This actually occurred to me a few days ago, before I realized that T.I.’s new shite sandwich of an album would sell somewhere in the neighborhood of 460,000 copies its first week out: Not to tell the tIs at Interscope (aka my benefactors) how to do their job, but they probably would’ve been better off just releasing Curtis back when it was supposed to come out, a few weeks ago.
I can appreciate the fact that they were concerned that the first three singles all sucked balls and nobody liked them and who’s going to buy a CD filled with songs that no one could actually enjoy listening to, but here’s two things to consider: a) it’s pretty obvious at this point that 50 Cent is categorically incapable of creating any music worth listening to, and b) people run out and cop shitty albums en masse all the time.
Take for example this new T.I. album. Even the most hardened of LCD rap apologists (my bad for having to mention you in a post again, Noz) couldn’t help but give it a vote of no confidence. And yet, this shite sandwich of an album has managed to sell better than any rap album in ages. Which makes you wonder: how fucked up would T.I. vs. T.I.P. have to have been for it not to sell as well as it did?
My theory: T.I. vs. T.I.P. would’ve sold over 400,000 copies its first week out regardless (even if there was no music on it at all), just because that’s how many people are out there who like shitty rap music in the first place, and lack either the means or the know-how (in many cases both) to find out just how bad it is before they run out and drop their $9 bucks or whatever on it.
In that sense, I can’t help but be reminded of my post last year in which I attempted to convince Jive Records to cancel the release of OutKast’s Idlewild and lock it in the same safe where they keep that film Jerry Lewis made about the Holocaust – a post for which I’m still convinced I should have received an award from the RIAA or something.
It had already occurred to me a while before the film+soundtrack was released that this was going to be the worst thing that could possibly happen to OutKast’s career – much worse, in fact, than if Andre 3000 had gone out and raped a child or something – because I’m a visionary like that. But most people didn’t know one way or the other.
Think about it: if the soundtrack album in particular was never released, OutKast would still be regarded as one of the best groups in hip-hop; their last album would be Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which sold over 10 million copies (if you count each one as two), not the utter commercial and artistic embarrassment that is the Idlewild soundtrack.
The key, both in that case and in the case of these god-awful new LCD rap albums, is to play on people’s ignorance. Three weeks ago, those of us with Internets connections and a frame of reference with regard to quality music realized that the new 50 Cent album wouldn’t be any good, but most people – especially our brothers and sisters in the South (sorry) – didn’t know one way or the other.
If Interscope would’ve released Curtis then, it probably would’ve sold upwards of a million copies, if not more, just on account of it being the new 50 Cent album. I’m not saying it won’t whenever it is eventually released, especially given how many people were just duped into copping T.I. vs. T.I.P. I’m just saying. Why run the risk?