Posts tagged Migos
Less is More: the case for shorter albums

Advancements in technology have, for better or for worse, changed the way 1. consumers receive music; and 2. artists create and distribute final compositions. Instead of the need to be physically present to collaborate with others that are thousands of miles away, unfinished tracks can quickly be shared electronically with a click of the mouse, bridging the virtual gap between collaborators that are countries apart.

An ambitious high schooler can become a rapper, producer, and audio engineer by watching instructional videos on YouTube straight from their momma’s basement. In lieu of a proper studio, plenty of hits during the SoundCloud era (again, for better or for worse) were performed in a bathroom with makeshift soundproof paneling. DIY mentality, in conjunction with the tech boom, saturated the market of recordings, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. More opportunities to take risks to expand the sound of a genre. More output also means more chances to miss, which leaves an increasing clutter of broken songs to sift through.

Sorting the mess can be a daunting task in 2018. Even with the advent of streaming services - with thousands of neatly organized albums at our instant disposal for the cost of about 12 CDs per year - keeping up with the latest releases is a chaotic schedule to maintain. It shouldn't be a chore to press play on a new project by a favorite artist. "Are you fucking kidding me?" shouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind when looking at a tracklist. That, for example, should be reserved for the optimistic shock of seeing guest features; however, exasperating said phrase at the long runtime or the number of songs has become a negative trend.

There are obvious exceptions, but a CD should not be the same length as a motion picture movie. Human attention spans have unsurprisingly been dwindling because of technology. It's no wonder that why can only focus on something important for about 30 minutes or less. The internet alone stimulates our minds in many different ways to ensure that we're never truly "bored."

Oh, and there's life: social with friends, relationships with significant others, work with people you secretly hate. It's a lot for our minds juggle at once. Even if one sits at home and does nothing but consume music, listening to something for an hour and a half straight seems laborious, not joyful.

Artistic merits exist within these projects, but a few of the biggest culprits of an extended runtime happen to be three of the biggest names in hip-hop: Migos, Rae Sremmurd, and Drake. Culture II (24 tracks; 1hr 45m), SR3MM (triple disc, 27 tracks; 1h 41m), and Scorpion (double disc, 26 tracks; 1hr 30m) rack up 77 songs totaling 5 hours & 56 minutes. In that same time, you could watch Black Panther & Infinity War back-to-back, or take a flight from NYC to London.

Long albums can hide behind the guise of "we're giving more to our fans," but the jig was never fooling anyone. In the streaming age where all sorts of sales records are being broken by the hour, a loaded tracklist primarily has rich goals of achieving RIAA certifications. The logic behind it is to compile as many records as possible, including scraps off the cutting room floor, and see which single pops. Essentially, throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks. Can't knock these artists for their business acumen but with lengthy projects, they run the risk of sacrificing the quality of a finished product. RIAA certifications add little to a legacy in the streaming age if there's an asterisk.

What Kanye West tried to do with five projects in five weeks was disrupt a flow that was endlessly trending upwards. A disorganized circus in Wyoming played active defense against his strategy, leaving the experiment as a whole disheveled. While the panned three-fifths of the session was hastily put together, the two standout products DAYTONA and KIDS SEE GHOSTS succeeded with precision and conciseness, as they took more than a week to plan. Having seven songs per project leaves little room for error but increases the chances of a high, efficient batting average.

Many believe they hit, but there are some groups with the flawed opinion that DAYTONA and KIDS SEE GHOSTS are not "legitimate albums" because their 20-minute runtime. It's fine if they get left off Album of the Year discussions; this isn't a campaign about that. Disregarding them because there wasn't additional filler shouldn't be a valid dismissal.

A complete thought can be assembled in 30 minutes or less. In an over-saturated music economy, stripping a project down to the bare essentials is a merit in and of itself. As streaming becomes the preferred method of listening, the lines are getting blurred between what separates an album from a mixtape or an EP. The EP vs. LP distinction was strict when the boundaries of distribution were as well. Why can't these distinctions evolve with the times? A comprehensive story can be told in 30 minutes or less just as effectively as an hour-long release. The M.O. of "less is more" was influenced by three impressive projects: FETTI, FM!, and White Bronco.


