Speaking of hits like “Jesus Walks”, the wife and I were having a good convo about the power of a hit record this morning. She always hates the way critics are quick to tear apart a hit and champion something obscure instead just to seem like the critic knows more than the general public. Just because something’s rare doesn’t make it great. And can that lil nigga Souljah Boy live!
Then I started to think the problem with some hip-hop hits is that they don’t really represent the artist. It’s not a diss cause I’m a homebody myself but as many of you know 50 Cent is never “In The Club.” If Kanye is always boo’d up is he really concerned with “Gold Diggers”? And if Cash really Ruled Everything Around them the Wu wouldn’t be recording with RZA for free and still haggling over loot 14 years later.
It’s pretty well known that Marshall Mathers despises the first singles from his albums that Jimmy Iovine makes him make. And I always remember those early De La Soul shows. Everytime they would do “Me, Myself and I” they would go “You sing this song we hate this song” or some shit like that.
The reason we loved mixtapes so much before Drama got knocked was cuz it was chance to connect with the MC in the purest form. When you’re making a mixtape you’re not worried about impressing a mountain climbing A&R with a catchy hook. You’re just going in and coming straight from the soul. And the results are usually better.
The reason why “I Get Money” worked even though it was a Cassidy jack was the content broke through 50’s hit making formula and truly reflected him. What’s Mr. Vitaminwater all about? Getting money. I get money. Money I got. Audio Two never made any scrilla (their daddy did) and they rarely got “Top Billin’.” Ha!
The reason why “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” worked even though it was a Young Jeezy jack was the content broke through Kanye’s hit making formula and truly reflected him. What’s Mr. Pink Polos all about? Being stubborn. You can’t tell me nothing. Excuse me did you say something? You can’t tell me nothing. The wait til I get money right part was a reach to the common man and y’all chomped it up like sweet potato pie (Word to Domino! Long Beach, are you with me?)
I guess in the end this is all just free advice for rap’s new generation (Heaven knows they need it!). Make sure your music truly reflects you and your POV. Even when you try to make a hit to impress the label prez make sure you’re not gonna hate kicking that third verse 10 years later. If it smells like shit. And it looks like shit. It’s shit.