In a post for Future and Zaytoven’s magnificent Beast Mode 2, it became clear that after the exhausting 25-song adventure that is Drake’s Scorpion and the short and sweet morsel that is Pusha T’s Daytona, Beast Mode 2 was like a refreshing happy medium with regards to its succinct yet fulfilling length.
However, almost as soon as the words had left my keyboard and the post had gone live, I found myself questioning that sentiment. I’d called it the “perfect length” for a rap album, but my naturally skeptical inner voice almost immediately chimed in with questions, interrogating the very concept. What is the perfect length for an album? What are the criteria? And why, oh why, are we rap fans so damn obsessed with this idea of perfect album length in the first place?
The album length discussion always crops up from time to time, but particularly around Drake’s decision to make Scorpion 25 songs almost immediately after Kanye West’s GOOD Music had gone on a mini-album rampage of five 7-song “albums” in the span of the same number of weeks. That deluge of new music followed a seemingly industry-wide trend of supersizing albums to exploit streaming figures that included Migos’ Culture II, Drake’s two previous projects, Views and More Life, and even Future’s own double album from 2017, Future/HNDRXX.
All of this discussion resulted in any number of music fans asking the album-length question in a struggle to define just what differentiates an EP, an LP, a double album, or mixtape, with everyone weighing in with opinions about the perfect length for an album. The debate even stretches to considering the “future” of album length, as if these trends are indicators of an overall revolution for projects yet to come.