There are many advantages that have come with the passing of time. Advantages that have went a long way to help with how we interact and how we do things. Technology has made globalisation a reality and opened up many opportunities in the process.
Globalisation in music has brought great things with it. Artists are able to link up and collaborate with artists from other parts of the world. This has brought “collaborations” that would’ve otherwise been impossible in another era of time. Artists are able to make music in separate studios and bring it all together for the final offering.
While there is a reason to marvel at these advances, there is a downside when it comes to the extent to which it’s being done. Artists in the same area now also rely on making songs separately and bringing them together to make a product. There are probably many reasons, one can speculate, why rappers take this approach even when they don’t have to.
The first one could be how artists, especially Hip Hop artists, go about handling payment for verses/contributions. With a fixed feature fee, anyone with enough money can reach out to whoever they can afford to pay for a verse and have them on their song. All they would need to do is send them the beat and theme (if any at all). What this then does is take away jam sessions and the synergy they bring to a song.
Another reason why artists go with writing and recording separately is to protect their creative process, spaces and of course, their business (which brings some complexity into this discussion). Superstars don’t have to subject themselves to the presence of wanna-bes when working on a song together. And that’s a big risk to the quality of music being put out. In this case, what it means to collaborate has changed just as with what it means to freestyle. And Hip Hop, based on its nature, is more exposed to this risk than any other genre.
As a recent example, Reason tweeted a screenshot of a conversation between himself and K.O, where K.O promises to send him a verse. Both of them are seasoned rappers who are within a reachable distance of each other. To prove that, they have met up for #RhymesAndReason but seemingly not to make this song they’re working on. Ridiculous!!!
So do you think whichever song they’re making will live up to a clash-of-the-heavyweights status? That sort of finish comes from having synergy through the creative process. The same energy. This could be why we look at the names on a song and feel that it didn’t live up to its potential.
Rappers should spot this risk and see this way of making music for the lazy approach it truly is. There is a lot to benefit in truly working together in the same space. Being invested in the same way in what the finished product sounds like. Having a great song beats just killing a verse. Bigger picture.
This is not to say that being in the same space guarantees a great joint. There have been many that fell flat even though the same space was occupies. That’s where production comes in. And producing is easier to do through the writing process than it is at the end. Sharing the same space allows for trying different things, making changes in real time and finding what works, that’s where the advantage is. Synergy. Let’s leave these remote collaborations for situations where coming together is really out of the way.