Instant Classics In 2017?

I saw this video tonight which claimed Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is already a classic”. Crazy. I was really baffled that at only 7 months since the album’s release, it’s already hailed as a classic by the well-known music-journalism website: Pitchfork.

DAMN. in 2017 wasn’t culturally digested by Hip Hop and mainstream audiences the same way Good Kid MAAD City (2012) and To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) were.

Neither was Joey Bada$$’ All Amerikkkan Badass to his debuts; 1999 and/or B4.Da.$$

Neither was Drake’s More Life to his fan favourites; Take Care and If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late.

Even Big KRIT and The Migos’ critically acclaimed albums from this year feel like they just came and went in the eyes of people’s interest. Who’s even listening to Slippery in November of 2017?

It’s a shame because although not many of those albums could be argued as any of those artists’ best works, they definitely made and had strong statements in their legacies and careers as artists, which was sort of overlooked because of how our culture collectively consumes art.

Rap in today’s mainstream has become infected by a strong sense of hyper-consumerism, where product-cycles and the relevance of an artist’s work have become vastly reduced. It’s come to the point where we can’t even let a record breathe without asking the artists for a new album, song or search for a new artist that’ll feed into our mainstream-tastes.

Typically, a “classic” is simply defined by the quality of an artist’s work lasting a certain period of time. A period of time is subjective, especially to context, but 7 months is quite a reach from Pitchfork to call DAMN. a classic. Think about it this way: are people fondly remembering, or will they fondly remember GOD. or LOVE. from this album in the same way they remember Poetic Justice or Alright?

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Momma

I remember being in the Philippines last year and drinking cheap bottles of liquor in a hotel room by myself while my parents caught up with their distant relatives, and my brother went out for some smokes.

Observing a skyline view of the city which birthed me, from a 56-storey building which gentrified my family’s neighbourhoods – how could I have been so unsympathetic?

To Pimp A Butterfly was playing on my phone as I thought pensively about the journey I had taken, both spiritually and physically, to come full-circle and return to my motherland with a different state of mind as to when I left it before. Thinking about the path I paved for myself, the long nights I took, and the people I met on the way — for better or for worse.

Verse 2 of Momma hit me like a truck when I heard it in that hotel room that time and I’ll never forget that moment in my life; never in my life did I need to hear something so much and never known until I heard:
“I know everything, know myself
I know morality, spirituality, good and bad health
I know fatality might haunt you
I know everything, I know Compton
I know street shit, I know shit that’s conscious
I know everything, I know lawyers, advertisement and sponsors
I know wisdom, I know bad religion, I know good karma
I know everything, I know history
I know the universe works mentally
I know the perks of bullshit isn’t meant for me
I know everything, I know cars, clothes, hoes, and money
I know loyalty, I know respect, I know those that’s ornery
I know everything, the highs, the lows, the groupies, the junkies
I know if I’m generous at heart, I don’t need recognition
The way I’m rewarded, well, that’s God’s decision
I know you know that line’s for Compton School District
Just give it to the kids, don’t gossip ’bout how it was distributed
I know how people work
I know the price of life, I’m knowin’ how much it’s worth
I know what I know and I know it well not to ever forget
Until I realized I didn’t know shit
The day I came home”
— That verse truly spoke volumes and shades to me then and even now.

It’s 3:09 as I’m writing this, and I’m re-listening to To Pimp A Butterfly again. A set of lines on verse 3 of Momma inspired me to write this post, and I think it’s got me really shaken up about how closely I relate to it right now in this period of my life (see the Bad Warmth, Cruel Winter Playlist for further reference):
“you’re here right now, don’t you mistake it
It’s just a new trip, take a glimpse at your family’s ancestor
Make a new list of everything you thought was progress
And that was bullshit, I mean, your life is full of turmoil
Spoiled by fantasies of who you are, I feel bad for you”

To Pimp A Butterfly is one of the more personally significant albums of my life, and a personal favourite too. I even dedicated a short release-date anniversary for it on this page. The album first presented itself to me last year — in a time of heavy growth and fond friendships, and it really captured a lot of my personal feelings, events and relationships at the time. It’s great to come back to it, after a year since I first admired it, and find something new I could take out of it. DAMN. Music is such a fruitful art-form.

 

New // (11/06/2017)

  • The much-anticipated debut album by T.D.E.’s first lady, SZA – Ctrl – speaks about SZA’s perspective of previous relationships and the difficulties that many recognize. The tracks often convey themes of love, hate, heartbreak, revenge, and self-perception, but there also seems to be an underlying sense of spirituality and inner-peace in SZA’s lyrics.
    The album is so far supported by its three singles: “Drew Barrymore”, “Love Galore” featuring Travis Scott, and “Broken Clocks”, and also features guest appearances from James Fauntleroy, and fellow TDE members: Kendrick Lamar, and Isaiah Rashad.  Pharrell Williams also has partial writing credit on the album opener ‘Supermodel’
    Stream the album on Youtube, Spotify, Itunes or purchase it directly on through her website: szactrl.com/musicWatch Love Galore ft. Travis Scott below:

 

  • Toronto’s fastest upcoming talent, Daniel Caesar, drops us two sides of a double single with “We Find Love” and “Blessed”.
    Together, both songs showcase a romantic relationship at its highest and lowest: on “Blessed” Caesar is relishing the warm and soft moments of a deep companionship, and mourns its ashes on “We Find Love”. Both are piano-driven numbers with deep gospel roots that have been shown to run through much of Caesar’s work.Listen to both songs below. They serve as the follow-up to his recent cult-hits “Get You” ft. Kali Uchis and “Japanese Denim”. In addition, Billboard has also published that Daniel Caesar is working on a new EP which he hopes to release by this year.

 

  • After nearly 20 years of the world heavily admiring and critically analyzing Radiohead’s “OK Computer”, Thom Yorke and the band have chosen to add 3 studio versions of previously unreleased tracks onto the album’s 20th anniversary reissue –OKNOTOK” – one of which is “I Promise”, which was recorded during the “OK Computer” sessions in 1997, and played several times that year while touring as Alanis Morisette’s supporting act. The band however, felt that it was not strong enough to release at the time, and did not perform it again in their set-lists for over 2 decades, but now they’ve released it as a download for those who had pre-ordered OKNOTOK, with an accompanying video below.“OKNOTOK 1997 – 2017” – available to buy now at oknotok.co.uk

 

  • D.R.A.M. has shared a new pair of tracks: “The Uber Song” and “Group Thang (DEMO)”. These new songs follow the A$AP Rocky collaboration, “Gilligan”, that D.R.A.M. shared earlier in the year. The rapper/singer-songwriter also recently featured on the Gorillaz album Humanz, singing on the track “Andromeda”, and last fall saw D.R.A.M. release his debut full-length album.Listen to the two new tracks below:

 

  • Jhene Aiko draws on 50 First Dates’ storyline for the video of her new song “While We’re Young”, where her short-term memory loss has a man wooing her in new ways every day.The smooth love note is like a different side of her sexually explicit track “Maniac” released last November – “I’m tellin’ everybody you’re mine and I like it/ And I really hope you don’t mind, I can’t fight it,” she croons “No, you know I cannot hide it ’cause I am so excited/ That I finally decided on you.”The music video shows her love interest pursuing Aiko for four months, spicing up the routine with trips to the park, and thought-out run-ins on the highway to cope with her mental limitations. Each day, he introduces himself to her at a restaurant where she sits, draws and nibbles on waffles. As they document their relationship over the course of 100-plus days, she still struggles to remember who he is, even when they wake up in the same bed.Watch the video below: