You know, one of the beautiful functions of twitter is to be able to keep in touch with your favorite artists’ and updates on their most recent projects, videos, tour dates, etc. Its part of what drove so many people to twitter before it became one of the most popular and most used social media networks. So from time to time, if its been a while since I heard something new from one of my favorite artists, I simply check their twitter feed to see if there’s anything I may have missed out on recently. And often enough, I get blessed in finding a new single or album that I somehow missed because certain artists don’t get much press coverage, which is a shame.
To my surprise, I came to find out several of my favorite artists had released projects several weeks ago and some even months ago. Grynch, a Seattle-based artist who came up with Macklemore before he became a worldwide figure in popular culture, released his most recent album back in late April. I was immediately overcome with excitement, confusion, and melancholy as I listened to the pleasant framework of the project. These feelings soon turned into frustration with my annoyances of the music industry.
How could a good portion of the entire year go by without me becoming privy to a new release from an artist who I’ve been following since I first discovered his music on Myspace back in 2006? Then I started really trying to wrap my head around the fact that it had been over a month since Saigon’s most recently released GSNT3 had been released. Yet I found out and heard the album for the first time only days ago. The quality of these artists’ work is both noteworthy and consistent. Their music is what inspires my own, and I can’t help but get irritated when I think about how hard they’ve worked so hard only to be overlooked by the entire industry aside from their respected fan base.
The thing is, there’s artists that by some orchestration of the powers that be-behind the music build hype and a following in what seems like overnight. And there are artists who grind to the bone on their craft for years only to remain slightly further than they were when they first began making music. And I, regardless of how long I’ve been trying my hand at this as both an artist, writer, and overall enthusiast still have hard time finding the solution to this problem or even an answer as to why this is a frequent occurrence that continues to plague the industry in 2014.
By now you’ve probably heard of Logic & G-Eazy. By the same standards you’ve probably heard of or will hear of Jon Bellion & Quest considering they’re Logic’s label-mates. However, someone like myself has known of and followed these artists since 2009-2011, when Logic & G-Eazy had less than 60k & 40K fans on twitter. Their work ethic and continuous release of quality music their fans adore along with consistent press coverage and touring catapulted their rise to newcomer stardom in the last year and a half. Good for them. Its amusing to see artists on the come up finally get their recognition for all their hard work.
But for every one of these newcomer phenoms that build a large buzz in the industry there’s dozens if not hundreds or even thousands of artists you’ve never heard of. Question is, why have you never heard of them? Why does Nino Bless, who’s easily amongst the most talented lyricists in the rap game today, only have 9k twitter followers? Why is it, all you hear about on rap music blogs and hip-hop publications is Iggy Azeala, Lil Boosie & the usual suspects of the higher echelons of the artist totem pole? Why are The Cunninlynguists not recognized amongst the greatest Hip-Hop/Rap groups of all time after a catalogue of over half a dozen albums in 10 years? Why, indeed.
The thing is, every fan and pseudo music industry professional will give you a million excuses and reasons for this dilemma and honestly, they’re all bullshit in my honest opinion. Its a problem that defies the logic and understanding of the most admired and respected blogger in the business, and a problem that infuriates any fan whose continued their unwavering support for artists who continue to go on overlooked, underrated, and completely tossed aside.
Now I’ve always stood by my stance that it should be about the music and not the hype or the artists’ image appeal. The thing is, I write columns like this because, after all these years and all the losses the sales of the music business have suffered, its still about anything but the music. You can scroll through my twitter feed and see comedic vine compilations making fun of Young Thug, or memes using punchlines based around Migos; but you won’t hear fans talking about the groundbreaking, illuminating work of Nino Bless or even Lecrae, whose audience is damn near a million followers on Twitter.
Music publications and respected music blogs will recycle coverage of the same artists over and over again, week in, week out for website hits. That’s just how it is in the rat race of the entertainment world, but I’d like to remind you, that’s also a contributing part of this entire problem. Fans want to be in the conversation so they RT & share discussions about whatever nonsense and shenanigans getting traction in the music/entertainment world so they ignore and overlook the impressive new release from a newly discovered artist who just hasn’t quite found a way to garner the same exposure as a stupid stunt getting millions of hits on Worldstar. There’s just not enough room for music with a conscious objective or innovative approach in the world of the mundane and ridiculous.
As I said, I don’t have a solution to this problem as of yet, but I will say the first step in finding a solution is first recognize that there is a problem. And the problem is simple and stretches even beyond the realms of the music business; we keep making stupid people famous. Simple as that. Stop donating your attention to shit that is going to be forgotten overnight because honestly, there’s so much more information and entertainment out there that is of tremendous quality and substance. Because the more time you spend focusing on something that does nothing to benefit your conscious demeanor, the more time you’re taking away from something that does. So keep that in mind next time you’re looking for something to entertain you for an hour of idle time, because the lost and forgotten music we continue to ignore has more value and longevity than anything the hype of the week will ever have to offer.