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Title: Rem's Rant: The Ingredients of Essential Artists
Author: Speed ontheBeat
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How many of us actually take the time to think about what goes into our favorite meal? Ya know, the thing that makes it so savory, salivati...
How many of us actually take the time to think about what goes into our favorite meal? Ya know, the thing that makes it so savory, salivating, and reminiscent to the happiest of times. I'll wait.

No one? I didn't think so. All we care about is how we make whatever that something is last or more importantly, how we can get it again (I say this as I think about a $1.49 bag of sour cream and cheddar Ruffles). Well, in most certain cases this is how we digest music. For example, we all know that "Girls Love Beyonce" but how many faithful #BeyHive stans can tell you why the 808 drum made a song like "Deja Vu" bearable? But more shocking is how many of those supposed "stans" would even know what a Roland TR-808 drum machine is (It's a programmable drum machine, by the way)! Now before I continue, I must warn those same stans. 

No, this isn't an article about Beyonce (or even your favorite food for that matter). Rather, it's all the things that factor into making music as transitional and relative as your favorite artist is to you. 

  1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form (whilst not excluding the latter four senses) such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

I very adamantly feel that we, as consumers/listeners, have a responsibility to preserve every form of art in OUR culture. With that being said, there’s really no place for bias as it pertains to ANY artist both actively and organically progressing art. At what point do we implore a sense of something other than willful oblivion? 

Yeah, we know ignorance is bliss but when the reward of knowledge as it pertains to infrastructure we need to maintain within the culture is sweeter, why bother with a choice.? Ahead are a few artists in my opinion that are as essential to music as they are to their respective areas of expertise. Keep in mind that while these artists may not be our personal favorites they have each individually garnered enough success to remain relevant inhabitants of the realm that is mainstream music.

Young Thug

Born Jeffery Lamar Williams, Young Thug is a 24 year old rap and style prodigy hailing from the trap capital of the world Atlanta, Georgia. I think the most interesting thing about “Thugger” is his vision and how he got Atlanta’s very own version of Marion “Suge” Knight, Gucci Mane, to buy in. I mean what more do you need to know? Based on Gucci’s street credentials alone, how is that cosign not enough? 

Thug’s value comes from his ability to be completely honest with the public, his willingness to exploit societal standards should tell you that, even at 24, this kid has a better handle on himself than most of the grown men that judge him solely off the things he wears. He is a testament to the sentiment that the truth is more important than how you feel and what’s more important to the embodiment of art than how uncensored, raw, and uncut the truth really is. 

Out of this guy's own mouth, he raps lines like “I dress like a prince, not a f*g motherfucker” and even a guy like me has to respect that. Speaking of Prince, how many people judge the original diva for wearing platform heels and ass-less chaps more than the fact that Carmen Electra was just one bad bitch in a stable of many iconic bad bitches?

Pushing the bounds of perception has seen this kid sign more deals with raps most elite trappers than James Harden takes foul shots. At some point, ladies and gentlemen, the interest has to lie more in why he’s so heavily sought after today than why he’s wearing a little girls dress to the bank to collect your money for making music you love. 

Thug is without a doubt a 1 of 1. 

There is not one artist today--with the exception of Philly’s own Lil Uzi Vert a/k/a “Diet Thug”--who sounds even remotely close to him. Is it not true that we love what’s new and different? Because if so, why are we denying this kid? He’s had a steady stream of hits that range from Nicki Minaj’s remix of “Danny Glover," to the mega hit “Lifestyle," right on over to the annoyingly catchy “Best friend" and my personally new inspired anthem "Hercules." 

It’s time to stop denying that we love Thug and its surly prime time to admit that he isn't backing down from anyone either--a cool principle to stand by, if you ask me. So lets just do ourselves a favor and embrace the Slime Season.

