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?