Joint albums - even with three legendary acts such as Freddie Gibbs, Curren$y, and The Alchemist - always look great on paper but are far from a guarantee. Listeners have been scorned by recent collab tapes with chief complaints stemming from the chemistry or lack thereof. Big names will certainly attract an audience. A compilation of throwaways and a lack of effort will dissipate said crowd faster than yelling fire! in a movie theater. Heavy smoke (no pun intended) surrounded the anticipation of FETTI after a surprise announcement. Clocking in at 23 and a half minutes, this powerhouse trio exceeded expectations by delivering an intricate balancing act with two rap styles, seemingly on polar ends of the spectrum, complementing each other like Yin & Yang. Gangsta Gibbs is known for expertly running through sets of triplets in rapid succession, all the while flexing on a 16 with hay makers for punches ("My baby said if I be faithful, she gone hold me down / I'm fuckin' these hoes, I want it all like an only child // About to take a trip, I got coke and dope on my grocery list // Oxycontin pack, I be switchin' rackets like Djokovic"). He slickly does so most prominently on Willie Lloyd and even sings with conviction on Now & Later Gators.

In many ways, Spitta Andretti is just different. If Freddie is a renegade assassin, then the New Orleans native is a cerebral marksman that moves with grace and precision who is equally as lethal. Curren$y's flow embodies a cool ass nigga; his presence will be felt without ever doing the most ("It's like divin' out the plane / Once that music hit our veins / Tins of Rose Champagne // Mascara telling her tale, Revealin' her pain"). A confident calmness, exhibited on Saturday Night Special and No Window Tints, showcases skilled rap ability without needing to spazz out. And what's left to say about Alan The Chemist that hasn't been said already. There's a masterful, haunted essence to his production that's sharp, distinct and one-of-a-kind. The sample-driven, minimalist landscape The Alchemist provides for the duo is deranged and beautiful, manic but never frantic. No one truly dominates except FETTI as a whole; Gibbs, Spitta & ALC co-exist without intruding each others space. These veterans understand the strength of effective teamwork.


Vince Staples can rap his ass off. He's technically sound, quick, witty, and intelligent. At such a *young* age, the North Long Beach native has a wisdom that resembles a man in his mid-40s. People think his interviews are hilarious. All of the above is a recipe for a hip-hop star in 2018, not to say that he isn't. How come he's not universally beloved? The beats. For lack of a better phrase, the "robotic production" on Prima Donna and Big Fish Theory - two solid pieces of work with underlying creativity - has been sonically off-putting to some. The thing is: he doesn't give a fuck. It's evident by his brash attitude and the way he carries himself. Vince's latest project, FM!, thanks in part to the chameleon-like super-producer Kenny Beats, is a more palatable experience to all listeners involved. At just over 22 minutes, FM! is a straightforward concept album on the surface: someone turning on Power 106 ("Big Boy's Neighborhood" to be specific) hearing him rap about his life. In meta terms, it could be interpreted as a voyeur’s experience of a real story; a brief snapshot of a complex individual that's witnessed the traumatic pain of street life, but disguises it as entertainment. The visuals to the ironically titled, E-40-featured FUN and the song itself captures that point. With assistance on the hook by Jay Rock, Don't Get Chipped is a weary, bass-heavy track that talks about remaining skeptical even after you've "made it":

Everybody say it's lonely at the top
I want my homies at the top
My little homie, he got shot
And now I'm moving by my lonely with the .40 and the mop
Finna pull up early morning and somebody getting dropped
I throw a party on your block, like I'm Tommy the clown
Hundred thousand dollar car, bet you proud of me now
Took my mama out the set, house as big as my mouth

That balance between light and dark keeps Staples on edge, knowing that his work isn't done. Ty Dolla $ign, Kehlani, Buddy and Kamaiyah (“head on a swivel, no bleedin’ me!”) all make an appearance (engineered by MixedByAli) to help provide as much of a vibrant West Coast feel as possible. Even 1-verse snippets from Tyga and Earl Sweatshirt, with dashes of segments of Big Boy's Neighborhood, add to the authenticity of the FM! radio show. Vince Staples had much to say in this concept album without belaboring the point.


Action Bronson has had one of the most interesting careers in entertainment since the start of the decade. After breaking a leg in the kitchen, gourmet chefs don't typically end up signing to a major as a result of releasing critically acclaimed mixtapes. They don't typically parlay their success into two television shows AND a book deal. Completely self-made. Last year’s effort Blue Chips 7000 may have indirectly foreshadowed the chaotic gap between 2017-2018. Unlike the nonretail mixtapes Blue Chips 1 & 2, 7000 (retail) felt...forced and uncharacteristic. 2018 marked the end of the Atlantic partnership and the Queens-bred talent cut ties with Vice for not fully appreciating him. Like OJ speeding down the 405 in '94, White Bronco is Action Bronson's burst of freedom (under less grave circumstances). 26 minutes was all that he needed to confirm his return to true independence.

