My version doesn’t have the names of the songs or the features.
Track 1: dope intro, great way to start the album
Track 2: heard this one before. Nothing else to really say.
Track 3: Dope hook, cool beat.
Track 4: Not feeling Ross.
Track 5: Dope production.
Track 6: Mary feature – definitely hot.
Track 7: I like this one.
Track 8: Not feeling this one as much.
Track 9: Just when the album was starting to fall off, it gets dope again!
My version is missing the last 4 tracks. But this album is CLASSIC!!!! Definitely Nas’ best ever! Surpassed Illmatic!
Okay, let’s get serious now. If you’re reading this expecting to see a Life is Good review 20 minutes after a shitty quality of the clean version of the album leaks, then A) you don’t know me at all and B) you’re part of the problem.
The internet boom and the explosion of social media has been great in so many ways. It’s given everyone access to everything in the world. It provides us a voice. No longer are we constricted to the opinions of major media outlets. We can hear the opinions of regular people, and not just those holed up in an off the Source Magazine, where you’re really never sure what’s real and what’s dictated by corporate advertising deals and politics.
However, there’s a huge downside. And that is – there’s absolutely no accountability. There’s no checkpoints. Anyone can write anything they want and it can quickly be taken as gospel. See, at least magazines and professional websites have editors. They are accountable for what their outlet writes or they can leave themselves exposed. The magazine relies on advertising and sales revenue to pay all it’s employees, so the credibility of the business is always at the forefront.
Blogs often don’t have employees. Many times, it’s just the opinion of a fan who is almost completely disconnected from the industry. There’s no formal writing training and more importantly, no ethics training. With bloggers, there’s a sense of urgency to “be first”. It’s akin to rappers releasing unfinished and subpar music in an effort to satisfy an appetite for quantity that they’re convinced exists. Few websites care enough about having good content, they just want a lot of quantity, and they want it first.
And, as readers, as hip-hop fans, we support it. We don’t do nearly enough to change this trend. Sure, we get on twitter and complain. But I guarantee my views for this review will be through the roof tonight. Truth is, we support this type of irresponsible journalism (I’ll use the word journalism very loosely). We visit and support the sites who throw up half-assed reviews and often ignore the well-written ones if they’re too “late”. Late, in hip-hop terms, is about two days after an album is released.
We have the ability to hold websites accountable, we just choose not to exercise it. Think about it – how many blogs do you visit that simply post the same shit as all the other sites? Many even steal/”borrow” their content from competing sites. Personally, I don’t need 75 websites posting the same songs. When I visit a site, I want actual personality. I want to know what the writer thinks about a song. I want to experience an opinion. I have a website where I get 98% of my new music. The only reason I visit a specific blog is to get hear somebody’s specific viewpoint. Sites like www.nerdatthecooltable.com are about personality. They’re original. They’re also, unfortunately, rare.
We can initiate this change by boycotting the sites who put up these horrible “album’s been out for an hour” reviews. These aren’t reviews – these are first impressions. I don’t want to see any “Nas – Life is Good Review” articles til at least the end of the weekend. Everything sounds different the first time it’s listened to as opposed to once the music sinks in. This is Nas. Give your first impressions on twitter. Write a real review once you’ve really examined the album. Explored the intricacies. I’m sick of the nonsense. It happens with every major hip-hop release.
Quality – not quantity. I don’t need three mixtapes of throwaway tracks from an artist. I want one project of good music. I don’t need a poorly written first impression. I’ll wait a couple of weeks and read an insightful review.
Journalists – let’s take pride in our work. Readers – let’s not let these writers insult us anymore.
And that’s my rant for the moment. Feel free to leave comments below.
You might enjoy my article Fandumb, which talks about the role that we, as fans, play in the music industry and what we can do to support the music we claim to love.
EDIT: a perfect example of this can be found at none other than Entertainment Weekly’s website. They posted a “review” and rating less than THIRTY MINUTES after the a low quality clean version leaked onto the internet. This usually happens with independent blogs, but for a major company, this is exceptionally disappointing: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20611066,00.html