COVID-19 has flipped the world upside down. At first it was fun, video games, movies, procrastinating school work but now people’s true colours are starting to show.
The music world has also taken a pretty big hit too. Music festivals have been postponed and cancelled, album releases pushed back and in studio collaborations have definitely been slowed down as well.
The times have forced the world to turn digital as well. This was a trend we were starting to see regardless of the pandemic, especially in the music world. The give and take of beats, verses and hooks between artists by email or file sharing was becoming more and more prominent. And I hope that’s what has been going on during lockdown.
Artists have quarantined to their homes, just like the rest of us. However, I’m optimistic their productivity hasn’t been stunted, this isn’t to say I don’t have worries though.
I think the music world has been creating and nothing else. I think that if we’re lucky, when this is all over, the world will be flooded by music that has been created over the past couple of months.
Artists have been forced to find new ways to be creative. We’ve seen everything from producers having beat battles on Instagram live, artists and producers previewing new music and rather intimate looks into the lives of our favourite artists on social media.
All of this has me thinking though, what does this really say about the state of the music industry right now? Has the quality content been lost to quantity?
My first inclination is to say yes. Rap is slowly becoming what seems to be a more quantity over quality genre, mainly due to streaming, and the COVID-19 pandemic is fuelling that fear.
We’ve seen rap take a new life in the past 10 years. Hate it or not, lyrics don’t mean as much and with some quality production and hype around your name, content can be easily overlooked. These current times have forced artists to stay inside and create, this means they are removed from a great deal of inspirations. Experiences, travel and an overall social life have all been taken from artists across the world. And it is my belief that these are the sort of things that create the best content. Artists are home right now, out of touch with the world that used to fuel their pen with words to put on paper.
With this being said, I don’t think the lyrical rappers of today are struggling to put words down but rather just aren’t creating as much.
I made a bold claim earlier this year saying that 2020 was going to be the year we saw true lyrical based rap rise up again and challenge the production heavy sounds we were getting used to. But recently I’ve been nervous about this. I think without anything to do, artists who create quality content are going to have a hard time doing so due to the fact that they’re probably just as bored as the rest of us and can’t think of anything to write.
But there’s a whole other side of the music industry, the aforementioned sonic driven genre. By this I mean the trap artists or the artists who are looking more so to capture a vibe with their song rather than spit clever and well thought out verses.
This is the side of rap that music has become incredibly popular in the past couple of years and I’m not tearing it down, it’s just impossible for me to say the content is as quality as the lyrical rappers of today.
This isn’t a bad thing though. It’s made music rather fun if you think about it. You can prefer lyrical rap and argue until your face is blue about how trap is ruining the rap world, but I’ll be god damned if Bad and Boujee comes on and you don’t know every word to it. You facking hypocrite.
There’s always so much new music out and if you call yourself a music lover then you can’t hate that, even if some of it’s trash. It’s the new reality, the music coming from artists who are dropping quite often has to be taken with a grain of salt. Not every song is going to be a gem, but there is going to be one that makes you nod your head, every time.
Like I said, I’m all for the overall surge in music releases but this influx could prove to be a little problematic.
By this I mean that the artists who have been creating this kind of music have had just as much time on their hands as the rest of us. Since they’re confined to their homes with tons of free time, if my hunch of optimism is correct, then these artists will be creating in overdrive.
The problem I might have with this is that the quality of their sound is going to dwindle. I already find it hard to come across good trap or vibe music that isn’t it predicated on the lyrical content, however with it being the easiest to create, I feel like we’ll get a lot of it when the world and more importantly clubs start opening up again.
I have no hate for this type of music, except that some of it just isn’t really that good…
I think artists of this genre will have and are having an incredibly easy time putting together songs in quarantine. The math of it boils down to the fact that they simply are less skilled when it comes to content, but not necessarily their trade.
If that confused you, what I mean is this; you can’t particularly compare Young Thug to Kendrick Lamar when it comes to their music, it’s rather like comparing apples to oranges. Young Thug is by no means a lacklustre artist and his creativity is definitely evident in everything he releases, it’s just when we look at lyrical content, the lines need to start being drawn to determine what constitutes a quality song rather than a song that is good.
This line is one that gets overlooked, in my opinion, and in some cases just forgotten. This is something that needs to be kept in mind when listening to the music that is going to come out of the social isolation period.
If my predictions are correct, we’re going to see a ton of new trap and vibe music and perhaps a little less lyrical based rap music. But this is alright, y’all old heads need to chill out.
This is the case, in most aspects, of the new age of rap music as well. We have a generation of people sitting at the top who seem to shake their head disapprovingly at anything that comes out.
But if these times of isolation have taught us anything, it’s that we should be happy with what we have and are going to get. We have been cooped up for too long to be picky at any new music that is thrown our way.
Just take what is going to be released into context. Lyrical rappers are going to struggle to create a high volume of music during these times since there are no more daily experiences that stem the inspiration for their content. While on the other hand, heavy production based trap music is going to be released at a rapid rate because what else is there to do when locked inside as an artist than experiment thousands of sounds a day.
Sure, we’ve been getting a lot from artists even over the past couple of months but when the surge really starts, y’all better be ready. And y’all better be in a good mood because there will be a lot of garbage, you just gotta dig through it all to find the gems.