Rappers, Save Your Bullshit Mixtape Albums

You know what’s the lamest shit ever? When an artist puts out an album that isn’t any good, and then they claim it’s because that’s only the mixtape.

This occurred to me the other day, when I was reviewing the new album by Big Pooh, the other guy from Little Brother. I figured I’d check it out, since I do enjoy Little Brother (I thought that last album they put out was killer; 9th Wonder was obviously the weakest link – goodbye!), and since it had such a nice cover.

Also, I’d seen this video on Nah Right that was a preview of the video for the lead single, and it looked like there were gonna be some incredible women in it. Not that I keep track of these things, but I remember, a while back, Pooh had a video with a woman with some impressive cans. Big Pooh obviously has a keen eye for some pussy. Which might have to do with the fact that he’s the rapper that bears the strongest resemblence to yours truly. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s spent a significant amount of time watching pr0n.

Of course, the album sucked balls. I probably shouldn’t have bothered reviewing it in the first place, what with it being a Big Pooh album and all. I like the guy just fine (no fishsticks) within the context of Little Brother, where he’s basically just filling up the space between Phonte’s verses, but even the very best Big Pooh album could only ever be so good. And the Delightful Bars isn’t Pooh’s best work. (I remember that one he had out back in like ’05 being way better.)

But come to find out the Delightful Bars isn’t an official Big Pooh album per se. It’s somewhere in between a mixtape, like that godawful Rapper’s Delight tape he had out last year or the year before (I think that’s where that one video was from), and a legit album. There might actually be another official Big Pooh, like that one he had out circa ’05, at some point or another. (Keep in mind, I was informed of this by the world’s one and only Big Pooh stan, and it might be entirely inaccurate.) Indeed, I was aware that the Delightful Bars is only available in iTunes, but I figured that was because there wasn’t a business case to print up any physical copies, as if Best Buy is gonna move any Killers albums aside to make room for that shit.

Fast forward a few weeks later. I’m listening to this interview with Camp Lo on the Friday Night Live Show, and they’re talking about the critical response to their new album, Stone & Rob: Caught on Tape. (Of course) they said it was mostly positive, but one of them said there was a blogger complaining about how it failed to live up to the level of Uptown Saturday Night. I figured he might have been talking about me, since I did a review of Stone & Rob, in which I complained that it wasn’t as good as Uptown Saturday Night (I know – the nerve!), but who knows. It could have just as easily been one of these relatively obscure hip-hop bloggers. Kevin Nottingham or somebody.

Then came the kicker: Stone & Rob isn’t supposed to be as good as Uptown Saturday Night, because it’s only a mixtape. The fact that the word “tape” is in the title should have been a dead giveaway. This despite the fact that Stone & Rob is listed in the Wiki, the world’s most accurate encyclopedia, along with the rest of their albums, and it even says it was released by a major label – some convoluted vanity subsidiary of Universal Records. How in the fuck was I supposed to know it wasn’t a real album? It’s not like any of these labels actually send me promos, with proper bios and what have you. I’d contact their publicity departments, but I’m pretty sure they know who I am at this point. There’s probably a memo going around with my name on it. As if that’s gonna do any good.

And anyway, why should I give a shit whether something is an official album, or a mixtape, or somewhere in between? I’m getting it from the same place, i.e. Rapidshare, regardless. And it’s not like I’m gonna be any more tolerant of bullshit, if I know it’s just some shit that’s been thrown together to keep an artist’s name hot in the streets, while they work on something that’s actually worthwhile. I could give a rat’s ass whether or not an artist’s name is hot in the streets.

  • OG Matt Herbz

    Bol, I don’t fux with none of the niggaz in the above post…

    …so you shouldn’t, either.

    –OG Matt Herbz–

    • og bobby j

      i concur…

      • yoprince

        co-sign the white boys

  • Pierzy

    Co-Sign on this one. Any material released by an artist – album, mixtape, whatever – will go into the equation in judging that artist’s body of work. As I have written, sometimes mixtapes are better [Champ is Here vs. Kiss of Death]; other times the album is actually the better product.

    But if the artist is going to have his name on a product and actually support it (as opposed to a DJ throwing together shit), then it should be held to the same scrutiny as anything else.

    Writers, actors and directors can’t get away with that, why should rappers? Hell, even other musical acts can’t do it. When sometime like Garth Brooks changes his name and releases a shitty album, everyone says, “That Garth Brooks album is shit.” It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t everyone praise 2Pac for the Makaveli album?

