Things that Didn’t Suck 9-16 to 9-22

1. Borderlands 2
Really, it does actually contain 96.5% more wub wub. And also everything else you could ever want a video game to contain. It’s a bunch of times better than the first one, which was already pretty awesome, it seems to have been put together with all of the right things in mind, and it’s funnier than most films. Only over a longer period of time. We don’t generally deal in video game reviews over here at Ohio Needs a Train, but if we did, this would have gotten one slobbery, back-of-the-throat celebfellation, at least from me. Buy a copy. Then buy another copy for your friends, because if you’re playing it alone, you’re missing some of the good parts. But even if you’re a sad, lonely cockroach who doesn’t have any friends, pick it up and shoot stuff. You’ll be glad you did. Actually, it was really hard to not make this the five coolest things that are Borderlands this week, but I’ve been so sporadic about these posts as it is, that I thought I’d branch the fuck out.

2. The Clash of the Titans that ends in a cookbook
Because, really, what makes you want to buy food more than “the guy from Smash Mouth eats this?” On the plus side, if I ever need a recipe that will help me come to terms with having to deal with the miserable fact of the shattered remains of a career based on being as inoffensive and willing to sell my good-natured manufactured nonsense to literally every bidder, I know exactly the book I’m going to buy. Thanks Smash Mouth and Guy Fieri! Also, I hope each of Sammy Haggar’s recipes consists of nothing more than Cabo Wabo tequila, in varying increments.

3. R. Stevens eats a bunch of bacon
I don’t know what it is about this video that made me incapable of not watching all thirteen (!) minutes of it in a sitting. It’s just a bunch of webcomics dudes, one of whom is eating entirely too much bacon as a result of a kickstarter thing. Now, I’m as sick of bacon being the punchline to every joke as the rest of you, and I suppose what makes this so satisfying is that it’s a literally, visual interpretation of the amount of bacon internet folk talk about on a regular basis.

4. The Moby Dick Big Read
Having a bunch of people read a really long book one chapter at a time is a pretty cool idea. I wonder if whoever it is that has to read the cetacity chapters ends up crying in his or her soup? Because no one is going to listen to that part. Because nobody likes that part. No, not even you. I can tell that you’re lying.

5. The Other Day’s XKCD
I realize that between this and the bacon thing, I’m sort of verging on one of those “the same thing everyone else on the internet is making me sick of hearing about” people, but it really is pretty special. You can find zoomable maps and stuff that make it easier to see what you’re doing, but really, the discovery is the really exciting part, so I implore you to go click through it on your own. Just, y’know, do it on something with a touch screen if you can – otherwise your arm is in danger of falling off.

The BET Hip Hop Awards pt. 2

Sorry for the delay, kids! Now time for the long-awaited part 2.

Track of the Year
What the…this is, like, the one time they didn’t nominated “Mercy,” WHICH SHOULD ACTUALLY BE NOMINATED. That’s fine. Actually, it’s not fine, it’s completely not understandable. It’s pure madness! Every song that has been nominated for the damn awards show is the third or fourth best song from the records they appear on. I swear, these people. Oh, except “Ca$hin’ Out.” “Ca&hin’ Out” is sheer bloody nonsense and he must be someone’s son or something.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I guess it’s “Neighbas in Paris” because this shit cray.

CD of the Year
I think it’s cute that they call it “CD of the year.” Really, I do. I get that during the cassette and CD eras, it was tough to figure out what to call an album, since people associated “album” with actual vinyl records. But really, it never meant that etymologically3. Anyway, the point is: the fuck? I guess it’s to keep them separate from mixtapes, which do have an etymological root tied to an actual format. I guess. Still and all, Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition is ok, but has a really stupid title. It’s not as stupid a title as Cole World: The Sideline Story, which, as a J. Cole album, is not a winner. Ever. The Dreamer, The Believer is a pretty left-field choice, and it’s certainly not a bad album at all, but it’s not better than Take Care or Watch the Throne.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Honestly? Out of these? I think it’s Take Care. That shit was so good. Although it’d be alright if it was Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition, just so people have to read that title over and over again.

DJ of the YearBoy oh boy can I not bother to be interested in any of this nonsense. 

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: DJ Khaled, because at least he’s the loudest.

