Apparently, leaking single songs and entire albums just wasn't enough for the hip-hop bootleggers and bloggers of the world. Over the course of the last few years, they've also used Rapidshare, Medafire and a slew of other file-hosting sites to upload reference tracks. Just this week, a reference track for an unfinished Dr. Dre song called "Turn Me On" hit the Internet.
If you have no idea what a reference track is, let us explain. A reference track is essentially an unfinished song that features verses, hooks and even artists that are just placeholders on the song. For instance, a reference track for Dr. Dre's Detox may feature a hook rapped by Jay-Z, a verse rapped by T.I. and a long gap in the middle of the song where a verse is supposed to be. But Jay and Tip's parts might actually be parts of the song they've ghostwritten for Dre and the gap might be where Dre plans on sticking an Eminem verse. See how it works? And that's what makes these leaks so frustrating for artists: they're suuuuper rough cuts of what an actual song will sound like.
That said, the biggest problem with reference tracks is that once they're out, artists usually drag them into the Trash folders on their computers and never bother finishing them—even when we'd like to hear what the finished product actually sounds like. Here at VIBE, we've got a few we're hoping will escape that fate. Here are 11 reference tracks we want to hear finished one day. Don't give up on these just yet, guys.—Chris Yuscavage