Yesterday, if you hadn’t heard, D’Angelo emerged from wherever Shea butter infused, “incense” smoke-filled cave to drop “Black Messiah.” Prior to this release, D’Angelo had not released an album for nearly fifteen years.
Obviously, this was a long time for his fans to wait, but judging from early reviews this album is a classic.
Keep in mind, every album in the 2014, Twitter-fueled age is considered a classic the moment the album leaks releases. I mean I saw some well-meaning, possibly brain-damaged individuals attempt to convince me that this was a cla…
Sorry, I clicked that link on accident and fell asleep. But, yeah, they tried to convince us that album was a classic. Which leads me to believe that we, collectively, have no idea what classics actually are anymore.
Let’s be honest, we live, for good or bad, in an instant gratification society. Everything that we want, we want it now. I don’t think there is a soul out there who would argue about how excruciating it is wait even the preceding few seconds to get to the good part of a 30-second video. Instant gratification, some argue tie directly into our pleasure principle1. This is a do more, consume more society; so it’s natural, right to think that we we’re so quick to anoint everything a classic, because we consume things so much more quickly.
But, I’m not so sure.
I think a lot of why younger people are so quick to want to define everything as a classic is because they may not actually, have any classics that stand the test of time against the other counterparts. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any great movies, books, or albums being produced, because there are. Some very very very good ones, but are there any that will, 50 years from now, be considered classic?
Every generation measures itself against the generation before it, loves the space its generation occupies, and then also looks down on the generation after it. It’s the reason, I as a 31 year old man can admire the early pioneers of hip hop and the late black power activist, they hold a measure of mystique and reverence to me. I also love to sit and reminisce about the 90s, baggy clothes, seeing the internet first take off, and the golden age of hip hop. I can, also, as a 31 year old man, excoriate these kids outchea today with their funny hair, clothes, and general lack of…well anything good.
The point is we all want to stand as something revered and romanticized, but it doesn’t seem like current TV, literature, or music will get that chance. Maybe it’s because we can consume soo much more, so sooo much more is being produced which inevitably will degrade quality, meaning we’re already starting behind the 8-ball. If we know that what we’re producing can’t really stand the test of time, then the best thing we can do is try to convince everyone else that what we’re doing is actually classical.
Will this work? Who knows? All I know is we should probably start taking more time before we try to place things into the pantheons of the all-time greats. That goes for anything too. Real talk, how many of y’all out here claiming your boyfriend or girlfriend was the best ever the Monday after y’all first day, but by Friday you’re singing that Young Dro song with the initials that can’t be played on the radio?
Oh, I also know that J. Cole is BORING
1 For those of you disappointed because that link wasn’t the Janet Jackson video, I feel you. So here it is.