Fresh off their collaborative project, Friday on Elm Street, Fabolous and Jadakiss sat down with REAL 92.3 LA to discuss the record, but the conversation quickly turned into a seminar on the difference between an album and a mixtape in 2017.
“I think albums are gonna go extinct,” Jadakiss begins. “Mixtapes are gonna take the forefront. Just the word 'album,' fucks up a lot of shit. From clearances, it even rubs your fans the wrong way.”
Fabolous chimes in: “That's how I fell in love with doing mixtapes. Just not having to answer to anything,” to which Jada replies, “You can do whatever you want for your core fans, with no caring about samples, release dates, none of that bullshit. When you making a mixtape, you breathing the best breathing you ever breathed.”
To be clear—and no disrespect to Jadakiss—albums are not going anywhere. Even in the era of the playlist, the album will continue to be the central way music is packaged and delivered to consumers for years to come. That said, the duo does raise an important point about artistic control. As Fab goes on to explain, while albums demand that an artist follow a more strict format, mixtapes provide freedom, which speaks to the dearth of creative control afforded to many signed artists.
For Jada and Fab, the mixtape is a musical playground, a place they can let their ideas run free without having to worry about restrictions or label politics. The mixtape is a pressure-free zone where an artist can enjoy themselves and deliver an organic product to their fanbase, sometimes free of cost.
Fabolous also correctly points out that platforms like SoundCloud are the new breeding ground for artistic experimentation and flexibility. Much like mixtapes, SoundCloud offers a 100% expectation-free space for young artists to test the waters, learn how to fashion a project, and gauge how to go about building their fanbase.
In that sense, we’re with you, Jadakiss. Let artists be artists.