So Much Music, How Does Anyone Keep Up?

I was on the phone with the legendary Dallas Penn Sunday night, and he was asking me about my views on different hip-hop artists– both established and up and coming. I guess a few of my answers skewed towards playing it politically correct, like I was trying to not dis anyone, so he called me out about it. And then I just had to flat out say, yo man, I don’t even listen to these cats enough to know what’s good and what’s bad. How can I have an opinion if I don’t really listen?

There are so many artists dropping material on a daily basis that it borders on insanity. I am overwhelmed. I feel like not only do I need to follow about 50 core hip-hop artists, but then there’s all these underground cats coming up, and then artists from other genres who are now competing for my time, and finally there’s all the older music that is my real personal flavor.

I admit, I try to download as much shit as possible. Like whatever drops, I’ll download. Jeezy, TI, Nas, whatever… I download it and put it on an external hard drive and store it there until I get a chance to peep. But even in the rare event that I actually get to listen to something, odds of sitting there for an hour straight are low. I still haven’t made it all the way through TI’s album.

I stopped buying every rap CD that dropped in the late 90s/early 2000s. And that’s because every week there were 5 new CDs on the shelf, it got too expensive and I didn’t have enough time to digest whatever I was buying. So i tried to just purchase whatever the CD was that seemed the most promising.

And that’s kind of where I stand now even with downloading music. I download everything, but actually listen to little.

Maybe amidst all the hype about the death of record labels and big media like radio and MTV, we miss the silver lining, which is that these companies were filters for us, the consumers. I know we tend to think of these things as “the machine,” and “the industry,” and in a lot of way it’s corny, prefabricated and packaged. But in other ways it was good, because there was some type of control implemented. There was a method to releases. Things had to be a certain quality, artists had to be a certain caliber, and the awareness had to reach a certain level.

Now, clearly not the case. And what the result is, is a bunch of folks like me, who have too much music and not enough time. So we just stick to what we already know, which is whatever the top25 default playlist in iTunes says we’re listening to.

How about you, what are your thoughts on all the music that is dropping? Is it a good thing that there’s so much material dropping? Do you feel overwhelmed? How do you digest it all? Do you find that you live with an album for a day or two before moving on to the next?

What are some ways to weed through all the music that comes out and just find the good stuff?

  • http://www.myspace.com/big_dee_el Dee El

    Good point Scratch. The only thing about the labels controlling the flow of music to the consumer is that you ‘ll have someone, a singular point of failure that will not release a dope album. That’s like Def Jam not releasing “It Takes a Nation Of Suckas To Let Us In” by Resident Alien. Not a classic, but good enough to be released in 1991 considering Def Jam did Release “No Face” that year so. I feel you on the post though. I not only buy stuff but labels still send me stuff and I never listen to it all.

    Dee El Sends
    P.E.A.C.E.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com jackpot

    Gooch, I pretty much do the same thing you do. I download everything under the sun and try to get to it all. But there’s definitely too much. It’s getting to a point where it’s impossible to know about everybody, especially if you’re busy with obligations outside of this music ish. I feel you, mang.

    • http://1290wmcs.com “The Party Killa”

      I think it wouldnt be so bad if MC JOE BLOW, didnt sound so much like MC BLOW JOE yafeelme… It’s just to many MC’s & not enough fans, & then you have “BITING” being accepted…..It’s just plain insane!!

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    Great post, great points.

    I pretty much download only someone I already fucks with. If I’m border line about it, I’ll read a review or two and make a decision. Like TI, I fucks with him but when his last joint got so many bad reviews I said fuck it and aint even bother.

    As far as all these new cats, man I got Jay Electronicas, Asher Roth, Kid Cudi’s, and Wale’s mixtape. And still aint get Crooked I’s joint. I only listen to half of Jay’s shit (it’s pretty dope and “Uzi Weighs A Ton” is my shit), like halfa Wale’s (“Go Go” is crazy) and aint even play Roth’s (which I only got around to getting last night) and aint even play Cudi’s or anything from Crooked.

