August 13, 2021No Comments

Unreleased Music Lost In The Digital Archives

From Dr Dre's Detox to Drake's It's Never Enough, there are countless albums that have never left the studio. Although fans will never get the chance to hear some of these bodies of work, that's not the case for all records. In this article, we dive into some of the unreleased music available online and exploring why it ended up in the digital archives. 

From the archives: mixtapes you should check out

 

Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, ULTRA (2012) 

Photo Creds: Frank Ocean

Despite his impressive discography, Frank Ocean also has several unreleased mixtapes in his locker. This includes his 66-track project, The Lonny Breaux Collection. According to the reports, Nostalgia, ULTRA also ended up in the archives because of uncleared samples, a common roadblock for artists. 

After Ocean used a sample from the Eagles' record "Hotel California" on his track "American Wedding", the band's founding member Don Henley threatened legal action. In response, Ocean clarified that he put the record out for free "if anything, I'm paying homage." But Henley didn't appreciate it as he said, "I thought he was a talentless little prick. And I still do", during an interview in the Guardian in 2015. 

Listen to Nostalgia, ULTRA here.

Kanye West - unreleased demo (2016)

2016, the year fans saw several tracks from Kanye West's masterpiece Yeezus leaked. Three years after the 10-track album dropped, two artefacts, "Good Things Don't Last" and "One I Love", emerged on SoundCloud. According to reports, Kanye showed up at Rick Rubin's house just 15 days before the album dropped to sort through a host of unfinished songs. Kanye whittled down the tracklist, so there are likely several more tracks that didn't make it out. 

Today, the two records have been removed from SoundCloud but can be found on YouTube. 2016 was also the year SoundCloud user Trilly Madison shared eight unreleased Kanye beats.  

Listen to Kanye's unreleased demo here.

Aaliyah - One in a Million (1996)

Photo Creds: Aaliyah One In A Million

Following her passing in 2001, much of Aaliyah's discography is nowhere to be found on streaming services. Her One in a Million album is no exception. Much of the iconic R&B's singers catalogue has never appeared on streaming services due to legal issues with her estate, according to Essence

In 2020, Aaliyah's estate announced via her posthumous Twitter account that her music catalogue would soon become available on streaming services.

Earlier this month, an update came as her estate shared another statement on social media. They expressed “protecting Aaliyah’s legacy is, and will always be our focus. For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish.”

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aaliyah Haughton (@aaliyah)

Following the update, there has been speculation that Aaliyah’s music will be available to stream from 20 August, as One in a Million will be the first release. While we await Aaliyah's entire discography, you can listen to some of her music here.

Eminem – Infinite (1996)

The Slim Shady LP is often considered Eminem's debut album. However, Infinite is the rapper's neglected debut. While the lead track of Eminem's first studio album (Infinite) is available to stream, the other 10 tracks aren't available on streaming services. According to reports, the album was a commercial failure, selling around 1,000 copies. Despite the numbers, Infinite showcases Eminem's lyrical ability and trademark delivery. It's well worth a listen for diehard fans and curious listeners.  

Listen to Infinite in its entirety here 

De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)

Along with their debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul's follow-up De La Soul is Dead is also unavailable online. As explained in a 2016 interview with The Independent, their early contracts specify the samples they used can only be used on 'vinyl and cassette'. 

As their early work includes samples from Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Johnny Cash, a new cut deal would be needed in order for these songs to stream.

If you're willing to do some digging, you'll find several of De La Soul's early records on YouTube

A round-up of unreleased music wouldn't be complete without an honourable mention to Biz Markie. On June 2, 1993, the hitmaker released his fourth studio album, (All Samples Cleared!) marking his first release after losing a legal battle over clearance of samples in his music. In a 2018 article, The BoomBox explored how "All Samples Cleared! may be recognised more for marking a new era of production techniques in rap." 

Discovering unreleased music from the archives 

While leading platforms may choose not to stream albums based on commercial value, licensing seems a key factor, particularly with records from the pre-streaming era. Of course, many records remain unreleased due to artist and label discretion, which is the case with Dr Dre's Detox as perfectionism has prevented the album's release for two decades and counting. Here’s hoping Kayne West doesn’t follow suit with his highly anticipated album Donda

Although the streaming giants don't play home to unreleased music, savvy fans have discovered a whole load of places to unearth hidden gems. Here are just some of the places you can look...

Reddit

Reddit is a gold mine for discovering unreleased music. Whether you're searching for a particular track like this unreleased Nipsey Hussle record, or a compilation of discoveries from like-minded fans. You won't be disappointed with what you find on Reddit. 

DatPiff 

DatPiff is another go-to destination for hip-hop and rap fans, playing home to plenty of unreleased tracks. Since launching in 2005, DatPiff is now the 'largest digital archive of mixtapes in the world'. So, if you're looking for something specific, chances are, you'll find it on DatPiff. 

SoundCloud

With over 265 million tracks, SoundCloud is the 'world's largest online community of artists, bands, DJs and audio creators'. SoundCloud allows anyone to upload music whenever they want, from wherever they want. So, thanks to the lack of gatekeeping, the streaming platform plays home to plenty of unreleased music. If you're not sure where to start, you'll find lots of playlists like this one. 

Rare Trackz

While there are plenty of social media pages sharing news/updates for unreleased music, Rare Trackz is one of the best of the bunch. So if you follow just one account today, let it be Rare Trackz. 

