Nearly three years ago, President Obama gave a commencement speech to the graduating class of 2009 at Arizona State University. It is a longstanding tradition Presidents and government officials alike give these speeches in hopes of enlightening and inspiring graduates as they are thrust into the harsh realities of post college life. Speakers are usually awarded an honorary degree and they go on about their way; however officials at ASU felt that the President of the United States of America had not accomplished enough to deserve the honor and that in the words of a spokesman believed “his body of work was not complete.” Instead of going completely off, as I would have, President Obama spoke on the importance of always “adding to your body of work.” He flipped the script on them with one of his better speeches and to this day, the President’s words remind me of Jay-Z ad-libbing the words, “Keep Going” behind Freeway’s verse on “What we do.”
College students with ambition and a good work ethic may never see the ends of their body of work, and the same goes for Hip-Hop artists. We have become so polarized with wanting things to happen immediately that older adults refer to us as the microwave generation. It is not a far fetched assumption in the least bit, as we are accustomed and driven by the fast pace of today’s world; on the other hand, such a mindset for an up-and-coming artist is dangerous, convenient, but very dangerous.
Instead of putting out a well defined piece of work, with great production, concepts and sequencing, albums these days are merely a group of singles thrown together in hopes of landing a hit.
When my iPod dies and I have no CD’s I’m forced to listen to the radio and I hear nothing but the same songs played over and over again. Sure, there are many big named artists that take up the airwaves, (one would think Drake and Trey Songz were born in Indianapolis…) but there are still many smaller artists with singles that are bigger than them.
Kirko Bangz has one of the biggest singles in the country right now; his flow is infectious, the hook works perfectly and the Chopped and Screwed version is perfect on the ride home after a long day at work. It has to be a great ride for him as he’s blowing up all over, but I couldn’t tell you another one of his songs off the top of my head. No shade to him whatsoever, I just haven’t seen or heard anyone talk about Kirko Bangz without mentioning, ”Drank in my cup.”
From the outside looking in, it must be a great feeling to have a hit record, but spin after spin that song becomes old in the minds of listeners no matter how much they like it and after awhile that single is simply old news. After putting your all into this single, artists are left with simply that, a single. They no longer have the ability to add to their body of work because they have put all their eggs in one basket.
Having a single is necessary, there is no denying that, but you must have something else to keep the people interested in your work.
Once again, no shade to Kirko, he just exhibits one of the one hit wonder traits. Check the remix with 2 Chainz and Juelz Santana here: http://tinyurl.com/8xlcyfy
Radio stations will gladly give you spins every hour on the hour, but a full body of work (features, press kits, promotional staff and an ear to the streets) will be a necessity or you will end up just like the many one hit wonders that have came and went.