Jay-Z And Kanye West

Tomorrow, Jay-Z will release Magna Carta Holy Grail, which comes just three weeks after Kanye West’s Yeezus. Both new LPs are the first solo albums to be released by those artists since they worked together on Watch The Throne, one of 2011′s finest hip-hop records. In the two years since their massive collaboration, Kanye West and Jay-Z have ventured in entirely opposite directions. And the results — one commanding immense critical acclaim and the other continuing his commercial dominance — couldn’t be further apart. Given their common starting point, it’s interesting to note just how different things have become for the two illustrious rappers.

Let’s start with West, who perhaps more than ever before is creating music primarily for himself. On Yeezus, the Chicago-bred rapper has presented a visceral, raw, and minimalistic album that sheds his former us-against-them mentality. It’s uncharted territory for him as he stripped away the operatic embellishments or grandiose pretenses from his past albums. Simply put: The music suggests that West doesn’t care what anyone thinks anymore.

“You know, even a Kanye West has compromised,” West recently admitted in a rare interview with The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica about his past music, including 2010′s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “Sometimes you don’t even know when you’re being compromised till after the fact, and that’s what you regret.”

Instead, he drastically changed things up and now refuses to look back in the rear-view mirror. For evidence of that, look no further than Yeezus’s cover. There is no album artwork. Nor was there a strategic promotional plan. You couldn’t even pre-order the record. Why should he have hyped a song premiere on a website, much less with any media outlet, when he opted to project his own image onto dozens of buildings across the world for the sake of doing it? Moreover, he performed two previously unheard songs on Saturday Night Live with little-to-no warning, including the austere and brilliant “New Slaves,” a commanding not-for-TV diatribe that arguably stands among the most important performances of 2013.

He’s managed to cast aside nearly all aspersions in order to adopt a no-frills, no-holds-barred method to his madness. “This album is about giving … no fucks at all,” he half-joked last month at an exclusive listening party.

West built it all up in the final weeks leading up to the highly rumored release date. Given the fact that hardly anyone knew about the album’s status as the June 18 release approached, every single factoid that leaked sparked a debate across the Internet and beyond. It was that secrecy — and West’s relative apathy — that captivated fans and critics alike.

“Honestly at this point when I listen to radio, that ain’t where I wanna be no more,” West said in between songs during his Governor’s Ball performance. “Honestly at this point, I could give a fuck about selling a million records.”

Meanwhile, Jay-Z simply sold one million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail to Samsung, the Korean mega-corporation worth more than $200 billion, before the album even hit shelves. The surprise announcement — revealed in a behind-the-scenes commercial during the NBA Playoffs — was less gripping than West’s ever-heightening drama, but was arguably more effective.

Where West has asserted his anti-corporatism throughout Yeezus, most notably on “New Slaves” as he’s throwing away his Maybach keys and maintaining his autonomy, Jay-Z’s fully tucked in bed with an international conglomeration. And he embraces the fact that he’s putting out a sponsored record. The hip-hop mogul has no qualms about treating his art as a commodity as it’s something he’s done it time and time again in his career.

But Jay’s acts of selling out have almost never been met with widespread disdain, because of his trendsetting ways as an entrepreneurial rapper, which is an art in and of itself. He’s building an empire — and people love him for his empire state of mind. “His value is his live show, his catalog, and his brand, and his ability to do deals with Samsung and Robinson Cano,” Andy Greenwald said on a recent Hollywood Prospectus podcast.

West can’t afford to travel down a similar path toward a singular goal. He’s seemingly unable to build career capital. West remains at his best when defying expectations, which is a blessing and a curse. No other rapper commands the kind of attention Yeezy does for his creative process, but it comes at the cost of essentially blowing up his progress and starting over with each and every record. That undoubtedly gets him noticed, and with good reason. It’s also far more self-destructive than anything Jay-Z ever endured.

