Albums are Dead. And Streaming Killed Them. Here’s How:

“Albums are Dead. And Streaming Killed Them.” is the title of a new collaborative EP being released by Nas & Frederich Nietzche.

But all jokes aside.

Here is my explanation:

This reality, or my perception of it rather, is not necessarily a bad thing. Albums are just EPs with a bunch of fillers that artists are typically too egotistical to remove and executive producers are too inefficient to recognize.

What is bad about the streaming era, however is the payout for artists. There must be legislation granting artists greater leverage over streaming platforms which are basically the unmerited capitalists of the artistic laborers. Keep in mind, rich capitalists are arbitrary owners of resources, rich entrepreneurs are crafty workers and innovators.

Once upon a time ago people bought albums. There was no Spotify or Apple Music. iTunes somewhat changed the game, but still, you could buy singles or full albums. You weren’t overloaded with millions of artists and streaming them each for .007 cents per song with a monthly subscription. Since you paid $10-15 for an album, you were more likely to listen to the whole thing, get your money’s worth, even if that meant listening to the “filler tracks”.

Streaming ended that process.

The album is dead. The artist now is the album.

Because of easier and more disposable accessibility, fans can choose to skip over tracks after 15 seconds in without feeling guilt for wasting money. What’s one song to a billion others?

Take Drake’s Scorpion, for example. If it were up to me, I’d have the album condensed into the following records:

  1. God’s Plan
  2. Blue Tint
  3. Mob Ties
  4. Can’t Take a Joke
  5. Nonstop
  6. In My Feelings
  7. Is There More

No disrespect to Drake. That’s one of my top 5 artists. And his producers are incredible, particularly 40, who is also of Palestinian descent, like myself, and has inspired much of my sound.

The same applies to Kamikaze. Em is my favorite artist ever. I think if he had condensed Kamikaze to the following tracklist, it would have been even more enjoyable. And maybe if he added two more tracks, although I know he didn’t want to put a “diss track” on the album.

  1. The Ringer
  2. Greatest
  3. Lucky You
  4. Fall
  5. Not Alike
  6. The Storm
  7. Killshot

Kendrick Lamar hasn’t had a solid piece of rap material since Section .80. That’s an unpopular opinion. Even to him. I love him, but to me, there were about 5-7 songs off Section .80 that could have been condensed into an EP.

  1. Fuck Your Ethnicity
  2. Hold Up
  3. A.D.H.D
  4. Chapter Six
  5. Poe Man’s Dreams
  6. Kush & Corinthians
  7. Blow My High

The same applies to good kid m.A.A.d. city.

  1. Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe
  2. Money Trees
  3. Poetic Justice
  4. Backseat Freestyle
  5. m.A.A.d city
  6. Swimming Pools
  7. The Recipe

Since then, the only stand out tracks by Kendrick have been Humble & DNA. To Pimp A Butterfly was conscious, but musically it didn’t do it for me.

You see what people don’t understand is socio-economics. A lot of decisions are made based on the technology and social, political and economic conditions of the time. Albums were a byproduct of all of those influences up until 2012, when streaming really kicked off. Now that you are exposed to a plethora of artists – some of whom you aren’t even interested in – and now that you can skip over tracks at your discretion without a sense of guilt for wasting money – streaming has turned the artist into the album, and has officially replaced the album with the EP & singles. Like I said, the only bad thing about this is that streaming services need to pay more per stream. A lot more. Or else they’ve become the “new record labels”, along with the editorials and blogs that pretend to care about quality but perpetuate the cycle of promoting what is already known.

The last album I bought was Magna Carta Holy Grail. I enjoyed it. But there were definitely some fillers. 4:44 had two good songs in my opinion, The Story of OJ & Marcy Me, which were magnificent. Everything is Love wasn’t my cup of tea, except for Ape Shit, although, I think it would have been just as hard without Jay on the track, ironically. No disrespect, again.

Just so you can get an insight of what I listen to, here are my top 10 favorite hip-hop artists of all time. A little context.

