Fishscale, a tax write-off

[First of all: See, I told you bitches I was a journalism legend. Not just in the South either. Support me by... um, buying something. Also, now that my legend status is official, I am no longer to be subjected to criticism in any form, per the rules of hip-hop as determined by legions of southern rap stans on the Internet - the true leaders of the genre.]

Now that Ghostface’s new album Fishscale has been out for a week or so, I figured it was as good a time as any to do a little Monday morning quarterbacking. A few weeks (or years, or whatever) ago, I went out on a limb and predicted that Fishscale wouldn’t do very well saleswise. Granted, this wasn’t too controversial a stance to take – Ghostface’s last five or whatever albums all sold less than the ones that preceded them. But then this is the first album Ghostface has released on the new Def Jam, headed by President Jay-Z “Jimmy” Carter.

[Tangent Alert: I suppose that would make Memphis Bleek Billy Carter. And of course Armadale would then be the infamous Billy Beer. Yeah, I know. Legendary.]

Well the first week’s sales figures are in: Fishscale moved about 110,000 units, which on the hand, is probably a few more than you would expect given the first week sales of The Pretty Toney Album, but on the other hand, doesn’t really account for the fact that Def Jam is basically giving away copies of Fishscale to any and all takers. Rather than just having Jimmy “Double Fantasy” Iovine buy a bunch of copies for himself, which is what they usually do, they’ve dropped the retail price all the way down to a measly $6.

[Also, at this point I should note that apparently record stores in the South have some sort of scheme in which they replace the bar codes on certain albums with other bar codes (for what - jars of pickles?). So that may account for a certain amount of irregularity in his sales figures. (It's no wonder they lost the Civil War. They can't even count!) Still, I heard it "shipped platinum." That's gotta count for something.]

Before I was concerned that there was no way in hell Def Jam could actually expect to make money on this shit. Word on the street is that the OG tall Israeli Lyor Cohen orginally signed Ghost to Def Jam shortly before he jumped ship to Wonder Bros., knowing good and well Ghost wasn’t about to sell shit. LA “Two Occasions” Reid, who then became President, wanted to drop his ass like a bad habit, but instead “sabotaged” the marketing of The Pretty Toney Album by making Ghostface do a song with acclaimed record producer Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott.

The truth of the matter is that Def Jam probably couldn’t convince very many more people to buy a Ghostface album if it came with a coupon for free sex with Kristin Cavallari. I may have been wrong though to assume that Def Jam wasn’t already accounting for this fact. I was talking yesterday with someone who would know (a legend, natch) and he was saying that Def Jam has pioneered a scheme in which they no longer pay producers to work on an album, but instead give them points on the back end, Jack Nicholson-style. Should Fishscale somehow manage to turn a profit, MF Doom would, um, actually get paid.

And if it doesn’t, they can always write it off on their taxes as a loss. Hence Def Jam Left. Still, this may actually work out well for hip-hop as an artform. Jimmy and, um, “Jimmy” get a few extra gozillion in their pockets, while the rest of us get albums by consumate artists like Ghostface and The Roots with actual major label backing. Who said capitalism didn’t work? And lord knows we could use something to stem the tide of all this awful southern rap….

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  • Combat Jack

    foist betches

  • WHAT!?

    Is this a joke? Or are you so egotistical you actually beleive what you’re saying?

  • louisiana weezy baby

    ghost face sucks ass the only person i would listen to in wu tang was method man

  • louisiana weezy baby

    and tell him to take that damn eagle off his arm that shit is retarded the reason he didnt sale is because he dropped the same time as a real southern artist T.I.

  • G Off

    lol @ “jars of pickles”

  • Mike Nice

    Somebody tell Immortal Technique that Scooter Libby just snitched on President Bush Jr. Guess that means, by his logic anyway, that it’s time to start snitchin’ in the hood.

  • SB

    Um, Louisiana Weezy Baby needs to check his tone. No one talks about Ghost like that

  • http://source one

    man once again my man hit the shit right on the nose. i agree 100% with this article. lil wayne and T.I.are not the
    best from the south.if t.i. is the king of the south then i guess andre3000 is the god of the south.t.i.’s whole album couldnt fuck wit one line from andre but
    u country ass niggas are too dumb to know that.thank God 4 the niggas in the west and the east.the real niggas that live the fast life in the city.
    down with the south!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Big O

    Yo Weezy take your cajun hatin,gator eatin, gumbo jiggaboo, crawfish snappin ass back to the swampland with that bullshit and stop hatin’, I mean damn all the sudden the south come up and motherfuckers get all big headed like they rule shit, and bring your punk ass back online and I will do you again bitch. This doesnt pertain to everyone in the south just the ones that hate!!!!faggot ass nigga!!!yo mama!!

