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The First Tape Effect

How many times have you or a loved one made this statement, “I want the old *insert artist here* back”? Have you found yourself comparing artists’ albums to their break out tape? If so, you are not alone, you are suffering from the, “First Tape effect”, (also known as FTE, I’m working on the trademark as you read). FTE is when the fan is so hooked on how an artist used to sound that they can’t stand the artists’ current sound. I mean their original sound is what broke the artist into the mainstream in the first place, why the fuck would they abandon it? Now I’m saying not every rapper, singer, shit even movie director, suffers from this condition but there is significant evidence to prove that FTE is a real thing.

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way taking away from the careers any of these artists, they are still multimillionaires and I am a [temporary] BROKE BOI. I am simply giving my opinion.

Growth in YOUR respected vehicle in art is obviously an essential thing, especially if you the artist expect to have a successful career. However, people (aka the fan), have an insatiable appetite for music, especially in this digital age. They are never satisfied with what they have, always wanting more, always wanting something different. They expect artists to show their versatility while giving us the same flows that we fell in love with. This comes with a lot of risk, not so much from the rapper’s end because there is always going to be something for everyone. But as a fan this means that the there is no choice but to experiment with sound in the hopes that the artist can grow. And with some fans this is where the “First Tape Effect” starts to manifest. Chance the Rapper for example is someone who DEFINITELY has fans that suffer from FTE.


The Summer of 2013 introduced the world to a new sound, something that we never expected to hear. We were introduced to Acid Rap, a mixtape by Chance the Rapper. Technically Acid Rap was not his first tape, it was a follow up to 10 Day and was based around him creating an album while taking acid, hence the name Acid Rap. It was the tape that introduced Chance to the world of mainstream exposure and radio play. Listening to Acid Rap I actually felt like I was having an acid trip and the crazy part is I HAVE NEVER EVEN DONE ACID, but the stories Chance told on that tape were described so well that I felt like I could really relate. From the word choice to how he plays with the beats, It was truly a masterpiece. Fast forward to 2020 Chance has had a very successful career, but we have not had another Acid Rap sounding tape from him since. He has definitely grown within his own craft and has found a sound that speaks most to him, and he loves his wife, which is AMAZING, but it is certainly isn’t that drug fueled colorful sound that the world did not know they needed.


Originality is hard to come by and when we do we want to hold on to it forever. Just like Chance the Rapper, A$AP Rocky has brought an original and infectious sound to Hip Hop. However, he didn’t create a new sound like Chance. He was able to utilize the slow trill sounds of Texas and the lyrical fashion forward sound of New York rap and create something that was unheard of at the time. The first Rocky song I can remember listening to is probably “Purple Swag” off the tape LiveLoveASAP. The slow trill vibe of the song was AMAZING. Fans knew that this was somebody with longevity. However with his latest album he experiments with new sounds and flows and it just does not connect. The tape was not widely popular with fans outside his core fanbase, Don’t get me wrong I love the album, it just does not give us that old Rocky sound we need.



These are just two examples of what the “First Tape Effect” actually is. As stated before not all artists suffer from this. I mean most are able to actually grow their craft and take it to a direction that is completely different from when they started and still succeed. I mean we have Childish Gambino who already was a strong contender when CAMP dropped, but he was able to morph his career into something crazy different and still have a unique sound.

The music industry is a very fickle thing. In my opinion it is one of the most critical fields to be in, there are way too many parameters that fans will hold an artist too and still not be happy. Every artist needs to grow and sometimes it doesn’t catch, but that’s the beauty of it, they never stop growing.

Who are some artists you wish would go back to their original sound?

#discussion #hiphop #music #rap

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