Disappearing Acts: Quality of Music > Quantity of Music

Okay, okay I was on one yesterday. Y’all made some valid points, too; times are hard and buying CDs may not be on the top of folks’ priority lists. I can dig it! But, let me just say that Jay Electronica has released his Just Blazed-produced single “Exhibit C” on iTunes. So if you’re one of those Stans who believe that Jay Elec is the seconding coming of Christ on the mic, then I hope you will at least shell out the .99 cents.

Alright, I’m off that. I promise. But let’s stay on the topic of Jay Elec-Hanukkah. Dude has built his fan base strictly off of his lyrical wizardry; still he isn’t a very active rapper (at least by today’s standards). Seems like we get a new Jay joint once every six months on average, but they’re all pretty hot. So my question is this: In this modern-day, Internet, drop-a-song-a-day era of hip-hop, is there room for quality over quantity?

Seems like a silly question, right? As fans, of course we want the best music that we can get. Still, with more rappers than ever, the truly talented often get overlooked because they just aren’t busy enough.

Case in point: Mos Def finally dropped an album (The Ecstatic) this year after a three-year hiatus, and what do you know it was pretty dope. Shit, he even got nominated for a Grammy, not that the Grammy committee is any type of authority. I mean, Flo Rida gets a Rap Album of the Year nod over Rick Ross? For real?

Q-Tip was also nominated for his 2008 release, The Renaissance, and that came nine years after his last joint, Amplified. Despite the long gaps between projects, both Q-Tip and Mos Def have put out quality work.

Andre 3000 is another artist worth mentioning. He averages one 24-bar verse a year (at least that’s what he’s releasing, we don’t know what he has on stash back in the A). Still, 3 Stacks more often than not winds up on a lot of folks top five list.

On the other hand, Rick Ross has put out about an album a year since he debuted in 2006 and, in my opinion, they have all been pretty solid albums; though, lyrically, he doesn’t compare to a Mos Def or Andre 3000. Call me an idealist, but I’d like to think that if Ross only released a verse a year like Andre did, that verse would be pretty fuckin ill! Or, maybe not—who knows?

It’s kind of unfair to chastise a rapper for constantly putting out material. In this day and age, artists have to stay busy or they face irrelevancy. I mean, where the fuck is Rich Boy? And I don’t mean that sarcastically, I’d really like another Rich Boy album right about now. Maybe Dr. Dre can get away with shit like that, but even Detox is starting to become a running joke.

Where do y’all stand? Would you rather your favorite rapper stay active by constantly putting out material like Weezy did? Or do you prefer them to be meticulous and take their time like Raekwon and Cuban Linx, Pt. 2? —Rob Markman, The Deputy!

  • silentmurder

    I prefer that an artist takes his time with his work, so he doesn’t put out a half-assed piece of shit. sure, the wait will be a bitch, but in the end you feel almost like rewarded for waiting so long.

    that’s my take on this post.

    • valdez

      well, i think it’s safe to say that we all wish we could get more material from 3000, but at the same time i think that’s part of the strategy. when ur as ill as he is, u have the luxury of chilling for literally 5 years or so while these other rappers play themselves out. it makes us that much hungrier for a 3000 album and when it does drop it’s going plat in a week or 2 (maybe).

      i mean about it, when ur as ill as a 3000, u don’t have to flood the market with material. one of the perks of being one of the illest to do it. jay doesn’t even have it quite like that (he’s nowhere near the illest to ever do it, imo). 3000 would still be top 5 if say pac & big were still around. jay, not so much.

  • Dub Jay

    FIRST!!!!!!!! Merry Xmas to me!

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Guess who’s bizzack? With three letters after my name!

    Anyway, I think it’s a no-brainer. Of course you want quality over quantity. We touched on this some time back when we were discussing the problems of albums and one of the main reasons was that mixtapes and a constant flow of new music waters everything down.

    If a great album takes three years or an average mixtape takes 4 months, I’ll take the great album every single time. I don’t care that I’ll have 8 more mixtapes than albums (9 – 1) because most of those mixtape tracks will be garbage.

    James Cameron takes years between films, but it’s usually worth it, isn’t it? [II] I’ll take Cuban Linx 2 over 100 other artists’ rushed material every day of the week.