When left to his own devices, Bam Bam has an incredible ear for beats. Having enlisted heavyweights like Harry Fraud, Party Supplies, Daringer who have collabed with him before, these producers helped to restore the feeling from earlier in his career. The narrative on White Bronco, never explicitly stated, is wild and cathartic - something that can't be tamed. He's at his best when his shit talking with a grin with absurd one-liners and quotables you can't help but laugh at ("all these women calling me Taye Diggs," "my haircut is like Dominican folk art," etc.). On the soulful Knxwledge-produced Prince Charming, there's a mix of reckless hilarity and controlled sentimental moments that a well-balanced Action tape sounds like. Featuring two of his closest friends (Big Body Bes and Meyham Lauren) and fellow statesman ASAP Rocky, White Bronco is a strong return to his independent roots in a major way. Sometimes the raps aren't perfectly strung together, but that's okay. He sounds free of constraint, happy to be himself again (“Hold up, just let me roll up, bitch, I'm 'bout to fly // Your boy been out his mind, tears fall out his eyes”). The signature "it's me" rings louder these days.


It was a struggle to power through both in one sitting, but 03 Greedo and Lupe Fiasco are examples of artists who had a legitimate reason for their lengthy projects. Greedo dropping an official album exceeding 90 minutes, God Level, just days before the start of a 20-year prison sentence is understandable. Lupe's Drogas Wave is a deeply thorough epic that's meant to be dissected for years to come. I see why it's over an hour and a half. A slight variation in production for the course of damn near two hours is unnecessary without a purpose. The three recent examples by FETTI, Vince Staples, and Action Bronson are proof that a condensed album can be just as declarative as a sprawling "full-length LP."

It's a low stakes investment for both the consumer and content creator. If it works, great; bump it multiple times until it falls out of rotation - it's bound to eventually reach the same amount of plays as the 30-track CD. If it doesn't work, great; move on to the next project - literally in the case of the artists; sometimes a fresh start is needed. Too much music to listen to is a great problem to have but we're adults now, we got shit to do. Less is truly more in an increasingly congested world of information. If you don't have anything interesting to say for an hour+, please keep it under 60 and...

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Best projects of January 2018

2018 got off to a slow start with notable music releases, but the second half of January really picked up the slack. Here at The Barber's Chair, our resident music contributors, Eyeless and Just JT, will do a monthly round-up of their favorite projects, giving you on the most respective drops every month.

SiR - November

Eyeless: From a talent standpoint, the roster on Top Dawg Entertainment is damn near impeccable. For me, November by SiR has been on repeat since the clock turned midnight on January 18th. Bruh, this album is so fucking soulful that if I were still capable of crying, I would have shed a tear on the first complete spin. The production is as intricate and complex as every other TDE release, but the entire experience of this one felt like a completely novel journey. The way SiR floats on the album, mixing in different cadences with sharp, distinctive wails, can really evoke emotion from the listener. Strong songwriting about subject matter dealing with different narratives about relationships are highly relatable, no matter where you come from. Cool out on a late night with your significant other (or sidepiece) to November. It's sure to the set the mood.

Favorite Tracks: D'Evils, Something New (ft. Etta Bond), Dreaming of Me.

JT: The TDE Machine is the strongest well oiled machine in the music industry right now. Everything that they touch always turn into gold and their track record with artist as Kendrick, SZA, Schoolboy Q, etc. Im really convinced that after Top or Punch comes across  dope talent, they then throw them in the TDE hyperbolic time chamber for training and they come out stronger than when they first walked in. So what a perfect way to start off January 2018 but with some fresh new R&B sounds from their newest and latest  talent in the roster, SiR. The Production on the album is usual TDE standards: Soulful, complex, soothing, Intricate, etc.  Each song on the album can evoke different emotions from you, whether you’re out cruising thinking about life or you’re chilling with the opposite sex. Im looking forward to seeing more collaborations and records from SiR in the near future.

Favorite Tracks: D’Evils, That’s Alright, Something Foreign, Something New

Maxo Kream - Punken

Eyeless: Whew, Punken caught me off guard, for real. I had never listened to Maxo Kream prior to this album, but many people on the internet were rightfully lauding him for this effort. Slick raps and harrowing tales about street life are painted vividly with Max's commentary throughout Punken. In one of the standouts, "Roaches," the Houston native talks about in detail about the sad troubles his family was going through when dealing with the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. There's plenty of ig'nant shit on here to go dumb to, but there's also some very thoughtful and poignant rhymes on here as well. Hands down my favorite rap project of this early year, so far.

