Push it to the Limit

Around these parts, we focus a lot on when an album is dropping, because it determines when we’ll do a story on an artist, especially our cover subject. Common sense: if the person has an album coming out, they’ll be doing more promotion and developing buzz, people are checking for them and we’ll have easier access. Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder and harder to gauge the buzz-worthiness of an artist because albums keep getting pushed back. Sometimes we end up going too early, which is just part of the business. Case in point: our Jan/Feb cover subject 50 Cent. Although Before I Self Destruct was due fourth quarter, it currently has no release date. And now Fif has more excitement around him thanks to this knee-slapping back-and-forth with Rick Ross.

That’s a different case. I’m talking about albums that are completed. Maino’s debut, Tomorrow Never Comes—possibly the most ironic title since Saigon’s The Greatest Story Ever Told—has been pushed back about three times. It’s now, allegedly, due in May. Tomorrow came and went like yesterday. Perhaps the record labels can enlighten me. Is this a financial thing? What’s the reasoning behind pushing back an album that’s already done? The project is completed. Presumably, the marketing and promotions is in place. At this point, people know who the fuck Maino is. He’s had about three singles, including one very popular one, “Hi Hater,” and a new song with T-Pain (“All The Above”), which is pretty much a guaranteed banger. Either people will buy his album or they won’t. What exactly will change the consumer’s mind between the original release date and the new release date? I’m about to make like Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What You Did Last Summer and scream, “What are you waiiiittting foooor?!”

Pushed back albums are so much of an epidemic in hip-hop now that we don’t even think about it anymore. It’s not as much of an issue in other genres, and it wasn’t as noticeable a trend in past eras. I don’t remember hearing about many albums being pushed back in the ’90s. As a regular fan, not yet a journalist, I looked forward to a release date and that date rarely changed. If labels are waiting for the perfect climate, the perfect climate doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no telling what type of album or artist will sell and why, so if the album is done, put it out, release singles and move along, or just stop giving us release dates.

Maybe you fans don’t care as much because you download the albums anyway. Me too (I buy the ones I’d like to own), but the longer the album takes, the longer the leak takes. Do you think there is a “right time” to release an album? Should the label just drop the project once everything is in place? What are they waiting for? I just hope at least two of our 10 freshmen MCs actually drop this year. —clovito

  • http://www.xxlmag.com jackpot

    Jennifer Love Hewitt is hot. I agree with you though. Just put the damn thing out. IF anything, the artist’s buzz is likely to fizzle if labels keep waiting.

  • http://Aquilogy2.blogspot.com AQUILOGY

    Wow!!! A XXL staff post that doesn’t suck!

    • Rex Banner

      LMAO!!

  • Pierzy

    I think the labels feel like they can get MORE buzz: “Oh, Maino’s hot right now because of ‘Hi Hater’ [and the remix] but maybe if he can get another hit like that, he’ll be even hotter!” They always think it can get bigger. The problem is, no one realizes that the game has changed. No one will ever have the hype that Snoop had before “Doggystyle” or even 50 had before “Get Rich…”

    In the meantime, they cool off, so they don’t want to release an album when there’s no buzz, so they wait even longer for another round of buzz to start…which oftentimes doesn’t happen.

    With Saigon, his best chance was when he was on “Entourage” every week and heads loved every beat Just Blaze was dropping. Now, whenever it is released, you wonder “Why now?” and, even more so, I’ll feel like it’s an old album because I know it’s been sitting on the shelf. The songs won’t be (as) relevant. I understand that classic is classic, but certain references only work in a specific time period.

    People keep saying that full albums will no longer even be part of major labels and only indies will produce actual albums because majors will just push singles. Maybe it’s slowly evolving that way…

    • Dub Sac

      I think that’s how majors worked back in the 50′s – they put out a 45 single, and if it did well, you either put out another single, or, if you did really well, an entire album.

      The old system is definitely falling apart. At the opposite spectrum of Saigon and Maino, you have Blu, who put out two albums last year, and just released a new mixtape. In interviews, he says that he doesn’t want to sign with a major because it would stop the flow of all the music he’s doing.

      • clovito

        that’s an interesting philosophy Blu has. majors aren’t for everybody

  • http://www.Nakedwithsockson.com NakedWithSocksOn.com

    Word, we should put all the albums that will never come out or we just don’t care about on the calendar in Nevuary and make bets on which one will come out first.

  • SeeDee

    Labels are dumb point blank period. They’re scared to catch a brick so they continually push it back out of fear. It’d be much more constructive if they just dropped the album and if it doesn’t catch on keep pushing it so that people can at least pick it up when the buzz is there a la that 1st Lyfe album or that 1st Lil Jon cd, they albums were in the stores already when their buzz came so when someone wanted it they didn’t have to wait til May or some other arbitrary day to pick it up

  • louie mo

    don’t you just love the way the xxl staff blogs always find a way to work 50 in to the topic at hand……….after all this dick ridin is done, i really hope 50 leaves the money on the dresser for ya’ll when he done

  • http://hiphoponmymind.blogspot.com DJ Daddy Mack

    TRUE STORY. I THINK WHEN AN ALBUM IS DONE IT SHOULD BE PUT OUT WITH THE QUICKNESS. YOU NEVER KNOW, MIGHT BEAT THE LEAKERS.