    • Unlikeable Pete

      Nobody cares that you are “back.” Its a website comment section not the local barbershop okay? These people aren’t really your friends, they just frequent the same site as you. And nobody cares about any developments in your personal life. Well maybe some do but that would make them tools as well. You understand me bitch?

    • SuperstarExtraordinaire

      Pierzy, are you saying that you got your PhD??

      • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

        Nah…just my MBA. For now.

    • Chilly Willy

      Pierzy MBA !!!

      Congrats homie ! Go get em (no tiger).

      About the post, an average of 2-3 years is fine with me. quality >>>>>>quantity, but for me, consistent and frequent quality >>>>>>>> one-timer spark of genius….

      *glance at Black on Both Sides on shelf, sighs and vows to cop The Ecstatic tomorrow morning*

  • RiZob

    man, some of yall act like these artist purposesly take there time to release stuff, Raekwon wanted to release OBFCL2 YEARS ago, his label situation was just fucked, Mos and Q-Tip basically left rap to act in D-list movies, and once they realized that shit wasnt really poppin for them, they came back with they tails tucked (ie Eve), And Andre 3000, really dont fux with rap anymore either, hes outgrown this shit, if you dont have the passion to spit anymore, u should quit…Weezy realease a TON of material because he can, and because he still enjoys rapping, he’s only 26, so hes not burned out yet…old heads just cant keep up with that…

  • http://-- gaddic

    Quality over quantity
    My two fav rspppers live by this

    Eminem and Nas

    jay-z has released an album every year since 96 and half of them are mediocre
    Unlike NAS who decided to refine his projects for an extra year and created arguably the best discography in rap music

    Rappers who release an album and a large quantity of music every year aren’t better than slower rapmusic creators

    Most times they end up over-staurating the listening public with their sound and style
    And even if they are very talented(Like Jigga) the quality still and will drop

    (Why do you think Doc and em don’t release free mixtapes?)

    • CLINK DA 69

      You gotta be kidding me man. Nas has the best discography in rap music? I am a Nas fan but i wouldn’t jump out the window and say that. Nas has made some trash no matter how long he waited to drop his album. See sometimes all that waiting to drop your album you start to over think things to much and that takes away from your creativity. I am waiting just like everyone else for Dre to drop, but can’t help thinking he is over thinking things to much. Sometime you have to throw caution to the wind and put it out there.

    • mr. quiji

      @gaddic – I feel quality over quantity but nas is not fucking w/ Hov.

      Nastradamus, Street’s Disciple double disc, Hip Hop Is Dead? I am, Untitled… All WEAK efforts by mr jones.

      Jay on the other hand continues to change the game and put producers on who wouldn’t have been shit w/ out his cosign i.e Justin Blaze 9th Wonder Kanye West etc. Hov’s worst shit is that best of both worlds bullshit. and your boy em only has two classic albums slim shady and marshall mathers lp’s. Eminem Show, Encore,Relapse are fucking garbage. Jay Vol.1-3 from in my lifetime to S. Carter body all those without black album or the blueprint being mentioned. btw dre and em don’t do mixtapes cause that isn’t their lane they get $ elsewhere.

  • http://www.incilin.com Incilin

    THe only thing that matters is good music. Once a year or five times a day, if it’s dope it’s dope. However, 3 mixtapes a day, or an 80 songs mixtape, or a freestyle every day is simply too much for me to handle.

  • Zooloo

    it’s really up to the artist. what motivates them being mc’s and musicians is usually indicative of their work ‘process’. i stress ‘process’ rather than work ‘ethic’ simply ’cause a lot of the shit artist put out as work regularly is really garbage. Just cause you jerk off three times a day don’t really mean lauren london is carrying your fetus…(bad choice of metaphor, but you smell me). some dudes are in it to create life-long wealth and are therefore susceptible to the bitch-ass whims of the industry. some dudes wanna find that space between music and spirituality and in turn are susceptible to gay-ass perfection tendencies. either way alot of these fuckers take themselves way to seriously. i still bump D’angelo’s Brown Sugar and Voodoo and i am grateful for those albums. But i got children who need a daddy, and his long anticipated ‘whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-it aint really on my list of priorities. i got some of Weezy’s mixtapes, and i bump a couple joints still, but like i said, i got children, and the one boy is 14 years old and already taller than Weezy and feels like he can kick everybody’s ass, weezy and his daddy especially, so my list of problems do not include catching the entire discography of young money’s output.
    so whatever the fuck they do, is a testament to their ego. and my ego is way to big to give a fuck about anything else but my progeny…and dope-ass music(no matter your schedule).

