Thursday, August 25, 2011

Carter vs. Carter

I don't know why I'm even bothering discussing this, but this supposed Jay-Z vs. Lil Wayne beef already has me tired and I don't know why anyone is insisting on pushing the issue.

It's obvious that whatever issues these two have with each other are personal, based on how veiled the disses they've thrown at each other. If someone didn't point them out I never would have picked up on them on my own.

The issue is made more complicated because the two have so many mutual connections among their camps. Kanye has worked with Wayne, Nicki, and Drake. Drake and Nicki have both worked with Jay and Rihanna. This is not to mention all the other rappers/singers who have worked with both artists before. Whenever two people get into it there is always an implicit expectation that everyone else around them will immediately choose their side...because of all the affiliations this would be a huge mess. There is no clear choice for a winner here because both of them are so huge in rap right now...if anything this would just create another nasty rift like the East Coast/West Coast beef in the 90's, and who really wants that? I think Jay and Wayne both know this and that is why their shots have been subtle.

I say, since it's obvious that they're not really trying to make this beef that public, the rest of us shouldn't either. It's not the first time two people in the industry have disliked each other and it won't be the last, so let them keep that mess behind closed doors unless and until one of them grows the balls to directly call the other out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are music listeners today lazy?

I was reading a Huffington Post article about "15 New, Young Artists on the Rise" - seems like a straightforward article, right? They're new so you probably haven't heard of them yet. And by young it should seem fairly obvious that they're, well, young; some may even be teenagers. So of course I scrolled down to the comments and saw grumbles that "I've never heard of any of these artists." "Good grief, are any of these artists even over the age of 18?" One person even dismissed them on the basis that they all looked like "bubblegum pop," with his reasoning that the article used the word 'pop' to describe all of them. (If you read through the list the word 'pop' is only described for five of them - a paltry 1/3 of the entire list - and is accompanied with such qualifying statements such as "pop/rock," "a hipster boy's total dream girl," and "a more comprehensible Bjork...with legends like Elton John in her corner.") I wanted to bang my head against the wall...and then I wanted to bang those posters' heads against the wall. I'm not sure why I insist on driving myself crazy by scrolling down to any article's comment section these days because I already know both a) my low tolerance level for people who lack reading comprehension skills and b) the ubiquity of lack of reading comprehension skills on the internet. But I do it every time anyway.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Urban-pop artists get no love

Kelly Rowland, Melanie Fiona, Keri Hilson, Ciara...these ladies have a very hard time consistently breaking through with hits. Every time they come close, they get tripped up again and lose whatever momentum they had before.

This isn't to say they're all just victim of current music trends, because in each case I can point to mistakes that their labels and/or management teams are making. However, I think that  the reason these mistakes are being made most of the time is because all of them are a hard sell. They're too pop to really be considered urban, but they're too urban to be called pop. And since CHR basically decided three years ago that it's only going to take one urban hit at a time, these ladies get screwed. It's expensive as hell trying to promote a song on CHR so other than Keri getting one top 10 hit with Knocks You Down and a mild top 30 hit with Pretty Girl Rock, they're generally out of luck here. So they're left to try to cater to urban, but they don't quite fit in there, either.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

3 reasons why most artists never become superstars

I'm a Kingsley fan and this blog is somewhat inspired by this video.

I tend to have conflicting views on Beyonce (love most of her music, not always crazy about her as a person, don't think she 'writes' nearly as much as she'd have us believe). Now with my personal views on Beyonce out of the way I want to just say that this "blame [any really popular female] for [semi-relevant female artist] not being successful" thing is just played. With Bey in particular, this topic has existed ever since Destiny's Child became popular and she gets blamed for a lot of r&b artists' failures. People have this idea in their heads that Beyonce (and/or her team) won't "let" others be great. I would think that Beyonce has been putting in too many work hours toward being great herself to even have time to concentrate on actively squashing someone else's career.

Here is the thing. It takes a very huge, well-oiled machine to make any person a huge star and even then, it isn't a 100% guarantee that you will become hugely successful. Very few people are fortunate enough to get this kind of machine behind them and fewer still are able to make it work for a very long time. Music history is littered with thousands of would-bes who never made it, for reasons that have nothing to do with the handful of people who did:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What would you do with the internet's biggest albatross?

About a month ago Justin Timberlake and some other guys no one cares about announced that they'd jointly purchased Myspace for $35 million. I suppose they thought this is a steal compared to Myspace's former value of one $65 billion just a few years ago. The rest of the world, however, responded by collectively mocking Justin's bad investment decision for ten minutes, throwing in another gratuitous whine about his refusal to make any more music for another two minutes, and then returning to forgetting that Myspace even existed. For some reason however, this has been stuck in the back of my brain ever since the announcement.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Welcome to eight past six! I intend to talk mostly about music here, but like most conversations I have in real life, will probably end up rambling and talking about something completely different half the time. Hopefully you will find it...whatever "it" may be at the moment...interesting enough to stick around.