The streaming era has changed the way we consume and package music. Bloated tracklists have become the standard, and so have forced collaborations. In an interview this past Monday, Kodak Black, who is currently facing sexual assault allegations for which he is awaiting trial, revealed to 103.5 The Beat that his album features several collaborations solely meant to boost his streams.
“I got a song called 'Moshpit' with Juice WRLD, just for like the streaming people," he said.
"It's not really my favorite, but I know it's gon' stream. People gon’ eat that up. Like, with Lil Pump, I would never really work with him, but I did it, and it’s gon’ stream.”
There you have it: it’s not that Black was clamoring to work with Juice WRLD, but rather that he knows Juice WRLD had an incredible year on Spotify alone. His songs “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same” have consistently topped the most-streamed songs of the week lists. While people are concerned over clout chasing, it seems Kodak Black has elevated the art and, with major label backing, has been able to chase plays before they happen.
Is this perhaps disingenuous? Certainly, but what Kodak Black is talking about is something plenty of artists do and have done. Drake is sliding into Blueface’s DMs, Kanye West aligns himself with young acts for the same reason: youth and relevancy. “It’s gon’ stream” is simply code for: it will be talked about, it will matter, people will click play when they see this name next to my own.
For better or worse, that’s the game.