Each artist has a unique and distinct work ethic like no other. Some work best in isolation without any distractions, while others feed off of group collaborations and shared creativity. No matter which environment the artist chooses to work in to create new music, it’s important that they feel comfortable and ready to work under the proper conditions, or else their time on a project could drag out much longer than anticipated. However, is there a “better” environment, between collaborating with other artists or to create solo music? 

Many creatives prefer to work by themselves when it comes to an upcoming project, as they may see a specific vision for their album that others won’t see, preventing progress from being made. While some still collaborate outside of their projects, others will still tend to keep to themselves. Artists such as Frank Ocean or J. Cole will release their albums with no significant, credited featured artists if they have any features at all on the project. This allows the listener to focus solely on the artist’s music, rather than jumping to songs with features from other artists they recognize. 

However, they aren’t entirely sheltered as they’ve collaborated with other artists over the years. Frank Ocean has collaborated with others on a string of singles, including “RAF”, and most recently “Purity” from A$AP Rocky’s “Testing”. Rapper J. Cole has become known for his recent, spectacular feature run. He appeared on a multitude of projects in the form of jaw-dropping guest verses, ranging from 21 Savage’s “a lot” to Gang Starr’s “Family & Loyalty”. 

There are also certain benefits to having a handful, or significant, amount of features on an album. Having a strong list of features on a project can bring in a plethora of fans that aren’t aware of the artist, but know other artists that have their names attached to the project. This will project the artist’s name in other music circles and give them a chance to bring in new fans. If an artist chooses to take this route for their album, they must be willing to share the spotlight. Artists have had the spotlight stolen from them on their project countless times when their guest feature kills it, so they must be prepared for this possibility. 

Regardless of how an artist wishes to create music, it can be extremely beneficial to all artists involved to collaborate at times, as they may learn from one another. Whether it be new rhyme schemes, flows, or any other aspect that can be taken away from working together, collaborating with others has practically no downside. If one artist works well with another, they can bring each other up as they rise to the ranks of other popular duos they look up to. 

Whether an artist chooses to work by themselves or with others, there are benefits to both sides, so it could be best to do both, but it simply comes down to personal preference. In the end, it’s most important that the artist is in a workspace and environment that’s most comfortable for them, allowing them to create the best music they’ve ever worked on.