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Failure to Launch

As I noted last week, in my story on the new Bone Thugs N Harmony album, it’s the rare occasion that you hear the single from the new T.I. album, “Big Things Poppin’,” on the radio these days. Though it’s been out for a few weeks now, I only recall hearing it once or twice right after it came out.

This despite the fact that T.I. had the best-selling rap album out last year. King, which hit the streets the same week as the film ATL, sold something like half a million copies its first week out and went on to sell well over a million copies, which is about as good as it gets these days.

Its single, “What You Know,” was all over the radio last summer. Personally I was never too crazy about it, but I know a lot of people really were. Ccracka-ass cracka Noz even went so far as to suggest that a) it was the best rap song that came out all last year, and b) T.I. is the new Big Daddy Kane.

Gotdamn shock bloggers.

Here’s the thing: “Big Things Poppin’” kinda sucks balls anyway. Even if you were a big fan of “What You Know,” it’s hard not to hear “Poppin’” as a pale imitation of it, not unlike the umpteen different 50 Cent records that all kinda sound like either “In da Club” or “Magic Stick.”

If anything, the fact that “Poppin’” has failed to catch on thus far could be viewed as proof that today’s hip-hop community has more taste than I’d like to think. But of course I couldn’t possibly have that much faith in humanity.

Case in point: the last Ludacris album. You can still occasionally hear the singles from it on the radio to this day despite the fact that I don’t recall anyone being particuarly crazy about them. Even my esteemed colleague Sickamore was left with no choice but to give “Money Maker” a vote of no confidence.

So obviously there was some sort of cooperation going on at all levels of the music industry, a fact that was made even more clear when Luda’s Release Therapy beat out King for Best Rap Album at the Grammys, which was widely viewed as an upset.

Am I suggesting money was exchanged for radio spins and awards for the Ludacris album? Obviously I wouldn’t know one way or the other. But I wonder what it was about that album that made it so much better received than the new T.I. album has been so far.

When I read last week that the Warner Music Group, the group of major record labels to which T.I. is signed, was laying off 400 people, I wasn’t sure what to think. But now I’m beginning to wonder. Maybe those poor bastards really were that inept.

If this new T.I. album does about as well as I expect, which is not very, I wouldn’t be surprised if even more of them got the axe, and rightfully so.

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