Whether for the good or for the bad, making it big does change the way that an artist makes music.
You see it all the time in different genres, but it seems to be extremely in-your-face when it comes to rap today. And sometimes it's for the good and we love the evolution (because really, do we want it to always sound the same? Probably not.) and sometimes it's not-so-good (anyone remember when Eminem came back to the game and had that weird accent? We want to forget too.).
Here are 5 artists that had or still have a signature sound, but altered quite a bit from their Freshman / Sophmore years on up.
914.4k Likes, 5,593 Comments - @champagnepapi on Instagram: "@therealdennisg"
Personally, my favorite Drake was sad, mellow Drake. So Far Gone was a piece of refreshing artwork in the form of his mixtape, and the mixes with Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn & John were pretty awesome to an indie lover's ears. Also, one of the most underrated songs on So Far Gone - "Houstatlantavegas." I remember listening to that on REPEAT.
Once Drake made it to the big leagues, his songs like "Jumpman" and "Started From The Bottom" became the norm, even with his little trips down memory lane with songs like "Take Care" with Rihanna still alluded to his roots. I wish there was still tracks of a calmer, contemporary Drake - but then again - he wouldn't have those killer streaming numbers if he wasn't good.
482.5k Likes, 14.8k Comments - Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) on Instagram: "DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar."
This artist is what inspired my conception for this list because I honestly found it sort of shocking the first few bars into the song "HUMBLE." how different KDot sounded. I thought it was maybe a migration into the whole Big Sean feud, but as I started listening to DAMN. today, I was shocked to find he sounded like that more so than what I experienced with Good Kid, M.A.A.D CITY and To Pimp A Butterfly. Not to say that DAMN. isn't a great album - and doesn't touch on a lot of great subjects (because it is so charged with race commentary on Police brutality, among other things) - Kendrick just happens to have adopted a different sounding flow, or rather, an accent to this album rather than the others before it.
Chance The Rapper
101.3k Likes, 5,908 Comments - Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) on Instagram: "Chanceraps.com. #chance3"
I'm not hating on Chance, so please don't take it as so! His newest mixtape Coloring Book is pretty awesome, but I will note a few changes that I noticed. Firstly, it is a lot more religious than I expected (which, nothing wrong with that - just might be weird for non-practicers), and second, it had a lot more big name features on it. Everyone bandwagoned on the mixtape, including Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Lil' Yachty, and Future to name a few. The mixtape that preceded this,
The mixtape that preceded this, Acid Rap is by far my favorite mixtape to ever exist, and BJ the Chicago Kid, as well as Vic Mensa and Childish Gambino, make appearances. The sound is a little less gospel and a little more street, but at least we don't have to deal with Chance making any dialect changes. He still makes that Diddy Kong-getting-hit-with-a-baddie noise all the time (IGH!).
If you need an explanation of that, listen here:
All the noises Chance the Rapper makes on his three mixtapes, 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book. Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/zachace This is edited down from the 4½ minutes of sounds it is originally because Chance repeats sounds a lot. The full version is in chronological order as the sounds appear in the mixtapes.
Awaken, My Love!" [Explicit] by Childish Gambino https://t.co/LNB7MyI30Z
I am super defensive when it comes to Childish Gambino because Donald Glover is such a unique rapper, singer, artist. The main issue with his newest album Awaken, My Love! when it got skewered by every music critic imaginable, was that everyone was expecting a follow-up to Because The Internet, which was released in 2013, AKA - a 2016 version of the same album. Many years later, Donald Glover had grown. He was becoming a father, he had a lot more to say about racial inequality and wanted to go down to the roots of things. Awaken, My Love! almost seemed like a spiritual journey to him, in a way - and I have a feeling that it just didn't translate to many Childish-Because-The-Internet fans.
378.9k Likes, 5,518 Comments - The Weeknd (@theweeknd) on Instagram: "👀"
Falling for the sound of House of Balloons to songs off of Kiss Land, we knew that The Weeknd was going to be big. That lead to many obsessing over Beauty Behind The Madness, which was rightfully so, but even BBTM had an altered sound compared to his earlier albums. But what really took it's toll, and made the extreme change was Starboy.
The Weeknd is still singing about love, drugs, and sex, but at the same time, it seems a lot more mainstream, and a lot less artistic. When you examine songs like "High For This" or "Pretty," and then compare it to songs like "I Feel It Coming" and "Starboy," you start to see that The Weeknd's poetic nature begins to squander. Out of everything on the Daft Punk-esque Starboy album, "Party Monster" makes the best case for a good version of evolution. It's like all of his magical powers resided in his hair or something. *Insert Samson / Delilah jokes here*
Is there an artist that you think made a huge sound change once they got big? Let us know your thoughts!
Amy Cooper is the type of journalist that when asked "What do you bring to the table," she replies "I am the table.