    • Unlikeable Pete

      Wait Zooloo, I couldn’t tell from your post, do you have children or not? You weren’t clear

  • Key

    Its better to have a good balance between quality music and consistency. A good artist’s music means a lot to their fans. So an artist should have a balance between quality music and at least yearly consistency. When good artists do not put out their music consistently it makes you wonder if they are even thinking of catering to their fan base who have put them in their financial and popular position. Its a disservice to the fans if they drop an album only once every 5 to 10 years because the fans have to listen to “good but not great” music while awaiting their favorite artists album. It doesn’t do anything for hip hop either. The question starts arising, “Is hip hop really dead? Where are all the works of great artists?” Maybe if they weren’t in their upper class financial positions they would feel more inclined to release great material on a more consistent basis.

  • Master CHeef

    I don’t like to settle for quality OR quantity. I would prefer to have both.

  • John Cochran

    Thats a tough one, because of course we want the best music possible but I also get annoyed knowing I have to wait 3-4 years in between Nas and Outkast albums. Alot of artists today get by on thier style and the hot beat rather than concept or subject matter, so they kinda have to drop at least 3 mixtapes a year and be featured on other people’s shit or else we’ll easily forget about them. I mean cmon, if Gucci Mane has to serve more than 2 years in prison, he’s done. Even weezy. We’re so used to seeing him that I can guarantee he won’t be selling a milli the first week The Rebirth drops. I’d much have a catalog of 3 albums, 3 classics, than 6 albums, 1 classic.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Pierzy what up!!!

    eskay had Exhibit C up for free & buy so guess which one I did…

    If Ross had SUBSTANCE in the lyrics MAYBE…he picks fire beats though.

    Quality. For. The. Win. 80 cuts is overkill(sorry Freddie Gibbs), OVERKILL LIKE HOW THE XXL BANGERS IS NOW. I can’t even remember one song from last week there were TOO MANY Rob, real talk.

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      My man…

      What’s good?

      Co-Sign 1,000% on Ross not having substance or depth to his rhymes.

      I saw Black Thought live at a private party last night. That dude is the definition of quality!

      • $ykotic/Don McCaine

        Back from the slopes homie. 1 outta 3 Xmases done.

        And you proved my point. Black Thought had 2 joints on the bangers last week & I don’t even remember what they sound like.

        So I know that party was a big willy rub elbows type of function. That’s what’s up!

  • Burnout

    Only in rap do people worry about shit like this…no other musical genre is so fucking focused on sales and trivial matters like ‘quantity versus quality’ here…do Modest Mouse give a shit if their next album goes gold? Nope…

    • Brahsef

      As it’s Modest Mouse’s job to create music, I’m sure they do give a fuck if they go gold. Especially as an indie artist. It is their career choice.

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    Quality, of course. but, i’m a music HEAD. i listen to a lot, & i NEED a lot to listen to. so, if i can bump 3-5 diff. rappers, all w/ quality ish, I’m Good. but, the more the better.

    @Pierzy – congrats dude. all that hard work paying off.

    FULL co-sign $ykotic “OVERKILL LIKE HOW THE XXL BANGERS IS NOW. I can’t even remember one song from last week there were TOO MANY Rob, real talk.”
    ^^ i thought i was the only one that noticed that.

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      What up Southside?

      Appreciate it fam!

      • http://federalranga.blogspot.com Federal Ranga

        P, $yk, SouthSide!!! Commission!!! What it do!!! Ya’ll niggaz get all caught up on that OYA!!! and tune into those Adventures on the blogspot. Congrats on that, P! As for $yk, you sounding like that movie over there… you one Christmas short.

        E-16 up!!! youtube.com/federalranga
        Commission!!!

