A couple years ago, I had a few conversations with my friends about how to assemble the best album, crew or label. Thinking about it now, the ideas seem pretty odd but the principles we came up with were reproduced by many and a small few were largely successfully using them. Maybe we were before our time in our thinking but it seems we were dead on for some. Maybe we should’ve be talent scouts.
For many years there was a format to Hip Hop albums; an intro, a song for the club or radio, a song for the streets, a song to show your softer side, a skit and a R&B collaboration or a song with your crew.
Many albums attempted this format as to emulate others and it proved a success for many. It became a way to appeal to a broad audience and it worked.
Crew or Label
Take two male solo rappers, one female rapper, an R&B group then add a duo or group and what do you get? Something that ends in -Family, -Crew or some other creative name. Diversity would surely be the way to ensure success for a record label. Collaborations on albums would be easy and every year there would be a group album. And let’s not forget that my crew doesn’t like yours so there will be our typical beef.
So is it successful? Not in the long term. All too often there is some problem among label mates and someone is kicked out within a year. This proves beneficial for the remaining members but spoils the formula.
Outside of Hip Hip
I took this examination a little further and looked outside of Hip Hop to see how other genres of music fare on this topic. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t exist. I couldn’t even tell what labels the artist belonged to because no other artists (Prince excluded) even mentioned their labels in their songs. There were no crews or allegiance to anyone unless they were a group or solo artist and nothing else. And depending on the age of the artist, there were no typical arrangements to their albums.
I can’t say I’ve ever heard of people looking for friends in this way or any other employers with these requirements. In our everyday lives we don’t form these types of relationships.
This is just one of those unique things that helps make Hip Hop one of the most influential art forms in the world. Though there is no exact formula to its success, there will always be imitators even within trying to reproduce the success of others. There attempts continue to fuel us with great music for years to come.