Photo | angelonfire
Who has that “it” factor… that certain something that separates the fads from the truly talented? Who are those certain celebrities today that will be just as relevant in 20 years? ‘Staying Power’ is a column that delves into the past to reveal the immortal artists of the future.
Kanye West is my next choice for an artist with ‘Staying Power‘. It’s not just his solo career that impresses me; It’s his incredible talent as a producer. Over the past decade, Kanye has produced tracks for some of the biggest names in hip hop music.
From 1996 to 2000, Kanye produced tracks for Jermaine Dupri and Foxy Brown (to name a few). He gained great commercial success from his work on Jay-Z’s ‘The Blueprint’. After this, he became one of the most sought-after producers in the industry. Within the next year, Kanye ended up producing tracks for T.I, Ludacris, DMX and Monica. From 2004 to today, Kanye has managed to release 22 solo singles as well as continuing to serve as a producer.
His history as an artist isn’t what impresses me. It’s his constant push to stay relevant. He was producing when Diddy was still “Puff Daddy”… when Snoop and Dre dominated hip hop music… and listeners were still trying to figure out what hip hop music really was. Few rap artists manage to maintain their celebrity status for longer than a few years due to a music industry that’s constantly changing. In fifteen years, Kanye has managed to stay extremely relevant by learning to adjust to these changes. Not only has he adjusted to these new industry standards, he’s actually ended up creating a completely new industry himself. His obsession for the highest production standards in his own studio has actually forced his competition to produce a new level of quality, which then created a “new sound” that listeners crave.
Kanye’s success at not only staying relevant, but also becoming the “industry standard” is what gives him ‘Staying Power’. He’s managed to adjust to the industry over the past 15 years, and I can see him adjusting to the next 20 without any trouble.
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