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No old timers day in rap

I read somewhere last week that DMX’s new album Year of the Dog…Again would be duking it out with the hits compilation (there were hits this summer?) Now That’s What I Call Music 22 for the number one spot on this week’s Billboard albums chart. Which I of course took to mean that DMX would almost certainly have his sixth album in a row debut at #1.

Come to find out, DMX missed number one by about 1,000 copies, possibly even less, ending up at number two on the week. Given that NOW 22 had already been on the charts for about a month prior to this, I think it’s safe to say you boy X caught a certified brick. Those are Fishcale numbers by a guy who used to go gold-plus his first week out.

Of course when I heard that, my first thought was why the fuck didn’t Sony just buy a few thousand copies of Year of the Dog…Again? Doesn’t Def Jam buy several thousand copies of everything they put out and just keep them in a warehouse somewhere, or is that just another one of those hip-hop urban legends? If DMX can afford to post $25,000 bail everytime he gets a traffic ticket, I don’t know why he didn’t just buy them himself.

Granted, spending $10,000 on rap CDs (possibly less if you can get a wholesale rate) wouldn’t have saved Year of the Dog…Again from its ultimate commercial fate. Gnarls Barkley aside, sales of most rap albums these days are dropping by more than half their second week out. As T.I. recently found out, selling over half a million copies your first week out is no guarantee that you’ll do much better than 1x platinum.

That said, you’d think that Sony would like the album to debut at number one, if only to prove that their aren’t completely inept at marketing rap music. They are, after all, competing with a label run by a dumbass rapper and a label that will sign most anyone, including a buncha people dropped from the three other major labels. And with Nas signed to a joint venture deal with Jay-Z, DMX might be Sony’s biggest rap act these days – their flagship, if you will.

Furthermore, I happen to know for a fact, because I’m going to the strip club, that Sony spent quite a bit of money advertising this shit. Check out this post at the Hip Hop and Advertising blog on the fancy banner ads Sony took out on several other, inferior hip-hop sites. And that’s not to mention whatever added publicity X is receiving from his BET reality series (I know) and his various run-ins with Johnny Law.

As such, I think you can’t help but view DMX catchig a brick with Year of the Dog…Again as the end of an era. Not unlike Busta Rhymes with the Big Bang, it could be the case that there was nothing Sony could’ve done to make people give a shit about DMX at this stage. He’s yesterday’s news.

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