Saturday night quarterbacking
A while ago, I ran a poll on my own site seeking to determine which was the most anticipated upcoming rap album - Raekwon's sequel to 1995's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Dr. Dre's Detox, Nas' Hip-Hop Is Dead, or a new Jay-Z album. Perhaps because the three mid '90s New Yawk rappers split the vote, Dre's Detox managed to take the poll; but it was still pretty close, with only 34 votes separating number one from number four.
The thing is, Detox probably won't be coming out, or at least not anytime soon. It already seemed less than likely before the recent brouhaha with the Game being "reassigned" to Geffen records. Now who knows what's the status of Aftermath. Dre tends to be at his best when he's got a stable of young rappers and producers around to write his shit for him, and it's been a minute since he's had anyone around who's worth a shit.
I imagine a Jay-Z comeback album would do well, or at least as well as the Black Album, based on the hype that would be generated by Jay-Z coming out of water. He is, after all, ascending to the level of a hip-hop Bono - going around Africa, trying to help the water crisis by rappin' (?). Is Mos Def going to dedicate a dis song to him, too? And maybe he'll take Sickamore's advice and drop Beyonce like a bad habit. I heard her new album sucks balls anyway.
Maybe he'll even replace her with a white broad. I'm sure he's thought about it.
A new Nas album would have to be considered somewhat of a wildcard. He's been on a commercial slide since forevar, and his last album kinda sucked balls. Even his legions of Internets stans could only defend it so much. In a year in which hardly anyone other than Cee-Lo is doing particularly well, Hip-Hop Is Dead could stand a strong chance at being the next Blood Money, on a commerical level. And based on what I've heard about it, it might also suck like that album.
Similarly, smart money would have to be against a new Raekwon album bucking the trend of albums by '90s era New York rappers going double wood. To be sure, the name Only Built 4 Cuban Linx still holds a certain bit of cachet, especially in the current age of cocaine rap uber alles; but perhaps not enough to make the buying public forget the monumental, life altering shit sandwiches that were Immobilarity and the Lex Diamond Story.
And it's worth noting that even Rae's fellow clansman Ghostface, most of whom's albums don't suck balls, can't move many more than a couple hundred thousand units. That said, who gives a shit about album sales, anyway? I know personally I'll be satisfied with just a good album. And I'm sure as long as it's good, Def Jam's tax department can arrange for Rae to get the same deal they're giving Ghost and the Roots. Otherwise, who knows what he'll end up doing.