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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wale should front hip-hop's next band

Now it was a while back I realized that while there is a growing trend of live musical performances in hip-hop, there is no nationally known band that can fulfill that need while putting out their own product. While reading "Mo Meta Blues" by Questlove I realized how hard it would be to establish that on it's own especially in this climate. While it is easier to develop a small core following, gaining a coherent musical aesthetic and building upon that is the hard part at the end of the day. Being able to crossover and become an important part of the culture in their own right would be the big difficulty. Bands are typically fickle and experience many ups and downs as well as transitions.

To help eliminate some of the early struggles and gain quicker acceptance a band could invite different artists to front them to help build credibility but then that leaves them as an entity who is reliant on others for shows and limits them to a backing band. A single well-known lead would be a huge benefit because they could cover current catalog while adding new material and branching out in a coordinated process. First by bringing in new feature artists on other songs, or by having one their own members pick up more of the load until after an album and some additional collaborations, today's market is ripe for EP's after all, the band could then be free to step up their own individual music without the front man.




If you look at the title, I say that Wale is the perfect candidate for this. Number one, he is from the D.C. area which is already the home to the wildly popular go-go music. He has that tradition and listening to his albums, it isn't a stretch or too much of a gimmick to see him with a backing band like it would be for some other mainstream artists. Secondly he has a solid fan base that would support this, (others like J.Cole have even more supportive bases but they don't fit as naturally). Third, his subject matter fits in with the vibe you would expect from a live band. You wouldn't jump to hear an artist talking about popping mollys and popping pistols the first time you hear them. Being able to naturally weave social commentary and have a flow that can vary would be very important.

The other thing is that while popular and a name, Wale isn't too big of a name that would over shadow the band and his absence wouldn't be too much of a detriment that the band isn't able to stand on it's own. This is kind of something we have grown to be accustomed to due to the Roots but there isn't anyone stepping up in those footsteps and a live band that has their own product would be missed in the market when the Roots finally do retire. This would be a win-win for everyone involved.

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