observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

3 Ways



I haven’t dropped a real post in a minute.  My apologies.  But you know the deal.


Real quick.  Just heard some joints from the new Slum Village album.  I like these more than most of the Detroit Deli joints.  Shout out to RJ. Let’s get this done.


Now for the real post aka my latest theory:


There are three models that cats used to make a Hip-Hop album.


  1. The Marley Marl model


This is the one MC/one producer model.  I use Marley because I don’t think he gets enough credit in Hip-Hop annals.  And he really perfected this model and nursed it into the modern era.

In this model the beatmaker is really a producer.  He/she is responsible for the creative direction of the album and is very much the Svengali. 

-Marley did this for The Juice Crew (Kane, Biz, Ace, Craig G, Shante, and G-Rap).

-This could easily be called the Dr. Dre method as well.  Snoop, NWA, DOC, Miche’le, Eminem (at least at first).

Other examples: Pete Rock - INI, DeDa, and Pete and C.L. (sort of).  Pete is also part of another major category

-Those cats from Hypnotized Minds

-Mannie Fresh

-Mobb Deep (Havoc)

-Slum Village (especially the 1st 2 albums)

-Eric B. and Rakim

-Swizz Beats and early Ruff Ryder projects

-Little Brother and many of the 9th Wonder projects




  1. The Nas Model


This model runs the industry currently.  Here the album more closely resembles a compilation where the artist is featured over various producers’ beats.  I call it the Nas model because this was the path Faith Newman and Serch followed for Illmatic.  Rather than pair Nas up with one producer and create a sound, an all star team of producers and beatmakers.  Never before had Primo, Pete, Q-Tip, and The Extra P (and LES) worked on the same album.  Even though it seems like a no brainer these days that was a real innovative approach.


In fact it worked so well everybody and their mama has adopted it.  Indie as well as major artists now normally look to assemble an all star team. 

I still think Illmatic is the only classic produced using this method.




-Common (One Day… and Chocolate)


-Ready To Die

-Memphis Bleek

-J-Live (The Best Part)

-Vast Aire

The list could go on forever….


  1. The Puffy method


This is really a variation of #2.  But whereas the Nas model assembles the ‘best’ producers, in a purist sort of way, the Puffy model assembles a cast of beatmakers based on regional and marketing appeal.  This method was perfectly executed on Biggie’s second joint, ‘Life After Death.’  For the 1st time you had an East Coast M.C. clearly making songs specifically for different demographics. 


There was ‘Notorious Thugs’ with Bone, “Fucking You Tonight” with R. Kelly for the R&B Thugs, ‘Going Back to Cali’ for the West Coast and so on.

But you also had your Primo cuts to appease the purists and the backpackers.  Even RZA got a cut on there because Puff needed to have the Wu Tang fan in the fold. 


This style has been copied relentlessly and because of the inherent marketing advantages it outperforms all the others. 


There is no bigger example of this model than the god MC himself and BIG’s heir to the throne.  Jigga Man.  ‘Big Pimpin’ got Texas. ’99 Problems’ caught the attention of the Linkin Park fan, Primo rocked ‘Friend or Foe’, 9th Wonder brought the young purists, Timberland brought his audience, Beyonce brought hers, etc.


So there is my theory.  Interesting that DJ Premier is the one constant here….hmmmmmm



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Break down.

August 05, 2005 12:18 AM

Blogger Robbie said...

Don't forget the 80's Album model:

A bunch of dope songs watered down by the inclusion of one or more of the following:

A Hip-House track
A ballad
A cover of an old rock song
A fake ragga track

See Black Rock & Ron's album for an example of this.

August 14, 2005 10:19 PM


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