If you've lucked out in your search for unreleased tracks from your favourite artists, Google is your best friend. It may take some rabbit holes and some questionable quality, but you'll likely stumble across something if you look hard enough. 

When writing this article, The Independent reported that unreleased music by the late rapper XXXTentacion will be sold as NFTs (non-fungible tokens). According to reports: "In partnership with New York crypto-collectable company YellowHeart, XXXTentacion's estate is releasing five NFTs featuring material that has not been officially released before."

They added: "The collection will contain previously unseen concert footage, as well as five songs from XXXTentacion's back catalogue, which were originally shared unofficially on SoundCloud." As the popularity of NFT's grow, perhaps we'll see other musicians follow suit. Whatever the reason for unreleased records, it's undoubtedly arguable that we should hear the hidden gems from our favourite artists. So, whether it's coming from a teenage hacker looking to make money or an unwavering fan unveiling artefacts, hearing unreleased music almost feels like discovering an artist for the very first time. More time, unreleased tracks, EP's, and albums are somewhat unpolished, offering insight into artists’ early days or raw material, which in turn, give fans an alternative listening experience. In short, the digital archives can quickly become a music lover's heaven.

October 22, 20201 Comment

How Hip-Hop Continues To Influence Fashion Designers

Hip Hop Influenced Fashion Designers Kanye Tupac Louis Vuitton Versace

Kanye West in Louis Vuitton. Tupac at Versace 1996. Images: @Pinterest

It’s no secret that many of the world’s most famous fashion houses have long been inspired by musical influences. In the 80s, Madonna’s lace gloves and corsets sparked a new direction at Jean Paul Gaultier while Cher’s extravagant costumes and love of all things embellished skyrocketed the careers of Bob Mackie and Halston. In recent years, some of the most prominent faces in the music industry are celebrated Hip-Hop artists and as such, the signature style of this genre has become a permanent reference for many designer brands. While the likes of Gucci, Louis Vuitton and their counterparts may have been slow on the uptake, (apart from Tupac’s infamous runway debut at Versace in 1996), there’s no denying that Hip-Hop as a zeitgeist has actively led the clothing industry into a more casual, streetwear-inspired direction.

 

Big, Unabashedly Bold Logos

 

Fashion designers inspired by hip hop trends Aaliyah Tommy Hilfiger

Aaliyah's 1996 Tommy Hilfiger campaign. Images: @Pinterest

Decorated across streetwear brands like FUBU and Supreme, favoured by Hip-Hop’s finest, bold logos on hats, t-shirts, trousers and bags were a key status symbol. One of the earliest adopters of this trend was Tommy Hilfiger, an all-American brand once known for ‘country club chic’ who quickly got the bold-logo memo and updated the label's aesthetic accordingly. A quick endorsement from Snoop Dogg on SNL later and suddenly Tommy Hilfiger’s mass appeal was cemented. The label even cast one of Hip-Hop’s most notable names at the time, Aaliyah, in their 1996 ad campaign.

 

fashion designers influenced by hip hop logos burberry versace louis vuitton

Versace SS18, Louis Vuitton AW18, Burberry SS18. Images: @Pinterest

On the modern runways, this lack of subtlety translated to a move from minimalism to maximalism. At Louis Vuitton in the 2010s, LV logos weren’t just saved for a belt buckle or two but instead became almost a wallpaper that covered apparel from head-to-toe. Other designers followed suit and soon if you were wearing Balenciaga, Versace, Burberry or the like, it was more than clear from your clothing.

 

Athleisure As The Du Jour Aesthetic  

 

hip hop influencing fashion designers tom ford burberry marc jacobs

Tom Ford SS20, Burberry AW19, Marc Jacobs AW17. Images: @Pinterest

Sneakers, hoodies and tracksuits were once marketed as strictly off-duty pieces. Worn on the weekends or in more casual settings, these items weren’t seen as work or formalwear appropriate - a notion that could not be further from the truth now. One of the most high-growth (and high-price) industries within the fashion world, sneakers are no longer resigned to sportswear and instead, are a valuable status symbol many designer labels are taking full advantage of. In the last five years alone, the luxury sneaker market grew threefold and in 2019 was valued at over $55 Billion. 

Although accessories have played a leading role in high-fashion’s fondness of streetwear, silhouettes such as sweatshirts and joggers have also enjoyed a resurgence on the catwalks of brands that were once only known for couture. At Marc Jacobs, the designer even cited the documentary ‘Hip-Hop Evolution’ as the inspiration for his Autumn/Winter 2017 collection which celebrated the influence of streetwear on youth culture.

 

Collaborations And Endorsements 

 

Hip Hop Inspiring fashion designers Gucci Dapper Dan

Dapper Dan for Gucci 2018 Image: Gucci

While high-end designers may have taken time to warm up to Hip-Hop’s influence on fashion, Hip-Hop has long celebrated and been inspired by high-end designers. Case in point: Dapper Dan. A fixture on the Hip-Hop fashion scene in the 80s and 90s, NYC’s infamous tailor used fake Gucci prints (among others) in many of his designs for clients including Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J and more. In a full circle moment, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele recognised the creative genius of these designs and reached out Dapper Dan in 2018 to create a collection for the Italian Maison, inspired by the Harlem-based couturier’s 80s archives.

 

For more fashion inspiration, check out Usher and Ella Mai's colourful 'Don't Waste My Time' video: https://cultureshiftuk.com/usher-and-ella-mai-get-one-last-party-in-before-quarantine-in-dont-waste-my-time-video/

 

 

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