Rookie of the Year
2Chainz is, like, eighty years old and was Tity Boi for over a damn decade, and here comes BET with “oh he’s a rookie.” That’s not funny. Ca^h Out is still a preposterous bit of nonsense, and I won’t have that sort of thing in my winner’s circle. A$AP Rocky has his problems, although I’m not as hard on him as others have been. My only real problem is that only about half of his songs are any damn good. Meek Mill shows promise, and, like everyone else with ears “So Sophisticated” is clearly absolute tits, but I think The Future takes it this year.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Future

Made You Look Award (best Hip-Hop Style)
a.k.a. how can we give Kanye more awards? Well, guess what HE DOESN’T HAVE THE BEST HIP-HOP STYLE. I’ll give him a couple of minutes to stop crying after that bombshell. I’ve similarly never given much thought to how Big Sean is dressed, and A$AP Rocky does basically the same thing as any other rapper4. While it’s true that Nicki is still rocking that pink wig, thick ass, give ‘em whiplash as well as thinking big gettin’ cash and makin’ em think fast5, that song came out two fucking years ago. She doesn’t win for this year. She’s doing the same thing. Only one motherfucker names himself after his style.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: YOU KNOW WHY THEY CALL HIM 2 CHAINZ? BECAUSE HE’S GOT 2 CHAINZ.

Best Club Banger
Huh. Well. That’s a thing, then. Fine. It’s still not “The Motto.” It will never be “The Motto.” It’s not “Neighbors in Paris” either, although that’s a fine choice. I feel like that song is really not the song that people remember it being. Do me a favor – go play it right now. Is it as good as you think of it as being? I bet the answer is no. I bet five dollars. Anyway. It’s not “Ca#hin’ Out”, but you already knew that. Which leaves us in a real Sophie’s Choice of a predicament. Because I don’t want to declare if “Mercy” or “Same Damn Time” is the better track.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Man, I really do think it’s “Mercy.” That song is incredible.

Best Mixtape
Hi dimoko! What it do? A$AP Rocky is still inconsistent. With that aside, this is actually one of the most consistent categories going. Meek Mill still put together a hell of a showing, Taylor Allderdice was even pretty good (obviously the world of corporate record labels is the wrong one for Wiz Khalifa). 1999 was pretty great, and even surprisingly so, but there’s only one Rozay.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Rick Ross, Rich Forever

Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse
So I get the last three words, and that they’re the important ones to the name of the category. But there’s also those first two. Sweet…..16. Sweet 16. Sweet 16. I can’t….you….alright. I’m easy to please. I just ask that, for the most part, shit kind of makes sense. That’s not happening right now, and I can’t deal with it.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: 2 Chainz, “Mercy”

Hustler of the Year
I don’t know what this one means, either. I think they’re just adding categories so they can keep giving Kanye West awards. But he’s not going to win this one! Because whatever earns you “hustler of the year,” I bet it doesn’t hurt to be a bowse.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Rick Ross

Impact Track
It will never be ok to have this fucking category at any awards show ever. It is especially not ok to nominate crazy-ass Lupe Fiasco in it twice. Kick, then push, then fuck off and die, chums.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Anyone who doesn’t fuck with this shit.

People’s Champ Award
It’s hard to predict how people will vote, and generally masses of people are easily swayed by shiny things. Luckily, two of these songs feature a man so shiny, he has shiny stuff in his name. “No Lie” is a pretty good song, but seriously, it’s “Mercy”.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Pusha T, “Mercy”

3 or, for that matter, entomologically, which really bugs me.
4 this isn’t one of “those” pieces, but really: the real problem with A$AP Rocky is that while he’s perfectly good at the stuff he does, there’s nothing really…distinctive about it. Like, it’s just regular stuff that he does pretty well. Anyway.
5 LOOK AT WHAT YOU JUST SAW, THIS IS WHAT YOU LIVE FOR, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

The B.E.T. Hip-Hop Awards pt. 1

Guys! Another awards show is coming! This time it’s the BET Hip-Hop awards, and guys: Kanye is nominated in every single fuckdamned category. Except the one that logic would dictate that it is actually impossible that he be nominated in.

NEVERTHELESS, we here at ONAT don’t like to leave any stones unturned, so what follows is your absolute and flaw-free guide to the way these awards should fall. I probably won’t watch them (as my track record for watching awards shows that I’ve written about so far stands at 0 for 1), so let me know how it turns out!