  1. Eminem
  2. Jay-Z
  3. Lil Wayne
  4. Biggie
  5. Drake
  6. Tupac
  7. Mase
  8. Kendrick Lamar
  9. 50 Cent
  10. Mobb Deep

J Cole is climbing up the ladder. But that’s only cause of K.O.D., No Role Modelz & Middle Child. I need more of that. And maybe he’ll end up on my top 10. Just a “critical opinion”.


I Stand With Ilhan

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

Criticizing an oppressive nation-state does not fit the definition of racism. If one is to however direct hatred towards a particular “nation” or “group” of people, such as the Jewish People, The Muslim People, African, LGBT, etc, this is classified is racism/prejudice.

We cannot afford to be selective and play favorites with the definition of racism. Racism is racism. The State of Israel is exclusionary, discriminates against Arabs, Armenians, Muslims, Christians, oppresses & polices Palestinians, and has for half a century stolen soil.

Ilhan Omar is being publicly crucified for standing up for an oppressed people. Many Jewish people sympathize with her sentiments regarding the Palestinians as well as Israel. Thus this is a clear agenda to limit responsible freedom of speech by conflating it with anti-semitism.

This insults all those who died & suffered as a result of real anti-semitism.

I don’t see any Republicans or Democrats convening to backlash against Trump’s use of anti-semitic iconography against Hillary Clinton – nor do I see a majority of both parties forcing the resignation of Steve King for his outright support of white nationalism.

Privilege enables double standards. And privilege is just a nice word for racism.

I say this as an Armenian descendant of the Genocide, yet to be recognized by either America, UK, or – ironically – Israel. The Armenian Genocide is the first Holocaust of the 20th century. Yet Israel, born right after the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jewish people, refutes the claim as though it were echoing Nazi or Fascist Turkish historical revisionism. Quite a travesty. I say this also as a grandson of my Palestinian-Armenian grandmother, who was forced from her home in Haifa to Damascus, Syria as a result of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. This is not just something I read about. It is something I was born with.

And yet, there is little mention of the Islamophobia, racism and stereotypes being used to harass Ilhan Omar herself. She has received death threats, been called pejorative statements like “terrorist”, etc. The double standard is not absurd, it is tactical. And that, my friends, is scary.

Cleopatra: The Brown Queen

Colonialism fucked everything up.

Besides the rape, pillaging, enslavement, it colonized the minds and injected ambiguity into indigenous rights.

Currently there is a debate about whether Cleopatra was white or black or brown.

Being the last reigning Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was in fact Greek, at least half so, that is because, nobody knows who Cleopatra’s mother was.

No thanks to German racist scientists who deemed Arabs, Jews, Armenians and all Middle Easterners – who are in actuality West Asians – caucasian, we today have this ambiguity about who is what.

Does it matter? Yes. Not because of race. But because of racism and historical revisionism and the attempt by Eurocentrists and white supremacists to lay claim to everything including philosophy and well, civilization.

Why was Europe able to dominate and colonize? Supremacists would proclaim their superiority. I would claim other wise, their moral inferiority.

European colonists didn’t care about the consequences of their mass genocides. Neither did Nazi Germany, or Fascist Turkey.

Let’s say hypothetically Cleopatra was white. She was certainly not Northern European, and probably darker skinned than most Europeans, as most Greeks are. But if we are to classify her as white that would mean that she was a colonist of a black continent. What’s new?

What if Cleopatra’s mother was not white? And that results in the current debate into whether she was in fact brown or black.

There’s a lot of what ifs here.

The reality is since the dawn of time Euro-centrists have been colonizing and revising history and attempting to take credit for all that is excellent and profound about human civilization, as though the following inventions were not made by non-white civilizations:

My mother’s response to the Cleopatra debacle: “She was like us”. We are Arab-Armenians. In other words. She’s brown. Most mediterraneans are.

My conclusion is that Cleopatra was brown.

And it is no coincidence that everyone claiming otherwise – that she is white – is white.