Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Curse Of A Follow-Up

The nature of man is to keep looking forward towards the future. But with doing that you are inexplicitly looking at the past and the present in an attempt to make sure you can make parts of what is to come as comfortable as what has been. It is a part of ourselves that we cannot escape no matter how hard we try to. As I stated in another article certain things, certain ideas can be applied elsewhere. So allow me to apply this in music.

A successful follow-up album is a tricky thing to pull off, even for the most established of artists. I am going to discuss that a little, if you’ll permit me.

It seems to be a curse. More often than not the albums you put out seem to progressively go down in quality. Sometimes it’s not the artist’s fault. Maybe it’s the landscape of a genre that is in constant flux. Maybe it’s a new artist appearing around the same time as a new release. Or sometimes it’s just the artist. Thankfully not every artist is affected by this. Here are the examples of that ever damning curse and who it has hit hard:

-50 Cent-Because I am not from New York I haven’t heard any of 50’s underground stuff so I cannot speculate on the quality of it. I can only speak what I know. Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ hit hard for a debut. I mean, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic hard. It was a great way to start a career. After that his albums kept coming to poorer and poorer returns. The Massacre tried to duplicate that same buzz but failed. I honestly think Curtis only did well because of his challenge to Kanye West’s Graduation. Anything after that is barely worth mentioning.

-Ja Rule-50’s former enemy had a similar problem. I personally loved the album Rule 3:36 and critics seemed to love it too based on how many tracks had major airplay. It was saddening for me to see that everything after that was dismal to the point of being highly embarrassing. To this day I am unsure if he can ever recover.

-Juvenile-This one hurt me as well. 400 Degreez was a classic and gave us the greatest dance song in current memory (“Back That Ass Up”). As his career went on the hits came fewer and fewer. We all saw a sign of life when Juve The Great came out, propelled by the popularity of the Soulja Slim assisted “Slow Motion”. After Reality Check, “Rodeo”, and untold tragedy I am not hopeful for a revival. But I have been surprised before.

I am sure there are some that I either didn’t think of or didn’t mention but this curse is real for a lot in the hip-hop community. Sadly this isn’t the kind of juju you can get rid of with horseshoes or four leaf clovers.

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