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When hip hop cameos reach the point of diminishing returns

Thursday, October 09, 2008 - 12:11 PM

I like the fact that mega-selling artists like Jay Z and Lil Wayne will apparently appear on anyone’s record, anywhere, anytime. It shows that these guys, even though they’ve “made it” and probably don’t need the additional work and exposure, still enjoy going into the studio and playing nicely with others. Now, whether they do it just for the love of the music, or to help a friend or a protégé, is immaterial – both are good reasons to do these sorts of musical cameos. A cynic might say they do it because it’s easy money, but these guys, Lil Wayne especially, appear on a lot of small-budget records and even on mixtapes, which cannot legally enter the marketplace.

But these cameos have gotten out of hand. When rapper KRS-One made a guest appearance on REM’s “Radio Song” almost 20 years ago, that was a big deal. But if Lil Wayne is on every other record, then it’s no big deal if he’s on your record. It’s reached the point where it seems an artist can’t make a record nowadays without leaning on the success of others. These cameo appearances can be fun, they can be exhilarating, but I think we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns with them. It’s beginning to look like people are afraid of doing it on their own anymore.

What do you think? Has the musical “guest” routine become too… routine?

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