Yeezus executive producer Rick Rubin described it best when it comes to West’s approach. In a recent Daily Beast profile, Rubin described the race against the clock and the stress involved along the way of making his latest album. But West seems to purposely back himself into corners, forcing himself to fight insurmountable odds at every turn, making each win all the more impressive. That’s a mesmerizing myth from afar to say the least, let alone from where Rubin sits.

“I liked what I heard, but it was a little difficult — after just coming from the Kanye sessions — to listen to Jay’s album, because they’re so different,” Rubin told XXL about hearing Magna Carta Holy Grail. “[Yeezus left me] in a very alternative and progressive headspace, and Jay’s record is a more traditional hip-hop record.”

Sure, Jay-Z may be the more conventional rapper at this point of his career — but it works in terms of his commercial success (hell, the RIAA will even conform to his standards!). Kanye West doesn’t really need to worry about his sales, given Yeezus managed to move 327,000 copies on its way to becoming the third best debut sales week this year. Yet it marked the least amount of release-week records sold in West’s entire career. Jay-Z, as he humblebragged in a recent tweet, effectively went platinum with Magna Carta Holy Grail before the album was even announced.

Both West and Jay-Z will exit this summer having reached new rungs in their respective careers. It’s fascinating to see them defy conventions in their own unique ways. At the same time, however, they’re both reinforcing their already-established legacies: as a creative stalwart and a savvy entertainment mogul, respectively. It makes you really wonder — after all the mythmaking and event marking — whether that was always the plan from the get go. And whether all the hype actually ever mattered.

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Comments (67)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. It’s pretty silly, the way the author spends a good chunk of this piece describing the marketing around the release of Yeezus, even though he claims that the album had no “strategic promotional plan.” News for you: Kanye’s Times interview, SNL, and the “New Slaves” projections were ALL both strategic AND promotional.

    • If Kanye says he is the new Noam Chomsky, it is our duty to just accept it.

    • Exactly. Anybody that thinks otherwise is naive and a marketing sucker; sorry. Pretending to not give a fuck (while truly giving a lot of fucks and allocating time, money, and resources to do so) is one of the go-to marketing strategies of this generation – It’s a shame how many kids and adults buy into this.

      All the soap-boxing Kanye is doing about how anti-corporate he is, how he’s tired of being a “new slave”, how he’s tired of being an object for the paparazzi, etc. shouldn’t be taken lightly because it’s clearly a message he’s trying to really deliver.

      But…the problem is he’s totally full of shit. HE chose to do endorsements for Nike, Pepsi, etc…HE chose to sign and stick with a major label…HE chose to get a fucking Kardashian pregnant…HE chose to get into a materialistic industry like fashion…the list goes on and on. “Slave” is a really strong word and people should be fucking offended that he’s comparing his “plight” (gimme a break) to the real plight that generations of others actually went through, without any choice. Woe is you, Yeezy…sorry you got exactly what you asked for. Truth is – without the corporate machine behind you, you probably wouldn’t be where you are today.

      No one should be elevating this dude to any level beyond a pretty good rapper who has made some pretty damn good songs (we all know that his new material is made by a team of half the music industry). He compares himself to true industry moguls and revolutionaries like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and oh yeah – Jesus (whether you choose to believe in the existence of Jesus or not, you still have to admit how ridiculous it is for Kanye to mutter this shit). He is not remotely close to as influential or innovative as those people and probably never will be.

      Kanye believes in his art and he should; he’s an artist. But we shouldn’t take him too seriously, considering most of the messaging that seems to come from his heart, and be points of major contention for him is phony cry-baby bullshit. Dude’s trying to fool himself at this point.

      Can we please take off the rose-colored shutter shades and collectively call him out on this?

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Whew! Amen to THAT!

      • Cheezus, you can repost that anytime you want. Troof.

      • Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Jul 3rd, 2013 -5

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • we are all complicit, and it’s not okay unless you are okay with it, but at least he’s trying. Or maybe he isn’t trying hard enough to breakaway?

