One of the worst feelings in the world, aside from being hungover, is when you accurately predicted something but kept quiet.
We've all been there. Maybe it's the surprise ending of a movie only you saw coming, or maybe it's a football game ending on an onside kick, but everyone has said, "I was going to say that!" at least a million times. The worst part? Nobody believes you and assumes you were lying. Why should they?
When it comes to TheWalking Dead, I'm totally fine with receiving no credit for something I called, but when it comes to rap, I have a dangerous obsession with being right all the time. If I don't know everything about rap, I might as well know nothing.
Still, I can't just go around shooting off predictions and guesses based on a tweet or a quote. I mean, I could because that's essentially "journalism" in 2014 - lots of speculation with no accountability - but I won't. I want to be better. Yes, the guy who wrote an article about porn stars in music videos is now riding high on his moral high-horse. I want my Pulitzer, which means I can't just go around making lofty claims like "Madonna is making a rap album," based on absolutely zero evidence in hopes I'll be right. So, with that in mind, Madonna is totally making a rap album.
Let's review the evidence, step by step.
Exhibit A: The S1 Interview
A few months ago I had the privilege of interviewing Symbolyc One. Don't know who this S1 fellow is? He's basically the coolest dude on the planet who happens to produce songs for the likes of Lupe, Logic, an up-and-comers named Beyonce, Jay Z, and of course Kanye. Now, you can't boil anyone's career down to one beat, but you can certainly make the argument his Mona Lisa is "Power," a.k.a. the lead single off one of the best albums of the past decade, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. You know, the "Power" that gets played in every arena and every spin class in the country? That's S1's handy work. You might think that getting to hear about Kanye in the studio would be what stood out from the interview, and yeah, it did (I think about Kanye a lot), but what's been on my mind these past few weeks is something he said at the end of the conversation. It didn't make it into the Behind The Boards write up, but now, it feels like it should have. What did he say?
"I was in the studio with Maddonna for two weeks, which was crazy. She flew me out for a week in L.A and we did four songs. And then she flew me out to New York and we did another four songs. I'm really excited about that stuff."
Well, that's fucking cool, I thought, but at the time I didn't think much more than that. When he mentioned Kendrick, Kanye and Logic, that's where my attention went - Madonna was kind of an afterthought. I'm not bumping "Like a Virgin" as much as "Backseat Freestyle" so I'm going to ahead and care about Kendrick instead. However, now that I'm caring about the Madonna part...eight songs?! Madonna doesn't just fly you out to both coasts for two weeks to record eight songs for shits and giggles. Eight tracks is a lot. That's almost an entire album. I have a hard time believing that eight songs are just going to go unheard. There has to be a plan right?
Still, a Madonna rap album sounds foolish. No way. Whatever. I forgot about it, almost.
Exhibit B: The Nas Lick
Judging by her history, I feel like it's bigger news if Madonna doesn't lick somebody, so her slobbering on Nas didn't strike me as odd (real talk I'd probably do the same thing). What struck me was where the the licking occurred; on Nas' face, obviously, but also in a studio! Not a club, not some movie premiere; a studio. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that's where artists record material. Also, did you see those candles? Everybody knows you have to light some candles when recording. I'll need to know the exact aroma to figure out what kind of song they were creating - lavender mist is for a soulful cut and Ocean breeze for a banger - but those candles tell me they didn't just lick faces and leave; music was made...right?
See where I'm going with this? Now S1's words are back in my head. The plan has been set in motion. The chips are starting to fall. Winter is coming...
Exhibit C: Chance the Rapper
In reality Madonna hanging with Nas isn't that surprising. I mean, both are about the same age, both are fucking legends, and both are super rich and famous. As badly as I wanted to write this article then, I have too much journalistic integrity - plus I had to write this article about Migos - so I kept my harebrained theories to myself. Inside though, the wheels were spinning like Rick Ross' bedside rotisserie oven.
And then this...
First and foremost, Madonna looks good right? She's pushing sixty and can still pull off a Dick Tracy outfit. Second, CHANCE THE FUCKING RAPPER?!?! As I said, Nas and Madonna are on the same level, but Chance? No disrespect to Chance, but Madonna has been a pop icon for seven decades now and he has 20 semi-known songs. There's no way these two got together with any other purpose than to make music. Oh yeah, the icing on the cake:
Madonna buying Chance a Razor scooter is the funniest old lady gift in the world. She clearly has no idea what kids are into. Probably got him some Pokemon cards and a Ring Pop too. Anyway, for those keeping score at home that's S1, Nas and Chance; are you trying to tell me she's not doing something hip-hop related? There's a reason. This is where I turned the corner. I wanted to think Madonna was making a rap album, but it felt more like I was chasing a unicorn. Now that Chance is involved, I really believed an album was in the works. Break out the tin-foil hats! Send out the Illuminati bat signal!
And yet, as far as theories go, it still felt more grassy knoll than evolution.
Exhibit D: DJ Dahi
That right there is a picture of DJ Dahi, pop producer Blood Diamonds, and a giant ceramic penis. For those that don't know, Dahi is the man behind "Worst Behavior" and "Money Trees." Yep the guy who produced arguably the hardest song off GKMC and the hardest song off Nothing Was the Same is now producing with Madonna in a studio decked out with dicks...dicked out if you will. PLUS, this mini-documentary on Dahi oh-so-casually mentions that Madonna has flown him out from L.A. to NYC to work.
So we're all officially convinced now, right? I'm convinced. Honestly, at first I didn't believe my own brain. Madonna? Making a rap album? It just feels so wrong. Well, Dahi makes it feel right (pause). Then I started thinking otherwise at Nas, turned the corner on the idea at Chance and got totally sold by Dahi. It's that extra bit of evidence that makes me confident in saying...
Listen, I know a Madonna rap album sounds crazy, but the more I think about it, and the more she Instagrams pictures of perennial hip-hop artists, the more I think she is making a rap album, or at the very least an album with a ton of hip-hop. In a few weeks, you will be inundated with 2015 music previews and I sincerely doubt the goings-on of Madonna will be a concern to the hip-hop oriented outlets. Up until about 10 seconds ago I wasn't even convinced myself. So, before all those features come out, I wanted to let you know Madonna might be making a hip-hop album. She might not be. But she probably (definitely is); there's just no way all of these goings on are fun, happy coincidences. I may be wrong, and I'll own up to it if I am, but I'm officially going on record as saying Madonna is making a hip-hop album.
And, as I write this, I see reports that she's been in the studio with Kanye. Your move Illuminati. Your move.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]