In Seattle, there’s an award winning burger spot called Zippy’s. A magnificent dining experience, it’s the only one of its kind. I don’t eat there as much as I probably could though because it’s not something I want to abuse. Every time I eat there, I appreciate that spicy chicken burger just a bit more knowing I waited a month or so since the last time. There just isn’t the same feeling when describing McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Burger King, etc. Yet, those places are what populate the fast food industry. I enjoy the occasional Big Mac, but it’s not what I want often, or even my first choice when I crave fast food. Music is the same way.There are few musical versions of Zippy's in a sea of corporate chain rappers.
Yoh aimed his weapon at us, the fans, but I’m throwing artists into the crossfire as well.
It’s easy to infer that fans are the main downfall for this quick-paced era we now find ourselves living in, but a finger should be pointed squarely at artists too. The heatwave of one-hit wonders and sub-par acts becoming stars has diluted the quality of music. There is no Riff Raff in the ‘90s. We've allowed him to exist, and I say that as someone who finds Riff’s music amusing. Sadly, most modern rappers aren’t built to last. They’re just flashy but poorly made cars trying to squeeze out as much mileage as possible before they inevitably break down. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are among the few in hip-hop that can take so much time off from releasing music in order to let their debut album flourish, because they spent so long crafting a body of work that relates to an entire planet. Most artists don’t even think about how to get Earth behind their music in that way. As soon as Gucci Mane released a project, he was onto the next. There are records from him that are timeless, but you’d have to sift through a vast catalog of throwaways to get to them.
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Michael Jackson once shared a philosophy that you have to allow the fans the chance to miss you. That same feeling doesn’t resonate with certain acts, we’ve yet to fully accept Jay Electronica or Andre 3000 never giving us solo albums, and appreciate whenever the two drop a guest feature, but what if Migos spent all of 2015 out of the spotlight? Is everyone looking at them in a similar light, or is the immediate reaction that they’ve fallen off? Unfortunately, a popular-only-in-the-moment trio like Migos can’t slow down for long. MJ lived in a simpler time when your albums could carry you to be a millionaire, but very few can claim that now. Touring keeps you in the eyes of the public constantly. With that comes video blogs, endless Instagram posts, and having to promote each show throughout social media. Only a handful of artists can truly disappear out of the public’s eagle eye and reappear as they choose (Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Jay Elect), but that doesn’t mean we need music from everyone else all the time.
Take Kanye West, someone who could fit Michael Jackson’s view with a twist for this generation. Is ‘Ye ever out of the public eye? Nope. Thanks to paparazzi and rumors surrounding his albums that span months until they actually drop, he's a constant presence. But Kanye values his artistry enough that he has earned the right to take years off while making music, knowing that he can come back stronger than ever. There is rarely a feeling of rushed material. Again, can we say that about many others?
Another proposed question from Yoh was, “Will Act II only be a masterpiece if it never drops?” And then he asked a similar question about Andre 3000, “Does he ruin himself indefinitely by feeding us what we want most?” The answer to both is "No." Sure, the internet and rap fans will treat these releases like they have many others, but there’s a genuine interest to hear both albums. We gave up on Saigon because he was shelved for so long, then he dropped his masterpiece, The Greatest Story Never Told, and it was larged ignored. We haven’t given up on Jay or Dre. They are rap elite status. I think the true fans of our culture will understand the importance of both albums should they ever come out.
Yoh ended his piece with, “Let’s stop treating hip-hop like the Playboy Mansion and more like the Smithsonian.” It's true, as fans we need to stop turning our attention to the Playboy Mansion so frequently, but we're not the only ones responsible. Artists need to start realizing what type of art belongs in the Smithsonian, and then start making it.
[By Sermon, aka The Randy Savage of VMG, aka @SermonsDomain]