In hip-hop, people have to be receptive to the idea of you having a Classic Album for you to actually have one
For example. If Rakim put out a lyrical masterpiece LP tomorrow, it would fall on deaf ears because people aren’t necessarily checking for him right now. Almost nobody would hear it (outside of hip hop heads with an affinity for the forefathers), and the people that did manage to hear it haven’t been “prepped” to receive it in that capacity.
Nobody listens to a random album from “Random Rapper X” on a whim and come away after its over thinking, “yo… that was a classic!!!” regardless of how good the album actually was. You can’t just call a random ass album from a random ass emcee “a classic” and have your opinion taken seriously.
That’s because they weren’t receptive to the idea that it could be that good from the start. Whereas, if there’s a highly anticipated album from “Popular Rapper X” that people have been buzzing about for months, it’s infinitely more likely that you’re willing to entertain the idea of it being a classic.
Artists have to campaign and warm up fans & critics to the very idea that their music is classic-worthy in advance.
This works both ways.
If an artist is fucking up before the release of their album and they’re riding a wave of bad publicity, people are more receptive to entertaining the idea that their new music is bad.
I’m not saying perception trumps reality, I’m just saying perception helps funnel your emotions down certain paths.
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