A friend of mine recently shared a major gripe with the current status of the music industry. It was an unusually sunny day in Monterey, California and we were listening to the latest track by Col3trane. It wasn’t great. It’s a pretty lame track that features a comically phoned-in verse from Goldlink. After the song ended, my friend turned to me in the passenger seat and said he was tired of artists releasing content for the sake of content. Before streaming, he asserted, his voice heavy with nostalgia, artists would only release music if it was great. Now, well, now they’ll release anything just to pump up their streams.
My friend (we’ll call him Alex for the purpose of this little tale) isn’t wrong. It can be frustrating to hear a new song from a favorite artist, only for it to fall flatter than your neglected bicycle tires. But, there’s a good side to this new era that Alex overlooked in his lunch-ride rant. In 2019, some musicians are taking their art less seriously, and the result is more fun tracks for the fans. Because music can be fun, ya know? Case and point, “You Know?” by Chima Anya.
Acting as the kickoff for his second wave of “Freestyle Fridays,” “You Know?” is Chima rapping for the fun of it. He spits a quick, three-minute freestyle over Mk.Gee’s “You,” touching on chasing his dreams of rapping full time. The video is so care-free that he uses Apple’s Memoji to give things some flavor. And that’s it. It’s just a video of a cartoon Chima rapping in a park.
But the track is excellent. Mk.Gee’s instrumental is bouncy and vibrant, giving Chima plenty of room to flex his lyrical muscles and take over. Because this is a throwaway track, Chima doesn’t sound weighted down by expectations. Sure, he probably uploaded this to keep his fans satiated while he works on his next big project, but that doesn’t mean the song is terrible. There’s nothing wrong with letting off a little steam and giving it to your fans. And to be frank, this might be the best Chima has ever flowed. Maybe it’s time for us to stop examining every new release under a microscope, and enjoy it for what it is.
So if you’re feeling frustrated that the streaming era has brought nothing but number chasing, data-driven dribble to the market place, look on the bright side. Be less like Alex, and more like Chima. You know?