I am (sadly) exercising my right to be unimpressed

Many of my 5 readers know that I am an avid listener and collector of music. This has taken me to the point where I own several hundred, probably closer to a thousand CD's... There was a time where I would make a point of pre-screening Sunday's sales papers to see what albums would be in what stores to see where I would be making purchases to get the most content for the least money. Sad, though, is the remaining fact that this "me" just stopped buying new music within the last 8 months!
Yes, people, even in the face of the whole tax thing, I would at least allow myself my last boon to my sanity, to spend ten bucks on a CD here and there.

Then everyone started making shitty albums. I am looking through album release dates last year and noticing how few albums I allowed myself to liberate 10-12 moneys each for and the list is as follows.

February 8: Chaundon - "Carnage"
Far and away, in my opinion my favorite hip hop album released last year. I DL'd it based on buzz from the artist's own mixtapes, went and bought it on release date.

April 22:
The Roots - "Rising Down"
... I am a FAN of The Roots and have not yet been given a reason to not buy one of their albums sight unseen.

July 15: Nas - "Untitled"
Still a bit salty about him not keeping the original working title, it was a good enough album for my moneys.

David Banner - "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
I didn't get this one until about a month after it came out, and only then after copying Phillip's and listening to it.

September 9 (BUDDY DAY!!!): Kardinal Offishall - "Not 4 Sale"
I was worried about him linking with Konvict music, but I downloaded first and was pleasantly surprised enough to lay out the cash.

September 30: T.I. - "Paper Trail"
Another one I was a bit worried about coming in, but after a download and CONSTANT listens, I had to support.

Heltah Skeltah - "D.I.R.T."
Consistency on the part of Rockness Monsta and Sean Price led to the purchase of this post-download, and I listen to it all the time.

October 17: Foreign Exchange - "Leave it all Behind"
Okay, not exactly hip hop, but an R&B album by rapper Phonte (of Little Brother) and producer Nicolay, so close enough for me to count it as such for the sake of my blog.

November 24: Ludacris - "Theater of the Mind"
Christopher Bridges, I want my fucking money back. You tricked me, that mixtape you put out with Drama to promote this was FIRE! The problem, sir, is that it was better than the fucking album.

December 2: Scarface - "Emeritus"
Brad Jordan, you have outdone yourself HUGELY this time. I DL'd this one from an RSS feed that popped up one day 2 weeks before your street date, listened twice and decided that you had earned my money.

December 9: Common - "Universal Mind Control"
Lonnie Rashid Lynn... I do not know whether to chalk this up to your hanging around Serena Williams (a move which I will not chide you for) or Kanye West (a move that I WILL), but you have now laid the brick that will make me download your albums before spending money.


And that list, my 5 readers, is IT!!! 366 days, 52 weeks, 11 albums... I, who loves hip hop music, skipped over albums from Snoop Dogg, Bun B (DL'd, wasn't impressed enough to put cash on it), Lil Wayne (DL'd and enjoyed it, but again, not worth my money), N.E.R.D., Kanye West (DL'd and listened, WANTED to like it, but it was a fucking ABORTION), and TWO albums from Plies (like I would even download that shit for free, HA!).

Look, I know that I was going through some shit financially last year, but music is not expensive and usually serves to the facilities that keeps my ass home, which further saves me dough. I might not have been able to go into the record stores, or Target, or Best Buy or Circuit City (RIP) and dumb the fuck out as I have been known to do, but damn. I was really looking through where I keep my newly purchased CD's -- as I have not yet built a new rack since I moved and all the old ones are still packed -- and noticed the sad state of affairs when an individual who is good for 50 or better new album purchases a year has such slim pickings.
Sure, there was the "underground," but I was left with not much more than butt-hurt teenagers complaining about people in the industry who are more successful than they are, or skinny-jean mohawk hipster rap, which I possess a special and very irrational disdain for. Sheeit, I was in a personal recession before the rest of the country was, so my purchases were to be measured and very specifically chosen.

Maybe, as my 30th anniversary of birth approaches in 8 weeks here, I am getting old. People are telling me that I am supposed to like some of the "alternative" rappers coming down the pipeline, but I am yet unimpressed with the Kid Cudi and Asher Roths of the world. I mean, they're talented and all, but their shit just doesn't entertain me. Here we are, 4 months into 2009, I am on the better side of my situation, with a little liquid cash to spend, but now we're all in a recession and the fact remains that we are now 117 days into the year and I have not yet purchased a single motherfucking album... Looking at forthcoming releases, the next one I buy will be The Roots. It will not terribly shock me if that goes on to become the only hip hop album I buy all damned year.

Sure, I listen to other music as well, but I am thinking the high-stress of my situations, paired with the low quality of the shit coming out has seen quite the regression of my consumerist nature as it relates to buying albums.
There was a time where if I had upcoming releases from the likes of Eminem, Rapper Big Pooh (of Little Brother), Chamillionaire (don't say it, his last one was good), Busta Rhymes, Big Boi (of Outkast), (allegedly) Raekwon, Mos Def, The Roots, Rakim, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z and (allegedly, lol) Dr. Dre, I would PROMISE you purchases of all 13, plus of whatever else might happen to be in the store on the release dates. Never doubt the value of having released a poorly promoted album on the same date of an artist that people actually KNOW can have on selling an album, because I have many acquired just like that. Now it looks like I will work the old Google magic and find them for free to test drive before or not buying.

It really is a good thing that I have rediscovered a different path for my passion for collecting shit, one that costs about what music has on average down through the years, in the model cars. I would be LOST if I had the rug pulled out from under me on one of my favorite things in the world like this without something to fall back on. Things have gone so sour that I don't even randomly drop in on the retailers on tuesdays hoping to see something that I might not have known about, all in the face of my ongoing disappointment with what is being released.

I think I get it, the industry on the whole -- both "underground" as well as "mainstream" -- is broken. Rappers who are "on" need to resort to investigating one anothers' personal lives and beefing on the internet like 13 year old little fucking girls to sell records. "Underground" -- otherwise known as "alternative" -- artists are doing everything in their power to get on by preaching to no one in particular (i.e. everyone who actually listens to them) about how lame the mainstream artists are. Everything has died in a desperate flail to stay relevant, played at the hands of people who, either artistically or otherwise personally, do not DESERVE to. All of this comes together to make for what has become the perfect storm.


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