So I was gonna write this long diatribe about how the first 3 months of every year are void of blockbuster Hip Hop albums and how all these rappers and record labels seasonally sword fight with each other jousting over summer and holiday sales when theres less competition and increased marketing opportunities in the wide-open-first-quarter and then I remembered...
I already did.
April 2007. From The Vault...
EVERY YEAR THIS ISH HAPPENS!
Every artist and every label fiends for that summer smash, or that holiday season cash-in - and they all end up crossing-swords fighting over rapidly depleting album sales!
Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco, The Game, The Roots, Clipse, Ice Cube, Outkast, Obie Trice, Young Jeezy, Diddy, DMX, Mos Def, Method Man, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, Lloyd Banks, Pharrell, all released albums between June and December of 2006. As of today, only Hova and Outkast* managed to crack (the much overrated) platinum status domestically (both deserving significant asterisks - Outkast released Idlewild in conjunction with the duos feature film Idlewild - quintessential cross promotion. And as President of Def Jam, Jay-Z was essentially the only artist with complete control over his marketing budget - allegedly spending upwards of $20 million on album promotion for his un-retirement Lp Kingdom Come - including a Super Bowl ad and an unprecedented 1-Day US tour). A few others above posted strong sales numbers (Jeezy, The Game, Luda, and Nas are all approaching 1 million albums sold...6 months later) - the rest fell victim to the competition.
Too many MCs, not enough muttaskuttas buying CDs.
Maybe I missed the memo - but when did it become smart business to release a potentially viable product into an already over-saturated market? 9 out of 10 times money is lost - especially when all the products are packaged the same. And considering the lack of creativity plaguing commercial rap music (Corporate America: once again turning sugar to shit in pursuit of dollars and cents), who can tell the difference anymore? Or more appropriately, who cares to tell the difference?
Here's a thought: rather than flush cash down the isher jousting with every other industry big name during the cluttered 2nd half, why not diversify and drop big-ticket Lps in the wide-open 1st half? Think about it - less competition, increased likelihood of consistent radio and video rotation, and if the chance to make Spring Breakers nationwide dry-hunch to your jammy jam isn't enticing enough, then the increased revenue opportunities should be.
Case in point: T.I.'s 4th studio album, The King, was the only platinum selling album throughout most of 2006. When did it drop?
"You do the arithmetic. WE do the Language-Arts."
"A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre" - Andre 3000; The Love Below
* To be honest, I have no real way to verify this and seriously doubt its accuracy. According to Wikipedia Idlewild is "platinum" but does not distinguish between domestic or international. My assumption is that it went plat internationally, but I also remember what happens when you "assume." So The Quotable will give 'Kast the benefit of the doubt since they've given us a decade worth of Classics.