  • jones

    LA Weezy Baby — Ghost melted down that Eagle bracelet and replaced it with a big globe. Not sure if that’s much of an improvement.

  • Robbie

    To compensate for any money lost on these “commercially challenged” projects, Def Jam plan on charging $26 for the forthcoming “Jay-Z & Nas Present: The Best Of Both Worlds 3 – Wrestlemania” CD.

  • louisiana weezy baby

    Big O, SB, One??? yall dont want it wit me son, i pull on a nigga like Pimp C and let a bullet ride through your grill, Big O what chu wanna do son? runnin yuh mouth like you some gangsta? nigga ill murder your face off lemme catch you in the streets i bet you run around the city in a suit tryna act like some upity faggot, you punk bitch. One i never said TI was king i just meant that obviously his CD would be more anticapated and regarded than Faggity “GhostFace Pussy” just like the rest of you bitches lemme know the next time you hit a club and hear “kilo” playin or any other shit song off that filthy album…BITCH ASS NIGGAS!!! >:0

  • Zeus

    Ghost has to be the most slept on artist ever, a shame, namely dued to his weak ass marketing. I mean, money can freak any beat, with a sick ass-story-line. Anyone that dares to try and defend Ghost should just shut the fuck, cause his music speaks for itself. When the country (crunk) wave rides out, all the dick riders out there will realize the G.O.D. you can’t deny money. Long live Ghost-Dinnie.

  • cire

    As usual Bol, you pull back the curtain on the bullshyt the average joe dont know. Its a shame that Ghost, a rapper with one of the best catalogs in hip-hop history, gets cause up in the corporate shuffle.
    *bumps supreme clientele will reading WSJ*

  • The Dza

    Good music. Isn’t all that matters?

  • eskay

    >>Um, Louisiana Weezy Baby needs to check his tone. No one talks about Ghost like that

    word up

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    Big O Says:

    April 6th, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    “Yo Weezy take your cajun hatin,gator eatin, gumbo jiggaboo, crawfish snappin ass back to the swampland with that bullshit and stop hatin’… and bring your punk ass back online and I will do you again bitch.”

    YEAH!!! Do him again!!! DO IT!!!

    louisiana weezy baby Says:

    April 6th, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    “Big O, SB, One??? yall dont want it wit me son, i pull on a nigga… Big O what chu wanna do son? runnin yuh mouth like you some gangsta? nigga ill murder your face off”

    You’ll pull on a nigga? Is that like an act from a male prostitute? Can I have one?

    And you better listen to him, I’ve know victims whom have had their faces murdered off, it’s not fun at all.

    -Gotta love it-

  • shriner

    bun b wins

  • louisiana weezy baby

    dear mr. toilet im the shit , got these other haters pissed cause my toilet paper thick

  • DJ Droid

    Yo Byron, last week you went on and on how Ghost was going to fail. I challenged you to back up your statements and give a first week sales figure. You declined. I stated that Ghost would sell about 75-90K, and that was coming from a true Wu fan. His numbers instead exceeded my, and clearly your expectations. What do you do? Go on and whine about how Def Jam was giving them away, (my copy cost $12, not $6)how it doesn’t matter anyway, and basically go back on your earlier statements. Why don’t you just admit you were wrong and move on. Ghost is the champ.

  • http://YAHOO 1 K.I.N.G W.A.T.R


  • gerv

    Is that the real Lil Wayne talkin shit or an impersonator.Cause if it is him he know Ghost will beat the livin shit out his tiny ass.And you been rappin since you was real little uh where did you actually find time to be a thug.News flash a platinum grill and hella tattoos don’t make you hard.Further more I hope BG and Juvinile catch yo little ass out in the streets and give you the ass whooping of a lifetime.You say you a grown man so stop callin Birdman yo daddy like you 10 or like he really is your daddy.

  • gerv

    You need to quit with all that fake thug act and killa talk foreal little one.