Don’t actually let me know how it turns out. They either got it right or wrong, and we don’t need to put them through that embarrassment.

Best Hip-Hop Video
I guess it officially speaks to either a dearth of hip-hop videos, or a dearth of hip-hop videos that BET has an interest in that there’s so much overlap. That said: A$AP Rocky is probably never going to really happen, despite being not as bad as people tend to say that he is. Maybe he can get it out of sympathy. “No Lie” and “Mercy” don’t really have a lot to recommend them as videos – but they are probably the two best songs on this list. The video for “Lotus Flower Bomb” is pretty good, but unfortunately loses, because there’s only one video on this list that features Drake simultaneously pretending to be Lil Wayne and a scary tiger.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Scary Lil Tiger Drake – “HYFR”

Reese’s Perfect Combo Award
My first thought was “why don’t more awards shows outsource their awards”? And then I remembered that they generally do, and that at least this makes somewhat more sense than many others – after all, the fine people at Reese’s sure do know how to make a delicious combo1. Anyway, I think that this refers to the song, not the video itself, so “No Lie” and “Mercy,” which were pushed out of the last category by dint of their unexciting videos, are now the two to beat in this category (sorry J. Cole! I guess nobody is perfect!). “No Lie” is alright, but 2Chainz is pretty unilaterally better as a guest-verse guy than a main attraction.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kanye West, 2Chainz, Big Sean and Pusha T – “Mercy”

Best Live Performer
I don’t go to shows that are as big as the ones in this category, so I’ve never actually seen people live, therefore this category will be judged on what I have seen, which is things on television. Which, in turn, eliminates J. Cole altogether, because I’m pretty sure I actively change the channel when J. Cole is on my television. I don’t remember anything interesting about A$AP Rocky, and I don’t think The Throne gets to count. So it’s down to Drake and Kanye, and I think the only way Drake takes this is if he does the tiger thing live, which I’m sure he doesn’t.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kanye West

Lyricist of the Year
Alright, so I know that I’ve got a winner all picked out here, but what the hell is the period of time being described by “year,” here? Because Watch the Throne came out eleven months apart, which means that, unless “year” starts in “August,” I have no idea what they’re talking about. Maybe they mean “fiscal year”? That would be appropriate, given the amount of corporate rap they’re on about, and the amount of sponsoring. Anyway, I’m trying not to let the fact that J. Cole was somehow nominated for this category cause me to punch everyone. So if you don’t get punched, know that it worked.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Nas, who really is the Lyricist of the Ever, but that’s neither here nor there.

Video Director of the Year
This category required more research than, I think, any other awards show category I’ve written about thus far. Anyway, the dude that directed the “Beez in the Trap” video is up for this one. It’s him.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Benny Boom

Producer of the Year
Here’s where you all learn about foreshadowing: IF I KNEW WHAT THE INTERVAL OF TIME DESCRIBED BY THE WORD “YEAR” WAS ACTUALLY MEANT TO BE, I WOULD BE ABLE TO JUDGE THIS CATEGORY PROPERLY. So I guess I can’t, which means I have to give it to No I.D., whose name isn’t adjacent to J. Cole’s on the list, and who isn’t Kanye West who, leaving aside the not-released G.O.O.D. Music compilation, which isn’t eligible for nomination2.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: No I.D., because of the magic of alphabetical order leaving Hit Boy and The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League ineligible.

MVP of the Year
I get that people really liked Watch the Throne. Really, I do. But seriously – we’re nominating Jay-Z in two categories for it (it’s the only record he’s made in awhile, it has to be for WTT), not to mention Hit Boy (because as much as we all love J. Biebs, we all know that it’s because of “Neighbors in Paris”) in producer. And I love Jay-Z, really I do, but seriously. And it’s not J. Cole. It’s never J. Cole. The period covered by this awards show clearly covers the release of Rich Forever, so Rozay is in a better position than he would be if it hadn’t stretched back far enough, but as much as I want it to be, it’s not him either. Calling 2 Chainz the hip-hop MVP of the year is like giving Brad Dourif an emmy – it sort of defeats the purpose.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I mean, like it or not, Kanye West is pretty much the man whose hand is on hip hop’s throat, and it’s pretty much gotta be him.

