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What the Definition of "Classic" Is…

November 23, 2011
Never check your Twitter at work.  You’ll wind up looking at a conversation that may or may not be intended to be your business.  But that’s what DMs (direct messages) are for: to keep your conversation private.

One such public conversation came between Culture VI (a man that I recommend you follow on Twitter if you’re serious about music) and Underground Blogger afficiando Kevin Nottingham (to whom I affectionately dub, now publicly, “K-Nott”).  You can also visit their blogs/sites, The Culture VI Experience and the eponymous website of K-Nott, but I digress…

It started with Culture voicing his displeasure about people downloading a leak and hailing it classic after one listen (before the album even had a chance to drop).  Not helping matters are the rappers dubbing their own album as a classic.  Kevin offered the explanation of “self-hype”, saying that “if you hype it up enough, others may believe it to be true.

It seems as though it’s been recent trend for rappers to deem their album a “classic” as a way to promote their album.  Prior to the boom of free music reaching the ‘Net, rappers often did not throw around the term “classic.”
Sure, you want to give your album all the positive light it needs to sell.  Sure, you’ll say that [insert hot rapper of the time here] and [insert the hottest producer here] made contributions to the album so that their fans become your fans.  Trust me, I know and understand this; you want to sell as many albums as you can so that you can feed your family & friends. And put some money in your pocket.

But to deem an album a “Classic” before it even drops? You’re just asking for trouble.

With so much music available on the Internet, and with so much of it being free, it’s a necessity to explain how your album stands out from the pack. Especially considering that your consumers fans are spending their hard-earned minimum wage to even give your album a listen. You want to be able to articulate what makes your album worth buying.

Deeming it a “Classic” is not the way to do it.

What winds up happening is that you wind up in direct competition with other “classic” albums. Since your album is a going to be a “classic”, people will have phenomenal expectations that you know your album is never going to live up to. Sounds unfair, right?

Tough luck, duke; you brought it all on yourself.

The word “classic” is not to be thrown around casually like a football in a football field. It is meant to be preserved for the rare breed of album that managed to change the game, whether it was for better or for worse. A “Classic” is reserved for albums 10 years down the line, that age well, not age. By aging well, to use an analogy, I mean age well in the way where you hit on that woman you think is 16, but in reality, she’s 48.

If it does not live up to expectations, there is simply no excuse that will justify your sorry attempt at marketing. I apologize if I sound rude, as that is not my attempt. Unfortunately, there are endless individuals without faces who are more harsh than I am.

As for the bloggers and the fans: hold off on the “classic” talk. Let the album breathe first; if you have not been playing that album you deemed a “classic” in 2 months (let alone a whole year), then it was never a “classic” in the first place.

If you’re not as serious with the music, but you heard about all the “classics”, know this: a lot of those “classic” didn’t move a lot of units. In between those “classics” were a bunch of sewage waste that got lucky off the strength of a single. If anything, you may remember the single more than the album (commonly referred to as “One-Hit Wonders”).

If anything, we should hold off on “classic” talks until a decade has passed. Yes, artist, I understand that you put forth your best effort, and that’s all anyone asks for. Yes, blogger and/or fan, I understand you believe that you have heard the dopest album since [insert “classic” here]. The album may be dope, but it hasn’t reached “classic” status just yet…

Food for Thought.

  1. Good stuff man. By the way, my friends call me K-Nott. Drop the Y homie lol

  2. LOL, Got you. It's been fixed, duke. Thanks for the love.

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