We haven’t been in the month of December for a full week and the first Friday of December in 2016 was nothing short of phenomenal as many great artists gave us solid projects and put me in the holiday spirit! The fourth quarter in the industry is always set aside for the big names and the big releases. Summer drops are usually more fun but is really reserved for the movie scene but music comes in the fourth quarter after Rappers have toured or gained new experiences over the course of the calendar year. We’ve gotten full length albums from A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Dave East only to be followed up with albums from Rapsody, Smoke DZA and Pete Rock, J. Cole, and Childish Gambino all alongside the Hamilton Mixtape. All of these are worthy of a Grammy conversation, including the projects that haven’t been released yet. All of the aforementioned are either dope emcees or dope dee jays/producers.
All of these artists are able to captivate their audience and the culture because they aren’t giving us smoke and mirrors. They are being themselves with no compromises and no filters. They created a project that reflected who they are as a person and an emcee. These people aren’t putting out a bunch of music to “stay relevant” because a quality artist will always be relevant. Where do you think the artist formerly known as Prince would be if he had released all of the music he held in his vault? Artists shouldn’t dump a bunch of junk on us just because they don’t have anywhere to put it. If a particular track didn’t make the cut, it was for a reason. They could save them and maybe release the work on a later project after their stripes have been earned. A lot of Rappers calls themselves a “young legend” but are still making moves like a rookie. Future has released a few projects in the fourth quarter but they were mostly reissues and those projects that weren’t didn’t hit the streets like his other projects.
Not every artist has the talent to release a successful project in the fourth quarter. A lot of these projects are given as gifts for the holidays. I remember when I was younger, I used to ask for a new CD player every year and I bought CDs to bump in the disc player. There’s no magic promotional tour, no special rollout strategy, only quality in the fourth quarter. The best sports teams can come back from a fourth quarter deficit and some of the teams that we think are the best can fold in the fourth quarter. The label can’t mask the numbers. If you don’t do well in the fourth quarter the first time chances are that you won’t be releasing anything in the winter ever again. The label isn’t going to waste their money promoting you when they can just put your music out in the summer when most people have their guard down and are looking to have fun and are more willing to sacrifice the quality of the content. If you were a basketball player who’d you want on your team in the fourth quarter with two minutes left in regulation, Kobe or Dwight Howard?