1 note: I mean “combo” as in “short of combination” not as in “the salty cracker pretzel things”, who, come to think of it, never could make their peanut butter flavors happen. Anyway, those guys are owned by Mars, and since they’re in direct competition with Hershey, they must be super-pissed to have lost out on the all-important “BET Award Category” product placement opportunity.
2 (but expect to see it next year or in eight years or whenever because WHO CARES HOW YEARS WORK? NOT B.E.T., THAT’S WHO)

Careering, pt. 2

So if the mixtape used to be a promotional function of the unheard rapper on his way to being a more-heard rapper with some kind of label backing7, and that’s exactly how The Weeknd and Death Grips are using it, what’s the surprise?

The surprise is that, for an artist, that way of conducting your career hasn’t died as definitively as the business model that it supported. When Ludacris sold his mixtapes out of the back of his career on his way to founding Disturbing Tha Peace and discovering Tity Boi, who would later be 2 Chainz and would be a person much better-suited to mixtapes than albums, in a nifty feat of recursion, it was clearly a step along a road. And, at the time he was doing it, that was the system that was there to support him. But when he was selling his mixtapes out of the back of his car, that was because he was reaching the audience he could which, in this case, meant actually, physically reaching them. Like, with his arms.

It was, in short, always about using the resources available to you to make something out of what you’ve created. And signing with a label was a way to maximize that. But, again, it’s 2012: record labels are no longer able to motivate consumers in the same way they once were, in most cases – in the most general cases, the people who buy physical releases are the old and the young, which means that genres whose demographic appeal skews that way (pop music, country music) are the ones that labels can still manipulate with any degree of success8.
I guess for this paragraph and the following I do have to say: I don’t think salesmanship is necessarily the enemy of music, and that’s all labels are really doing when I say “manipulating.” This paragraph is also a gross understimation – fun., the aforementioned Mumford & Sons, Flobots, and probably a dozen other bands I can’t think of right now all have released records that have been sprung on the people by labels, to varying degrees of success. But the point is more about the audience itself.

The traditional model, the one that Death Grips appears to be following, is that you use your mixtapes to get the attention of the label whom you use to monetize your music. Here’s the problem: what’s the label going to do for them? They already found an audience, a press outlet and the means to network with plenty of people to sustatin their existence as a band in some form or another. If they wanted to monetize, they could’ve tried, oh I don’t know, charging money for their records.

And this is why the question: how is dealing with an intercessionary corporation – one who is invested in you only in the literal, financial sense – an idea that’s going to work after one has already found the audience and the community for your music? Labels can’t find audiences for bands – especially not weird, jittery hip-hop bands and arty R&B depressives9.

The answer, it turns out (and I didn’t know I’d have it with me, actually), would appear to mark a shift in the way a label can be thought of – throughout the history of a record-label system, the idea was that the label was the commerical base of operations for the act for their existence – they broke the act, they sustained the act, etc. Since they can no longer break an act, it would seem that their biggest asset to an artist is in sustenance, which is why art-minded bands would find it an idea worth pursuing, assuming (and it’s a pretty big assumption) that they’ve noticed the same things I have.

Radiohead remain sort of the de facto constitutional monarchs of rock music this way largely because of their label’s willingness to indulge their release-schedule shenanigans10, and in fact convert said shenanigans into attention-grabbing tactics. Most of the hip-hop label world is essentially turning a blind eye to datpiff et al in order to encourage people to hear the artists – an idea that seems to be creating huge problems for the non-hip hop related areas of the industry.

But perhaps the most useful case for the remaining power of a label comes from an unorthodox place – Chris Brown. His records are….fine. They’re nonspectacular, and the non-wackjobs among his fanbase that I’ve had any dealings with are generally, like most pop music fans, judging his work on the singles, and even then on about every other one or so11. And the thing is: they’ve always been kind of not-great (much like Rihanna’s, actually – another artist kept aloft by a major in the current milieu, although in her case it’s a lot less difficult, given a generous release schedule, her willingness to not wear a lot of clothes, and her, y’know, not being a totally reprehensible human being), even before The Incident.