    I gota folder that got a buncha albums that I aint even upload to my mp3 yet (Cypress Hill’s “Skull and Bones”, MIA’s “Piracy Funds Terror” all these Jay-Z freestyles, that new Dre, Em, 50, mixtape)

    So, yes I miss the gate keepers. But for the most part, I fucks with rappers if other people are repping them hard. Like the way Billy X repped Sean Price and made me take a look into dude to find out he’s crazy nice. I mean, I don’t fucks with Myspace rappers but if XXL gone give them a cover I’m willing to say the staff at XXL knows a thing or two about good hip hop (Althou I gota say, Ace Hood and not Jay Electronica?????). Reviews still got a long way for me.

    • Phil

      That was a real thorough and honest answer as a consumer, my dude. It’s needed!

  • http://kirk-francosmodernlife.blogspot.com/ Kirk

    It’s so much junk I forgot how to listen to hip hop it’s different then listening to jazz or rock or pop. I’ve been listening to rap like I listen to pop music with my ears off. You gotta just download artists that matter at least to you cause they’re the only ones that count. I know it keeps the new guys at long distance but those new guys are suppose to have to work harder than established artists. I don’t know. Where is Jay Electronica when you need him anyway? Peace.

  • Bang

    when you download something, DONT read others opinions on him, fans are all too critical of beats, wrodplay, and other gay shit instead of the music. ONE

  • dj ashy fingerz

    Shit thats not good, I come here looking for recomendations from yall

  • Phil

    I think there’s a whole new set of “filters” growing right now, we’re just not totally accusmtomed to their presence yet. lol

  • iBomb

    I think all the music dropping is great. I like listening to the radio and hearing something new and good. I hate when u listen to one station and a few songs later u hear the song again, then u turn to the next station and u hearing that same song u tryin not to hear. I check out everything but only listen to what i feel is good, and recently there have been good r&b and rap songs, so im enjoying it till it starts to fade.

  • Ali

    thats a good point….i start listening to ppl very late because of this point alone, no damn time 4 all this shit….I just got into Wu-Tang & Brother Ali last year….lately ive been gettin lucky with pickin & choosin….new cats that i chose to follow r doing great (Crooked, Joell Ortiz, Saigon, Nino) etc…the overwhelming is why i dont know shit about old school rap…..i know Rakim is the greatest ever….i know KRS, Slick, (only bout a handful of songs each)……the rest i know only cuz the rappers now name drop them (Kane, Fat Boys, etc.)……….too much to take in

  • http://www.pmpworldwide.com AZ

    Supply over demand equates devaluation. If everybody could afford a Maybach then it would have the percieved value of a Honda Civic. Creating and promoting music has become too easy so the value is evaporating in front of our eyes. The audience hangs on to the artists that established themselves before the ‘great social internet divide’ because it reminds them of a time when you did have one filter which was the major labels/radio/mtv which is why T.I. can go platinum in a couple of weeks and NONE of the new artists coming out in 2008 can go platinum at all.

    Music as a stand alone commodity is coming to an end as far as mass appeal, artists now have to develop a core nitch audience and success will not be buying your own G4 jet but being able to quit your day job and do music full time. Good post Goochie Man

  • http://alskdjf.com MARCY

    I got the same “issue,” it ain’t a problem, I love finding a hot joint from a while ago that i missed in the pile, itunes shuffle, I hate not being able to find something new and intriguing, but the overflow of hiphop forces the smart ones to step up, or step out. take weezy, hate em if you want, but he went artistic, he don’t flow on the beat he makes the beat flow for him. better than a motherfuckin hot boys reunion, he’s the fuckin pink floyd of rap. Mos changed his style and i love it, sing if you have to, express your thoughts is how hip hop started, spoken poetry, now with the influx, more ARTISTS can go beyond that and express thier soul. “I love you cita, member when that pussy husband tried to beat ya? he ain’t give a fuck i aint give a fuck either,” — Nothing exceeds like excess. You should know that, Tony. …
    –rock and roll might be dead but hip hop aint