GZA tried to warn us, but we just didn't listen: You gotta read the labels.
Back in the day, record labels were monoliths, towering above us and dictating what was and wasn't worthy of our record stores and radios, and therefore, our ears. But nowadays, after record labels have endlessly fumbled the transition from analog to digital and failed so incredibly at looking even remotely competent at staying contemporary with adjusting norms, it's much easier to spot the real talent from the fake.
When a record label executive does something right, they look like geniuses. Whether it's signing the right artist at the right time, promoting their products well, or helping create a quality album, it's a beautiful thing for the artist, the fans, and of course, the label. But that's less and less often the case than it ever has been before.
George Bernard-Shaw once wrote that "all professions are conspiracies against the laity." Labels had us convinced that they had some magic power over music; that only they could put together an album, or find talent. But there's no real qualification for being in the music business; no trade degree or professional licensing can get you in or keep you in it. Literally anyone (with the right talent, and hustle) can do it. And you know why everyone's an industry analyst these days? Because—as Kanye once put it—we all realized we'd rather not listen to the suits behind the desk no more.