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Is Flo Rida the new king of hip-hop?

Seriously, who are these people who keep buying these Flo Rida singles?

I checked this site the other day, and I saw that a new Flo Rida song had broken a digital sales record, and I wasn’t sure what to think. I had to check to see if it was the very same sales record that had just been broken by the three-headed beast of marginal relevance that is Eminem, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent, which, for what it’s worth, had originally been set by Flo Rida, a year or so ago.

As it turns out, it was. Just the other day, that Em, Dre, and Fiddy song sold 418,000 digital downloads in one week, which made it the highest debut on Billboard’s still relatively new digital sales chart evar, even more so than T.I.’s obnoxious “Live Your Life,” which broke the record back in October, with 335,000 downloads its first week, and Flo Rida’s “Low,” which set the record back at the beginning of 2008.

I wasn’t about to spend the time it would take to see how many copies “Low” sold its first week out, though I see it once sold 467,000 copies in a week, and that’s still considered a record. That must have been it’s very best week. I wonder if Eminem will eventually break that record. You’d think it wouldn’t be that difficult, since he already broke the first week sales record, but then “Crack a Bottle” might not have legs, as they say.

Flo Rida could just as easily end up breaking his own record, since I imagine most people are like me, in that they wouldn’t know from “Right Round,” the new Flo Rida song. Or who knows, maybe I’m just behind the curve on this new Flo Rida, as I was with “Low.” It had already been the most popular song in the country for quite some time before I even heard it – on the “white hip-hop station,” natch. This despite the fact that I do sorta kinda work in hip-hop journalism. Ha!

I figured I’d do the right thing and have a look at “Right Round,” but I couldn’t even find it in this site’s Banger’s section. To date, I’ve yet to actually hear it. I thought I might have heard it in the car the other day on the way home from work, on one of Sirius’ godawful hip-hop stations, but come to find out it was some new song by ’05-era Texas rap also ran Slim Thug, who I guess is mounting a “comeback” effort, if you will. Is that what hot in the streets, niggas rapping over “The Safety Dance” and what have you?

All of which begs the question: How in the fuck did this new Flo Rida song manage to become so popular that it’s selling upwards of half a million copies a week, if I’ve never heard of it, and you can’t even listen to it on this, the website of the most popular rap magazine evar (for what it’s worth)?

Selling half a million digital downloads a week might not be preferable to selling that many albums a week, which Flo Rida almost certainly won’t be able to do, in that, if an artist only makes a tiny percent of the price of an album, which costs $12 or whatever, you can only imagine what they make from the price of $.99 digital download.

Still, it’s better than nothing. Especially these days. Lest we forget, that new Cappadonna album only sold as many copies as he bought to try to sell to people who ride in his cab. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t turn out to be this year’s worst selling rap album. Is there ever gonna be a new Little Brother album, or has that R&B money got too good to Phonte?

There must be an entire community of people who could give a rat’s ass about anything us bums here on the Internets consider hip-hop. We hardly even know who these people are, and yet, there’s obviously enough of them to float an entire industry by themselves. Flo Rida has somehow managed to tap into this community. Does that make him the king of hip-hop in 2009? Cue Flo Rida on the cover of six different issues of XXL in T-minus 10, 9, 8…

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