On Wednesday (January 4), producer TM88—well-known for crafting bangers for Future, Young Thug, Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, and Waka Flocka, among others—fired off a tweet about recording a grip of new music en masse with Gucci Mane.
After releasing six projects in seven months to close out 2016, it should surprise no one that Gucci Mane recorded six songs in two hours, but something about the tweet irked me. I responded.
A few hours later, TM88 responded to my response, accusing me of hating.
While I'm usually bothered by the fact that everyone these days seems to believe a basic viewpoint that goes against their own personal set of beliefs is "hate," in hindsight, I completely understand TM88's response. To be clear, I don't hate TM88 or Gucci Mane, and I don't hate tweets about recording, on average, a new song every twenty minutes.
I am, however, bothered by the fact that knocking out and releasing records at a rapid pace has become a bragworthy achievement, which, ultimately, has led a massive number of up-and-coming artists to subscribe to this practice. How do I know a massive number of up-and-coming artists subscribe to this practice? Incredibly, we still receive thousands of song submissions per month and, by and large, they are a product of the same trap-inspired, assembly line manufacturing that TM88 described in his tweet.
Some artists believe in a quality over quantity methodology, releasing a lower volume of music in hopes that their fans will appreciate the extra time and attention that was paid to every bar and note. Artists like A$AP Rocky, Chance The Rapper, Frank Ocean, Kanye West and yes, even Jay Electronica, employ this modus operandi. On the flipside, others prefer to operate following a churn and burn mentality, crafting record after record, mixtape after mixtape, and album after album in an attempt to constantly feed their fanbase, taking few breaks between releases and hoping that something will occasionally stick. Artists like Curren$y, Fetty Wap, Gucci Mane (of course), Juicy J and Lil Uzi Vert all subscribe to this practice.
Artists who reside in both these categories have seen a tremendous amount of success. The type of music an artist makes, as well as the loyalty and rabidness of their respective fanbase, will ultimately determine which release strategy should be employed. Frank Ocean took four years off between full-length releases and people were still clamoring for new product. If Fetty Wap or Lil Uzi Vert were to employ this strategy their careers would be over.
Sure, it's possible to create a constant stream of well-received, acclaimed releases—both Future and 2 Chainz proved over the last two years that both quantity and quality can be achieved at the same time—but most artists, both those who are almost established and whose feet are barely wet, would be best served not rushing through the creative process, making music that allows for the possibility of longevity in an industry with a turnover rate that would make your head spin.
Flooding the streets is a successful strategy for TM88 and Gucci Mane, it's just not a successful strategy for you.