      • Yknow I’ve been a Kanye hater for quite some time and was considering loosening up about him after all the promotions and hype. And music that actually seems deserving of praise, though not swoons, unlike MBDtwhateverthefuck, which I still don’t understand the praise for.

        In one way, Kanye going all anti-corporate seemed like him taking on a Rick Ross like ironic persona. He’s flaunting an extremely hole-punchable narrative that everyone can see through. Yet most still shower him with labels of genius like he’s some sort of Apple salesperson or something.

        The sounds on the album might jack Death Grips and Banks, but until I read your post I didn’t consider how his marketing strategy was completely bitten from the two as well. I guess if you’re a franchise artist it’s gotta be watered down and you gotta swap pics of you making gestures on a roof for not releasing a single.

        Not really trying to say AB’s off-the-rails shit is strategy, but it’s hard to tell when artists are doing so much wacky shit out there nowadays.

        I mean looking at it peripherally from the ‘Gum links it’s like Kanye stepped into Occupy with gold chains on, got mocked, and was like fuck it if these mafuckas gonna mock me i’m gon have to find a way to get on their good side again.. then he impregnated a Reality Diva and wrote some shitty material about it.. then he was like uhhh i forgot to put my lyrics to tracks, or really make my album.. well, since i care so much about my celebrity maybe what i should do is release music that makes it seem like i don’t care since that’s what the youth loves these days. and if i assume some faux rebel posture throughout, maybe it’ll sell out the stores!

        Also just want to say all the discussion about him being the Beatles of our generation is ridiculous. He’s got vision, but he’s still just The Monkees our time. Lol.

        So.. you’ve convinced me.. back to hating Kanye.

        And yes, I’m just bitter about Wayne on the decline.

        • Just caught this little nugget from the PFork freature about Yeezus from Justin Vernon, sycophant extraordinaire:

          “Kanye’s a world-famous star, but it’s just like working on music with friends: You’re trying to do the coolest shit. Just being around motherfuckers who have been doing this for a long time and are getting better– like, there actually aren’t that many of them in the world. There’s no pedestrian fuckery on this album. People are working their asses off to make the best shit, and Kanye’s leading the pack.”

          This is just another reason to dislike Justin Vernon and Bon Iver. Overrated by himself.

          Thinking about all the Kanye album hype, and the way music “journalists” will seriously refer to the little treats of circumstance of their little listening parties, it’s just hilarious. Critics get wooed by Jay-Z making them feel like part of an exclusive little club, by purporting that they alone can understand and translate the supremeness of kanye’s “irony,” by relaying that Drake touched them on the arm. It’s bias brought on by Public Relations and Marketing. This is something journalists are supposed to be trained to resist, yet in the music scene are comically enraptured by.

          No joke, it seems like Stereogum and Pitchfork are paid to cover some bullshit in a positive light, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it had something to do with the overlords who turn the margins of this site into an obnoxious click trap. Like, you are seriously going to throw Mac Miller and Donald Glover down our throats?

          I know that’s kind of a lofty accusation and I’m sure some readers might say the same thing about acts I’m into like Waka Flocka (who a lot of people here regard as disgustingly amoral with questionable racial motives) or Wayne/AnCo (who a lot of people might view as old news at this point).

          Obviously it’s lower stakes in music, but I find the situation similar to how during the Iraq War the damn press corps started the majority of their stories with leads from U.S. Gov press releases. Unfortunately the shit does have a huge affect on the way the public consumes this shit and it’s just lazy, and.. uncritical.

    • of all popular music genres, hip hop has been one of the most open to blatant commercialization (besides maybe bubble gum pop like britney spears, boy bands, etc.)…sometimes to the point of being shameless in that part of the rap game and “hustle” is about doing anything to sell.

      of course, there are artists – usually on more of an underground or indie tip – that would speak out against that and claim that the music should be about the music.

      but considering the history of hip hop and its commodity leaning, is anyone really considering any of this “new rules”? Run DMC officially endorsed Adidas (yes, they got paid to), LL Cool J sells perfume, Dre put his name on shitty, overpriced headphones that suckers buy, Lil Wayne sells Mountain Dew and FIFA video games…

      the rules are there are no rules.

