Can a mixtape be considered a classic, or here’s a much better question for you, would a rapper actually give away that much of amazing quality for free? So I vent. Today’s hip-hop industry is all A&R-ed by none other than the dreadful social networks and which is why mixtapes these days are SO much better than albums. Why is that? So we begin.
Today, as I was walking to work I had a brief discussion with my lovely co-worker and he simply asked, “Why do rappers put so much effort into a mixtape only to give us sheer crap on an album”. Of course it was interesting topic, I mean why do they? Why is hip-hop such an inconsistent genre unlike all the other genres? Why do we expect so less on a mixtape and so much of an album? Easy, it’s the sales and distribution silly. Of course we expect a lot out of material that we’re planning to buy, why do you think sales are so low now? Rappers feel if only 50,000 people are going to buy first week then why give them something worth wild when it’s just going to end up on leaking sites those of; Hulkshare, KillerLeaks, Dopehood, Sharebeast & etc. I mean the list is never ending. Is it our faults as fans? Are we to the blame for our favorite artist feeling unwanted? Yes we are.
Big K.R.I.T. is a main artist who happens to be caught in that mix. He has given us basically four free albums (all met with Critical Acclaim) and even with his entire buzz and constant consistency, his album was well… let’s just say it didn’t meet expectations. His album was far from bad it was just good whereas many were expecting him to burst into stardom and his sales suffered from it. Singles like: “I Got This” & Money on the Floor” both flopped and even with a Top 5 album on the “Billboard 200” he still on a technical standpoint flopped (40,000 First Week, YIKES!). Maybe we were wrong for putting such a high bar for him (I mean “The Vent” is a modern day classic) but as I stated… THE CONSISTENCY! When one is constantly being as consistent in a very inconsistent genre (mostly now) what are we supposed to do? But K.R.I.T. still is in between peaking to stardom or staying true to his roots only time will tell if he breaks through. Besides he tours significantly well so he’ll be A-okay if he just manages to keep the consistency and relevance.
Anyways I’ve gone of subject, albums are supposed to be the defying point to where you stamp your legacy. No one remembers mixtape rappers, I mean maybe mixtape Weezy, Jeezy & 50 Cent but they all at some point crossed over and had maybe some undetermined success. Nas is remembered for Illmatic, Jay for “Reasonable Doubt”, Wu-Tang for “36 Chambers” and A Tribe Called Quest for “Midnight Marauders”. None of those are mixtapes (where mixtapes even available back then) they’re just legendary albums. Have we let hip-hop fall so far that we actually turn to hoping something as amazing as these projects grace the mixtape scene instead of actually paying for them. Personally, if something as amazing “Illmatic” was to drop right now, just somewhere out the sky, I would pay tons of money for it… well I’m over exaggerating maybe a little but you get my point. We don’t want to pay for the material when there’s probably already been a modern day “Illmatic” (got to wait a few more years Kendrick). Hell there has probably been hundreds or thousands of modern “Illmatic’s” we’re just too lazy to go out and support, which brings me to me closing statement.
Hip-Hop is our genre as fans and whether or not we take back control is purely up to us. But in the mean time enjoy all the wonderful free material out there while you can, because sooner or later rappers are going to get the message and stop giving away free material and focus purely on their albums and sites like Datpiff.com, HotnewHipHop.com, 2DopeBoyz.com, & Livemixtapes.com will be nothing but a long, forgotten, distant memory.
The opinions and views expressed here are the opinions of the designated author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or views of any of the individual members of Dead End Hip Hop.
Most of my favorite artist struggle with this issue each time they produce a new CD. We have had months of free music that showcase their production skills and lyrical skills. Then you finally get a finished product and it sounds horrible. Don’t get me invested in what you have to say only to produce garbage when you get a contract.
I blame the process for example I remember the hype created for Charles Hamilton, the amount of music/mixtapes that he produced and then then the album that his label paid for and he released for free. My first thought was what in the world happened. The same can be said for others (Wale, Big Sean, come to mind).
I am not sure if the process kills the joy and wonder of making good music? I don’t know but I like the article and unfortunately I will continue to look forward to my favorite artist’s mixtape and not the CD.
Decent article but you guys definitely need to fire your editor. Yikes
Can you elaborate?
There’s a fair amount of improper punctuation and misspellings (“Where mixtapes even available back then” for example) that ends up hurting the article. It would have been a much more fluid read if these were fixed.
As to the article; my two cents equal to this: Artists use mixtapes to gain hype and attention. Because the field is so competitive however, they usually end up oversaturating themselves and by the time the album is released, they’ve been burnt out. I think the less differentiation between albums and mixtapes (which by the way, are no longer literal “mixtapes”, and should really just be called free albums, or just projects), the better. Though I personally would never call someone’s project/mixtape classic if they went over another artists production…even If I thought they did it better.