Rich Gang fans rejoiced this week. Even though Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan are no longer united under the Rich Gang moniker, the interwebs was flooded with over 100 records from the two as the result of a massive new leak. (Side note: I'm sure many of the 100 had leaked previously, but ain't nobody got time to sort through all that). But while fans were rejoicing, turning up and attempting to decipher Thugger's jarbled incoherencies, Alex Tumay was having a serious asshole of a day.
Engineer by trade, Alex Tumay boasts Thug and Quan as clients, in addition to Travi$ Scott, T.I., Drake, Wayne, Waka and many other names with which I'm sure you're intimately acquainted. Understandably distraught over the events of the past week, Tumay took the opportunity to vent his frustrations over Twitter:
Obviously, this is his craft at stake. I'd also be pissed, I'd also be depressed and I'd damn sure need some whiskey. He elaborated further, and made some points that might have fans looking at the situation in a different light:
I get it. People love their favorite artists, and for those who worship Rich Young Homie Thug (they do exist), waking up to see 100 new bangers is like Christmas morning combined with Thanksgiving dinner combined with New Year's Eve. I also get that many people are assholes, who don't and wouldn't care about Alex Tumay's feelings even after reading his note, which admittedly conjured up very strong feelings of sympathy from yours truly. As he puts it, "Whoever leaked them has no respect for music or the work that goes into creating it."
Exactly. It might be easy for those who aren't Rich Gang fans to dismiss, but this is far from an isolated incident. Would we happily download 100 Young Thug tracks but balk at downloading an unfinished Nas album? Does that disrespect to music end with the leaker or continue on to the listener? Does any blame lay with those downloading, sharing and enjoying songs they weren't meant to hear... yet?
I say "yet" for a reason. Going back to why fans might look at this leak differently after reading Alex's thoughts, one portion of his vent stands out in particular:
"Most of these tracks probably would've ended up coming out for free when they were completed and the time was right, but they are for the most part unfinished ... Now there is a very real chance that these unfinished versions will be the only ones that people ever hear."
Dairy Queen might give you the instant gratification that a trip to the gym may not, though you'll be better off in the long run with the latter. Similarly, while receiving 100 unfinished songs might feel good right now, having those same songs fully mastered, completed and still free at a later date might have proven to be the best long-term outcome. Now, we might never know. Instead, I have over 100 songs that could sound better that I have to sift through, and Alex Tumay is the unlucky recipient of having months of work gone in an instant a few hours.
In any case, the engineer seems to have some regret for making his thoughts public:
Thankfully, he did not just leave it in Notepad, as his comments brought up some very interesting points on who really wins/loses when leaks occur and it's certainly a conversation worth having for anyone who loves hip-hop, music and the Internet (aka everyone here).
Finally, you'll notice that the leaks were not posted to DJBooth. First of all, we are very selective in what we choose to feature, and the prospect of posting 100 Thug/Quan records at once screams "unselective," and that's assuming they are complete. (Fair warning, I very much enjoy the musical stylings of both, but am definitely not blind to the fact that everything they touch is not gold.) Beyond that though, we strive for quality. Yes, a Kanye snippet might leak one day and the public might be demanding to hear it posted, but when that snippet sounds like it was recorded through a phone through a wall through a door, when it feels like it could harm the final product, when it begins to feel disrepectful to the artist and your ear drums, we try to be even more discriminating than usual.
Editor's note: We asked RR and he's confirmed that even after this massive leak, Rich Homie Quan is in fact still going in. He'll never stop.