411 Music Fact or Fiction: Do We Buy Suge Knight’s Claims About The Tupac Shooting?
Welcome to the 411 Music Fact or Fiction! This week, Joseph Lee takes on Jeremy Thomas.
Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo going platinum is a huge accomplishment.
Joseph Lee: FACT – It normally wouldn’t be, because of course Kanye albums go platinum, but this was cultivated entirely from streaming. That success probably says a lot about the future of streaming and streaming services, although big names like Adele and Taylor Swift can still move plenty of physical copies.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT – Obviously it’s not the going platinum that is an accomplishment; Kanye West is one of the most famous and best-selling rappers on the planet and with a normal release format he could sell out an album of a cat wailing in heat set to a beatbox. But the fact that he did it entirely through streaming is impressive. A lot of people were laughing at West for his then-strange choice in not giving TLoP a physical or download sales release at all (downloads off KanyeWest.com notwithstanding), but damn if it didn’t pay off for him. To date, TLoP has had over three billion streams worldwide and 1.5 billion in the US, making him the first artist to achieve the RIAA’s streaming-only platinum designation. He won’t be the last for sure, but it is quite a ground to break and good for him.
You don’t buy Suge Knight’s claim that he was the target in the Tupac shooting.
Joseph Lee: FACT – Suge lies all the time, seems like a generally reprehensible human being and can’t stand not having attention. So no, I don’t believe him.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I don’t buy anything Suge Knight says about the Tupac Shakur shooting, or anything else he may or may not have had criminal involvement in. That’s not to say that I am sure (or even have a strong inclination toward believing) he killed Tupac; it’s just that Suge is a habitual and almost pathological liar especially when it comes to potentially incriminating himself. Maybe his ex-wife and former security chief did try to kill him, but I need more than some unfounded theory that he’s repeating in court to give it any level of credence.
The video for Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” was a good one.
Joseph Lee: FICTION – The song is good but I wasn’t really feeling the video. Even if it wasn’t the intent, it came off as typical rap stuff to me.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT – It’s not something I would want to see as a regular thing from Kendrick, it it was a change of pace for him and I dug it. At first blush it has a lot of the stylistic elements of a generic music video: arrogant comparisons to religion, girls in bikinis, a ton of swagger, etc. I’m not normally too keen on all of that because it’s so tired, but Kendrick and director Dave Meyers give the whole thing a style that allows it to stand out and there are some really fun flourishes in here. The track itself is another really good effort from Lamar to boot. It’s certainly not my favorite Lamar video, but it’s a good solid one.
It feels too soon for Blink 182 to put out another new album.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Blink 182 has had a sporadic release schedule over their last few albums. It took eight years for Neighborhoods to come out and another five for California to release. But there are a lot of extenuating circumstances around those, not the least of which was the release of an EP a year after Neighborhoods and Tom DeLonge’s departure. Add into that the fact that their new release won’t be a “new” album per se, but rather a deluxe version of California with twelve new tracks. We can debate the semantics of whether that much new music counts as a new album or not, but at the very least we can assume that the new music will be built around the themes of California. That cuts out a lot of development time so I don’t think it’s too soon at all.
Joseph Lee: FACT – California may have been a hit and this may just be a deluxe edition, but it’s still a year after that album’s release and this features another album’s worth of songs. On top of that, there’s talk they’re already heading back to the studio to write another one. Maybe this is why Tom DeLonge took off…well that and he’s chasing UFOs somewhere.
You’re interested in the musical based on Pharrell Williams’ life.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – I really enjoy Pharrell Williams’ music but no, I don’t feel like I need a musical based on his life. I love his early work as part of the Neptunes and his solo and production work but I don’t think there’s anything about his life story that screams dramatization. There are plenty of other avenues I can approach in order to enjoy Pharrell’s music and as much as I dig musicals, this just doesn’t have a lot of appeal for me.
Joseph Lee: FICTION – Unlike Jeremy, I’m not really a fan of musicals. And while I enjoy Pharrell, I don’t like him enough to care about a musical biopic about him.
Spotify’s deal with Universal will result in even more subscribers.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT: A minor bump at best, but yeah I think there will be a slight increase in subscribers. Spotify’s biggest problem in gaining customers is that it’s already at the top of the game. Streaming is a burgeoning business and the ceiling hasn’t been reached yet, but any signficant increase will be the result of natural industry progression and not this news. I think what will most likely happen with this is that some people who had lapsed away from the service will sign back on because they heard about the news, or some few people will go from free tier to premium tier because of the two-week window on new releases. It won’t be enough to be any jump worthy of a press release, but it will help a tiny bit. More important to the company is that this clears a legal hurdle to eventually going public and puts them in a situation where they’re doing business with the labels, not fighting them. That’s why the deal was so important.
Joseph Lee: FICTION – Since Spotify is has an ad-supported free version, I’ve never really understood the need to subscribe at all. Unless you just hate listening to a minute of ads every four or five songs that much. I don’t see a new deal, however big, resulting in a substantial amount of new subscribers.
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