Part two of a five part series by J-Zone on the death of hip-hop.
TOO MUCH MUSIC by J-Zone
Like the crew theory, this is about quantity. People want more, even if it means a dip in quality. Some people can put out music quickly and do it well. Some people just want to bombard the market for the sake of doing it. Rakim did albums every 2 years. EPMD, Scarface and Ice Cube did it every year and that was considered fast. Nowadays, if you don’t have 2 albums, 5 mix tapes and 10 guest appearances a year, you’re slippin and people forget you. This attempt to keep up with the rush has cheapened the music. Now you have regular mixtapes marketed as albums, just a bunch of thrown together songs for the fuck of it.
But to survive these days, you have to do that to stay in the public eye. There’s far too many slim line case CD-R mix tapes out, and as important as mix tapes are to rap, the very vehicle that helped it grow is now playing a part in killing it. Now everybody has forgotten how to make cohesive projects, so we cover it up by labeling it as a mix tape. The value and pride that full length albums used to symbolize are no more. Mix tapes now triple the number official albums in artist’s catalog and never has music seemed so cheap and fast food. Not to mention, when the majors went completely awry in the late 90’s, the indie rap scene went out of control with too much product.
When I debuted in 1999, there were maybe 25-30 other indie vinyl releases out that mattered. And mine was one of the only full length albums. So it was only a matter of time before I got a listen, it didn’t matter that I had no big names on my record and came outta nowhere. Try that now. To go to a store and see the foot high stack of one sheets for new records, mix cd’s and dvd’s dropping weekly makes you see you have a snowballs chance under a fat girls ass to survive in that world. Look at how many releases a week are on Hiphopsite, Sandbox, Fat Beats, Ughh, etc. The high profile artists get some attention, and everybody else gets ordered in ones and twos, if that. So today’s new talent making his debut is in for an uphill battle.
Great records go unnoticed. Rap is now a disposable art. Mr. Walt of Da Beatminerz once said “you work 16 months on an album and get a 2 week window of opportunity. After that your record is as good as dead for most people”. That sums it up.