        • $ykotic/Don McCaine

          I just saw that Vince movie on Sunday! I said “I ain’t watching this sh*t, I live it” and went to the tavern…word is bond.

          2 more to go…and that’s 2 much.

  • UARK83

    Quality.

    Waiting makes it sooooooo much better. If you get it all the time, you won’t appreciate it after awhile. Take your time and give me a dope album every 3-4 years.

  • El Tico Loco

    Quality but if you gonna go with quantity show diversity. I can’t deal with 3 mixtapes a month of the same shit.

  • Venemez

    Quality of course

    It’s 2010 people don’t go out and buy CD’s anymore. Everyone has an IPOD/Iphone, Zune Player, some kind of MP3 player.

    I wouldn’t drop an album period. I would drop a HOT SONG on Itunes every two months or so and that’s it. Build a fan base and do shows that’s were artist get there cake from now doing shows.

    I use to buy all the new shit on Tuesday’s before. On the real there are only two artist who’s album I still continue to go out and buy. Eminem and Jay-Z and you know I have that downloaded before the relase date.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    “if you gonna go with quantity show diversity.”

    *IMPORTANT*

  • Brooklyn

    definitely quality. jay-z once said that “reasonable doubt” was what it was because it took him twenty-odd years, his entire life at that time, to create. so, from the time that he was a kid he’d been formulating that album, he’d spent years cultivating the idea behind it, the rhymes, and the concept. and it turned out to be a classic. however, after he dropped it, in an effort to remain relevant, he followed that up a year or two later with “in my lifetime”, which was probably one of his worst albums. a masterpiece takes time to create, you can’t just throw some shit together and expect it to be good. i’d rather wait 3-4 years for a good album than to wait 3-4 months for some bullshit. when an artist releases too much material you feel oversaturated and become disenchanted with them.

  • http://J-Mace.deviantart.com Shawty J

    I’d definitely say I prefer quality to quantity. To me a few excellent albums goes a lot further than a ton of alright/decent albums.

  • AZ40

    y can’t it be both a nigga don’t want bullshit from an artist every day, but 10 years is fuckin’ ridiculous, I think maybe 2-3 years between albums and maybe sprinkle in a FEW verses is just the right consistancy…it also depends on the artist too it was a good minute between Kiss’ last album and this one was just okay if your gonna take the time it better be damn good

  • Lowedwn

    Quality always reigns supreme, but if you can find balance then you’re golden.

    3 stacks is the perfect example of Quality over quanity, his verses from “Royal Flush” & Walk It Out(remix)” still smash 90% of what’s come out since they dropped….2 years ago

  • G!

    I prefer a artist to take their time and put out official shit. And that can be at different rates u kno. Like Hov, I consider the pace he puts out music as taking his time and puttin out good shit eventhough its one every year. If you go back and listen to all them, No one has a iller collection. Not even pac. I mean song to song.. bar to bar no body fucking wit him.. If you don’t like hov you either dnt understand him or you hatin.. Now as far as a lil Wayne. He put out shit all the time and maybe one out of every 15 songs is aight maybe hot. 3000 is raw but he doesnt have a solo collection. Im not sure he has the stamina to hold dwn a solo career for years on out. I mean Nas has a hot collection too… But I think that as far as consistency on all levels of Hip Hop, Conscience, Lyrics, Beats, and Income, Jay has the recipe! Although I wish he was a little more Conscience. But Im cool with the way he expresses his message. I can still listen to every album cover to cover and hear something different I didnt hear the first time. Few artist can do that.

    • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

      Mann gtfoh with that shit.Pac has a way better collection song for song bar for bar than Jay z.Jay z if fuckin over rated I dont see the big deal of why every one rides his dick so hard.I give him props and he is one of the top mcs but people need to quit acting like he is a damn god or somethin.Hell Eminem has a better collection than Jay z.Some of the mix tape and underground shit from Eminem is nuts.By far some of his best work.

  • beaver

    rappers should take there time..maybe 2-3 years..but gotta at least drop a mixtape once a year..at least..

    i personally think 50 should’ve have waited longer..

    after detox drops..
    50 can have dre an em work on his next album..
    an then dat will be a great album..

    bisd was good..btw

    mann i miss 3000..dope ass rapper..when is he komin bak wit material..?????

