T.I. vs. Jay-Z vs. The Game
First of all, I should note that this week Soundscan numbers are in. The Game had the highest selling album of the week, having sold about 358,000 copies of the Doctor’s Advocate.
Granted, this is far short of the one million copies he predicted he’d sell, but it’s still better than most other rap albums this year. And it’s especially impressive when you consider he didn’t have Dre or Fiddy riding with him this time out.
It’ll be interesting to see how Jay-Z’s Kingdom Come does by comparison. You’ll recall that Jay and, um, Jayceon had a little row earlier this year over the fact that their albums were being released so close to one another.
As the Game put it at the time:
“As far as my release date, November 14th, and Jay dropping on the 21st, he should move his album away, because this album … like Jay is a legend, we all love Jay and respect Jay but it’s that out of retirement album. It’s the are we gonna get the old Michael Jordan back or are gonna get that Mike that played for the Wizards so everyone’s is gonna wait to see what he’s gonna do — but I know what I got.”
I couldn’t have put it any better myself!
Presumably Jay and Jayceon’s labels (which are all owned by the same TI’s anway) decided to drop their albums in the weeks leading up to Black Friday (i.e. the bane of Bol’s existence) because these are the two rap albums this year with the best commercial prospects.
Or rather, the two albums this fall with the best commercial prospects. TI’s King, which was released on March 28th, sold 520,000 copies its first week out and, as far as I know, is still the only rap album this year to go platinum. But who gives a shit about him anyway?
Jay-Z probably should, for one. If Kingdom Come can’t move any more units its first week out than King, it’s just not gonna look very good, now will it? Especially when you consider TI put his shit out in March and wasn’t touring flying around the US with MTV cameras following him to promote it.
To be sure, King was released the same week as a major motion picture starring TI himself – so it did benefit from a certain degree of cynergy. He got to show up on a lot of cracka-ass cracka talk shows and prove once and for all that these southern rappers might actually rap better than they can speak.
Still, that pales in comparison to the marketing push for Kingdom Come. Jay-Z is showing up in beer commercials, kicking it with Nascar drivers, being crowned the king of Nigeria (if not New York) and all other sorts of silly bullshit. If Kingdom Come fails to hit its mark next week, it won’t be for lack of promotion.
Even if it does, you have to wonder whether this is all worth it. Would the album have done that much worse if Jay would’ve stayed in New York and focused on doing a better job promoting all of the other Def Jam artists instead of funneling all of that time and resources into his own shit sandwich of an album?