“The original was better.”
It’s one of the internet’s favorite aphorisms, a sentiment birthed perhaps ages ago by cranky critics long tired of endless sequels, remakes, reboots, and extended universes. It’s been borne out by decades of the same forever failing to meet the lofty expectations set by culture-shifting movies, books, and entertaining diversions like Alien, Ghostbusters, Predator, and Star Wars, all of which have seen at least one sequel or other extension within the last few years. It haunts the makers of any spin-off or homage or parody within minutes of its announcement on today’s media-obsessed content mills and social networks.
So, why, then, do artists continually return to the same creative wells of inspiration when they need to turn around their public perception in a hurry? Just look at today’s album release schedule; there are numbered return projects from Lil Wayne (Tha Carter V), Logic (YSIV) , and Kevin Gates (Luca Brasi 3), while Kanye West’s Yandhi is at least a spiritual successor to 2013’s Yeezus and was rumored to be titeld Yeezus 2 at one point. Kanye has spent the better part of the month teasing fans with the possibility of a sequel to 2011’s collaborative album with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne, and even announced the conclusion of his early-career tetralogy of albums with the long-awaited Good Ass Job, now bequeathed to the musical catalog of his fellow Chicagoan and quasi-protege Chance The Rapper.