Connect with us

Editorials

When Collaborating With Other Artists, Don’t Settle

Published

on

Dick Grayson first suited up as Robin, Boy Wonder in Detective Comics # 38. Batman took the 8-year-old child under his wing, adopting him as a legal ward of the state. The Caped Crusader would morph the child into a valuable asset for the former’s everlasting battle for Gotham’s streets; forging a partnership that has withstood the test of time (the original comic came out in 1940). The relationship — up until Robin chose to become Nightwing — consisted of Batman taking the lead and Robin following accordingly. With Batman in charge, the two-man team soundly defeated ghoulish and criminal entities time and time again.

There was a reason for the duo’s continued success; besides the creativity of the comic’s authors penning the storylines. With the stronger hero and personality in charge, being Batman, Robin followed suit; finding ways to emulate Batman’s success and grow as a hero. This made proceedings fairly predictable but effective. Their track record, nearly unblemished, goes to show that someone taking the lead is much more effective than meeting somewhere in the middle ground.

In rap music, this kind of relationship doesn’t exist. In a genre defined by fake relationships, the concept of fraternalism becomes that much more important. The age-old mantra gifted to the public time and time again is that the industry is fake, rappers are bogus, and relationships are strictly for business purposes. It’s why genuine friendships constructed through industry experiences are celebrated by the media; Drake and Future’s unlikely connection — previously on the outs because of the latter’s comments about being better than the Canadian crooner — was the subject of many memes in its heyday. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, two artists of a similar ilk, are known to be close associates. Just recently, Lil Durk and Tee Grizzley publically declared their brotherly love for each other, becoming best friends in the process.

These types of relationships that form inside and outside of rap usually lead back into it in the form of collaborative projects. Friends, eager to celebrate and capitalize from their peers’ successes, hop in the booth together and give fans what they want from both; a best of both worlds collective effort that’ll surely knock the socks off of fans worldwide. Only, in nearly every case so far, results have been lackluster across the board.

 

Huncho Jack is perhaps the latest example of collaboration albums that stunk. Both artists have collaborated on a number of occasions, most notably on“Pick Up The Phone” from the former’s Birds In The Trap Sing Brian McKnight; Scott also credits Quavo for inspiring the name behind the album. Both have startlingly different recording styles; Scott uses autotune to support his zany rap-singing mix and warbles affectionally over constantly changing production while Quavo is silky smooth, primarily a trap aficionado who can drop a tone or two when necessary. The two’s consummation was heavily anticipated by fans worldwide, finally releasing on Dec. 21. While it does contain some bangers that will carry fans throughout the winter, the general consensus of the tape is that it is a missed opportunity. There’s a little bit of both worlds, but ultimately not enough of either one to be considered memorable.

When multiple star-level forces collide to create music, it often times results in a success — see “biebs in the trap” by Travis Scott and Nav or “Motorsport” by Migos, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj. On single songs, the primary artist taps the other to meet them at their aesthetic, crafting their vocals to match their song’s intensity and style. The problem arises when artists come together to create a body of work without establishing a lead. A middle meeting ground solves nothing, only complicating the sonic message that both artists are trying to portray.

Drake and Future’s What A Time To Be Alive lacked the staying power to warrant it as anything but a passing fad. Drake’s intimate singing and rapping style contrasted heavily with Future’s more direct, yet spacey, method of warbling. The beat choices used on the project, a jarring mix of both’s preferred styles, only exaggerated this point, leading to some great recordings that followed into questionable ones. “Jumpman” was a rare feat that captured both artists in their best lights, while the following track “Jersey” lacked Drake entirely, presumably because he wouldn’t fit in on the Monster-esque production. On the very next track, “30 for 30 Freestyle,” Drake chimes in for a solemn outing, backed by softly-strung piano keys and muted bass. The contrast between the three tracks highlighted the fact that individually, both artists are amazing, but together, when trying to strike the right mix of both aesthetics, the two suffer considerably.

Perhaps the camaraderie that exists between artists is harder to marriage on wax then they let on to be. This would explain why Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole’s long-rumored project has never come to fruition. Or why artist and producer projects like Gucci Mane’s DropTopWop and Big Sean’s Double or Nothing — both featuring Metro Boomin as the projects’ beatsmith — often fair better critically than two artists collaborative works. Producers cater to the needs of the artist versus finding common ground. The latter would lead to some less than worthy results. Without the proper lead, the arrangements feel empty and barren. By this time next year, neither of these projects will remain remembered.