    Ayo, I just copped both records Ghost and T.I. I used to like the WU, moreso Ghost and Raekwon. I think Ghost’s production and lack of growth in his subject matter is holding him up. You gotta show growth as an artist and the fans will grow with you. He’s still tight lyrically, but still talking about being a drug kinpin in the same way he was 10 years ago. If he had gone South for production, I think he would have had a better response. I understand Jigga respecting him enough to let him do his thing, but uh . . The oversampled grimey prodcution ain’t as marketable as it once was. T.I.s record, is dope. Plus he released the album and movie at the same time. Good marketing. East coast shit is too hard right now. Down South artists embrace each other and make feel good ghetto records. This is coming from an OG, hustler, producer and businessman from Detroit and I lived in Louisiana. Weezy, man, dead that online gangsta shit. You can’t shoot nobody with a keyboard! I ain’t frontin on yo lil bru, but you making yaself look like a poot but. I’m G-Code in a suit, with a CCW. That’s grown man shit. Holla.

  • Michelle

    ( cracks up at JBoogie & co-signs )

    Off subject for a minute: When you look at East Coast artists, especially artists from New York, they’re all hating on each other. The South is the opposite. Most Southern artists support each other. The East Coast had their turn and so did the West; it’s the South’s turn now. Just like someone said before me, as soon as the East gets their turn again, it’ll be “Fuck everybody else”.

    (I will admit though, a lot of Southern artists suck (i.e. Dem Francise Boyz, Young Jeezy, D4L, etc.), but so do some East Coast (i.e. Juelz Santana, Cam’ron, etc.) and Western artists (i.e. Guerilla Black and Spider Loc [lol]). These people are all mainstream artists though. If y’all don’t want to hear that mainstream bull, start listening to underground and old school hip-hop.)
    [NOTE: I'm from VA, where some people consider us Southern and some say we're on the East Coast.]

    Back on subject: I personally think that Ghostface needs to put out a few mixtapes (two/three or more) and do a few songs with some mainstream artists (that always works). Maybe that’ll increase his album sales. Then again…

  • chiclansman

    The album debuted at #4 and moved over 110,000 copies in a week. It is #2 on the rap charts and Billboard indicates it is a hotshot. Are you a moron dude? Sure TI did awesome,but to say Ghost did not move anything is stupid. ( His first album moved about the same when it debuted and finished Platinum) Just admit it, you look like the Jacka** and not man enough to admit you were wrong. If you got something personal against WU that is your right to feel that way,but do not try to fabricate things with your lies. With the exception of T.I>Ghost finish one week along with only 3 other major artist by moving 100,000 units (those 3 are heavy hitters might i add). That is impressive for a vet.Talk smack at the end of the year when the final tally is in. Until time shut up ( XXL, funny thing is,this is the ONLY publication criticizing this accomplishment.Everyone else is giving him props for this. No wonder source continues to bust your lips,XXL employ writers like this worthless moron.

  • mark-1

    point blank period da nigga sucks ass and he’ll never sell cus he jus a loser he probably would of sold 50,000 if it wasnt for neo being on da track. also he dropped da same day as TI wut was he thinkin!!!!!

  • ronald

    I think this is a small battle won for New York hip-hop, the album is all sample based. Except for the Just Blaze track, which had elements of the sampled replayed.
    K-Def made a similar move for the Pretty Toney Album by replaying David Prorter’s “Its Over”; you pay for publishing clearance but not for the master usage. One big reason the big music companies turned away from East Coast hip-hop music; is mainly because of the cost of clearing these samples. Plus in the past some producers wouldn’t clear samples; then in the future the album would get sued which is worse for the company. A perfect example would be the great DJ Premier. Ghost found a way around this; he enlisted the help of someone who owns classic breaks. On his last two projects he had Scutch Robinson as Co-Executive Producer. He is part of the Robinson clan, who gave us Sugar Hill Records. Before the Sugar Hill Gang, his father & mother created great black music. So why not team up and work with samples that he owns so there will be no problem working on a track, if its coming out hot; than run into problems. A. Having some lame, reject the track: B. they want way to much money: C. Don’t want niggas talking violently over their music. I purchased the CD today, and I know its good. Don’t believe the hype

  • toddy tee

    You guys all sound stupid. Arguing over rappers who could give 2 shits about you. That shit is silly. Stickin up for an emcee who would probably not give a fuck if you were dying of cancer. Who sold how many etc..who gives a fuck. You either like it or you dont. Arguing over who is better or who sucks is just opinion. And you cant argue opinion. Dumb fucks.



