Is There an Excess of Hip Hop Releases?
2015 began with a slew of major hip hop releases and even a variety of surprise releases. Before the year began many questioned whether there would be a new Kendrick Lamar album or Drake album, but this year has delivered on all fronts. From major releases like Earl Sweatshirt’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside to more underground releases like Billy Woods’ Today I Wrote Nothing, this year has delivered a multitude of quality releases. But after all of these releases in just a few months, we are left to wonder if there can be too many hip hop releases at once.
Let me preface this article by saying that I am not swaying one way or the other, but merely giving both sides. There have been many releases that I have truly loved, but some that I may not be giving the time that they deserve. In today’s state of music many listeners listen to something once or twice and form a complete opinion of something, which may not be the time it deserves. I am responsible for this trend as well, but some albums that I love would not have had the impact that they did without several listens before the album really “clicked.” Not every album has as much as To Pimp a Butterfly below the surface, but we may never know if something does if it does not get at least a few listens.
On the other hand, we are all busy people, whether it be school, work or just having fun elsewhere, many people do not have the time to devote to listening in-depth to every release that they hear about. Others may have heard the hype for the new Death Grips release and tried it out, completely hated it and never listened again. It is hard to devote the time to such releases, but with all of these quality projects, some time needs to be devoted in order to understand.
Other genres of music could also occupy time that could be devoted to discovering hip hop. Over the past few years, I have been drawn into different kinds of music that I also spend much of my time discovering. There have been just as many indie rock releases that have blown me away this year as there have been hip hop, but I try my best to spread myself out. Music is something that someone can devote quite a bit of time to, but not everyone is willing to do this, which is just their choice.
Music is timeless and can always be gone back to, but as the year goes on, more releases are bound to pile up. This is the beauty of hip hop though, it will just continue to come out and there will always be quality releases. Being a music fan in the internet age that we all live in, it is easy to access any releases that you want through streaming and you can still purchase physical copies. Underground artists are able to thrive with websites like Bandcamp and just put out as much music as they please in hope of gaining traction. As for fans, it is also perfect because there will never be a time where someone can say, “Man, wish there was something to listen to”, there is just no room for that.
Chuck D once said, “A lot of times people are looking for new music, but I always tell them ‘Well new music, it could just be what’s new to you, go backwards.’” This is true for hip hop fans as well, many do not go back and listen to the classics or look for releases from the past few years. New releases occupy a lot of time, but it is also important as a fan of a genre, to go back to the roots and spread out your knowledge. Whether it is listening to the classics or just checking out things from last year, there is never a shortage of material to check out.
Public Enemy MC, Chuck D
That is the conundrum that we are all left with though, how to spend your time listening to music. New releases are coming in just as fast as the community can listen to them, but there have been several projects that I have loved this year such as White Men are Black Men Too by Young Fathers. Releases are missed all of the time, but would it be better if there were just less releases in general? I am not left to decide this, but it is up to each and every fan of music to figure out how they wish to delegate their time. It is a task that not everyone thinks about, but it just depends on how you enjoy hip hop or other music as an individual. There will always be good music out there that you have not heard yet, so just try to explore some newer things to you.