As I grow older, the thing I appreciate most about maturity is that it provides perspective.
Hey, Mr. Carter
by Aaron Colen
Jay-Z’s 13th studio album, 4:44, is groundbreaking. It’s a game-changing project from an artist who many questioned whether he should still be in the game at all.
Art imitates life in all aspects and on all accounts. There has been recent talk of the dilution of good, creative, thought provoking hip hop. Whether Little Yachty or young artists that sing “I spy with my little eye” are to blame for the possibility of hip hop and rap eroding, we can all agree black culture music has fluctuated into another vain. It’s easy to hold mumble rap responsible for the current climate or "quote...unquote" greats choosing not to indulge in the foundations of hip hop and/or battle rap. However, I tend to think beyond the surface, and I believe some responsibly falls on the consumer, the fan, the music heads, us.
Music apps like Tidal and Apple Music are more convenient but there is something about holding a CD, vinyl or even cassette in your hand. Getting up after waiting for months and going to a music store, scrolling through various rappers and singers to find the artist you were initially looking for should still mean something if you're a true fan of an artist's music. This also opens the opportunity to run across a new artist’s project that you wouldn’t have if predictably searching on iTunes for the piece you wanted. The actual music stores also have a vibe that can inspire and allow you to meet new people with your same musical taste. Constantly only utilizing streaming is limiting, it leaves us ignorant to the complete concept of the creator.
When I was younger, going through the little book of cover art in CDs was part of enjoying the music. I loved it so much I’d use it as a poster on my wall. Obtaining something physical for the art we revel in so much makes history. It reminds us later what part of our lives we were experiencing during such a simplistic purchase. The cloud will not always be there for us and iPhones will not be forever. When’s the last time you’ve taken a day to listen to a project as a complete body of work; as opposed to only listening to the tracks you see people you don’t even know tweeting about with flame emojis. Listening, no REALLY, listening to a project as the artist formatted it is essential to the feeling of the sound in its entirety. Music is the only art form that is continuously shorted. We don’t look at the only parts of a movie we heard was good or only subject ourselves to the corners of a painting. An appreciation is obviously needed for music to evolve and avoid digression. Our society has somehow began to treat music as if it’s disposable, if it doesn’t play on the radio or isn’t the first week of release, the majority does not talk about it let alone listen. Our attention spans have been reduced to the margins of snap chat posts.
I still listen to Supa Dupa Fly with no skips. The same goes for Solange's A Seat at the Table and J. Cole's Born Sinner. People who swear they love Drake or Migos only listen to their most recently pushed singles. Can any of us recall the last time we’ve listened to Take Care from “Over my Dead Body” to “Hate Sleeping Alone”? Wasting gas, riding around embedded in the production and samples of songs that make us want to be gangsters or call our exes use to make us feel good and replenish the music as well, where did we get away from this mutual interaction? My mother use to record Luther from the radio to cassette even when CDs had come into effect because of the feeling of it all, the energy. She would even accidentallly record herself in complete bliss and admiration singing and screaming “Oh!” to cuts like “Superstar” and “Bad Boy (Having A Party)”. There’s still an overwhelming amount of good music but we as listeners in my opinion have neglected our music; we have become captives of our present environment instead of thriving in the alternative realities music invites us to.
MENDEECEES ENCOURAGES YOUNG BLACK MEN
Mendeecees Harris, husband of Love & Hip Hop's Yandy Smith and a father of four children, received an 8 year prison sentence for drug trafficking. However, he used the punishment to share his encouragement to others in our communities who struggle with similar circumstances and environments. While it's unfortunate that the words were expressed under these circumstances, we still applaud him for his effort to steer others away from his fate. Letter posted below.
RICK ROSS FIRES OFF NOT SO SUBTLE SHOTS
You can purchase Rozay's entire upcoming album, Black Market, this Friday. But today the rapper released a track from the project that has set off buzz and debate. In the second verse of "Color Money", the Miami artist didn't mince words and didn't hide behind subliminals in letting it be known that he stands firm at the side of his MMG labelmate Meek Mill. He didn't mention Drake by name, but if we're being honest listeners he didn't need to. Looking forward to Friday.