J. Cole, A$AP Rocky & Kendrick Lamar Lay Low : What It Means For Hip-Hop

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A few years ago it seemed as if you couldn't go a minute without hearing a track with a feature from Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole or A$AP Rocky, but with the three laying low what does that mean for hip-hop?

The key word is laying low, as each of the artists haven't been completely absent from the culture or their features at all. The number of features that they have been in however, has dropped significantly. Rocky was recently featured on a remix of Sam Smith's "I'm Not The Only One," as well as P. Reign's "We Them" off his "Dear America" EP. Lamar was recently featured on Flying Lotus' "Never Catch Me" and Cole voiced his opinion on police brutality and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Fans are now struggling to find information on three rappers that were highly acclaimed. It is important that artists like this lay low for a while because it allows the culture to continue to grow and add variety to the game.

Artists like Big K.R.I.T., who recently released his "See Me On Top 4" mixtape, continuously put out music, free music at that, and he is arguably one of the better lyricist in the game but was out-shined by some of the above mentioned acts.

No this wasn't on purpose, no artist sets out to bring down another unless they are beefing which was not the case at all.

Often times a listener will hear a strong verse from Lamar or Cole and then research their entire discography. Meanwhile, other artists are putting out quality music but all the listener wants is more of what they are familiar to.

Once they have reached the point of saturation with all of the old music in their rotation listeners look for new rising artists to fill their void.

Logic, Childish Gambino, Big K.R.I.T., Schoolboy Q, Bas and A$AP Ferg are just a few examples of artists who have been able to shine even brighter with the main names laying low.

Interesting enough each of these artists also have groups in which they all promote and encourage. A$AP Rocky has his A$AP Mob featuring Ferg, Nast, Ant and Twelvy to name a few.

A$AP ferg has had a breakout year following the release of his "Trap Lord" album last August.

Kendrick Lamar has his TDE family in which ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, RZA and Isaiah Rashad have all released albums and mix-tapes for fans so far this year. The one member who has yet to release an album is Jay Rock by according to various sources including Complex and HotNewHipHop.com his album will be coming this year. Lamar is also expected to release his follow up to "g.o.o.d.

kid m.A.A.d city" later this year and recently released the album art for his upcoming single "I." Lamar allowed his group to shine and release their albums without his name being attached to them.

It allows them to be generate an identity of their own without being labeled as Kendrick Lamar's affiliate.

J. Cole has his Dreamville sub-label with artists such as Bas, Omen and Treasure Davis with whom he promoted by releasing a mixtape titled "Revenge of the Dreamers." After the release of that mixtape came Bas' effort "Last Winter" which Cole is still promoting on his Twitter page by having his avi image as the album cover.

Prior to the Ferguson riots Lamar was also using the same tactic in promoting Ab-Soul's "These Days" album.

In essence these artists laying low isn't bad for the game. While all of the fans may want continuous new music from them, having that idle time between albums is necessary for other talents such as the ones mentioned in this article to shine brighter.

It prevents the hip-hop culture from being completely saturated by the same names over and over again. As the English poet William Cowper once said, "Variety's the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor."

Photo courtesy of gozamos.