      • Agreed. I was going to say the same thing. Mainstream hip-hop has always been about pimping your shit, so when they pimp the hell out of it, they get praised for it. I’m also thinking back to the Kanye vs. Fiddy ordeal some years back. The louder they are, the more it’ll sell. Even if it sucks.

      • Woah, woah, woah there. Takes a lot of nerve to dis Wayne’s Mountain Dew move, at least it’s a quality beverage. I’m gonna kick your ass in fight club tomorrow night.

        • 1st rule of fight club: there’s nothing about the rules being non rules.. it’s about not talking about fight club, and theres actually 8 more almost up there with the commandments, pretty good

  3. Jay Z has become that creepy alumni at your college who drinks and hangs out with the young crowd, bragging about the old days as “big man on campus”. We get it, move on man. Yet, while the young’uns are happy on their own and trying to make their own legacies, only the creepy alumni has the money to buy the keg.

    • Rap is still such a new genre that we haven’t really seen a how rappers age the same way we have with rock stars. I know there are older rappers than Jay but I don’t think there have been any that have still been relevant at his age(early 40s?). Kind of interesting, is he still going to be putting albums out at 50? What would that look like?

      I’ll be turning 30 in the fall and as I think about getting older I’ve wondered if I will still listen to rap music when I’m 60. Haven’t really thought about it from the rapper’s perspective.

      • I’ll be 31 next week, and I think I stopped listening to rap like this back years ago. It already feels to childish to me.

        • Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Jul 3rd, 2013 -3

          Rap like what? I haven’t heard Magna Carta Opus Dei yet, so I can’t speak to that, but I guarantee you didn’t stop listening to rap like Yeezus “back years ago” because it wasn’t there for you to dismiss.

          • (How’d that “back” get in there? Whoops.)

            I stopped unironically listening to “bitches n’ hoes” rap back when I stopped thinking it was funny to talk about women as bitches n’ hoes. Don’t give me that shit that it wasn’t there. The only reason Kanye gets the attention is because he attempts some different things musically than the average mainstream hip-hop artists. He’s not doing anything I haven’t heard before otherwise. In the grand scheme of things, a slightly above average hip-hop artist isn’t all that impressive to me.

            So sue me.

          • I totally feel that. When you are 30 years old, slightly balding, a small but noticeable paunch, married, and working as a school teacher, it’s a little difficult to pump “I am a god / hurry up with my damn porsche garage / put my fist in your bitch like i’m malcom sex” in your Nissan and get into the same headspace that you might have when you were around 18 or 19. I’m less able to identify with this sort of hyper-masculine, uber-mensch — and now it just feels like rappers like Kanye are not on my side at all, and are just yelling at me.

            That said, Run the Jewels is fucking awesome…and I have a deep urge to break any glass objects in my immediate vicinity and turn over all my bookshelves when that first track comes on.

          • mensch does not mean what you think it means.

          • Uh oh miguelito, looks like somebody needs to catch up on their Nietzsche:


          • I love it when someone’s snobbery backfires.

          • uber-mensch > mensch

  4. Kanye’s and Daft Punk’s marketers could sell a shit popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves. Very impressed.

  5. Artists who have been defying these conventions for years by doing innovative things in music distribution:

    in hip hop Public Enemy have been either giving away albums or funding them with audience participation or using the internet in ways that they were never used more than 10 years ago.
    Also, other non-hip hop artists who are not Radiohead who have been doing innovative things with music distribution over the years, putting their careers on the line, and getting very little credit or think pieces written on them:

    Prince (giving away album through newspaper, special fanclub only packages),
    Pearl Jam (concert bootleg program, no videos during the video era, etc),
    NIN and Smashing Pumpkins (giving away new albums for free)

    I hope hiphop has it’s art/commerce discussion and that it progresses more, it is more than due.

