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Volume 72, Issue 47, Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Life & Arts


Life & Arts contributors Eli Jabbe and Dante Eglin discuss pertinent issues in the world of hip-hop culture it too soon for ‘more fish'?

Eli Jabbe: Plans for Ghostface Killah to release More Fish, the aptly titled follow-up album to his release earlier this year, Fishscale, were rec ently announced. What do you think of the quick turnaround? Will it be similar to Nas' failure with releasing Nastradamus and I Am… so close together? Is it a no-win situation similar to releasing a double-disc album?

Dante Eglin: You make these moves if you're signed to KOCH Records or if you're a mid-level exception along the lines of Mike Jones (Who?). The Achilles' heel of most albums released has been the lack of quality non-radio singles. It's very unlikely to be able to put out 13-15 worthy songs on an album, then backdoor and do the same eight months later. 

Jabbe: The songs that don't make the initial cut for the album should be relegated to the mix tape scene. Before Fishscale, Tony Starks hooked up with DJ Green Lantern to release the pre-album mix tape, The Broiled Salmon. Ghost should consider another mix tape rather than rushing another album, or he'll have to take notes from Nasir on rebounding from his mistake.

Eglin: Double-album LP's are a rare breed in terms of quality material. 2Pac's All Eyez on Me and Wu-Tang: Forever are probably the only two rap albums that have delivered consistently on a double album. Various efforts to release a double-disc have prevented top-quality releases from achieving upper-echelon status, most notable Jay-Z's The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse and Nas' Street's Disciple. Had they been compressed down to a 15-17 track single-disc, they would have arguably been consensus classics. Nelly's Sweat/Suit — no comment at all.

Jabbe: Speaking of the Wu, Raekwon is coming out soon with Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II, the sequel to his 1995 classic album. Do you think the fans will support his album, or will he get the Method Man treatment?

Eglin: I highly doubt that anyone other than hardcore Wu fans will check for The Chef's new album. Unless you have a single with a nursery rhyme hook or significant name recognition you will not have success anymore in the bootlegging era.

Jabbe: I agree. With the bootlegging, it's safe to say that going platinum, even gold status, is a huge accomplishment these days. It's amazing looking back on the past, such as the stable of platinum albums Bad Boy put out in the late ‘90s. No one is likely to ever reclaim such glory again. The era of gritty, descriptive albums such as Illmatic or Reasonable Doubt appears to be six feet under. 

Eglin: Let's look at it from the perspective of a fan. You can either get the album two weeks early for free-ninety-nine on the Internet, or wait until release day, pay $14.99, and enjoy maybe four songs on the album. There's no other incentive, other than moral standards, to buy CDs anymore. 

Industry executives need to counteract this by releasing bundles, such as bonus DVDs, limited posters, music video discs or other goods to entice buyers. 

Additionally, rappers seem to think that the genre is all board games, along the likes of Clue, Monopoly or Twister. The typical album devotes various 16's to the requisite .40 cal, Nina Ross, or handgun of choice, redundancies about money stacks, or parking lot pimpin'. Artists need to step-up their lyrical games, plain and simple.

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