(Ed. Note: I've made my feelings about Thugger be known in previous installments of PA. But it's hard to deny that he's got some catchy-ass music, even if I'm not his biggest fan. Was I wr--wr--wrong?! Eh, maybe. But, I stand by my initial thoughts on Young Thug and my current feeling him as an artist, that he may not be the greatest, but he's got--and earned--his niche and place in hip-hop)

Born Solana Rowe in Maplewood, New Jersey, 25-year-old SZA (Derived from the Supreme Alphabet, "SZA" means a sovereign knowledge and enlightenment of ones self through higher power) represents a certain nostalgia that we identify with as being the “girl next door." 

No amount of makeup, weave, or high heels account for her obvious discomfort with all things girly. Her melodic harmonies are like nothing I’ve ever heard before and even more encapsulating is that her beauty is indeed bested by her live ability. SZA has found an almost deceitful way to mask her talent with her image, an image that is quite easy on the eyes might I add. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her live in 2013 at Foxtail Fest in Philly and I’ve been enamored since. 

She’s taken conscious lyrics and infused them with a sound virtually impossible to not fall in love with. She represents what it means to let the work speak for itself, no pun intended. As if writing records like “Feeling Myself” for Beyonce wasn’t enough to showcase her talent to the powers that be, she’s been pump faking an album release, A, for well over a year now. And I for one have had it! (#WHEREDAALBUM?!)  Yet another artist dancing around perception, SZA’s creativity and ability to grab you not only by the ears but mind and heart has propelled her to the occupant of a class all her own. Should you need more convincing in your spare time go check out Z, See.SZA.Run, and S.

I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Born Micah Davis, a 22-year-old Virginia native and self taught pianist and saxophonist has shaped the way i now listen to music. For those of you unfamiliar, The Pink Polo EP infuses the best of jazz with the grittiest of trap beats, hence the name "Traphouse Jazz." But here’s the funny thing about Masego.


I mean what else do you expect from a guy that taught himself how to play the piano and the damn sax? This guy is literally the most influential person in how I analyze music. Saying "oh, he’s good" is an understatement. 

Davis represents not an embodiment of talent but a god driven need to be good at something. I don’t think we have to question the art that goes into the creating of a sound , a sound without words or at least words of substance. Well no, I take that back because substance has become quite relative. What may mean something to me may mean nothing to you and vice versa. Masego is genuinely a diamond in the rough, a gem not so much hidden by the music, but one that stands out for providing the sound, committing to it, and nothing more. Thank God for "Girls That Dance" because Lord knows sometimes I just wanna shut up and groove.

Tyler the Creator

Born Tyler Gregory Okonma, this 24-year-old Californian represents the simplest and purest form of both what rap is supposed to be and what art very well entails. Artists like Tyler, by way of the OFWGKTA a/k/a Odd Future outlet, personify the imaginary aspect of music. Painting a more fictional whilst vivid portrait of things not typically done but more frequently thought. Simply put, people?


Honestly, how many of us didn’t want to be that superhero in our dreams that we knew wasn’t real elsewhere? You’re not going to convince me that having an imagination isn’t as important as being able to corroborate your real-life actions. I, for one, still like to think of myself as Superman from time to time and none of you motherfuckers are gong to tell me I’m not normal. Odd Future has given us a wave of artists that range from Earl Sweatshirt, The Internet, and even that myth of an artist Frank Ocean (Nigga, #WHEREDAALBUMAT?! Its been July since July ended). What else needs to be said about Tyler’s solidarity in music? He is still around (#GolfWangForever).

So, for those of you still reading this article that haven’t put it together yet, I’m saying that music is transparent! It doesn’t matter who it’s coming from, where they’re coming from, what they’re wearing or even what they choose not to say. The most important thing here is the product itself, that “thing” that makes you move, that one beat that makes you dab, or the one note that makes you remember an ex. 

As long as it moves you, it served a purpose. Whether you love it or you hate it, it got you talking. For as old as art can be its true beauty lies in its ability to relate to the current and even tomorrow. We may not condone it folks...but our trappers where skinny jeans, the girls brandish middle fingers, it is, in fact, cool to play an instrument, and ain’t a damn thing wrong with embracing being super. 

Bless up people. 'til next time. 

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