The running joke with rappers these days is how their music is 1) a movement or 2) a movie. I prefer the movie route (preferably while referencing said movie’s similarity to the yet outproduced Avatar 2).
While I like to joke about it Top Dawg Entertainment or TDE may actually be sustaining a “movement”. However they would never be caught with such below the year swag terminology and use such vernacular. The LA hip-hop scene is by far the most original and exciting in the country right now. TDE seems to be the epicenter of that energy. So what is TDE & Black Hippy? According to Kendrick Lamar in response to the question, Who and what is Black Hippy/Top Dawg Entertainment?:
- Black Hippy consist of Top Dawg’s four main artists, me, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q & Ab-Soul. It’s a group we have been working on for years now. We decided to call it Black Hippy because it represents unruly music. Music that has no restraints on what we can do. We’re not being confined to what the radio is telling us or the industry is telling us. We’re doing what we feel, and that’s how it’s coming out. It represents love, life, happiness, hate, evil, whatever life creates. That’s what the color black represents to us, everything.
What is so impressive about TDE is that they are making songs with structure that tend to come out of artists with substantial budgets and veteran producers and A&R’s lurking in the background. They have also championed the drop a mixtape for sale, and then drop it for free business model which I think is smart. Make sure the fans get it for free, but also make sure the music will be in distribution lanes where links don’t expire. Even the chicks that they get on hooks are awesome for godsake.
This is the part where I just link to some of the stuff that makes TDE awesome.
Also might as well throw the joint that dropped today that put me over the edge and made me write this article.