Favorite Tracks: Work, Roaches, Grannies;

Evidence - Weather or Not

Eyeless: WEST COAST FLOWS MEETS EAST COAST BOOM BAP. The Venice, Caljfornia hip-hop veteran Evidence has lowkey been one of the most consistent rappers. As one can tell by his subdued demeanor and laid-back delivery, EV, isn't worried about the flash and frills; just straight raps. That's not to say he's lazy in the slightest, rather, he carved a lane in this game by staying authentic, without ever conforming to normal trends:

Everyone's an imitation, spitters cop the G Rap, the rest are on some Drake shit// I took my time to find my own shit, 10,000 hours//

With production from Nottz, The Alchemist, DJ Premier, and more, Mr. Slow Flow kills it again by sticking to the blueprint here on Weather or Not. Prayerss up to his long-term girlfriend who he, on the final song, revealed to have stage three breast cancer. A very personal album with great effort put forth into it.

Favorite tracks: Throw it All Away (prod. The Alchemist), Jim Dean, Love Is a Funny Thing (feat. Styles P, Rapsody & Khrysis; prod. The Alchemist);

Payroll Giovanni & Cardo - Big Bossin Vol 2

JT: I'm going to be keep it real honest with you, I’m JUST NOW jumping onto the Payroll Giovanni bandwagon after the homie Baby Shad had made his playlist of his  best songs. What draws me so much into his music is his sound. What’s crazy to me is how their sound is so G-Funk so West Coast, but Payroll & Cardo both from the Midwest. Not only is the sound amazing, but Big Bossin Vol 2 to me is one of the best albums to play when you’re fiending for life motivation to help you secure that bag. This is my current life go-to soundtrack when I’m making moves and setting plays to secure my bag. Payroll Giovanni for President.

Favorite Tracks: 5s to 6s, Rapped My Way, Good Day to Get Money, 10 Years, 1 Summer, BYLUG Outro

Drake - Scary Hours EP

JT: At this point, what’s there to not love about Drake. No matter how many times i tend to overly criticize him, the boy always finds a way to come through and gives us heat. Listening to Scary Hours EP, i get the feeling that Drake feels refreshed and ready to take one 2018. Not only did he give us another smash with God’s Plan, he also blessed us with the raps on Diplomatic Immunity. Right after More Life dropped, I really wanted Drake to just take a break from music at first because to me it felt like most of his music lately since after If You’re Reading This, It’s too Late. To me, it felt like he was more concerned with making hit records more than impactful records. I'm not mad at him for that because he’s been giving folks hits. But I love Introspective Drake much more. When he’s giving us tracks like 30 for 30, The Resistance, Do Not Disturb, Lose You, etc i feel like that’s when drake is at his best. I'm looking forward to seeing what’s next up for the boy for 2018.

Favorite tracks: Diplomatic Immunity
 

Honorable Mentions:
Migos - Culture II
Justine Skye - Ultraviolet

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?”  

Most anticipated albums of 2018

There’s a couple of things that come to mind when I think about New Years; it’s new beginnings, new energy, new people, new opportunities, and most importantly, new music. Every year when it feels there’s no way the music atmosphere can get that better, I’m  hit me with that “Iight BET” text message from the new year.  New music releases in 2018  means new sounds, waves, flows, tunes, artists, etc. When it’s not the usual artists dominating, there’s always some new faces that make big noise for themselves.  Despite push back old heads give us, music is in a great spot. With all of these diverse  categories of hip-hop specifically tailored to different crowds, you would think complaining about the state of music would experience some cutback.  But people are never satisfied. Either way it goes,  I’m excited to hear  what’s in stored for our 2018 Life soundtrack. I’ve come up with the list of rappers whom in which I’m excited for releasing new music this year.

Migos - Culture 2

Coming off an astounding year, Migos are already prepping for their upcoming album Culture 2, which drops on January 26th. This release falls a day before the one year anniversary of Culture. With two single already in rotation (Motor Sport and Stir Fry), I’m interested in what direction the group is taking the sound & vibe this next go round. I don't know if it’s because of the Quality Control compilation release, but the buzz doesn't feel entirely the same as it did last year. However, I have faith in Migos to drop that flame. I'm looking forward to hearing my guy Offset (aka the BEST MIGO out the group) to do work on the album. . 