    • LEO

      well, I think it depends…usually the songs that end up on mixtapes are songs that didn’t “make the cut” for the album, in other words, somebody in the offices had a problem with it getting on the album. In their mind the artist’s “best(commercial)
      songs” make it and the “hardest/realest/creative songs” get the mixtape; this leads to a mixtape beign better than the album. Other times, an artist might just be experimenting, and put out a mixtape to see how the public receives it, so we shouldnt expect the best work from experiments. Lastly, arists might treat mixtapes like albums…ala Joe Budden…so it all depends on how the artist is treating it, we should be able to tell whether or not he’s bullshiting ot not…

      • Pierzy

        You make some great points, but if an artist is going to release something, how can he ask that we not hold it up to the same standard?

        Sampling is another reason why certain songs are only heard on mixtapes…

        If you want to experiment in the studio, please do so – we need far more of that! – but once you package it as a mixtape or whatever, then it becomes part of your catalog like anything else.

        A perfect example is The Roots – they make over 100 songs before every album and then choose the ones that are best (or fit the feel of the album), but they don’t release those other tracks because there’s a reason they were left on the cutting room floor…

  • General

    This shit is gettin outta hand though with these artists and all these bullshit mixtapes or street albums before the real album comes out. I have no problem if it is actual quailty material like Stat Quo has been doin with his mixtapes or Crooked I, but too many artists like Lil Wayne just keep throwin as many shit sandwhiches at us daily hopin that sooner or later we will actually like the taste of shit sandwhiches in which case we will buy their next cd.

  • Riles

    *Reads Headline; Laughs ass off at Curren$y dropping today!*

  • Curtis75Black

    I definitely Co-sign Pierzy, It all goes in the same bucket as general work toward the catalog. It has alot to do with laziness in my eyes. I feel the only emcee that has the right to drop a Mix cd of Newer music until the “final” product is ready is someone like Rakim, who hasn’t dropped music in 10 years and needs to see if the fans will still feel his work. If you’re someone who constantly on the internet with music on a BI-weekly basis, a mix isn’t needed – Just drop or fall to the wasteside.

    • Smel

      You can’t listen to what these artists say re: mixtapes. They’re just trying to say anything to save face over the watered down shit they put out.

      Everybody knows the diff between an album and a mixtape (though sometimes the lines are purposely blurred), and in my experience, reviewers state their opinion based on such.

      Everybody knows a mixtape isn’t necessarily going to have a thematic flow of an album. There may be some freestyles with wack verses or superlong verses, the artist’s voice might sound fucked up, some songs may be really short, production quality not as good, etc.

      Despite all the mixtape inconsistencies and BS, quality is quality. So they’re just trying to downplay the reviewer’s opinion by saying they were judged too harshly since their work is a mixtape. The reviewer knew that shit was a fuckin mixtape. idiot.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

    The Killers….ha! I fuck with them.

    Anyway, I don’t see a problem when an artists gives us a sample (no homo) to keep us satisfied until their next official album. That to me, is completely different then throwing garbage in the street for the sake of keeping your name out there.

    If you’re any good to begin with, the name is already out there, just continue to make music. A “mixtape” isn’t a good excuse to not make a good studio album in 5 years then expect to come back out like you’re Prince or Michael Jackson. Cats try that “mixtape this, mixtape that” & never put out that album until I’ve moved on to the next “big” thing (again, no homo).

    I’m supposed to embrace 15 songs of throw away beats & freestyle lyrics? No Dice.

    As a marketing tool, I think it’s a good idea. So, I’ve always understood giving them away. But, I wouldn’t buy a copy of your demo, so why would I buy that?

  • El Tico Loco

    I’m cool with mixtapes no lie, I happen to catch a lot of music early thanks to them. But I’m not checking for them like I used to since they’ve been as wack as radio play lately. I think the artists should go back to making EP’s being that they seemed to have more work put into them than mixtapes which is a lot of throaways and random studio shit.

  • http://www.rizzleworld.blogspot.com allnice

    The mixtape is to generate buzz and the album is to drop real content. Stone and Rob, that shit was not a mixtape. Most rap fans know Camp Lo, they don’t need to generate a buzz. The album is just too inconsistent and nobody felt it so they fronting of course like the shit was just a mixtape.

    Big Pooh is just trying to eat until the next Little Bro album. No one knows him like that so he can call his stuff mixtapes or what not until he gets to that level where he don’t have to. But I don’t think he cares anyway.

