I went to one of the sites I hit up on Wednesday mornings for a chart recap, and there was nothing there about the Roots. First I had to check and make sure Game Theory came out last week (it did), since it’s not like I pay too much attention to actual street dates.
Then I became concerned that Game Theory may have debuted so far down the albums chart that it didn’t warrant inclusion in any Wednesday morning chart recaps. Come to find out, Game Theory did in fact debut in the top 10, albeit way the fuck down at the bottom of the top 10.
Number 9, to be exact. The new Roots album moved about 61,000 units its first week out, which was about 1,000 more than Nickelback’s year-old All the Right Reasons, which rounded out the top 10. And about 1,000 less than Method Man’s 4:21… The Day After, which debuted at number 8.
If this was any year since Soundscan began tracking album sales other than 2006, it would be easy to write Game Theory off as a huge, miserable failure. But in an age when even the best-selling albums are only going 1x platinum, I’m no longer sure what to think.
Indeed it could very well be possible to characterize 61,000 your first week out as some sort of coup for the Roots, if not also Def Jam and the rest of hip-hop in general. But I’ll leave that to ?uestlove and his team of piff pocketers over at the okayplayer boards, where I learned how to write.
At this point, I’m more interested in what these figures mean with regard to Jay-Z’s career as the fake president of Def Jam. No one was expecting the Roots to do well enough to recoup anyway, so them doing Bob Seger numbers is just less income they’ll have to file with the IRS for 2006.
The problem is that I’m not sure what they’ve got in store in terms of commercially viable music in order to balance this mess out. If “challenging” rap like the Roots is selling 60,000 copies, but LCD rap like Rick Ross is only selling 200,000 copies, how the fuck can they afford to pay Jay $3 million a year?