The generation that changed what music sounds like a decade ago


The generation that changed how music sounds today a decade ago

These days New York rapper A $ AP Rocky celebrates that LIVE.LOVE.A $ AP turns a decade. Its launch provoked movements on the scene and put his collective A $ AP Mob on everyone’s lips. To commemorate that on October 31, 2011, he published said mixtape in free download format, it finally reaches the services of streaming. Singles Weight and Purple swag they had warmed up the atmosphere and the “handsome skinny”, as he defined himself, did not disappoint.

His proposal evoked the rough hip-hop of the East Coast, with nods to drug trafficking, hallucinogens and street violence. But it also revealed originalities such as his concern for fashion: just like it happened here later with PXXR GVNG, It became common to see his group in the parades, as an audience and sometimes even as protagonists.

Another refreshing detail was the narcotic bases, in slow motion. Up to five rhythms were signed by producer Clams Casino, who had dazzled with the mixtape Instrumentals and the disk Rainforest, for Tri Angle Records, a label that in 2011 also released the magnificent Wander / Wonder of Balam Acab.

The definition of mixtape It has been changing according to the time. They started out as mixes recorded by hip-hop DJs that reflected the underground local and became the best way to take the pulse of the scene underground. There are those who came to earn a lot of money with its distribution on cassettes or CD-R; so much so that the RIAA (the US SGAE) made stop Drama, DJ who built an empire around them.

But the internet breathed new life to this alternate distribution. Platforms like Datpiff offered free “mixes” of emerging artists, with increasingly professional quality. Some of the most respected rappers today, such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole, forged their legend there. After several mixtapes Successful the three published in 2011 the discs that would take them to fame.

J. Cole made his long debut with Cole World: The Sideline Story, on the Roc Nation label and with collaborations from Jay-Z, Missy Eliott or Drake. His case is a little different and he himself sees himself as a middle child between two generations. Some consider that North Carolina has the best flow current, but chasing big sonic changes has never been his struggle.

Another celebrated debut was that of Kendrick Lamar on the TDE record label. Not remembered Section.80 among the best of his career but it is difficult to face a legacy that includes a disk “archived” at Harvard (To Pimp a Butterfly) and other winner of a pulitzer (DAMN.). Even so, that Compton’s was able to open with the quartet formed by F * ck Your Ethnicity, Hol ‘Up, ADHD and No Make-Up (Her Vice) He left no doubts: he was a unique talent.

The revolution was developing in parallel. The House of Balloons mixtape The Weeknd put Toronto on the map with the misty sound of hangover ballads and surprisingly explicit for the R&B format. Published in March 2011, it contained classics from his repertoire such as High for This, The Morning or The Knowing. Abel Tesfaye’s pace was heart-stopping, with three mixtapes almost consecutive, reunited the following year in Trilogy.

The Take Care who published Drake that year was not his first album, but it was the one that enshrined him. Its success seemed justified by songs like the namesake Take Care, second collaboration with Rihanna; Crew Love, with his neighbor The Weeknd; or the interlude Buried alive by Kendrick Lamar. Others like Marvins Room, Under ground kings or Lord knows they certified it as one of their best works. The Canadian had a good nose: on the subsequent tour his opening acts were Kendrick and Rocky.

Another of the great albums of the year was released on the other side of the pond. Briton James Blake surprised locals and strangers after his flirtations with the scene dubstep and some early dance-oriented singles. Their self-titled debut seduced by deconstructing jazz ballads with skeletal electronic rhythms, elusive lyrics, and ghastly vocal effects. Unluck, The Wilhelm Scream or Limit to Your Love they could be in your top 10.

Kendrick and his Black Hippies, J. Cole for Dreamville Records, Drake with OVO Sound and The Weeknd on XO. Everyone surrounded themselves with artists and industry professionals to make themselves stronger. If other generations had done it before with fanzines, singles and cassettes, they used blogs, MP3 and mixtapes. The do it yourself or “do it yourself” resurfaced again, with new tools but the same spirit.

Here Odd Future stands out, Angelina’s antithesis of the A $ AP Mob. The collective was in charge of producing, recording, filming videos and designing merchandising. And the ringleader, Tyler, The Creator, appeared as one of the most complex personalities of the decade. His 2011 debut, Goblin, proposed minimalist and harsh rhythms, violent phrasing and dodgy lyrics. He already warned him between Yonkers and Radicals: “This is all fiction, don’t blame me, America Blanca.”

In that same group, although always in his own way, was Frank Ocean. its mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra hinted at a huge and unclassifiable talent, with examples in the gigantic Novacane or pop pearls like Lovecrimes or Swimgood. And he started the myth: he never appeared on media platforms. streaming by refusing in his day to fight against multinationals and to pay for their samples of groups like Coldplay, Radiohead or Eagles.

This disruptive generation did not succeed immediately. A review of the music press of the time shows that his objective focused on other scenes, with albums such as twenty-one from Adele, Let england shake by PJ Harvey or Bon Iver’s second namesake topping the charts. Only the Watch the Throne Kanye West and Jay-Z seemed to garner global attention within urban genres.

James Blake’s debut was liked here: for Rockdelux it was the second best album of 2011. In the French Les Inrocks the first to appear was Tyler, in tenth place. At Rolling Stone, you would have to go down to position 22 to find Drake. Pitchfork did bring everyone together, but only two made the Top 10: Drake and The Weeknd. Lack of smell in the reference musical media? If we take into account that Frank Ocean is for Insider artist of the decade and his Blonde the best album the same for Pitchfork, probably.

The others have also triumphed. Drake is the artist most listened on the planet and The Weeknd has not lagged behind since it opted for more affordable productions. A $ AP Rocky is a music, fashion and tabloid icon. Kendrick has been elevated to the rank of living myth of hip-hop and J. Cole is the favorite rapper of your favorite rapper. Tyler, The Creator has become a total creator and James Blake is the musician indie most desired by the urban scene, with stellar collaborations with Beyoncé, Rosalía or Travis Scott.

Each generation maintains an emotional relationship with those artists it grew up with. For many the best LPs in history were recorded in 1969. For others, 1988 scores high. Some say that between ’93 and ’95 there is an incomparable proliferation of unique records. Sentimental opinions aside, there are few exercises comparable to 2011 in terms of the simultaneous emergence of figures of such projection. Until Childish gambino debuted that year, even with an irregular Camp.

It is mandatory to question the non-presence of women on this list. In 2011, white rappers such as Kreayshawn and K. Flay achieved notoriety, but of that generation only the always fit Iggy Azalea, who debuted that year with Ignorant Art, mixtape catapulted by the success of Pu $$ and. Azealia Banks also caused a stir thanks to her hit 212, but numerous controversies and a lack of consistency kept her out of the spotlight.

The only comparable female artist in legacy could be Nicki Minaj. At the end of 2010 he published his first official album, Pink friday, which did not suppose a notable break at the sound level, but at the representation level. Without this success and her status as “tougher than tough” the subsequent appearance of MCs as Megan Thee Stallion, cupcaKe, Young MA or her arch nemesis Cardi B. would not be understood. Thanks to her and previous predecessors such as Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott or Kelis the scene tends, little by little and much slower than it should, towards a well-deserved balance.

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