  6. Kanye told me to be a leader so I’m going to do that because he told me to.

  7. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  8. I think Kanye is and will be remembered as a legendary artist. I think he’s an artist at the top of his game, at his creative peak. And I think as the article talked about, he seems to revel in making things hard for himself. Doing things the hard way, the impossible way. Yeah, I finished half the album, with my back to the rope, in 2 hours while waiting for a plane. And yeah, i call myself a Picasso, and a brilliant artist, but I back it up by providing top quality product. Kanye seems to me, to thrive off the pressure he puts on himself. He loves it. I also think thats just naturally who he is. He really does believe he is a modern day Picasso. The thing that sets him apart from others is that he actually has the work, the body of work to prove it. I can’t think of another singular artist of the 2000′s, at least in hip hop, who’s had a more important impact on culture, art, fashion, music all of it. And even extending it to other genres, he’s gotta be among the top 5 most important artists in the 2000s.

    Changing styles every album is hard. As the writer of the article says. Its challenging. Its risky. Its scary. But I just Kanye flat out doesnt care anymore. At all. He’s at a point now where he has a core fanbase who will buy anything he puts out reguardless. His critical acclaim seems to grow exponentially every album cycle. And he doesnt need to sell a single record for the album to be a success. Its like he gets his kicks from being an artist. From pushing himself and the art form forward.

    Yeezus is an abrasive, off putting record. Its angry and dark. its vulgar. And you see the head scratching from his fans on this one. People dont know what to make of it. Thats why Kanye is a major artist. I dont want an artist who goes by trends or tries to appease his fanbase. I dont want 6 albums that all sound the same.

    I honestly do think he’s the Radiohead of hip hop. Who else does what he does?

    • As far as “artists” go, I just think there are so many more that push boundaries farther, that are more creative, and that are more “artistic,” that sound different on each album and push themselves and their fans. More artists that actually influence and change the face of culture rather than shock and fool people into paying attention to their overblown egos by using some different tricks than his hip-hop contemporaries. Kanye seems to get points because of standing next to the rest of mainstream hip-hop, which happens to be unbearably mediocre. So yeah, a decent looking person will look great standing in a room full of uglies.

      Anyway, sorry. I usually don’t like ranting negatively on these walls…Kanye just seems to bring the worst out in me. I honestly can’t stand the attention he gets.

      • One guy takes the MTV VMAs way too seriously and is now a Kardashian in law. The other is a wannabe freemason who is becoming a sports agent. Come on stereogum, why not just go whole hog and start covering the exploits of Perez Hilton and Scott Boras. Enquiring minds want to know!

      • KiDCHAIR – name these artists, please, or it didn’t happen.

        • Radiohead
          Sigur Ros
          Animal Collective
          Grizzly Bear
          Sufjan Stevens

          …to name a few. Although he’d never admit to them being “better”, Kanye himself will attest to at least 3/4 of those (in fact I’m willing to bet you can find him declaring his admiration in writing somewhere.)
          Where I will give Kanye credit is his ability to appeal to the lowest common denomonator masses as well as the many respected elitist critics simultaneously. I think it’s his goal in fact.

          • Actually, I’d like to throw in Justin Timberlake into that mix, simply because he’s pulling off the same “mass appeal/critic appeal” dynamic as Kanye. Only it’s much, much classier.

          • And Daft Punk for the same reasons.

            There really are quite a few examples, miguelito1.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • I’m speaking specifically about their music changing culture, and I suppose I should have clarified that I’m thinking more a long the lines of contemporary music culture as well. You can name a bunch of bullshit “artists” whose personality affect culture all day. Kanye as a personality is a huge part of pop-culture in general, I’ll give you that. He has definitely had an influence on style, specifically within the hip-hop world. But I dare say the majority of his influence has absolutely nothing to do with his music and everything to do with his bullshit shenanagins. Much like Lady Gaga, since you bring her up. So, yeah, I suppose in that sense he’s a “rock star.” Just like Lady Gaga (who I also think is pure garbage).

