Think about how things operate at the highest levels of every industry, whether that be making computers like Apple or movies like Spielberg. What you’ll find is that in every case, they are all trying to do the same two things. One, they’re trying to make the best product possible. Apple is trying to make the absolute best computers and Spielberg is trying to make the absolute best movies. However, that’s all pretty obvious. Of course their goal is to make the best product. That is no revelation. The key is in how they go about achieving that goal. Every industry leader goes about it the same way. They all have the same strategy of making the best product. So what is that strategy, why does it work so well and what happens when you apply it to music?
The strategy is very simple. It’s called “Specializing” and here’s how it works. Basically you look at everything that goes into whatever you’re trying to make. Particularly, every honed skill or important experience needed. Once you have all the parts or roles figured out, you then split them up as much as possible to people who specialize in that narrow area of expertise. So you don’t want one person doing tasks A and B, you want two people. The person on task A is a specialist in whatever task A is and the same goes for the person on Task B. This may not make much sense until you see an example of the concept in action so lets look at the process involved in making movies.
ROLES IN MAKING A MOVIE
Think about all that goes into making a movie. Think about all the different roles. You have the actors to act, the film crew to record the actors, a director to guide the film crew, the script writers of the movie to guide the actors, the video editors to edit each scene according to the script, special effects artists etc. Every single one of these roles is hired out to a person who specializes in that very narrow area of movie making. This ensures that they make the best movie possible, which is obviously what they're trying to do. You will make the best movies if you have the best actors, the best film crew, the best director, the best script writers etc. all working on the same movie. This is how every single industry works at the highest level. So then how would this work for making music instead of movies?
ROLES IN MAKING A SONG
Like all the roles involved with making a movie, think about all the roles involved with making a song. Obviously the process of making a song doesn't have nearly as many roles as the process of making a movie, but the concept is the same. There are about four main roles to any track: the instrumental, the vocals, the rhymes/ lyrics, and the mix. So then, if you're trying to make the best music possible, what would you do? You would specialize all those roles just like everyone does in the movie industry. That way you would have the best vocals, saying the best lyrics, over the best instrumentals, mixed by the best engineers. That's how you make the best music. Is this how music, specifically Hip Hop is made today though? Should it be made this way?
SPECIALIZING IN HIP HOP
At the highest levels of Hip Hop, specializing occurs in the same way. The instrumentals are hired out to someone who specializes in making really good instrumentals. The mixing is hired out to someone who specializes in mixing very well. The only difference is with the roles of the vocals and the lyrics. They aren’t split up. They are done by the same person. Whoever’s vocals you hear, you’re also hearing their lyrics. This is a problem if the goal is to make the best music possible, which it should be, shouldn’t it? Or, should it be: make the best music possible without splitting up the roles too much? That seems odd, and how far would Spielberg of gotten taking the same approach to his films? If he for some reason couldn’t hire out a film crew because it was frowned upon in the industry or something like that. So he had to personally film all of his movies instead of paying people who specialize just in video recording to shoot it while he could concentrate on directing. Would we of ever seen Saving Private Ryan or Jaws? Would he of won any Oscars and most importantly, what would the fans prefer to watch? Would they prefer to watch a worse version of Jaws rather than the version that was filmed by the best film crew just because when they were watching it they could tell themselves that Spielberg shot every scene? Probably not and it’s the same with music.
How do you make the best music? You have the best vocals saying the tightest rhymes over the best instrumental, all mixed by the best engineers. Is there one person who is best at everything? The best in the world at making beats, has the best vocals, is the nicest rhymer and the best mixer? No of course not. There probably isn’t one person who is the best at just two of them. So if you want to make the best music possible, you have to split all these roles up to the people who specialize in them. The scary and exciting part is, this has never been done yet in Hip Hop. Not completely. Pretty much everyone specializes the instrumentals and the mixing roles but not the vocals or lyrics. The first crew to specialize all of the roles is going to take over, regardless of what anyone thinks about how right or wrong it is.