”Yo? Are you ready to record?”
You nod your head excitedly and head over to the recording booth. The song that you wrote on your iPhone last night in between Full House episodes is the one that’s going to get you into the discussion for XXL 2019. You read through it over and over before you went to bed and decided to avoid looking at it in the morning: you want to go in the booth fresh, ready to destroy it. You walk into the booth and look through the slim window, giving the man behind the controls the thumbs up. As crisp drums shoot through the earphones you have on, you grab the mic and wait to come in when the time is right.
Only you wait. Wait some more. You hesitate and wait again, for the next go round. Only it never comes. You realize that you don’t know your sound.
We are in the midst of a generation of very intelligent artists. There are wordsmiths that can string together incredibly complex ballads that will send a listener to grab the dictionary off the nearest shelf. Since traditional hip-hop listeners believe that this is all it takes to be successful, why isn’t everyone hopping on private jets?
Since there are so many people capable of doing the same thing, what separates stars from regulars is their sound. How they craft everything else besides lyrics. An aesthetic that leaves the listener literally anxious for more. Sound. It’s so powerful that people who reinvent a failing one are able to dramatically improve their careers with the snap of a finger.
Why doesn’t everyone have sound?
When you step into the booth and record a song, rather haphazardly, you’ve created a sound. It may not be a good one, but it’s going to stick with you. When you record the next song, that previously established sound (whether good or bad) sticks with the listener and could potentially persuade them not to listen to it. That’s why its important to create a sound that people will want to listen to over and over again.
Do you know how to find it? There’s no magical trick. You need to experiment and find what works best for you. Try to be as unique as possible. Have you ever listened to Divine Council? Their in-house producer ICYTWAT has created an instantly recognizable sound that has propelled the group to the stratosphere. Think of this when you craft your sound; create one that resonates with people to keep them hungry.
Once you find your sound, don’t be afraid to change it if it isn’t receiving the reception that you want. That’s what keeps aspiring artists from achieving the success that they so desperately desire: a stubborn fascination with the sound that they know. It stems from fear of the unknown. But every listener in the history of the world respects artists more who experiment with new ideas instead of keeping with older ones.
As you begin to write-no-begin to think of writing a song, think about the sound behind it. Think about how you can change and warp it by experimenting with different ideas. Once you do this and find the sound that works for you as well as your audience, you’ll be on your way to sold out shows at Coachella.
Russ Is Right, Exploiting Drug Addiction For Money Is Wack
Russ has made it clear for over a year now that he’s not for the glamorization of drugs for money. He recently got into a Twitter scuffle with Fat Nick, a known user of lean and narcotics, with the two debating about his fascination with drugs and how the latter makes money off of it. Nick frequently posts his drugs and merchandise that contains drugs online and sees nothing wrong with it. Russ however disagrees. And, after seeing both viewpoints, I daresay I agree with Russ. Glamorizing drugs is wack, point blank.
Rap music was founded in tough times. The best hip-hop to come out of the genre’s Golden Era focused on the hardships that people faced during daily life. Coping with these hardships came natural. Drug use isn’t new. However, the way that drug users are fetishizing these drugs is. Lean, Xanax, and Mollies have become as popular as the music itself. With rappers posting their drugs on social media and dedicating so much of their creative energies to showcasing their fascination with drugs, many kids try them out because the artists they look up to love it.
Nothing good comes out of this besides addiction and death. Xanax pills look fun until you’re trying your best to kick the habit while the withdrawal symptoms kick your ass. Let Mac Miller’s story inform you about the dangers of overdosing. Lil Tracy had a heart attack because of his drug usage. There’s nothing good to come out of using these drugs. Yet, new age rap stars align their aesthetics with drugs because its in and it sells.
This exploitation is no joke and needs to be talked about. Starting a conversation about it will enable the proper action to happen and, hopefully, the way that drugs are exploited for money can be addressed.
Why Ella Mai’s “Trip” Is Better Than “Boo’d Up”
Everyone thought that “Boo’d Up” was the one. Ella Mai’s viral summer single became the talk of the season, a meme due to its widespread popularity across many age, racial, and gender groups. Many thought that Mai lucked up into the DJ Mustard-produced single, attributing much of the song’s success to the producer. But little did they know, “Trip” would come behind it and show that Mai is much more than a one hit wonder.
“Trip” released on August 3 and has been somewhat of a slow burn for the public. It’s a lot darker and moodier than “Boo’d Up”‘s ceiling-less mood. There’s a lingering piano that acts as the song’s lifeblood. When Mai comes in with her surprisingly deep voice, she offsets the equilibrium and swings things in her favor. As it goes on it become a catchy earworm that far outpaces the ceiling of “Boo’d Up”
With all of this said, her debut album, expected to arrive this fall, will be interesting to take in. Has she exhausted all creative avenues in her brilliant two first singles? Or will she continue pushing the culture? “Boo’d Up,” was one thing. “Trip” is another altogether, showcasing that she has a lot still left up her sleeve.
Listen to “Trip” below.
Bay Area Music That You May Have Missed This Week
Here’s our weekly collection of music out of the Bay Area that you may have missed this week. This week’s collection is one of our favorites, with a majority of the tunes being bombastic, lively jams to bolster the energy coursing through your veins. Tune in below: