“Had a deal when I had just turned 19, now I look at the rap game as a ponzi scheme…”
With several years in the game, the last few spent strictly as an independent, Starlito’s mastered his craft as an artist and entrepreneur. By that, I mean he’s shown that he understands how to approach the game in its current state and attack it in uncompromising fashion, delivering his music the way he sees fit. With that in mind, For My Foes stands as a blueprint for how to make a quality free project in 2012.
Four points of note.
1. Have a strong visual, which Lito did when he dropped “The Musical.” Throw out all the contenders you want but I haven’t seen a more dynamic approach. All other avenues considering, YouTube stands as one of the main ways most people seek and find music. Star put the whole tape at users’ fingertips and, it’s not just a regular humdrum, green screen edition. “The Musical” is Lito in living color, acting out each FMF track.
2. Keep the release short, sweet and strong. Even diehard supporters can’t keep up most of the time simply because there’s a proliferation of music releasing on a weekly basis. We caught flack because none of Curren$y’s releases made any of our year-end lists. That’s not our fault honestly. As a strong Spitta supporter (and I buy a hard copy or two of any release that hits stores), there were too many projects with his name attached and they were all of varying quality. We can appreciate having a lot of material to sift through, but there’s times when artists should find a way to filter through the music beforehand and break it down to make sure listeners are only getting the gems, especially when discussing MCs who record and release material relentlessly. That strategy saw it’s surge with Wayne’s Drought series, which won’t be topped by anyone soon. We all enjoy a hearty steak, however we don’t want one layered with fat.
Star’s four-track, barely 20-minute project does a whole lot in a small space. In ways, the title of the tape itself is a misnomer because “Foes” aren’t the target at all. Primarily, the project feeds long-time supporters, giving them new material to chew on. Even larger than that, a shortened effort doesn’t seem as daunting for a first-time listener who has heard an artist’s name – from other fans, media, etc – but never taken the time to give the music a listen. While many may not feel like sitting through a 12+ song, 60-80 minute full album, giving a 20-minute release a shot isn’t the least bit daunting. That’s a drive from home to work, from the gym to the crib. Not much effort required at all.
“For the last 12 months, I ain’t have nobody help, No radio song, went and put myself on, That’s why I’m gone holler Grind Hard to the death…”
3. Above all, Lito put a closer eye on quality control on Foes… He’s a guy best known for finding a million ways to talk about the same things creatively. Honestly, he’ll never steer away from rap and bitches because those are the things that have brought him the most success, yet he continues to evolve, managing to still spit with unabashed street bravado while peeling back just a few more layers of who he is as a person. Close your eyes and listen to hear the transition from flat rapper to round character happening. Catch the the references to his OCD relationship with soap, being borderline bi-polar (or so he’s told) marking off 40+ shows in a year’s time and rattling off references to his ranging stacks of footwear, firearms and favorite movies from the ’90s.
4. “Laughin’ to the bank, and I’m burpin’ drank, Dressed like I’m servin’ thangs, gettin’ neck like I’m Merton Hanks, Got a .40 and a 9, I’m on my Steve Young…”
I don’t care who you are. If you can work in a reference to Hanks’ celebratory dance, you have my vote of confidence.