Eric Ducker: How do you feel about the current state of the hip-hop album?
Eskay: I feel like it’s on life support, but I don’t see it kicking the bucket anytime soon.
ED: To me it seems like very few hip-hop artists (both MCs and producers) are thinking with an album mindset and everyone is just chasing the hit single. Maybe it would make more sense if rappers just continuously worked singles and sold them digitally. And if they created enough successful ones, then they could release them as a compilation album—a re-update of a real old model, the one labels worked under before Sgt. Pepper—and if people emerged as real stars, then they would put out albums that are put together as one cohesive piece.
E: Yeah, I think we’re at a point where no one model is going to work for every artist.
ED: What would you like to see happen?
E: I think that there are a bunch of artists that would be best served by that strategy, but I feel like there are still a number of people who can and will put out cohesive LPs. Nothing would make me happier than to see more artists embrace digital distribution as a means of getting away from the major label system.
ED: Why don’t they?
E: I think a lot of artists, particularly in the realm of hip-hop, feel like they need the majors, like they’ll never make it without them. Everybody sees themselves as the next Jay-Z or 50 Cent and they are unwilling to settle for anything less. In their own minds at least. I think artists and management people need to be able to step back and take a broad look at the landscape and adjust accordingly. We’ve seen scores of established artists release albums over the last two years or so that ended up being huge commercial disappointments. What makes these young cats think they’re going to come into the game, in this day and age, and sell a million records is beyond me. I say keep budgets low and be realistic.
ED: It’s just crazy to me what you have to do to even get an album out on a major label as a rap artist these days.
E: Yeah, I mean seriously. Continue reading