As good as the hip hop music scene is looking now, there’s a sad fact that we all need to come to terms with. Most of our favourite rappers have either hit or past their peak. I’m talking about the Drakes and the Young Thugs of the world; I can’t see their music getting any better, and it’s such a shame.
I reckon the average artist life cycle lasts about 5 years. Reaching your peak within this music game is an achievement in itself. There are too many artists I can name, who have set themselves up well by releasing a hit song and fail to carry on this momentum, whether that’s because of legal issues, or other factors i.e Bobby Shmurda, Desiigner etc. To continuously produce hit songs is not easy at all, and musicians should really be appreciated for their consistency. However, those who are lucky enough to maintain their hype and reach their peak, face the biggest challenge of all; how do I keep my fanbase listening?
Many artists think the way to do this is by changing their sound. This is a method that has had very mixed success, but more times than not, ends up not working. It can happen to the most established artists in the game; when Kanye West released Yeezus, 80% of people said they hated it (I wasn’t one of those people). Music fans are so fickle; we don’t want each album to sound the same, but when artists change their sound, we always ask for the ‘old them’ back. I am one of many who have begged and pleaded for the old Weeknd back; realistically, would he have reached the huge heights he is at now, whilst maintaining his old, dark sound? Probably not.
Other artists think the way is to drop a million albums at once. Gucci Mane has dropped 6 projects since he was released from jail two years ago; he probably has about 200,027,213 more unreleased songs in his hard-drive. 6 projects in two years? That’s way too much. I understand he was trying to get his hype back at the start, but he doesn’t even need to do that anymore. He is one of the most famous rappers out right now, which means he can afford to leave his fans wanting.
But these methods don’t work. Let me use Young Thug and Drake as examples. Drake is still one of the biggest artists in any genre, period, and Thugger also has a massive fanbase. When these two drop something, heads turn; Drake more so, because of his bigger fanbase, and less frequent releases. But what these two’s last releases indicated to me was that their music couldn’t get any better than it was before.
More Life was good, but for the hype surrounding it, it failed to reach expectations. There are many bangers on the album, but it wasn’t peak Drake; Take Care and Nothing Was The Same was. I loved Beautiful Thugger Girls, but it paled in comparison to the projects Thugger released in 2015-16, such as Barter 6 and Slime Season 2. Ironically, Drake was actually the executive producer for Beautiful Thugger Girls.
I don’t think either artist will ever top the albums I mentioned, and that is sad. These are artists whose stars have become so big, that they bleed platinum records. I could go on for time listing every artist who has either reached or past their peak, but who’s got time for that? Obviously, everyone has to reach their peak at some point, but I think what is particularly sad in these two artists’ cases, is the hype that surrounds their releases. If you compare these two to artists like Future, who tend to drop albums without much promo or hype, then maybe you can understand my point. And it’s not impossible to get better with each album; Kendrick Lamar does it. Migos do it. So what’s these two’s problem?
I guess we’ll never know, but all I’m saying is your favourite artists are getting worse, and you’re not even deeping it.