Reasons Why the Element of Surprise Is Working in Rap

When it comes to today’s music industry, the element of surprise isn’t an easy thing to pull off. Many fans, especially fans of hip-hop, may feel that they’ve seen and heard it all. But then, BOOM!, you’re knocked out of your seat after an artist drops an amazing project out of nowhere. Thus far in 2015, there have been a few artists that have proven that hip-hop is in a viable space to be able to use this time-tested but newly reinvigorated public relations tool.

We have decided to look at some of the biggest reasons why hip-hop is benefitting from the element of surprise.

The whole “flood the market” strategy seems to slowly be dying out, giving way to more risk-taking and allowing projects to marinate with fans. Couple that with the potential that a surprise project has to get fans talking, and you’ve got a recipe for lot of buzz and points for creativity.

Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly had tons of buzz upon its release and is arguably the most artistically challenging hip-hop album of the year. So when K. Dot released it a week early, to the surprise of fans and critics, it made for a perfect storm of artistic expression and mainstream appeal. Checkmate.

It’s not a secret: social media now runs hip-hop. You drop that surprise album, mix tape, or collabo, and your fan base immediately gets to talking, listening, viewing and sharing. Play it right, and it’s win-win all around.

It also lets fans be fans. With social media allowing everybody to play the music critic, surprise drops momentarily put us back in the place of fans. They catch us off guard. True, an artist like Dr. Dre already had the stars aligned in his favor. But in dropping the Compton album not too long ago, he got newer fans, who might have missed catching him in the 2001 era and earlier, buzzing as much as his older fans.

Plus it’s good for music: When a project from a rival artist drops from out of the blue and gets a ton of buzz, naturally it’s going to stoke the need for other rappers to one-up the competition. Meek, we’re looking at you.

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