My first album was primarily about familiarizing myself with the process of growing a projected set of tracks from conception to release.
I kept the beats intentionally simple and steady looping through the entirety of the song. Some had longer loop than others, but they all were straight repeat from beginning to end. It's been done plenty before and I selected it as format to get started quickly (Always Be Producing, Details Be Damned).
I chose to set a goal of five tracks, my rationale was that the average EP is 4-6 tracks and I decided to rest in the middle. I feel it is important to set specific goals like this. You have an objective to aim for, you know when a phase, such as recording, is finished and you can move onto the next phase, like mixdown, for those same set of tracks.
I try to spend time regularly messing about with beats in general. It's better to have too many than too few. The beats for this album were some that I had been playing with and I wanted to use as canvases for my lyrics.
In each case, I had the beats before I had the full lyrics, but I constantly take note of lyric fragments as inspiration hits, so not everything in the songs was specifically inspired by the beat.
I'm not going to dissect each song bit by bit, I leave that to the listener. My goal here is to share the process and the experience.
I learned a lot from this first album. Mix-down and mastering nuances, songwriting and creative obstacles, sound design, recording techniques, and so many other aspects. Most of all, I learned how little I know, and how much more I want to explore.
Is everything perfect? Hardly. It won't be, not on an early effort. Focusing too much on perfection will prevent you from ever actually PERFECTING your technique. The word itself implies less than perfection. Get used to it, then get better.
Which brings me to my final point.
If you are a musician, and you haven't actually made an album yet, do so.
Start now. Avoid excuses, and commit to finishing no matter how rough the end product (you most likely will surprise yourself if you are at all serious about it). Pour your heart and soul into it as if it was a million dollar studio album. Squeeze every bit of creativity you can from your meager equipment. Have fun with it, make it a journey of discovery. Embrace finality when its done.
And then start working on Album #2. And then Album #3. Keep going. So many people give up without even trying, don't be one of them.
Stay Creative. Always Be Producing.