Since The Incident, however, his songs have not improved, but the subject matter therein has basically transplanted itself nearly-entirely to The Incident, and how unfair it is that people remember it and expect him to feel anything resembling human remorse. And yet….here he is. Having songs on the radio, dancing around at awards shows, getting the most ill-advised tattoos in modern history, and continuing to famous enough that people are going to let him whine about it in public.

Now, I’m not saying Death Grips or The Weeknd are out to beat anybody up, let alone do so and then turn the focus of their career over to said beatings, but it seems to me that literally the only advantage at this point to dealing with a major label is taking advantage of their permanently in-place promotional and publicity connections to construct some sort of longevity – which is interesting both theoretically (as the last fifteen years or so have been specifcially marked by a lack of long-term label support on the part of the majors) and practically (it’s an out-of-left-field move no matter the result).

And, of course, it all presupposes that I know what I’m talking about here, which is a bit of a longshot, as I’ve never talked to any of these people.

That shit about Jay-Z is true though, guys.

7 I mean, not for everyone. There have always been independently-minded rappers, and sometimes they make mixtapes*. The raining king of independent hip-hop, the mixtape, and rap ahistoricism is easily Lil B, a man who’s released literally hundreds of songs in dozens of different modes, and only considers himself to have one actual “album,” the instrumental Choices and Flowers. It could be argued that the high-profile nature of I’m Gay means that it would also qualify, but I’m not here to delineate semantics, and I’m trying to drive toward a point. Someday. Eventually.
* also NB: few things annoy dimoko as much as independently-released collections of tracks by an artist without any kind of meta-affiliation being called “mixtapes,” as they are neither mixes nor tapes. Next time you bump into him on the street, hand him something – anything – and call it a mixtape.
8 albeit for the most part with huge holes where people that don’t buy physical releases would go.
9 or at least not misanthropic ones – Drake does alright because we all loved him in that wheelchair, Trey Songz lacks the sack to actually go the full distance with a similar lyrical outlook, and The-Dream is, ultimately, too upbeat about it all for him to count.
10 although it must be said – as easy as it was at the time to dismiss “The Radiohead Model” as a stupid marketing gimmick, if the existence and success of bandcamp proves nothing, it’s that they had exactly the right idea, but were scared of the idea of not being filthy rich anymore to the point where they couldn’t actually commit to it.
11 this is, again, the broadest of generalizations. I get that everyone’s a special snowflake, but really: “Run It,” “Say Goodbye,” the needlessly self-aggrandizing (but still kind of satisfying) “No Bullshit,” maybe “Look at Me Now,” maybe “Forever” and that about wraps it up for Chris Brown songs that anyone thinks are any good, right? I can’t think of another one.

Careering? Pt 1

So The Weeknd – probably the most exciting person to have started making music in 2011 – released three records in the span of ten months, then put together a band with the help of YouTube and toured, cementing a fanbase. And apparently, to cap all of that up, he’s apparently “partnering” with Universal Records to release a box set of his mixtapes with bonus tracks or whatever.

Death Grips – another super-exciting band that formed last year – also released a pretty incredible mixtape, and actually signed to a major label to release a couple of albums this year, one of which turned out to be pretty great.

I’m just old enough to have come to awareness of the world of popular music at the tail-end of the time when the “major”ness of a record label actually mattered – the last period of time when the youth market could actually be convinced, as a bloc, to go buy whatever record they managed to target properly. Spending a great deal of my late teens and early twenties in record stores and message boards and other places where it was expected that we would jabber about who was doing what and with whom, I have a bunch of opinions about how major-label deals should work1, but the real question at this point, is: why?

The most important part of any given record (at least, insofar as I’m interested in them) is the motivation for making it. The art/craft argument is pretty overbaked at this point, but I can’t think of two other words that represent those ideas so efficiently, so it’ll be where we start. They’re thought of as being two things on a continuum, but that ends up selling people short – The Stooges, for example, thought of themselves as an art project that only really had the skills to make the sounds they wound up making, whereas Pink Floyd thought of themselves as a rock band that happened to spend a lot of time on its presentation. The traditional line on those two bands is precisely the opposite.

Generally, and this is putting it in the simplest terms I can, if you’re any good at making music, you make the music for the art and you sell it with the craft (kind of) – which is to say, you write the songs for you, and you sell the songs for your audience. Obviously the platonic ideal is to wander outside your house (or, y’know, virtually do so) and find a rabid audience waiting to throw money at you in exchange for your product. A direct line. But that doesn’t happen to anyone, really2, so at that point it’s not about the things you can do that will help, but about the things you’re willing to do that won’t hurt.

