Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hip Hop Ain't Dead..... Part I: The "Event Album" Where Did It Go???

Let's dive into this topic. Now many of this various Hip Hop danger points may be similar or at least relate to each other but we'll see how each has its unique threat level all it's own.

1. The End of the "Event" Album

There was a time when albums encompassed an era that included a look, a feel, and a style that informed an artist's videos and live performances for as long as they (or the label) could squeeze revenue from a project by releasing singles. The "event" album can chiefly be credited to Jacksons Michael and Janet, who have entire time lines built around the idea of a "Thriller Era" or a "Rhythm Nation Era."

While I personally wont go back as far as the Jacksons in my references, the point is still the same. Long gone are times when an artist dropped an album and it was bigger then just music. I don't mean an overly hyped album release but a project that would change the current state of the hip hop landscape. Street Teams were more important then online ads. Face to face promotion events weren't optional but a necessity.

When B.I.G or Jay-Z, PUN, WU-TANG, Eminem, etc..were getting ready to drop, things stopped. The balance of power and regional bragging rights were up for grabs and that was felt in everyone. It was an event when The Bronx reclaimed the throne under the reign of Capital Punishment. The 914 was revived with Dark Man X. ATL partied hard as OutKast dropped classic after classic album. These works burned memories into your mind of who you were chillin' with and what you were doing when an album dropped.

What actually was an event for me in my youth? The guys and I would plan in advance who was cutting class to go cop the newest album. Screw school attendance the ability to blast that new Mobb Deep was bigger then all that. Music wasn't just the noise you wanted on while doing other things. It was a high priority. That doesn't seem to exist anymore....

What happens when the music doesn't hold weight anymore? When you no longer have to leave your sit to get the newest material? There's no more anticipation or wait cause there's a steady flow product and it waters things down. Album releases were once the highlights during a period of time but now its a mere digital after thought.


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