  • don cuerteon

    fuck that louisiana nigger wu thang is one of the greatest rap groups ever
    They are certainly better than cash money

  • don cuerteon

    Parton my misspelled word wu tang forever

  • http://AOL Lendaman

    yo Big Weezy check it take your corny ass lyrics and go home you little bitch. lay off my mutha fuckin nigga Big O and why cant you throw up your hands like a man instead of hiding behind a gun maybe you know my nigga Big O will beat your gumbo eatin bitch ass to a state of unconsciousness youll be seein triple Sprites in your eyesight. You are a bitch come to NYC with that bull shit we will throw your bitch ass of the Brooklyn Bridge you faggot . You dont want none of Marcy, BedStuy, Fort Greene and thats just in BK recognize who started this hit bitch wouldnt be no south in hip hop if it wasntfor NY. And yes the South is holdin it down for now I will give it to ya. Big Boi, TI, Luda( the illest cat in the south along with Scarface) but Luda and Scarface got respect for the NYC. Fall back read up on the history of Hip Hop and enjoy it because after the South it will be some other region holdin it down. And I would never shoot you rather I would pistol whip your faggot ass so you could tell eveyone how I beat yo ass

  • The Real

    All I have to say is that you are by no means ready for the repercussions of what your mouth has and is about to get you in. I hope yo pussy ass come out the house to find a pistol in your face.

    If you can be seen you can be touched. If you can be touched you can be killed. Think about that one! We know what you look like homie X-(

  • Big O

    Weezy u dont want it, my man len know i’ll smash ya grill and stomp ya ass literally, and i wont stop, step the fuck off.

  • Big O

    motherfukah that little line you spit aint shit,when the toilet paper broke ya played in ya ass like a clit, try makin me run in my hometown,youll get pushed back like the water in your ol’ stompin ground. This shit hear the average new yorker do, bust off on your clown ass like my nuts 1 and 2. bi’ach

  • Big O

    weezy like i said you aint ready lyrical or physical, beleedat, i aint gotta get all hyper!!I know

  • Poison

    I think that Ghost is an allout better rapper that T.I. (total idiot). Despite droppin his album at the same time as Tip Fishscale still managed to sell.
    Bottom Line
    Ghost is still doin it real big

  • unothename

    Ghostface is the King. You are right that Southern rap generally sucks. I still don’t mind T.I. etc, but southern rap does not contain the elements of true hip-hop. It is lyrically short-sighted and country/suburban, it is not music for urban b-boys. But I don’t get your article totally?Ghostface’s sales are cause for celebration – proving real hip hop can actually still sell.

  • fuck da south (xcept luda)

    lousiana weezy baby is an idiot..other than that im speechless

    wu-tang 4 life

  • jorge jigante

    This article on Ghostface is basically diatribe. T.I.’s music sounds like it was made on a fancy keyboard. Didn’t we already learn how unimpressive this sound is with No Limit? Sure he’s good, but I can’t believe this guy is more popular than the greats. But then again, music these days pretty much sucks doesn’t it? Signs of this are everywhere, from T.I.’s sales to the fact that dumb kids are dumber than ever before, to that stupid article above.

  • Lo-D

    weezy aint lil wayne you fuckin idiots….first off weezy hardly even beefs publicly…he keeps his mouth pretty much shut about the hot boys and with all the shit they talk about him thats sayin somethin…second he wouldnt be on here talkin some bullshit with us about a ghostface album i mean come on people…use yalls heads…finally i like ghostface he a tight rapper but his voice just aint right for a big single but that dont mean he aint a good rapper cause he is but he just aint mainstream anymore….im from mississippi and ill listen to any music from anywhere as long as its good this coastal beefin is bullshit and why is it only in rap where people dont wanna listen to good music just cause they aint from where your from i think all this is bullshit and people should just calm down…cause in the end does it even really matter where it comes from as long as its good….

  • c.kane

    Your too biased man….ghostface is nice….whether or not he sells….marketplace framing is what got the youth coppen laughy taffy….not skillz….nas really dont put up numbers or krs…or rakim last album or kool g rap nah mean???…they in everybody top ten of all time…most in the top 5….only in hiphop do we shit on our peeps …..ghost maynot be ‘commercial’…but that aint a bad thang….black people… ya artists and stop it wit the illegal dl’s….werd

  • lone1

    That MF Doom line was low.

  • Illo

    You Americans seems to be retarted while i´m reading that shit.
    Stop comparing different music styles and STOP looking at the SALES…(also stop hating you funny internet Gz,that´s really ridiculous)

    I´ve listened to both albums at times and still both albums (T.I./Ghost) got hot joints on it, period!!!
    But I only bought the Fishscale album, because it will still fit my musical taste in a few days, that T.I. joint was nice but will be boring soon…it´s directed too much into sales and radio/commercial bullshit(imo) and won´t be a real classic album like early Geto Boys/Outkast or UGK.

    But still T.I. is an artist that I will have an eye on through his career, even if southern music isn´t the most hyped music in some time.

