearly-two hour runtime.

Migos making a 24-track album isn’t something new(No Label 2 sends its regards), but their recent project has resurrected the debate about whether artists are over-saturating the market with their music.

It's a bittersweet topic for me because even though hip-hop today is still in a good state,  it’s hard to argue that music is not being pushed and forced fed to consumers. However, Much like 24 track albums, there's nothing new about artists flooding the streets with new music in the internet era.

 Gourley/BEI/REX/Shutterstock

Gourley/BEI/REX/Shutterstock

The overflow of music flooding the streets started back in the mid 2000s when Lil Wayne & Gucci Mane were constantly releasing new music, which helped build their fanbase, but it forced other listeners to get familiar with their music whether they really wanted to or not. Current rappers like Future, Migos and Kodak Black have adapted the same formula and have been successful with keeping their fanbase fed with new releases.

Over the recent years, more music than ever has flooded the market, and some argue that it’s reaching a point where the releases are starting to become overwhelming. Some feel that they’re forced to consume new music fast for the sake of “keeping up with Jones',” and I get it. Social media keeps everyone up-to-date with the latest trends. Thats why every Thursday night, we’re waiting patiently for the brand new releases so we can run back to our timeline to voice our opinions.

While I do understand the issue this causes, I don't think that it’s as overwhelming as some say. There’s no problem in presenting new music (there’s has to be a source where new music can be thrive properly), however I do think there’s better ways to showcase new music without having it feel like the product is being shoved down people's ears.

Like I said, some listeners feel like it’s overwhelming and too much to take in. IF you’re feeling overwhelmed by the new music coming out at once, you need to understand that the music is not being taken off the streaming services anytime soon. They’re available anywhere and you can find them if you look in the right places, so there's no need to rush to judgement. 

It’s ok to still stick with a certain project if you still need time to digest it. Also it’s a reminder that rappers that throw albums/projects out there, whether it’s curating a 20+ track projects or consistently dropping projects every other month, is only partially doing it for sales. It’s either sales or somehow the label is forcing them to push out so much music.

I’m still learning about the analytics of sales with hip-hop streams, but just looking from the outside in, it doesn’t take a genius to know why artist have begun to oversaturate the market; sales. Its better to make a several records versus making an impactful record.

Something I've noticed as well with the music over-saturation is that consumers may be unconsciously trained to treat new music almost like paper plates, 1 and done. While this may not apply to all music consumers, it certainly applies to many consumers who are on the internet.

As I explained in one of my older features, most listeners usually know if whether or not they’re going to press replay on an album. This truth still hold in this scenario, usually you’ll have to really live with a project to determine whether or not you’ll truly appreciate the art. Too many consumers are throwing projects out like paper plates, failing to give projects time to make it through to be actual tableware.

Now I’m aware that when it comes to singles, some records don’t need too be revisited. However, albums are a little harder to come by. They’re not meant to be thrown to the side. Listening to an album front to back & living with it for a moment of time will forever be the wave. This is exactly why some consumers may revisit an album and come to discover the album wasn’t entirely bad as they initially thought.

But kids today act like they have albums, singles, and artists all figured out. Like the great Shawn Carter asked, “Do you fools listen to music or do you skim through it?”