Why I Haven’t Had A Great Year As A Hip-Hop Fan
On yet another late night perusing the web and making conversation on Twitter, I came across an advertisement for Big K.R.I.T.’s new surprise mixtape.
As a rap fan since the days of Lost Boyz, my first reaction any other time would be one of sheer joy and excitement. Yet, in that moment, I felt extreme frustration. After last year’s relatively dry year in hip-hop, I never thought I’d say this—I need a break from new music.
Where did all of these new projects come from, and why now? Not counting mixtapes, there has been at least one major rap album released every week, excluding one, since the beginning of September (we were gifted with Dave East’s mixtape and Bryson Tiller’s album that week, though). Rather than giving hip-hop heads sufficient time to absorb every bar and thoroughly dissect an album beyond a sonically pleasing surface, artists and labels are forcing us to settle for a few listens before moving on to the next project. I don’t even have time to memorize complete verses and quote an album in Instagram captions anymore, and it saddens me.
As a society with a need for speed when it comes to content creation and marketing, I’d like to think this is our own fault.
After the release of My Krazy Life and 2014 Forest Hills Drive last year, we begged for more substantial material, and well, we got it. And while I celebrate the fact that big-name rappers are finally waking up and getting busy, I also realize that we’re all losing here in the long run. Rappers don’t get their work appreciated the way it should be and fans end up with a skewed definition of “classic” music. A week after a project is released, we all move on as though it never happened (let’s not even discuss What A Time To Be Alive’s sales). Ultimately, we get caught up in the hype and mediocrity gets disguised as good music just because it’s constant. Hip-hop, as a whole, gets diluted via oversaturation and the smaller artists, tangled in the fray, are often forgotten about altogether.
With French Montana, Young Jeezy, Kanye West and Rick Ross releases all expected by the end of the year, the floodgates remain open. So, pardon me if I don’t catch your rap album references on social media; I’m still just trying to play catch-up.