Rae Sremmurd - Sremmlife 3

SremmLife 3 has been teased on several occasions by Mike Will Made It and the group through social media and interviews. Back in August while with speaking with Tim Westwood , Swae Lee confirmed that SremmLife 3 was just about complete. Prior to that, Slim Jxmmi initially said initially that the third album was going to be a departure from the Sremmlife series, but later, Swae changed the plans up. We haven’t got an actual release date yet, but we were told it’s supposed to drop sometime in January. I’m not sure if it will since release dates always change, but I’m certain Sremmlife 3 will drop for us sometime in the first quarter of 2018.

On a side note, I really wish they would start dropping their albums in the spring time so their records could blow up and get in the summer rotation.

YG- Just Re’d Up 3

When we last heard YG on his Red Friday EP, he said on Public Service Announcement intro "Just Re’d Up 3 coming soon.” YG has been quietly working in the lab, whether with Mustard for the album or assisting with features with other rappers. He’s dropped some loosie singles post-Still Brazy in Fuck it up, YNS & Pop it Shake It. It’s about to be about two years since Still Brazy dropped (which i think is top album of 2016 despite some push back since the album missed Mustards’ presence) and I think it’s about time for a new YG album in order to prep us for the summer.

Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap

It's about DAMN time our playa’ potna Nipsey Hussle is finally dropping Victory Lap on February 16th. I’ve been a fan of his music since Hussle in the House dropped and he’s grabbed me with his mixtapes series Bullets Aint Got No Name and The Marathon. After Crenshaw dropped in 2013, Nipsey started teasing us with Victory Lap, but it was starting to reach Detox status. But it seems like Victory Lap is finally about to happen. If my boy Cyhi could delay his album process and drop heat like No Dope on Sundays, then I have all the faith in Nipsey.

Travis Scott- Astroworld

Travis Scott is for the people and he proves it every single time with each new project release. Birds in The Trap Sing McKnight is still holding it down as we’re we wait for Astroworld. Huncho Jack with Quavo was cool and all, but we all are waiting for what’s coming with their own projects. Last year, Trav dropped three throwaway records; Green and Purple with Playboi Carti, The Butterfly Effect, and A Man. I’m anxious to hear what new sounds he's got cooking in the works with Mike Dean. He had a great all star cast on his last album and i’m interested in who's making contributions this next go round. Will he outdo Birds and Rodeo? Stay tuned.

Schoolboy Q- TBD

Blank Face was the album of 2016, point blank period. Schoolboy Q came through with the heat and it still sticks today. If you follow Q on Snapchat or his IG stories, then you would know he’s putting the finishing touches on his next album. He’s already warned us that he’s taking the mainstream route with the production. We don’t know much about the new album yet but I can guarantee you that Q’s is about to lace us with some heat the TDE way.

Jay Rock - TBD

Jay Rock has been silently working on his next album for awhile now. TDE has already made their power move by dropping King’s Dead with Kendrick and Future, which not only will serve as a single for The Black Panther but also the first single off his upcoming Album. We don’t have a lot of information regarding the album, but judging off the snippets, I'm looking forward to the album. I can’t wait until the second single comes out.

Future - TBD

We’ve been long overdue for a new solo Future album. Last year, he pulled a double whammy on us dropping FUTURE & HNDRXX, both albums which could possibly be argued as the best albums of 2017.  The only thing missing is a Grammy nomination but only time will tell.

Between the rumors of Beast Mode 2 with him & Zaytoven and finding he will be curating the soundtrack for the Superfly remake, there’s no telling exactly what direction Future is going to go with his music. All we can tell you is that expect some new heat soon. To keep it a buck, I really hope somehow we can add No Wallet into the mix.

Drake - TBD

At the end of “Do Not Disturb,” Drake said,  “Takin summer off, cause they tell me I need recovery/ Maybe gettin’ back to my regular life will humble me/ I’ll be back in 2018 to give you the summary.”  We really don’t know what Drizzy has in stored for us this year, but based on the snippets that’s dropped on social media, he’s been working. Even though I would much rather prefer him to take the year off and really put his foot into the next album, he’s going to do what he want to do. All I can hope for is more flame to come on the way.

Kanye West - TBD

As an OG Kanye stan,  these days I feel bittersweet about him as a whole from his recent music to how he is as a person.  Even though I’m not as fond of him as I was before, there’s still some love for Uncle Ye deep down. Not only do we want the best for him, but we also want the mild sauce flowing back in his veins.