The enduring success of Batman and Robin as an iconic team, able to defeat nearly any villain in the history of the heroes’ lore, should encourage musicians to rethink their approaches to crafting collaborative projects. Huncho Jack should have been the talk of the town but has already received an alarming dropoff in appreciation so soon after its release because of the two powerhouses being unable to establish whose setting the stage for the other to join. It’s not about showcasing bravado or taking the backseat to the other’s arrangements — it’s about creating something wholesome that will be memorable for fans everywhere.

Editorials

Drake Should Have Kept City Girls’ Verses On “In My Feelings”

Published

on

Drake’s “In My Feelings” has become a viral hit thanks to internet comedian Shiggy’s challenge. It’s also a good song with enough switchups to keep it interesting. One of the more interesting switchups comes in the second verse when City Girls, Quality Control’s star signees, come in for snippet’s of suave verses that are equally energetic and laid back. But we only get glimpses at their verses, the rest were locked away. Now, we’ve gotten them again since they’ve released the extended version of their verses.

This reminds me of the time when Rick Ross’ “Aston Martin Music” came out and glimpses of a powerful Drake feature were apparent in the tail ends of the choruses (sung by Chrisette Michelle). Drake confirmed that he’d recorded a verse for the song that was ultimately cut with “Paris Morton Music,” a standalone release that proved him to be one of the game’s hottest up-and-comers.

With City Girls’ release echoing this earlier sentiment, I’m surprised that Drake did in fact not include their verses. They fit the vibrant energy of the song, so building around them would have been instrumental to capitalize on their fanbase as well as showcase their artistry. It would give them a chance that he was robbed of earlier in his career.

Regardless, check out the City Girls version of “In My Feelings” below.

 

Continue Reading

Editorials

Lakeith Stanfield Needs To Stay Far The Fuck Away From Rapping

Published

on

Photo courtesy of GQ

Lakeith Stanfield plays Darius on the FX’s hit show Atlanta that has been renewed for a third season. He’s the weird, idiosyncratic best friend of rapper Paper Boy who always knows more than what he lets on. Viewers fell in love with his demeanor that, according to Stanfield, isn’t that much different from him in real life. In fact, all of us blacks have traces of Stanfield’s Darius inside of us. Society may paint us as one-note stock characters, but, yes, like Darius, we talk about quantum physics and the possibility of simulation universes just as much as we can about smoking marijuana or having sex.

He may be winning over audiences and critiques as an actor, but he also wants to do the same thing as a rapper. When Stanfield was interviewed by The Breakfast Club in November of 2016, he revealed to the trio of Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee, that he was also a serious rapper. Charlamagne challenged him to rap, and what spit from his lips was some of the most garbage, try-hard lyricism that has been released in the last five-to-ten years. Charlamagne wasn’t impressed; the rest of the room remained equally silent. Instead of taking a hint, he’s kept at it. He recently released a song called “Mango” with Tune-Yards from his recent film Sorry To Bother You. Stanfield’s vocals are horrendous bordering on simulation-like.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with what he’s saying, it’s how he’s saying it. Stanfield’s vocals feel flat, like he’s just doing this to get it off of his chest. Of course, we know that his demeanor is normally like that, but in rap that won’t work out as well as it does in the acting and interviewing world.

Maybe time will tell. If that’s how he truly conducts his artistry, he’ll have a hard time becoming and remaining relevant in the rap game.

 

Continue Reading

Editorials

Please, Don’t Take Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie Dreamz” Serious

Published

on

Nicki Minaj’s fourth studio album Queen released with a hilarious flip of Biggie’s “Just Playing (Dreams)” from his final studio album Ready to Die. Lil Kim also created a steamy version that centers around men as sexual toys, but, for some reason, Nicki’s has ruffled a few feathers. On “Barbie Dreamz,” Nicki uses modern rap males as her playthings through a series of verses that are clearly meant as jokes. Don’t take it serious.

On the song, she names 31 different people – from Quavo and Karrueche, to Lil Uzi Vert and Drake. Many have apparently “had sex” with her – Meek Mill and DJ Khaled have failed recently supposedtly – but, as stated above, it’s jokes, nothing more. She even tweeted as such after the uproar hit critical level.

Nicki has long been adamant that she’s never been one to sleep with a number of industry men. She’s went on record, and in interviews, to reiterate the fact. There’s also the fact that male rappers have built entire careers out of trolling. Can we let Nicki have her fun?

Let’s just enjoy the music and dissect it later.

Continue Reading

Trending This Week

Copyright © 2018 4sho Magazine LLC.