I've always paid close attention to the relationship between an artist's level of success and the overall quality of the instrumentals they rap / sing over. Bluntly put, the artists with the best "beat gusto" are the ones who thrive in the industry.
The best context to evaluate this in, I think, is when two artists feud in the media. This is more common in the rap / hip hop scene, so this is where I'll take my example from.
We are not here to debate their lyrical prowesses. They are both outstanding artists. We are here to evaluate their commercial success in the context of their beat choices. And in this light, Jay-Z beats Nas roughly 55 million copies sold to 14. This is not minor.
My argument is that Jay-Z made "less" bad beat choices. Better yet, his themed albums (The Blueprint, American Gangster) had a much more cohesive sound, which in turn strengthened his brand tenfold.
Looking at Nas' career, you can tell he struggled to define his sound throughout his career.
I see so many amateur artists jumping on bandwagons in the hopes of fooling the public into thinking they are on the same level because they used a beat that sounds exactly like such and such top-selling artist. This is a flawed approach. First of all, it's just not creative. Second, it's not personal. I mean, your beat choices need to reflect your own unique personality!
Here's how you should do it:
So with all of that being said, pay closer attention to your favorite artists and how their beat choices relate to their success in your eyes! And then, as they say, emulate the successful ones.
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