  • bk

    Everything is so sales-oriented that all that it comes down to is a couple hot singles and the rest of the tracks just need to sit on the album and not eff things up too bad.

    Also, quantity can be cool.. just not every artist has it in them to do that, and if they don’t they should save their ideas until they have enough material to drop the very best.

    THere’s a reason why Illmatic towers above everything Nas has released since – he had some stuff to get off his chest and was hungry. It wasn’t until his next album that the real obvious attempts at singles came into play.

  • capcobra

    if you a new artist then i’m expecting quantity..if you a vet then i’m expecting quality…because rookies gotta show and prove while the vets gotta evaluate themselves and elevate..i don’t wanna wait years for a drake album and i don’t want a new rakim mixtape every other week..4 mixtapes and 2 albums should be the max for one year..no matter who you are.

  • ConnoisseurATL

    I believe that the market has become entirely too saturated with mixtapes, which thus has become the impetus for the decline in quality music. I mean, an album a year is fine, but dudes be dropping mixtapes every 38 hours and it’s like they don’t look it as a craft, or even a hustle. Hell, it’s like these cats is like “I gotta real fan base, I can put out whatever, and even if I don’t think it’s my best work, they gone buy it.” Quality over quantity all day errr damn day. Put money on it, 3 Stacks next verse gonna be epic…

  • Money Mitch

    I think another one being over looked is Ugk Bun held pimp c down like nobody has ever held down an imprisoned member of their crew whose to say pimp didn’t have at least a dozen or two dozen old verses that bun could have just put out on an album before he got out but Bun did his solo thing and was shoutin’ free pimp c louder than anyone making sure we didn’t forget and when he got out we got in my opinion the best double disc in hip hop period! Yes all eyes on me included! Personally i believe in quality over quantity shit r.a. the rugged man has only released two albums in his whole career and one is a compilation of underground tracks and he has managed to stay relevant in the underground his whole career matter of fact he just held down a guest blog on this site less than a month ago! And his production on die rugged man die was c+ at the very best but he held it down lyrically the whole album!

    • beaver

      i agree wit u..
      your whole staement i agree man..
      good comment..

      ra does kome correct though..dope lyricist

  • Dreamy Eyes

    Both! You gotta keeps us groovin and groovin to something good.

  • Elementz Emcee

    I prefer quality whether it be mixtape or an album. I mean heck, look at Drake? That wasn’t a typical mixtape, but it was a mixtape. The only way I would feel different about quantity is if it refers to how Papoose did it.

  • BIGNAT

    all i gotta say is yeah you can make me wait but don’t talk up the product. you only going let your fans down if you tell them this the best shit you have heard in 5 years. i am going go in with super high expectations. jay-e is the truth though i hope he gets over his problem and drops the good music. the song dear moleskine could ether some rappers albums.

  • daydeezy

    C’mon son
    i would have to say quality over quantity is good but also quantity over quality is good because i was never a little wayne fan however he had his own fan base and two of my homeboys was bumping weezy like he was tight and i refused to play it, but once he started appearing on everything it was like you couldnt help but hear weezy and his sound grew on me.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

    Looks like I missed the party…

    I think if the quality’s right, the quantity will balance out. If you give me (us) a good album every year & a half, the time won’t seem so fragmented because I can listen to that album sans a time stamp. If it doesn’t sound dated or “current”, then the replay value goes up, it stays in rotation & I won’t even notice a time lapse.

    Today’s artist focuses on the word “relevant”, subsequently trying too hard to keep up with the current topics, trends, etc. Then, a month after an album drops, it sounds old. The artist feels compelled to keep dropping, the cycle continues until they burn out. That’s why we have no true classic records nowadays. & that’s why we swim in mixtapes on the way to 1 or 2 good records, annually.

  • Q! the Bluntnificent!

    Quality is in the eye of the beholder just like beauty. that’s why its an artform and a way of life if you are a true Hip-hop being. the quality of music you individually seek will sometime dictate the quantity. and many artist lose focus of that craftmanship, hunger and creativity after gaining success. not everybody can be 2Pac and make 300 quality songs in two months (and even some of his were sub-par at times)

    most hip-hop artists(not rappers) focus on that quality because they live and understand the culture on a regular. rappers deal with quantity and relevenacy because of money, sales and numbers. the artistry and craftmanship oh hip-hop goes out the window. we are in and era where the true artist is beaten dowm and stay underground while the gimmicky rappers get promotion to entice sales from the ignorant.

