The hip-hop industry has gone from releasing hundreds of rap CDs a year to only a handful. As a business, the music industry has been very risk-averse of late. Which is understandable; they only way they really make revenue is through 360 deals that take a piece of every revenue stream, to make up for the lost album sale dollars.
A lot of the money going into hip-hop in the late '90s and early '00s was about gaming the system: a single's sole purpose (in the business's eyes) was to sell an album. And of course, much of the time, these albums were not so good—padded-out longplayers from artists who really only had a couple of songs in them.
On the other hand, albums aren't the only way to experience the genre. They aren't even, barring an aberration in the mid-90s, the best way. Some of the genre's greatest songs, especially in the early '80s, would never be heard if you only listened to full records.
This month, we aimed to take a look at artists who might not even be producing great albums—or albums at all. But hopefully, their contributions won't be sold short, because these songs kinda jam anyway.
Welcome to October's edition of DeepCuts: The Mixtape Tracks You're Sleeping On.