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"Cheap": Pusha-T Speaks on Rappers Beefing Up Tracklists to Increase Streaming Numbers

“I feel like the trend in rap is like put a whole bunch of songs on your album, and get your streaming numbers up.”

In the era of bloated tracklists, Pusha-T and G.O.O.D. Music have the answer: seven tracks or bust. Following the release of his fantastic solo studio album DAYTONA, Pusha spoke with Vulture’s Craig Jenkins about the decision.

“When it was brought to me, about seven [tracks], I was totally against it,” Pusha admitted. “I was like, ‘No, man, I got a whole full album right here. What are you talking about?’ And, [Kanye’s] like, ‘What’s a full album? What do you think a full album is? Tell me what a full album means. What is that?’ He was like, ‘I think, in seven songs, you can get everything you want off, and we can have the most concise, strongest project ever…’ I was very wrong about the seven not being enough.”

For a focused artist like Pusha-T, one whose content follows an expected form and is carried by a sharp pen, narrowing down a tracklist to seven songs may as well be a blessing. The added element of focus and urgency that this track limit brings to an album necessitates a higher level of craft and care put into each and every bit of minutia.

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“Seven’s very much enough, and I also like the fact that I feel like the trend in rap is like put a whole bunch of songs on your album, and get your streaming numbers up,” he continued. “That looks a little cheap to me.”

While not all double-disc albums are streaming ploys, Pusha is right in that often the quality of an album will suffer at the cost of tacking on a previously charting song or injecting layers of filler to amp streaming numbers. Urgency and succinctness can be paramount when it comes to producing evocative art.

With a seven-track album, you’ve got the freedom to run the project back several times and truly live with the work, while a 20-track album has the air of demand and hassle, especially in today's entertainment climate where content is constantly flooding the market. 

Climbing numbers won’t help the shelf life of the album if, in the long run, only the first third of the record gets played before listeners tap out.

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