The year 2012 to me will be remembered as the turn of the revolution of Urban Music! The year started of with a domination of Drake and a small anticipation of Nicki Minaj. It also started as not having a clue what R&B would bring as, in my opinion, the best R&B album of 2011 came from Adele! As the year went on we saw 2 artist bring the best and most daring records of the year in both R&B and Hip Hop: Frank Ocean and Miguel in R&B, and Kendrick Lamar and Killer Mike in Hip Hop. So what does that mean for these genres going forward and what statement does that make? Good question. A few years ago while having lunch with a friend, I explained to him how we are in a stage of revolution…being destroyed and rebuilt as a music industry in business and sound. The days of ringtone songs and circus acts as selling points are about to be over, at that time. The industry was at an all time low as far as sales and creativity! The main factors, in my opinion were: lack of executive talent at labels, fear of going independent with the same results as signing with labels, and following trends thinking that’s the only way!
As time went on, it all started to show itself in those points. Labels imploded, we got the first #1 indie rap album in forever, and most importantly RADIO DIED (a whole other post I will get into later). So how does this play in 2012? Kendrick Lamar made an album of truth, stories and dope beats with top lyricism and introspection…ON A MAJOR! Frank Ocean, no matter your opinion on how he decided to come out before his album dropped, put out an album that was single less, themed, well written and creative. Miguel released an album that pushed the boundaries on how to express LOVE, which was missing in R&B (which doesn’t that sound redundant, R&B without LOVE). Nas released an album that told stories and played like a veteran’s diary on love lost in Heart and Music! In 2012, you’re starting to see a change in what’s succeeding and what’s considered to be a success.
Yeah, there was still crap released this year, but that has been every year that music has been made. I’m sure in the 70’s everything wasn’t Sly Stone, Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder quality, so stop acting like it. What Urban music means to me in 2012 is that we are back to when R&B was considered Black Music! When Hip-Hop was considered noise. I’m not mad at that, because now we can get it back to being creative from whom you really are instead of creating something to sell. Because in reality no matter how big the biggest artist in Urban music tries to make their records, they’re not selling like they used to. See: Alicia Keys, Rick Ross, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, and countless others that usually sell well just by name. I think since we’re in the rebuilding state of music right now, put out what you want, how you feel, what’s true to you. Because if it’s good it’ll sell the same as that manufactured stuff. Don’t believe me; look at the year end sales for Urban Music. Biggest selling album was from Nicki Minaj with 748k units sold, which came out with a lot of fanfare. Do you, and cater to your audience! Better yet, find out who your audience is, then build on that! All the greats did that, and that’s being done by the new greats now. Stop hating and start listening! Start finding out why instead of saying I don’t know why! Then again….this is what 2012 meant to me. Just my researched and proven opinion!