    • El Tico Loco

      Yeah but mixtapes lately have been like in the movies when the preview is hot as hell but the actual film sucks.

  • No Mames Buey

    agree. don’t bother with mixtapes, unless the mixtape could stand on its own as a quality album with original dope beats.

    Also, kill the wack annoying DJ yelling like DJ Drama

    Little Brother ironically has dropped 3 dope album-quality mixtapes “Chitlin Circuit 1.5″, “Separate But Equal” – the version sans wack DJ Drama yelling, “And Justus For All”. This should be the model.

    If you don’t have a LB-like album quality-mixtape, don’t bother dropping it. If you have <=4 dece songs, put them on myspace instead of making 10 wack filler songs to add to the 4 & drop a mediocre mixtape

  • brand-new

    mixtapes are still very relevant, new mixtape websites pop up daily. sometimes they are better than the album, green lantern’s nigger tape was way better than nas’ untitled album.

  • Mutada al sader the king

    “Spent a significant amount of time watching pr0n”

    Bol, you may need help dude. Flesh and blood are much better. lol

    • El Tico Loco

      No blood please! I call that “HEAD WEEK” watch a little prOn make sure your wiz ain’t on RUDE or bang bros.

  • sealsaa

    I’d like to hear more rappers freestyling over other people’s beats (like The Game did with that 250 bars and running, or whatever the hell it was called). The mixtape should make me anticipate the album, not wonder if its as shitty as the mixtape.

  • http://xxl All Dae

    Whole post on point.

    The Nigger Mixtape is wayyy better than Nas Untitled. I have both on bootleg.

    I thought mixtapes showcased cuts that didn’t make the album cause it was to controversial or didn’t fit the album theme. Maybe some freestyles that are off the chain over beats that fit yr voice. A lot can be done on a mixtape.

    If yr the 800th rapper to jump on the Swagger Like Us beat and can’t bless it better then the original artist: Stop don’t play yrself.

    If yr mixtape is better than yr album. Obviously scrap the album and drop the mixtape as yr album. Duh!

    How come I can think of this and the T.I.s or so called real hip hop heads can’t.

  • Justice4All

    Mixtape is code for:”I ain’t revelant, so Im just going to sell my demos”.

  • DV8

    If your looking for good mixtapes listen to all of Stat Qou’s tapes released this year.

  • sealsaa

    @ All Dae

    I wasn’t feeling the Nigga Tape as much as “Please listen to my demo”. 90′s era Nas freestyles, shit is hot.

  • http://xxl All Dae

    @ Sealsaa

    interesting….I need to check for that demo.

    yeah the Nigga Tape was bland. It’s not so much Nas needed better beats but beats more lively.

  • http://xxl All Dae

    @ Sealsaa

    interesting….I need to check for that tape.

    The Nigga Tape need more lively beat. the album was to bland. Nas picked beats with more bounce for the mixtape.

  • brand-new

    green lantern killed it with the beats on the nigger tape!!

  • $ykotic

    They need to change the name. Cause they damn sure ain’t mixing anymore, and they don’t make cassette tapes.

    How about throwaways?

    Or do it the old school way when dudes used to press black label albums for stuff that didn’t make the released project.

    Or like Pierzy said leave it on the cutting room floor.

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

      “Cutting room floor throwaways”

      The perfect title for whatever artist has enough balls to be honest with us about his miserable attempt @ a “mixtape”……….

      • $ykotic

        Bol we got it! They are now called CRT’s!

        Tune in next week when Bol talks about why every CRT out tries to out do Master P’s Photoshopping…

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

          COMMISSION!!!!!!!

        • Pierzy

          What up fam! CRT’s – I love it!

        • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

          Put that shit in the wiki fam! We need to make that shit official! CRT! LOL

  • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

    I always thought that CRTs (thats right I said it LOL) were better than the actual album, simply for the fact that whats on the CRTs (I said it again!) usually aren’t on the actual album because of sample clearing issues or the contents of the song. Shit, half the time theme songs thats on the CRTs be bumping in the clubs and people be thinking that its on the actual artist’s album!

  • $ykotic

    Commission! Put it out there!

    commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:$ykotic

    • $ykotic

      Even better! Just text!

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:$ykotic

      At least it’s in the encyclopedia now. Gonna edit both. Start spreading the news…

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

    Lol @ $yk making hip hop history……..

    Commission!

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