He was very quiet for the most of 2017 minus a verse on Cyhi’s Dat Side. We’ve heard from numerous members of G.O.O.D. Music that Kanye is back on his “five beats a day for three summers” flow. I’m not believing anything until I actually hear it. But the good thing about Ye’s music is that you’ll never know what to expect from him. So for that, I’m interested to see where he will take it since he’s been so quiet.

Scarcity vs. Surplus
newnownext.com

newnownext.com

“Everything in Moderation, Including Moderation”
— Oscar Wilde

The mixtape era was an incredible time. Artists unexpectedly released a brand new compilation of music just about every month, in some cases every other week. In middle school and high school, I remember rushing home every day after school (or after the occasional cypher) to check DatPiff for the latest drop. Whether it was a new, original beat from the in-house producer or a guest verse from a major act in the clique, it was still fresh material that felt familiar.

We as fans were definitely spoiled during this era, and no one ran the circuit to their advantage better than the South. Artists like Lil Wayne released quality mixtapes bookended by studio albums. From 2003 to 2011, he released six studio projects (seven if you wanna count "Rebirth,") and eleven mixtapes. Hate it or love it, but Weezy is one of the most important figures in hip-hop, helping the genre bulrush its way into the mainstream giant it is today.

He used the "more is better" strategy and completely flipped the industry on its head. But an argument in favor of an taking his or her time in creating content. Take Dr. Dre for example. His life trajectory in music is truly something to admire. In the span of 30 years, he went from DJ, to producer/engineer, to emcee, to multi-million dollar business executive.

Dre's his extensive production history and work behind the scenes is well known, but when it comes to his own albums, he does not rush into anything. He dropped The Chronic in December 1992, a classic piece of art that set the foundation for 90s hip-hop. He could have continued his hot streak until the flame burned out, but he didn't. Dre didn't force anything for the sake of a drop. Instead, he took a step back to focus on producing and growing his brand. When the time was right, he hit us with 2001 in 1999. 2 for 2 with solo studio albums.

 A little over a decade passed before a definitive update on his planned third album Detox came out. It was scrapped in 2014, and instead Dre was inspired by the city that raised him and the biopic he was making at the time. Enter Compton. Dre really showed out on his latest record, a high-quality album that wasn't forced, which defines and sums up his legacy: patiently efficient with a deadly accuracy.

Pros and cons can be pointed out in both approaches, but they're not law. The most important thing for an artist to do is to stay in their lane when it comes to either strategy. Adopting a style that you're not comfortable with, in all walks of life, could really hurt your game. You become stale if you're not consistent, and you will get blasted for subpar work that was rushed.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIDAL

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIDAL

Thanks to streaming platforms, it's easier than ever to find new music. Fresh acts pop up on the scene daily, making artist discovery the most flooded that it's ever been.

It can be overwhelming to keep up with new releases. In terms of the "surplus approach," many artists have continued to use this method of success. When Gucci Mane came home from his most recent bid, he didn't skip a beat, releasing six mixtapes and four albums in less than 20 months.

New age rappers have adopted the same mentality:create as much music as possible and share it as frequently as possible. "After making six or 700 hundred songs, we'll pick the album," Future said in an interview.

Even if these are just reference tracks or stems, that's an insane number. Not unbelievable though, especially after the massive 2017 that Future had.

Jay-Z and André 3000, photographed speaking during the  MTV  “Video Music Awards,” held at the  Radio City Music Hall  in New York City on August 31, 2006.

Jay-Z and André 3000, photographed speaking during the MTV “Video Music Awards,” held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City on August 31, 2006.

Then you have artists who  are very reserved when it comes to producing content, even in modern times. The "scarcity approach" has worked for established rappers.

Take JAY-Z and Andre 3000. Both were highly popular in the 90s and 2000s, but have slowed down their gears in the last decade. HOV dropped three albums in an 8 year period, and Three Stacks? Well, he's been completely off the grid besides the occasional sample. They're both well into their 40s and removed from rap full time, but when they decide to make their presence felt, we all pay attention.

Jay Electronica is another rapper that comes to mind. It's crazy his debut single dropped in 2007 and there's still no album attached to it. But being too scarce might be a bad thing, as it could lose you fans and financial opportunities.

In the end, scarcity vs. surplus comes down to listener preference. We shouldn't be demanding artists to push out content for the sake of doing, but we shouldn't really get pissed if they push out "too much" content. If you ain't feeling a particular style, move on and just let 'em cook.