The other day, my esteemed colleague, Bol Crawford, mentioned that the Roots, a group whose Stans regularly meet online to work through their recurring persecution traumas and live out delusions of importance, managed to sell a wee-bit over 61,000 copies of their latest album, while Method Man, who went from being the breakout member of one of the most important and creative hip-hop groups of all time to a self-pitier par excellence, pushed pretty much the same amount of his latest instantly forgettable album.
Now, Cheese is very likely to blame me for poisoning your minds against him(a), but I can’t help but note that this was, in all likelihood, his last chance to make an impression on the buying public on any large scale as far as his rap career is concerned(b). And, if we’re going to be honest with ourselves here, Meth’s post-Tical press campaigns have basically been about apologizing/making excuses for and/or qualifying his prior release. The sad thing is that, despite his journey being a study in chronic underachievement, I feel that there’s a great artist waiting to make an undeniably classic inside of the Ticallion Stallion. Unfortunately, at this rate, if that creator comes out to play and makes that album, I doubt too many people will be willing to hear it.
Now, the real part of this story, which no one seems to be talking about as much as they should, is that Noz’s new favorite rapper came in at number 3 on those same charts, selling some 104,000 copies of his debut album, Best Thang Smokin’—which is enough to call for a bipartisan commission to look into irregularities at the cash register.
Granted, the Method Man and Roots albums were not promoted strongly. At all. Point in fact: At this year’s Labor Day parade in Brooklyn(c), every other lightpole seemed to be dressed in a posterboard for Ludacris’ R&B album and/or Nas’ The N(d)—which, as far as I know, doesn’t even have a release date as of yet(e). On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that there are people at Def Jam who didn’t realize that all systems were a go on 4:21…The Day After or Game Theory.
Back to Young Dro: Am I supposed to believe that more people were anticipating a debut Young Dro album than a new Roots or Method Man album? And how under Barney’s blue sky does Young Dro sell half of what Busta Rhymes and Rick Ross did in their first weeks? I mean, really. I don’t think anyone can argue that, leading up to their releases, Busta and Ross had more than twice profile and broadcast real estate of a pimp squad clique full of Dros.
It boggles the mind.
As for Best Thang Smokin’, I can’t seem to make it through more than four cuts before I have to listen to something else. He may be “a great technical rapper,” or whatever the stuff that Noz gets for cheap would lead him to think, but, hell, he’s no Young Buck(f). Dude rhymes like he has molasses in his throat, and not in a good way. He has the presence of that caked-on cooking oil and animal fat that accumulates on pots and until it forms a bullet-proof patina that lazy, Brillo-allergic, elbow grease-adverse people refer to as character. But it’s not character. It’s remnants of crap, most likely carconogenic, and you’d be better off cleaning it up or eating out. And the album’s beats can be considered good if you like your music ignorant and dull—as opposed to ignorant and polished a la Port of Miami(g).
Granted, the pestilential tomfoolery of “Rubberband Banks” has been around for some time and “Shoulder Lean” was getting great response from hip-hop focus groups as early as January, when I first heard it. See, my day job as a plagiarizing hack found me in Magic City with T.I.: Thirsts were being quenched and laps were being danced upon when the DJ, realizing that Tip was present, threw the song on. Tip, with the self-assuredness of a man who has risen to the status level where one can afford to have other men carry his weed(h), mentioned that the song was shaping up to be a big hit and that Dro, who may or may not have been present(i), was his artist. Seeing as I had a drink in my hand and a thong in my face, I gave him one of those bob-and-smiles you give in club when you really can’t hear what’s being said but don’t what to appear rude. Besides, I thought he said “Shoulder Lane” and I didn’t think a song about reckless driving could be that big a hit, what with parents’ groups and all.
Let that be a lesson to me.
P.S.—I’m pretty sure that we’ll now have to deal with eight bars of Dro on whatever barely post-pubesent crunk&B hoochie whose label can afford a Jazze Pha beat. Watch.
UPDATE: Look forward to more insightful journalism like this.
(a) Only because he doesn’t realize that none of you guys listen to me anyway.
(b) The chances of him hooking up with Dan the Automator to pull a Gnarls Barkley are pretty slim, but he still has Hollywood.
(c) Where, by all accounts, Haiti ran the Parkway, as we should.
(d) Looks like they’re, thankfully, stashing the Hip-Hop Is Dead part wherever they toss Joe Budden’s phone messsages.
(e) Please note that both of these albums are coming out on the same label as the Roots and Method Man—though Meth may very likely be Koch’s next superstar.
(f) Then again, who is?
(g) This is, this is, this is…the sound of lowered standards triumphant.
(h) I am able to confidently say this only because, over the course of a day, I was able to observe one gentleman whose sole duty seemed to be to watch the Bag and dole out buds to members of the entourage, with the size of said disbursement being in ratio to their standing within the tribe.
(i) If you ever live to be my age, children, such details will begin to allude you, as well.