Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Importance of Collaboration Between Artists

In the January issue of Complex magazine I read an article on Kanye West and how he sequestered rap artists' Common, Kid Kudi, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, The Rza, and others to make record on his new album My Dark Twisted Fantasy (which I still don't own dammit!)

Kanye flew his selected mc's out to Hawaii, which is unusual (and expensive) to do only because most rapper/producers send tracks to each other via email, they write and rhyme over them, then send the track back. The benefit of being present in the studio is to actually spend time with people, to get out of your environment, and to see the work habits (or lack thereof) of your peers.

Tupac was legendary for always being in the studio, writing and rapping. Biggie was known for smoking weed, chilling for hours, then coming up with rhymes on the spot. J Dilla was known for working on samples and loops over and over again. Much can be learned from working with people like this, and it can be very inspirational.

What I found most interesting was Nicki Minaj's experience. She was working on her verse for Monster (arguably the best on the track, definitely the most hype I've heard her.) She claims Kanye asked her "What do you want to say? its not about rhyming words, its about what you want to say..." (without looking up from the porn on his laptop, no less!) These words inspired Nicki to write the verses loved my everyone.

I fully endorse collaboration. Some of my favorite songs, art, clothes, and projects have come from people getting together instead of insulting each other.

Social media (facebook, twitter, etc) has made it easier to connect with people you might never have met in person, but once you do, try to meet with them and work together, if possible.

There is real value interacting face to face, as opposed to my social media and internet. You might teach or learn something that might make your work better, and we will all benefit from it.

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