As I write this, there is an auspicious clock counting down to Drake and Future’s new mixtape What a Time to Be Alive.
One thing is for certain, though; if you are into rap and R&B, 2015 has been an unbelievable year, filled with an unprecedented string of amazing records. This year alone Future and Drake have dropped 4 (!) high quality full-length projects between them. That’s in addition to two dozen or so features. This is an astonishing amount of music, and you’d expect diminished returns at some point but we haven’t seen that yet. In fact, this phenomenon isn’t limited to Drake and Future. Many of hip hop’s greatest talents are so prolific right now it’s difficult to keep up.
Consider Young Thug who has given us two very good full-length projects (with two more presumably finished and ready to go). Samezies for Rich Homie Quan. Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper, Vince Staples, Miguel, Nao, Kehlani, and Dr. Dre have all given us incredible albums, too.
This isn’t exactly something to complain about. But it’s fostered a lot of bullshit expectations. A quick look around the internet at music blogs and anyone can see that all this amazing music has created something of a feeding frenzy among music consumers. Simply put, there is an insatiable demand for more right now. It’s gotten to the point where I think someone needs to say something. And what needs to be said is this: When you consider how much great music we’ve gotten this year already, do we really deserve more?
Haven’t we got enough?
Consider this shit-headed article by Pitchfork’s Jason Greene where he openly muses about Kanye West’s upcoming album (you know the one, the one no one’s ever heard). He says it’s going to suck, probably. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve pointed out that Kanye can be a douchebag sometimes, but even I have the decency to wait until he puts his album out before I trash it.
On what grounds does Mr. Green have for predicting Kanye’s “brick”? It certainly doesn’t seem to be that he hasn’t enjoyed Kanye’s work in the past. Apparently it’s just been too long in between albums for his liking. Two full years for crying out loud! And Kanye doesn’t seem focused enough for him. “For the first time, there seems to be no animating idea behind his next project, no mission statement,” says Greene. “He seems in general more focused on the parts of his life—being a father, developing clothes, making motivational speeches—that don’t involve the arduous process of album-making. Tellingly, the material he has released isn’t quality-controlled up to his usual standards.”
Except that narrative is total bullshit. No. Kanye hasn’t released Swish, but he has given the world an album’s worth of music this calendar year. And I’d disagree that it’s uninspired. In fact nearly all of it is pure fire.
Our temper tantrums don’t end with Kanye. There’s also Frank Ocean, who has inexplicably caused the internet to implode on account of the fact that his record has been somewhat delayed. People seem to be crushed because he said, “#Album3” in a twitter post 6 months ago and the album didn’t arrive when people wanted it to.
Here’s the thing. No one ever promised a Frank Ocean album in July. There was never an official release date. Why on earth did we expect something to happen that was never promised to happen? Besides, is there any doubt that his next album will be anything less than awesome? No. There is not. It takes time to craft a fucking masterpiece. Let’s give it time. Take a breathe people. His album is coming. I promise. And it will be incredible, not that any of us deserve it.
Which brings me back to Drake and Future and the hilarious trolling that’s going on right now revolving a certain “suspected” Drake and Future mixtape. I find the whole enterprise exceedingly satisfying. I love watching the internet squirm like the wretches we all are.
Don’t get me wrong, I want a Drake and Future mixtape as much as anyone. And it’s looking more and more like What a Time to Be Alive might actually happen, which is absolutely wonderful. But here’s the thing. If it never comes, that’s okay, too. I mean c’mon, Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, Migos and Gangsta Boo all released quality mixtapes in the past 48 hours. Not to mention T.I. and Jay Rock dropped some pretty great stuff just last week. Let’s at least try to wrap our heads around those albums before we lose our minds over a mixtape that might not even exist. Cool?