There was a lot of bugaboo over my article on “classic” albums especially in concern of Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.D City. One of the frequent contributors on FATC Mark Anthony (@darcwonn) of Chocolate Covered Lies wanted to talk about the discussion all over the web about idea of a classic album…
There has been a buzz surrounding the release, and conceptual auditory digestion, of Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.D. City. So much praise has been bestowed upon this album at the moment. Hastily, many want to label it a “classic album”. While this may be true, it is way too early to tell. Still, it is evident that Kendrick Lamar has released an album considered great by many hip hop standards.
Diggame, my employer (of sorts), just isn’t having it. Let him tell it, all of you jockeys riding the Kendrick Lamar dropped-a-classic horse need to get off immediately. Is he being a hater? Absolutely not. He loves the album just like most of us not named Shyne Barrow. Still, he notices that we are turning the word “classic” into a cliché term.
There are two issues that I have to confront about this hullabaloo that we are witnessing.
The first problem is that we are dealing with a major label album from a “new” artist. Back in the day, there was a time when the majority of your albums were worth your coin. We can take it back to about 1992-1996 for that day and time. Whether they were underground or over ground, artists were making the most of their musical situation. In retrospect, the hype behind Kendrick lies in the fact that he made a great album with no frills and filler.
Let’s face it: over half of your major label/better known artists have dropped albums that were underwhelming, impotently commercialized or just plain drink coasters.
The second, and most important, problem that we face is that there are other great albums that came out this year. Granted, many of these albums are quite diverse in sound and mostly lack “commercial appeal”. However, as pieces of hip hop music? I have heard plenty of albums that many have clamored over. Seemingly, people are so excited about Kendrick’s album because they have no other albums to line it up with.
Seriously, 2 Chainz is one of the hottest rappers out. But his album probably won’t be remembered much outside of this year.
Let me drop a few names so you can understand where I’m coming from:
Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music: If Doughboy mixed genes with Furious Styles, this would be the album they would make. All Boyz N The Hood references aside, Killer Mike was practically in his zone the entire album. With a minimal playlist (12 songs), he had little room for error. Over old school style PE type production courtesy of El-P, Mike let it be known that he wasn’t going to keep being ignored. Speaking of El-P….
El-P – Cancer 4 Cure: El-P has only three albums under his solo rap career. Each and every album has been worth the purchase. With his dark musical textures and self-deprecating (and low esteem of other people) lyrics, his music does a lot. What his music won’t do is bore you.
Brother Ali – Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color: A master lyricist masters his world and morality to drop a gem. Focused on the struggles of every working person in America, Brother Ali knows few peers. With an album enriched in all things Occupy Wall Street, blue collar struggle, and the soul of Cornell West, Brother Ali is for the people.
Skyzoo – A Dream Deferred: the beautifully loquacious album of having a dream and working to achieve it, Skyzoo does not disappoint. His appointed “Frisbee style lyricism” makes people rewind just to get a full scope of it all. Plus, his consistent movie references make everything more visual. It is rather hard to not like this album when one of your songs is called “Spike Lee Is My Hero”.
Lushlife – Plateau Vision: Oh, I had to mention him because I promise you most don’t even know about him. What he did do, however, was drop one of the best albums you will never take time to hear. Flipping different styles that swing between classic hip hop to experimental, Lushlife is someone to pay attention to.
And those weren’t the only albums. I didn’t even name the albums by Blu x Exile, Rapsody, and other upcoming albums that will probably be spectacular.
Hip hop listeners need to let classics become classics. Also, we need to not be hasty in calling something that it needs to grow into being. This is the same type of stuff that had Lebron James being disliked: anointing a title before it is earned. For hip hop’s sake, can we allow the growth to happen? Let the classics do what classics do: be recognized with time tested greatness.
Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “The Wheels of The Bus Go More Than Round and Round”.You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, I-Pad or Black berry of Stitcher Radio