Making classic albums can make you. Be clear, I’m not talking about mixtapes, best of, or other random song compilations. When I say album, I mean a solid body of work where every song plays its position inside of the whole project. Here is a brief survey of some undisputed classic albums: Nas –Illmatic, Jay Z - Reasonable Doubt, Lauryn Hill – Miseducation, Eminem – The Slim Shady LP, Kanye West – College Dropout, The Game - The Documentary. These are classic albums AND most of these artists are still making music. Revisit their firsts and sense the hunger in their art.
Hunger is an internal conflict so deep that it propels one to next level creativity. Good art is best done when it depicts a narrative in a way that the consumer can appreciate. So when you combine hunger with art (let’s call it artistic hunger), the results are obvious. Those artists were the hungriest at the start of their careers because their lived story hadn't been told yet over record. Their hunger propelled them to create art in such a way that caused listeners to appreciate it. Plain and simple, classic artwork is a result of this artistic hunger; artwork that fills the room so thick that you can feel the pressure rise when you stand near it.
When you make your first album, you have your whole life behind you. This will be the first and only time you can release your never-before-heard story. Your first album will never come again, and should you ever make music again, it will come in the shadow of the first. In most cases, you've only dealt with moderate success at best. You are hungry. You've never eaten before and can only imagine what the success will taste like. It’s like losing your virginity, it’s like birthing your first-born, and it’s heaven-like because once it happens nothing will be the same. You have your whole life to make your first, so please take your time with it, but please hurry because you might not get to finish it.
Artwork naturally reflects the creator who crafted it. Real or fake, who the artist is and their content is a result of their personal character. This is why watered down lyrics have a shelf life shorter than the Frys food poultry section. This is why real life struggle narratives stay relevant, and the candy rap, molly popin’ garbage is quickly forgotten. For example, notice how self-aware the old Kanye was verses the current “Yeezus” complaining about... fill in the blank. When you’re hungry, you're glad to just rap through the wire and the realness resonates.
With so much to gain, and so little to lose I aiming at making a classic debut album and I have a huge advantage: 30 plus years to now analyze and narrate. Imagine a plastic bottle of Coke that was shaken up for years and never once released. The pressure builds; the bottle begins to look like it belongs on a launch pad in Houston. I'm about to twist off the cap and you can watch it lift off.
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