    To me, it´s more about in which mood i am, then i decide which album makes the day. There´s a time for southern music and eastcoast rap! And also save some time to listen to the westcoast
    sound, soul&r´n´b, reggae, funk and rock´n´roll…music is just music!

    This article proofs that the writer isn´t about real music or anything, he seems to be paid by the industry to write a lot of shit about sales,but who´s interested?
    Holla/peace to all the real music heads

  • Vick

    louisiana weezy baby u is an ingnorate motherfucker the south is NO the shit anybody from wu tang would take out these so called “trill” niggas.

  • http://I 501 Soldier

    Eat a dick Vick. Da south ruling. Sit back and hate muthafucka. Ain’t nobody scared of them NY pussies. Y’all don’t gangbang or nuthin. All y’all do iz trap. But we do it better down here. Y’all weak wet toilet paper. TI is da King…And ghostface is old newz. The greatest rapper of alive is Lil Wayne. So keep da hate blog comin. Da south ain’t stopn…

  • dnrexy

    GHOST you one of the best Mc’s in the game…Record sales don’t mean shit..Keep makin classic albums for real fans of Hip-Hop to listen to… While the rest listen to One Hit wonder garbage…

  • theDrewid

    I think we all know that the amount of sales is linked directly to how many teenage white people like you. Your sh*t ain’t going platinum if you don’t have a large white adolescent fanbase. See Nelly, 50 Cent/G-unit, Ja Rule, Outkast’s last two albums… etc. That’s why Ghost doesn’t sell, white folks don’t like him.

  • 3B da King

    the south run diss shit, the west is serious business, and yall niggas up north is some faggot ass niggas tryin to hate on the south bc yall brooklyn bullshit ain’t sellin no mo fuck yall bitches you cant even come in my city pussies. Fuck ghostface 2 thats what he get for hatin on the south. Dipset is the shit b/c they fucks wit everybody in every coast. Fuck Tru Life, Fuck Tru Life, Fuck Tru Life, come to GA and get 187 on sight by this Piru. Lousiana W. Baby I agree with u and fuck Wu Tang 2. there are no real G’s on the internet. Fuck Tru Life and R.o.c.

  • 3B da King

    T.I. is da king of the south and he is better than 95% percent of New York’s rappers. Lil Wayne is the prince of the south and he is better than 98% of New York’s rappers. Dipset, Cassidy, Lloyd Banks, Yayo, Busta, and Dipset again are the only niggas that keep me feelin that up north shit man. ILLO and Vick do gay porn with shemales and Ghostface can’t (w)rap a damn burger, lame ass.

  • 615bANGA

    stop hatin on the south just because east coast artists cant sell they just suck except for busta,dmx,50, nas, and jay-z. oh yeah and styles p and jadakiss

  • 615bANGA




  • trae bizzo

    I’m From the south. Ghost face is a legend from va on down. No matter who come out. frankly most of this new jack skinny pimp gobbage im hearing from the south gets no play in the rolla.

  • Atl’s own

    i don’t know what south the nigga above me from!?

    but ghostface ain’t neva been a legend down hear!

    maybe Wu-Tang as a whole!

    but nobody bought dis nigga solo joints!

    a fuckin legend from va on down; nigga pleez!

    more like a legend from va on up!

  • Bellicose

    First off the title of this article is pretty bogus considering that Ghost sold 110k in the first week. That’s a pretty fucking good week by anyone’s standards. Fat Joe said it best, “Why everybody hatin’ on the South for, Switch ya style up to south paw.” Ghost doesn’t sell for other reasons that has nothing to do with the south. For one his label doesn’t promote him properly. They put out one or two videos and expect that to carry him. Two, the singles they put out don’t always speak to Ghost’s core audience (ala Push feat. Missy) and don’t showcase his best talents which is storytelling. “All That I Got Is You” featuring Mary J., the song, the video was classic. Yet the tracks he did with Musique Soulchild “Love” on Pretty Toney and “Momma” on Fishscales didn’t even get taken into single consideration. Last but not least the production on this Fishscales album was not tight top to bottom. Wu Tang was the shit 10 years ago because of their style of music. No Limit was the shit because of their production team “Beats By The Pound”. The south is running it now because of their style of music. The music of Hip Hop has always evolved at a faster pace than the lyrics and lyricists. In order for a true lyricist to survive he must evolve with the music. Doesn’t mean that they have to conform to mainstream but you can’t stick to the same formula you started out with 10 years ago. That’s all I got to say.
    Big ups to JBoogie (I’m from the D too) for actually saying something worth reading in this blog.