Daily Thoughts

Elaine & Evolution

Let me paint you a picture. I was at the beginning of the pursuit of my career as a music journalist and like most other content creators at the time, I was covering the burgeoning up-and-coming Hip Hop scene commonly referred to as ‘The New Wave’. The scene was filled to the brim with 808s, melodic rap lyrics about substance abuse and being misunderstood… good times. Why am I telling you this you may ask? Well, it’s simple. There was close to zero R&B presence. Yes, there were acts like Febuary and the Oxi Entertainment collective which had the likes of Malachi and Elizeé, however, there wasn’t a true scene with the aforementioned artists existing within the Trap Soul soundscape. In my scouring of the bottomless pit of Soundcloud, I stumbled upon an unknown artist who goes by the name Elaine. Although that might be strange to the tongue today, that wasn’t the case in 2019.

To put it simply, if you were not making Trap or some close variation of it during that era, you were ignored! I do not need to recount the impact that Elaine’s Elements made but I do need to remind you why it performed so well. It’s not that the scene was short of talent, we just hadn’t come across one that commanded as much attention. We hadn’t felt or heard of an artist as polished or certain of their execution on their debut EP. Please read that again. DEBUT EP… not album. I urge you to revisit any other artists’ debut EP, irrespective of genre, and show me one that produced as polished a product. You will find that they are very few and far between. This brings me to the point of this article.

I have no quarrels with people criticising work, as is the case with any piece of art, it is open to judgment. What I do take issue with is the lack of consistency in judgement. In particular, the unscathing criticism of Elaine’s perceived ‘lack of evolution’. It baffles me how people can proclaim that ‘Elaine sings about the same thing’ when her entire discography consists of 1 EP and a handful of singles.

We can argue over details like execution, and the singles she released post Elements, but no matter which way you chop it up, Elaine is an artist that is barely 3 years into their career, whose talents are yet to fully mature.

The Best Music Journalist In Southy. - @lesiba__ everywhere if you're looking for me -

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