When it comes to talks of "retirement" from any genre of music, it always rubs me the wrong way because thanks to artists like Jay-Z (rap), D'Angelo (R&B), Madonna (pop, right?) erryone has done the "Oh schnap! They're coming back!" reaction to announcements of them making great, unexpected returns. The latest "retiree," The-Dream or just call him Radio Killer, whatever the case may be, he's eyeing down a promised retirement after the release of this upcoming Love King album. Granted, I own his first two solo releases and they're pretty dope to say the least, but gracefully trying to bow out of R&B music? Stop playing with yourself (pause).
Seriously, at the end of the day it seems like a huge joke, this idea of being able to "retire" from anything at all, mostly when it comes to an escape from music. I suppose erryone has their own points of view on the definition of bowing out, but I just see too many faults when it all gets broken down. Could it be since homie is wife'd up for good and has a(nother) baby at home? Maybe the idea of a solid trilogy being attached to his name? Or what about the decline in music sales, could Dream really be out-thinking even the record labels? St-st-st-stop lying! (laugh)
Granted, I can even allow those above arguments to fly for about 60 seconds until this little thing called "reality" is jammed into everyone's heads. But let's be honest, does anyone ever "really" retire from anything? Maybe my main issue is the concept of retiring and what it really means. Let's take a second and go throwback to "SAT Word of the Day" times:
Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely (or decides to leave the labor force if he or she is unemployed).
(laugh) So let's get this right, Dream is going to really hang up the mic and never drop another album again? But even so, can we argue his retirement will also mean not writing more R&B hit records (especially for *cough cough* Christina Milian *cough cough*), never do this rumored collaboration album with Kanye West or hop on guest features amongst the likes of Fabolous, R. Kelly, Mariah Carey?
(laugh) Look, I'm not trying to stunt on Dream because he has a grip of accomplishments under his belt from dropping hot records, changing up the R&B game by bringing in a unique voice and ultimately making other people's songs sound a lot better just by the addition of his vocals. Another big dope aspect of what Dream brings to the table is he's not "corny." Come on, "Shawty Is The Sh*t" is a classic, street respected and has women-appealing steez, all surrounding Dream.
I know passion should not be outweighed by $$$, but at the end of the day, I feel like the power of the dollar could ultimately play a huge role on his retirement. If money dries up, Milian files for divorce, baby mama drama now doubles courtesy of Nivea AND ol 'girl, sure, do you really have a choice? They say album sales can't bring in as much $$$ as touring, but desperation at the very least could strike any artist, entertainer, singer into dusting off the microphone and spitting hot fire once again.
Another key reason I feel Dream should just murk these "retirement" talks is by looking back at your roots. For anyone with a passion for music, how could you just turn your back on the field which steered your career into a Def Jam contract? And if the "When did you first fall in love with R&B?" angle is too wack, then consider your fan base. You know, those "statistics/numbers" which got you gold-certified plaques? Those are the fans who skipped out on those free downloads and copped 'em at their favorite retail outlets... just saying, just saying.
Even better than errything though is your brand. Even if folks say album sales are down the toilet like Mr. Hanky, it's your image which stays attached to your album. As much as I love the big homie Memphis Bleek (sorry, a hip-hop example), I would not want to see him in concert performing "Hey Papi" or, even worse, "Is That Your Chick?" The same lies true with Dream. Say he is okay with never releasing another album but still going out and making tour $$$, what freshness are you going to have to your playlist? I mean, homie isn't really Aretha Franklin-deep in classics where new records are unnecessary.
So the question remains, after Love King, is he going out like Carlito's Way and taking any risks that come with it (including Benny Blanco in the last scene) or could he Scarface this R&B world for every last penny?