            10-15 years from now, there will not be any important artists that can site Kanye’s music as specifically influencing them. The above mentioned groups on the other hand have directly influence many sounds and genres over the last decade. Kanye is simply a variation of what is already a mediocre genre to begin with. People may enjoy him, but nobody (musically) is changed by him to that extent.

            And the reason I bring up Justin Timberlake is because he’s basically a white Kanye as far as pop culture is concerned, only his music is much more tolerable. Don’t pretend like he’s not a factor.

          • This is potentially going to go back and forth for awhile and I feel like I’ve already said way too much regarding this guy.

            I’ve said it before (too many times maybe)…Aside from his ego-centric lyrics, I think Kanye is a talented dude. Especially when compared to the rest of the hip-hop world. To a certain degree, I understand the appeal. But that’s just it…when I compare him to contemporary music in general, he’s really not doing anything that “new” or special. I have just been completely dumbfounded for years that he gets so much praise in that regard. In the grand scheme of things, I just don’t understand what makes him so great in everyone’s eyes (or ears). But, since I’m obviously a minority, I must just be missing something right? I just “don’t get it” I guess. But I’ve yet to have anyone explain it to me sufficiently. The mystique of Kanye is the most mind-boggling phenomena I’ve ever seen in my life as a music fan.

          • I think Kanye’s had a huge influence musically, too. When he came out, hip-hop was completely dead (mainstream and backpack.) He fused the two to create new possibilities. He made it ok for rappers (with hot beats, not boring backpackers) to do something other than brag about how much money and ego they have (although he’s certainly done plenty of that!!) He made it ok for rappers to be self-reflective and smart. He made it ok for young black kids to dress hip with tight jeans and stuff rather than just Hilfiger/Rocawear crap.

            There’s been basically no one in rock that’s had much influence since the Strokes, Stripes, etc. We’re all waiting for something to happen.

          • Again, you’re citing influence that is stricly limited to hip-hop, and even more specifically, mainstream hip-hop. Which is ok, I’m not saying he had NO influence. But not exactly that big on the grand scheme of things. Radiohead, Beck, Bjork and Animal Collective have shaped hip-hop too. That’s my point, these artists are shaping the music landscape as a whole. Kanye’s influence is very limited comparatively. Anyway…

          • ^ (That was me… Oops.)

          • Strictly limited to hip-hop?! Bush said the Kanye moment was the worst moment of his presidency. I’m guessing when Bjork attacked that photog, Clinton didn’t take notice. Obama has commented multiple times on Kanye. I’ll await his comments on Animal Collective.

          • Haha ok then. Hip-hop, and bullshit shenanagins that have nothing to do with music whatsoever. As I said before… So what. You haven’t proven anything to me

          • I think I said it before, but I’m not talking about that superficial crap. I’m already pretty tired of this back-and-forth anyway, if you are gonna keep it going at least pay attention.

        • Haha ok then. Hip-hop, and bullshit shenanagins that have nothing to do with music whatsoever. As I said before… So what. You haven’t proven anything to me.

        • Specifically speaking hip hop, El-P, Cannibal OX, MF Doom, and others did a ton to change the game…not only in sound, but lyrically. Too bad they don’t get half the recognition/credit they deserve for it because they didn’t have as much of a hype machine supporting them and telling the masses they should pay attention.

          El’s “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” era touched on a lot of the industrial-sounding, hard hitting, left of center sound that Kanye is going for with some of the new joints. El was also doing the heavy synthy stuff for a long while. I’m not saying El is the savoir of new rap (he does kick ass), as I actually dig the more golden age hip hop from the 90s…but don’t tell me no one has taken it to a new level like Kanye has. His new stuff is more bare bones than some of what I mentioned (especially “I’ll Sleep” El-P, which was very cluttered in production) but people are making it like the dude invented minimalism. No…Rick Rubin was called in to do that for the album, because he’s been doing that since LL Cool J in the 80s.

