Despite COVID’s lengthy isolational practices, which subsequently curtailed live-performances of all kinds, Artists have found ways to continue producing music, i.e., via virtual reality [online concerts, E-gatherings], socially distanced alternatives
[live events], along with exclusively online through YouTube and related digital platforms. However, the digital realm’s significance has only intensified during lockdowns, engendering widespread readjusting of business and Music Industry practices which, prior to COVID, had been moderately ‘perfected.’ At the beginning of March, YouTube and TV streaming rose by 1.3% and 85% respectively, while alternative streaming platforms like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, lesser-known variants like ReverbNation and YungCloud, have been attractive to creators who are looking for non-Corporational methods of musical dissemination.
Given that Spotify, for example, pays Artists $0.006 to $0.0084 for a single stream, itself split, platforms like Bandcamp and its exclusive, every-Friday policy of waving its digital sales 15% cut (and 10% cut of physical sales), thus giving the creator their entire earrings once a week, are proving to be the destiny of ethical, musical e-commerce. Finances aside, musically speaking, Artists have not slowed down their creational practices, and as of March 2020, more than 30,000 tracks, using COVID-19 in the title or as a tag, were uploaded to Soundcloud, while 38 Rap and Hip-Hop albums were released in October alone, and another 13 are planned for the month of November.
Sourced from HipHopDX and HipHopSpirit, the following Rap and Hip-Hop albums chosen are some of the crème de la crème I think are worth acclimating yourself among the October releases. Within the 38 albums, 21 Savages partnered album ‘Savage Mode II,’ awarded with a positive 81/100, Kosha Dillz two-year, psycho-visceral album, ‘Nobody Cares Except You,’ summarized as the ‘authentic normalization in the pursuit of happiness,’ and Queen Naija’s neo-R&B, electro-lyrical Album, ‘Misunderstood,’ with its borderline-conventional, yet idiosyncratic take on dichotomous love, reflect a ubiquitous shift across the genre. The move away from Hip-Hop’s obsession with carnal desire, to a genre infused with its 80-90s roots, where existential tribulations, trauma, and suboptimal life conditions were musically reconstituted, exorcised, and if need be, challenged, is agonizingly slow, and is seemingly bereft of mainstream, Commercial support, brought about by its ostensibly minimal mass-market appeal.
Non-Erotic ‘Authenticity’ via lyricism is hard to come by, as stars like Nicki Minaj, Meghan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B, to name a few, project images that ONLY sex sells, and if not sex, then bodily advocacy, and if not that, then political inclinations. What this points to is a de-emphasization of the message, and more on the packaging, but Artists like Chika and her 2020 Album ‘Industry Games,’ and Joyner Lucas and his meditative Album, ‘EVOLUTION’ designed not for mainstream success but for himself are circumventing mainstream dogma, instead of making music about themselves, which others are then allowed to hear. Before concluding, a notable October release was Jay Electronica’s long-awaited, albeit leaked, canonical ‘Part 2’ album, ‘Act II: The Patents of Nobility (The Turn),’ an eclectic mixture of samplings and recordings from the late 2000s, interspersed alongside originally composed tracks, though short in duration towards the end due to unexplained circumstances.
The albums mentioned are listed below for your listening pleasure! Also, stay up-to-date with Born Genius’s releases on our website, additionally on our various Social-Media platforms!
21 Savage & Metro Boomin: Savage Mode II
Kosha Dillz: Nobody Cares Except You
Queen Naija: Misunderstood
Chika: Industry Games
Joyner Lucas: EVOLUTION
Jay Electronica: Act II: The Patents of Nobility (The Turn)
Writer: John David Vandevert [Johndavidvandevert.com]