1 DRAKE YM/CASH MONEY/UNIV MOTOWN 462,989*
So Drake didn’t sell a billion copies of Thank Me Later huh. I can’t say I’m all that surprised. I figured he’d probably do a respectable 500-600K, but I was also prepared for him to do something completely ridiculous like 2 million. Over saturation can either work for you or against you and this seems to be a case of the latter. Not that I blame his handlers/Universal for flooding the market. That’s what your supposed to do with an artist that’s buzzing right? I suppose. I think there’s a balance that needs to be struck though. You don’t want people to walk into the record store and say “who the fuck is this guy”, but you also don’t want them thinking, “not this fucking guy again”.
Hype is a helluva drug. It clouds the judgement of rappers, fans and critics alike. It can also hurt just as much as it can help, if not more. If Drake wasn’t so over hyped, this 462K he did would seem like an epic debut. But with expectations what they were, anything short of a million first week will be viewed by many as a failure. Which is completely absurd. To put things in perspective, Jay-Z, arguably the most famous rapper living, did 475K his first week out with Blueprint 3. And you’re out of your mind if you think this Drake album isn’t eventually going platinum.
I like Thank Me later. It’s cool. It could’ve been way better though. I liked it more after one listen than I did So Far Gone after one listen. One of my NMC brethren who shall remain nameless, says he can’t get through TML without falling asleep. Ha ha. That’s how I felt about SFG, but (most of it) grew on me. It was mostly all the singing that turned me off. TML is really just a more polished version of SFG, but for whatever reason the singing doesn’t bug me as much this time around. Maybe it was all of that polish.
So what does all of this mean for the music industry? Probably nothing except that it’s just as hard to sell records as it was last year and the year before, and that the Carter 3 numbers were an anomaly. I’m sure there are some valuable lessons to be learned here, I’m just not quite sure what they are yet. Drake was supposed to be the guy who would usher in a new era of rap artists. He’s really one of the first artists to enjoy a rabid stan-base both on and offline. He’s got bars and he appeals to the ladies and the TRL crowd. He’s relatively “safe”. He’s supposed to be putting up NSYNC numbers right? He was supposed to be the rap industry savior that would introduce a new model and rewrite the rules of success. but that’s the thing about selling records for a living though, it’s a fucking crap shoot if there ever was one.
I’ll stick to blogging (for now).
You know what’s crazy though? I bet you some dude with half of the backing and co-signs of Drake will come out in the next couple of years and crush everybody. He’s probably out there somewhere right now quietly putting out mixtapes or leaking songs on the Internet. Isn’t that how it always works? It’s always the sleepers who come back and blow up. Who could’ve ever guessed that the skinny dude warming up crowds for Kane would turn into the Jay-Z we know today. Who ever thought Curtis would overcome all of the obstacles life threw at him to accomplish what he has? I guess that’s what keeps all of you aspiring rappers going.
(*these #’s are from HitsDailyDouble, and they’ve been known to be off by a few thousand, so that number may change by tonight when Soundscan reports)