      • There’ll always be haters
        that’s the way it is
        Hater niggas marry hater bitches
        and have hater kids

  9. The Radiohead of hip hop. whatever man. unfortunately if you accuse anyone of hopping on a bandwagon and feeding out of these assholes’ palms, chances are you’re going to be labeled pretentious in some way shape or form. i won’t say everything Kanye or whomever does sucks, ‘cos that’s just not true, but… think about it… is it REALLY that different, that special? it wouldn’t even be as ridiculous as it is if it didn’t have to be backed up with Kanye himself and every other goddamn ‘critical’ publication fawning over his projects like payola. still the same stupid lyrics, self-aggrandizing, boring egotism with an occasional funny line that reaches moderate levels of absurdism. as several of the other posters here have mentioned, the music itself is only truly interesting when completely limited to the realms of mainstream commercial hip-hop, which is a pretty narrow line of vision at the end of the day, although i suppose it’s worthwhile to mention that some rather inaccessible material like RZA’s early production did succeed in blowing up mainstream. as for other underground stuff getting sort of popular, has everyone already forgotten about Death Grips? that too featured some pretty abrasive musical stylings (although lyrically mostly same-same somewhat shallow sub-standard braggadocios hip-hop as well.) of course to each his own… i just get a bit curious as to how people can still be impressed over and over again by the complete lack of insight or acknowledgement of any outside world whatsoever offered by the vast majority of hip-hop that gets spoken about or advertised on websites like Stereogum and pitchfork and all the like. statements like ‘Kanye just doesn’t care’ do so much to symbolize the superiority goofs like him really do have over the ‘common man’… one might assume if he didn’t care then he WOULDN’T RELEASE A RECORD AT ALL. ok, so that’s not what he meant then? well if he didn’t care what people thought why go through all of the trouble of giving the interview and announcing how cutting edge and anti-this and that his work is… if he didn’t care what people thought why not let the people actually give an opinion without being brainwashed by a sea of publicity… you know with the whole anti-publicity stance, the fucking modern media ends up inadvertently creating a whole slew of ‘enigmatic’ publicity campaigns by speculating endlessly on each new little hint and clue regarding the release of this so-called ‘mysterious entity’. i didn’t mean to go on a rant. i just think the whole thing is contrived. radiohead of hip hop. if he could give us a pyramid song or like spinning plates… not to say in sound, but aesthetic… fine ok i’ll stop now.

  10. If you have any Samsung stock I’d sell now. The marketing for Magna Carta Holy Grail makes no sense on Samsung’s side. What are they getting out this deal? The ability to say they were somewhat involved with a potentially good album? What happens if it tanks? It’ll no doubt knock them back behind Apple in the smartphone wars.

  11. Why do indie rock websites spend so much time wringing their hands over corporate hip hop?

    • I hear ya. But it is kinda hard to get passionate over, um, The National.

      • Hey, I liked the song “Start a War” when I heard it on Friday Night Lights and the movie “Warrior” (it’s really good! and on Netflix!)

        That being said, I’m with KidChair in that I just can’t get pumped for this stuff anymore. EXCEPT, the first song, On Sight, which is good running music and apparently a Daft Punk track according to the liner notes.

  12. Sperry’s sure missed out on not signing up with Vampire Weekend when they were just on blogs.

  13. is there any actual “deconstructing” in this article?

  14. After reading the article and the comments here, I think I missed the #newrules of hip hop marketing. It’s always been the same, right?

    -But I digress….

  15. I think Madlib could serve as a counterpoint since there’s almost no marketing associated with his music. He’s a highly creative musician who focuses on making music, nothing really else, and let’s his output speak for itself. Pretty sure Kanye takes notes from the guy and I bet his music will have a long lasting impact and get more revered as time marches on.

    This kind of marketing may lead to immediate album sales but I wonder what it’s affects are on legacy?

  16. This is a pretty random post but I can’t help myself because this rules – Kanye vs. Tame Impala:


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