Editorial: What Defines A Classic?

Editorial: What Defines A Classic? 3

Timeless Music: What Defines A Classic?

In the year 2013, the music game has changed. The whole schematic of the game has been flipped, with the major music labels falling off as one of the main media sources and the independent labels rising to create the new social norm. Through the schematic changes, new music has come around. The creation of this music has changed as well, through the advancement of higher end technology being affordable enough for any person to pick up a DAWs (digital audio workstation) program and creating sounds.

Somethings never change no matter how much change happens in the music world. Some of the all time great albums still remain classics in modern times. Jay’s “Reasonable Doubt”, Nas’s “Illmatic”, and Wu-Tang’s “36 Chambers” are some of the albums that people claim are classics. But in this new modern age of music…can we still define some of this music as a classic?

This question has come into question and plays a big role in this new age of music. For example, take the controversial album of Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid m.a.d.d. city”. Most people argue that it was the greatest album of 2012, and some even called it a classic immediately after release. But does it fit the role of a classic? Can the concept of that project compare to an “All Eyez On Me” by Tupac or a” Marshall Mathers EP” by Em?

I personally believe in a certain criterion when labeling things as a classic. And my classic list differentiates far from the norms. But they are based on a sort of criterion that truly captures the purpose of the music rather than believing in all the hype and glory that these records in question caused.


What Defines A Classic? (My own personal scale)

1. Replayability

First off, Classics need to be able to have replay-ability. I should be able to play a record from 2006 and faithfully bump it in 2013. The music has to be timeless, meaning that regardless of when it came out the music can be played at all times. A perfect example, personally speaking of course, would be “College Dropout” by Kanye West.


Think about it:

 Here’s a break down as to who is attending school (all stats are as of 2007):

  • Males enrolled: 7.8 million

  • Females enrolled: 10.4 million

  • Full time students: 11.3 million

  • Part time students: 6.9 million

  • Students aged 25+: 6.6 million

  • Undergrads: 15.6 million

  • Grad students: 2.3 million

These students are attest to the message in College Dropout regardless of the time that they listen to the album. A classic album has to be able to be played in these life situations and still carry that sound that made so many people fall in love with it in the first place.

2. Social Context

A classic album has to be able to carry the social power of that time and relay it to the people at any given time period. Take for example, “All Eyez On Me” by Pac. This album contains a collection of social issues put together in such a manner that anyone who picks up the album can hear and feel some way towards those issues at the time.

 3. Emotion

The emotions in albums is a critical must. This is sort of simple to understand: The album has to be able to move a person who randomly picks it up. Nothing more to it.

4. Delivery

Last but not least, the delivery of the album has to be able to so astronomically good that it hits you in the face with sounds. Delivery depends on the artist and their intricate ways of explicating messages to the listen have to be at almost a superhero level. Take a Jay or Eminem for example.

Final Thoughts

These criterion are very bold and general…but that’s the beauty of music. Having a somewhat subjective criterion can really help make the music shine. Classics are defined in the way that each individual deems for themselves…which helps make the music become timeless.

Honorable Mentions

Defined as the best Jay-Z album (My favorite record from “Reasonable Doubt” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYIsa_u_C-s)

 If you haven’t heard “The College Dropout’ let me bless your ears to this link—> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0imtmZLmQGc

 If for some reason you haven’t heard this album you are something else—–> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coA6xUngOmw

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