Twenty years ago, that mattered – the only way to get into most stores, or onto the radio, or into any of the other venues of projection for popular music was to open up a deal with someone who had access already, and, in the vast majority of cases, meant an entity that not only had no artistic interest in you whatsoever, but whose financial interests were also best-served by giving the impression that there was no other option.

Now, of course, even the people that buy their records non-digitally tend to do so online, and anyone who’s made a record can get an amazon listing, or sell through cd baby, and digitally the world is any number of fully-grown oysters – noisetrade and bandcamp exist, amazon’s mp3 store and itunes are a little more resource-draining, but still don’t require you do anything but be willing to cede some of your money3.

Or you can give it away. The entire mixtape system is predicated on the idea that you give away stuff that you work on as a hobby, and that your albums are the serious work. Sometimes this works exactly as planned – see Lil Wayne’s Dedication series, which are a pretty nifty way to keep himself out there while we wait for his next inevitably-disappointing Tha Carter or whatever – and sometimes it doesn’t – I passed on 2 Chainz’s full-length, despite enjoying his last several mixtape appearances. But it’s important to remember how the term came to be.

In the paleolithic years of the pre-internet industry, a mixtape was a set of tracks that a rapper made themselves, often using pre-existing beats4. First tapes, then CDs, they were a way for a rapper to capitalize on playing shows – hip-hop is considerably more production-heavy than other live music, and is especially weird in the “self-directed monetization” realm for the people making the music often not being the people making the backing tracks, which made it hard to just slap together a demo, especially as the genre itself got older and rappers stopped being uniquely associated with DJs5. All of this is a crash-course by which to say: the mixtape has long been the means by which rappers without a label or an associated crew have put their product out there, and they still are.

However, technology being what it is, they’re no longer tapes, or even “mixes” in any of the historical sense. Nevertheless, the distinction exists between “stuff we put out informally” and “actual albums,” and they just use the name that was already in place, which means that, in 2011, when House of Balloons and Exmilitary – two fully-formed, fully-executed recordings by people with a great deal of talent and vision – were released, they were “mixtapes6”.

TOMORROW: the stirring conclusion, or: WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

1 they’re not going to wind up particularly important to this discussion, but they go like this: dealing with people whose interest in your work is purely financial means that you are allowing yourself to be in some way – however big or small – beholden to those people to hold up your end of the agreement. If you can manage to work around this in such a way as to continue to make compelling music, then it doesn’t matter, but more often it betrays the idea that the people involved in the endeavor are not actually in the endeavor, but in the business of it, which tends to make shitty records. And, essentially, if the amount that you care about your song is such that you’re willing to give that portion of it up, then it’s going to be that much harder to convince me that I should care about it any more than that. This is why, ultimately, Ke$ha is so much better than Mumford & Sons – the former is not pretending like she isn’t in the business of selling what she does, and she clearly doesn’t care about it except insofar as it fills the four minutes you came for, and, really, that’s all there is to it.
2 except probably Jay-Z. I bet it happens to him.
3 which, really, is still a huge improvement on the traditional label method, in which you weren’t really receiving all of the money you were receiving what with one thing and another – you’re receiving exactly as much money as you’re receiving.
4 which actually makes the Dedication mixtapes way more in line with the way Weezy’s mentor, Birdman, would’ve done it, which is another clever move for one of contemporary hip-hop’s least-ahistorical major figures.
5 the DJ-focuse mixtape still kind of exists, but is much rarer. Nevertheless, the two have pretty much parallel histories and evolutionary footprints.
6 There’s another aspect to this as well: House of Balloons centerpiece “The Party and the After-Party” relies pretty heavily on an expertly-wielded Beach House sample, and part of what made Exmilitary so initially intriguing was producer Zach Hill relying on his backtground as an art-rocker to build tracks around Pink Floyd and Black Flag – all of which are things that a “legitimate” release would mean you’d have to clear the samples for, because otherwise you’d be making money off of it, an aspect that isn’t much of an issue when you’re giving the material away for free. Lil Wayne’s Dedication series, as well, uses the mixtape form as a work-around to show what he can do with someone else’s track.