Pin It
Favorite

Bomb Garden 

by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & Grass Roots


& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & S & lt;/span & o with all this talk of the Recording Industry Association of America's insidious dealings with mixtape artists -- soliciting sample-heavy recordings of major label artists for promotional purposes, then arresting them -- I think I may have missed the most important point. Lately mixtapes are better than albums.





While geeking out last week with Inlander rap czar Andrew Matson about the new mixtape of Prodigy (of Mobb Deep), Matson observed that mixtapes -- insofar as they're the product of a single producer or DJ -- are usually more coherent and better than the artist's actual albums. It's certainly true of Prodigy. Return of the Mac, the mixtape, is incomparably better than Mobb Deep's last G-Unit-backed album, Blood Money. Lil Wayne's recent Da Drought 3, too, is his best work since Dedication 2, mixes both. Matson's point was on-target, but it missed an underlying element: chart performance.





The reason rap albums from powerhouse labels get chopped up and fed to so many radio-friendly and club-motivated producers is to sell entire albums on the strength of individual singles. It's fantastic for selling records, but it destroys continuity and hamstrings artists like Prodigy into song forms that don't suit their talents.





Mixtapes are different. They're deliberately underground. They don't chart. They aren't made for money. They have little regard for production that'll resonate with club kids.





They're still marketing tools, though, designed for no other reason than to create hype. As such, the desire for jaw-dropping lyrical performances, shadow boxing and freestyling is actually more, important. Insofar as they're sold to the streets, in corner stores and bodegas, and passed around by hand, they're benefited by an urban naturalism (real or imagined) and a connection to the people.





A small point perhaps, but it's no wonder the most essential product coming from a billion-dollar game is art designed specifically to connect with individuals and communities.





CORRECTION


In our May 24 Local Music Issue, the Hockey story neglected to mention that band member Joel Smith is also an Inlander staff writer. Full disclosure is important to us, and we regret the omission.
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Good News, Bad News
  • Good News, Bad News

    Labor is winning concessions... just as robots are arriving in the workforce
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • Mad as Hell
  • Mad as Hell

    The economy's ups and downs have created profound dislocations, but yelling won't fix anything
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • Bryant: 'No' to Trump
  • Bryant: 'No' to Trump

    Trail Mix: A local non-endorsement and Trump's Putin problem
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Free State Parks Day

Free State Parks Day @ Riverside State Park

Thu., Aug. 25

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Luke Baumgarten

  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015
  • Completely Repellent
  • Completely Repellent

    How can we expect people to find constructive uses for space that wasn't built for them?
    • Dec 30, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 'Unreasonable Threat to Life and Property'

    Spokane's rental housing has problems, but landlord and tenant groups are split on a solution
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • 'End of Story'

    Condon administration aims to close the controversial Frank Straub chapter — but last week's scathing report has irrevocably changed the narrative
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation