Somewhere along the way, A&Rs decided that if some hip hop is good, way fucking more is better. To them, this meant every track that made its way to radio needed at least 5 artists on it. I don't know exactly where it started, but the 3 hour long "One Blood" remix seems as good a culprit as any. Now, hear me out, some of these songs have been fine. I loved tracks like "Mercy", "Pop That", and "Brown Paper Bag", but for the most part songs like these feel a tad dragged out, and there's always at least a verse or two that could've been cut. Less is sometimes more.
This one is especially frustrating. Because of social media and blogs, we hear a lot from every single artist that exists, whereas a decade or so ago you'd only hear from them on the occasional TV or radio appearance or a magazine interview here and there. So now we have Artist X tweeting "JUNE 1ST 6/1 JUNE 1ST 6/1 JUNE 1ST 6/1 GO COP MY ALBUM 6/1 6/1 6/1" every single day for 6 months straight. Then 2 weeks before it drops, they tell us, "sorry to my fans, gotta push it back til November because we couldn't clear a sample." I totally understand the difficult nature of sample clearance, but why even set a date, or make the date public knowledge, until everything is absolutely cleared? Why waste all the marketing dollars on having 2, sometimes 3 or 4, different dates. We don't care when it comes out, just don't push it back once you tell us. The only time in Hip Hop history that the fans actually benefitted from a pushback was when Carter 4 got pushed back so many times, that we got the Sorry 4 Tha Wait mixtape from Weezy F, which was fire.
NEXT DAY REMIXES/FREESTYLES
Alright, this is a problem that has really only started to pop up in the last couple years, but I can already tell it's getting exponentially worse, and will probably continue doing so, thanks to the blogosphere. Here's how the story goes: a very prominent artist drops a new single that impacts pretty powerfully, then every artist and their brother pray to the Rap Gods that said artist left enough naked instrumental at the end to loop into oblivion. Then they throw their own verse on it and by noon the day after the single dropped we have 4,000 different versions of "Started From The Bottom". I get why you do it, you want to capitalize on what's hot and get your name out there. But what you're doing in actuality is literally letting me hear how much worse you are than the original artist. I feel like every rapper gets one free pass, because sometimes it's used as a response record or something like that. But then there are artists who seem to have a freestyle on every single new release. So, basically, you're telling me you don't have an individual artistic style, and can't find quality instrumentals of your own to write to. It all just seems sort of lazy.
I’m not sure whether to blame the artists or the blogs on this one, but regardless, can we please just stop? Music videos used to be a far bigger deal than they are today. The days of Biggie’s "Hypnotize" and Hov’s "Izzo" videos are over, as artists are leaning towards low budget, quick turnaround options versus the big budget blockbusters of the 90s and early 2000s. This is why it makes it even more puzzling that we are forced to scroll past (because nobody actually watches these, right?) one, two, sometimes even three “behind the scenes” or “making of” clips of new music videos. Not to mention, the additional video teasers that follow (which also could run up to about 2 or 3). Most of the time, they are merely a chance for other artists or celebrities to make cameos, and the main artist to pitch a few products or upcoming releases from their team. There is nothing of real substance or value to be gained from watching these marketing campaigns, and it makes you wonder who’s telling them that people actually watch these, and to continue putting money or time into them.
I’m never going to shit on anyone for shameless self promotion via social media, as that’s what I used to get my name out there before getting into radio and writing, but there’s a limit to my tolerance. Because of my job, most people I’m “friends” with on Facebook or Twitter are either musicians or in the business in one form or another. My biggest pet peeve though, is when I’m tagged on the album art of your upcoming release, and therefore subjected to the comments from every single one of your family members slash fans. This also applies to constant DM requests on Twitter to check out your new video, song or mixtape. Now I'm not going to peep it, just out of spite, and I'm definitely unfollowing. I have no problem with you promoting it, but when it becomes a constant daily annoyance to me, I can tell you that I may not listen to the project with the objective, open mindedness that I would have had you sent it to me privately in the proper channels. I’m almost at the point where I’d rather get a bunch of invites to play Farm Friends 6 (is that a real game?) than get tagged on your latest project. Notice I said almost, miss me with those game invites too while we’re at it.
We at HotNewHipHop are obviously fans of the culture and all it entails, but here's a quick list of five things that fans of hip-hop could (and probably do) take issue with.
Don't get me wrong, I love Hip Hop. Like, I really love Hip Hop. Eat it, breathe it, sleep it, kind of thing. But just like anything else, there's always improvements to be made. If we're simply satisfied with the genre just as it is, we'll get complacent, and the quality will suffer. So, with that said, I'm happy to be your Hip Hop Omsbudsman (Google it) and voice some complaints on behalf of fans everywhere, so that we may eradicate the weak shit, and elevate the dope shit. I don't want to make a habit of being negative, so I waited until I had a bunch of gripes to post all at once. I'm not going to name any names, because this is more of a warning than anything else, and, let's be real, I'm not trying to get hurt.
So click through and make sure you don't violate any of these in the future. If you have any gripes that I may have forgotten, get at me in the comment section or on Twitter, and maybe we can do an updated version of this list down the road. Enjoy.