    Andre 3000, Mos Def, Talib Kweli,Q-tip, Common, Dr. Dre and others are mainstream names but they also understand the importance of fully representing themselves,the artform and the culture in the music. So those type artist that take their time to create, I don’t mind waiting on. rather pay for something that gives me an experience while listen ing instead of a catchy hook, a couple of punchlines and a decent melody to get me by.

  • ShowTime

    Im an artist myself so I find this question interesting.

    Nas, Jay -Z and AZ are my fav artist so even though I enjoy qaulity over quanity I feel like I have nothing to listen to when their album is not out.

    Also JAY and Nas hardly come out with mixtape song anymore so You can Imagine my frustration as I try to find replacement for the time being and come up short.

    Nas drops every 2 years. Jay every year.

    And as an artist myself I drop an album about every year.

    Its hard for me to take 2 years Like I wanna have patience like gza taking forever to write a verse.

    Im more of a in the zone writer…When Im feeling it I write and do so fast.

    But I wonder what my Music would sound like If I did an Andre 3000.

    Speaking of 3000 I would love to hear some new shit from him.

    http://www.myspace.com/showtimeny

  • YoungDyce

    @Tony Grands
    Ha ha! I’m late too! Like AZ40 said up there, I prefer a mixture of the two. There IS such a thing as oversaturation, but too long in between albums or VERSES is even worse. You gotta keep a presence, but still make niggas wait for it. No rainbow. Me personally, if a nigga is off the scene for too long, I move on. Word to Ray Cash.

  • http://-- gaddic

    I agree it’s frustrating waiting on your fav’s material to drop

    But My gramps always says “Good things come to those who waiT’
    The hunger for the material is a psychological ploy
    if you have been waiting for an album for 4 years it’s more likely you will go out and buy it than an album you’ve been waiting on for 4 months! (That’s if you buy albums)

    There’s also a catch as letting the hunger build too long (as in Detox’s case) can be detrimental and cause a reversal\

    relaspe 2 will be collassal as long as em comes correct with charttoppers and amazing material BECUZ his fans are hungry for the Return of Marshall mathers

    Detox will probably be the highest selling album of the 2010-2020 if dre comes corect with huge bangers!

    Thus music business is full of psychological tactics
    Who knows dre probbaly has loads of hits recorded but won’t release half of it til 5 years after Detox
    Might be the same for Em his leaked tracks are incredible(We as amercians, Off the wall lp)

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Quality always over quantity. Just like my bitches and my weed. However, I think 2-3 years is a good time for an artist to put out quality work. Preferably 2 years, with 2 or 3 quality tracks released in between. No Mixtape…..like no homo and no tiger.

  • Vic De Zen

    I think an artist should take their time. To me that always makes the difference between if I’m going to buy the album or if I’m going to look for it online. I’m sorry that’s just reality. If a dudes is constantly on the internet, via mixtapes, beef, websites, he’s made himself too accessible to his fanbase. the element of mystery is no longer there and that appeals to me as a fan. Artists like Jay and Outkasts have it right where you can expect an album from them almost every year or every three years, they make themselves heard every once in a while but they’re not out there causing trouble or doing senseless things. I would buy those albums because my anticipation with those albums is much higher and I know the time they put into them would suggest quality music. Of course artists like Dre are just ridiculous and take too long with their material. I think there is a limit.
    -Vic De Zen

  • DV8

    since we are in a recession im not complaining about all the free mixtapes. But back in the day I used to cop 2 (sometimes 3) CD every 2 weeks. Basically Im ok with sub-par CRT’s on the mixtapes just as long as the album I go spend my hard earned money on is bangin.

  • abdulnasir

    Sorry 4 being late on this, but i don’t think if rick ross dropped a verse every year ala andre 3000, it would make him qualify for top 5. Every1 knows 3 stacks is in a class of his own, just like the name of his cartoon… and now u know i’ve seen his cartoon… more than once.