::HEADPHONE JUNKIE:: TOP 5 MUSIC COLLECTIVES
by George Kilpatrick
by George Kilpatrick
Music Collectives have historically guided and influenced the direction of music. We have seen some of the greatest records in modern history because of the collaboration of artist within a collective. A music collective is a group of musicians who collaborate over time to perform, record, or produce music We will be discussing 5 of the greatest music collectives to ever do it.
Originating in Plainfield, New Jersey, Parliament-Funkadelic is a funk, soul, and rock music collective. The collective began in late 1950s and have been performing ever since. Parliament under the direction of George Clinton consists of many different permutations and arrangements but consistently produces music that makes you move and groove. They have consistently produced quality music and one of their most notable songs is “Atomic Dog," one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop. Their over 50 year career as been marked by constant reinvention and radical thought. Parliament was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame in 1997 and was the largest group ever inducted; this honor is emblematic of their influence and their contributions to the music industry.
Beginning in the early 90s, Wu-Tang Clan is considered one of the greatest rap groups and music collectives of all time. Hailing from New York City Wu-Tang consists of Ol’ DirtyBastad, RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa and Cappadonna. Wu-Tang is a hardcore hip-hop group whose unique sounds have reached many different generations of music lovers. Wu-Tang’s success it’s marked by their influence on many of rap’s greatest artists and music makers. The leader of Wu-Tang, RZA pioneered many production technique and sound-scaping styles that would effect generations to come. Kanye West and Nas were both inspired by Wu-Tang’s music and did some collaborative work with them.
The roster of this music collective reads like a who’s who among iconic soul music and hip-hop artists. Consisting of Bilal, James Posyer, D’Angelo, Common, J Dilla, ?uestlove, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Q-tip the Soulquarians are a history making group who for 6 years got together to make some of the greatest soul music we’ve heard. Timeless albums like D’Angelo’s “Voodoo,” Erykah Badu’s "Mama’s Gun," Common’s “Electric Circus” and The Roots’ “Phrenology” were all products of their time together. What we saw with the Soulquarians was a return to the old school as they studied greats like Prince and Stevie Wonder and worked to capture the same musical magic that is captured on their iconic records. They studied for months before releasing any music and the outcome was legendary. The Soulquarian’s recorded their projects at the historic Electric Lady studios and truly channeled the innovative spirit of the late Jimi Hendrix.
The first set of modern day juggernauts to grace our list, black hippy is a collective based out of the West Coast consisting of Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock. Black hippy formed when each of these artists was signed to Top Dawg Entertainment in 2009 and they have been making good music ever since. They have yet to release a collaborative project but each artist respectively has released solo projects to critical acclaim. As a collective they support each other and often feature on each other’s tracks. The exciting thing about Black Hippy is that they are just getting started and have taken the industry by storm. Kendrick just won a Grammy for his hit single "i," Ab Soul will soon be releasing an album, Jay Rock is working on his sophomore album and Schoolboy Q is working on his next album. We are looking forward to the music that they will be releasing.
A$AP Mob is a collective of rappers, producers, video directors, visual artists and fashion designers who share a similar interest in music. Founded by the late A$AP Yams in 2006, this New York based collective is highlighted by rappers A$ap Rocky, A$AP Ferg, and producer A$AP Ty Beats. A$AP Mob first made waves in the music scene when their video for A$AP Rocky’s single “Pe$o” earned them millions of views on YouTube. They continued to produce hits and were marked by their unique sound and iconic fashion choices. In 2011 A$AP Rocky signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment which provided a provision to help fund the growing work of A$AP Mob. Since that deal A$AP Mob has consistently been touring and in 2015 A$AP Rocky released a #1 album. However January of 2015 the founder and leader of A$AP Mob, A$AP Yams passed away of a suspected drug overdose.