    BUT YEA, MICKEY IS DROPPING HIS ALBUM. CURRENCY IS. ACE HOOS ALREADY DID. ASHER WILL DROP (SADLY). BLU BEEN DROPPING ALBUMS.

    THE REST ARE REALLY UP IN THE AIR.

  • Zionlion50

    I totally agree they need to throw those albums out when the push them back people get uninterested immediatley i was fucking pissed when they pushed back Before I Self Destruct i dowload songs and Buy Albums but nowadays i only buy the album from Veterans Like 50, Em, Kanye. i only bought two albums last year
    G-UNIT-T.O.S. and
    Kanye West- 808′s and Heartbreak
    I was going to buy the reccession but i wasn’t felling any thing but “i put on” and “My President” rap is getting fucked up maybe these fucking artist would sell more records if the album came out when they said it would.
    but thats just me. Blood On The Sand Feb 24.

  • Jamal7Mile

    Co-sign most of the above. You’d think labels would’ve learn by now. Albums (in Hip Hop, at least) have “sell-by” dates, too… just like milk and potato chips. Labels just won’t learn! Can’t figure out why. Maybe XXL should interview a label TI and make him make US (fans) understand.

  • Curtis75Black

    The climate has definately changed since the last decade. Internet websites are the new mainstream for Hip Hop artists, so we hear the track before all the radio and video heads since we really can’t rely on those mediums anymore. A cd has to be dropped quickly nowadays because once that Buzz is gone, it’s over. The days when Hip Hop artists can have 2 singles and 2 videos are over, depending on the artists that is…

    • clovito

      @Curtis75Black, you’re so right. the attention span is much lower than it used to be, with the Internet. once you have buzz it’s hard to get it back

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Detox droppin soon!!!!! Yeah right………

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

      Clovito, I feel you on the 90′s. But when an artist’s album was pushed back (then), it just added to the fuel of promotional fire.

      In comparison to now, artists actually had material to drop, & fans who gave a damn. Now, it’s all so fly-by-night that the little push back could easily render said artist irrelevent.

      Everything is microwave, & majors don’t care/see how it affects their business, I assume. We need it now, why wait. It’s a bad reflection on the artists, because when all’s said & done, I’m not trying to hear Jimmy Iovine rapping, or L.A. Reid singing.

      Maybe it’s a way to keep the artists dependant on what the label provides, which is dumb considering the way the Internet is eating the entertainment industry like candy.

  • tommy gunz

    this is what im checkin for: Liquid swords, return to brooklyn zoo, ready to die, e. 1999 eternal, it was written, aaaaaand…some yo gotti shit….fuck new rap

  • El Tico Loco

    I’ve seen children born and already going to the kindergarten since I started waiting for Detox, and I wish I making this up.

  • amar

    i’m still waiting on that new rakim lol

  • Curtis75Black

    Hip Hop artists should be Internet driven Period !! They need to be digital saavy and more dependent on themselves than a record label because all you see is what they want you see and hear what they want you to hear. Hip Hop websites with media outlets to hear songs are the best thing since a Tight Clean Pussy because regardless of the “Hit Single” dropped by the label, there always something better and Hotter on the cd that will garner your attention. I learned a long time ago, the artist don’t control the single, so don’t get mad if that Love/Club track is pushed faster than that Hardcore Joint…and still gets pushed back.

    • El Tico Loco

      Co sign even though Tight Clean Pussy still rules

      The problem too is that the labels lately been trying to be the tastemakers instead of DJ’s who have a first hand look at what WE want who should let PD’s know and then notify the labels but it’s been backassward that’s why there’s so much garbage on. Then they wonder why the industry is suffering and look at all type of scapegoats like youtube for videos or limewire instead of themselves but then again who runs companies using common sense nowadays *boss walks in*

  • lstino heat

    i worked at a record store from 1999 to 2002. let me tell you push backs AREN’T anything new. i can think of lil kim’s 2nd album, black rob’s 1st album, and mobb deep’s murda music just off the top of my head. it was not uncommon for people to come in on a tuesday looking for a cd on what was supposed to be the release date and not see it and try to take it out on us like we had something to do with it not being released. i do agree that things aren’t gonna get any better so if you got something just put it out. especially a indy artist like joe budden. your not on a major so your not gonna sell anyway. just hurry up and give the fans what they want.

  • Jamal7Mile

    I remember my first experience with pushed back albums. AMG came out of the blue with “Bitch Betta Have My Money” the SINGLE in the early 90′s! I waited… and waited, and waited, and WAITED for well over a year for the album to drop! When it finally did, I was FAR from disappointed! If that was his plan (you know, to build up anticipation) then it worked perfectly for me because the album was SOLID if not classic, IMO.

    Nowadays, that shit don’t work like it did with that AMG album.

    • El Tico Loco

      By the time that dropped I finally figured out that AMG was not DJ Quik and Quik had a lot of singles out his album coming out so I was not like oh when this album dropping, I was more like “that ain’t Quik?” but he did put him on so boom.

  • capcobra

    “if” i ran a label you would never see the artists…you’d hear back to back hit singles with the company logo on ‘em and no videos…..i’d leave it up to the fans to discover the person behind the vocals…i remember listening to songs and not knowing who the person was or what they looked like…nowadays it’s so many people recording songs.commercials.videos.vlogs.and mixtapes that the fans don’t gotta discover the artist because the label and/or the artist is already force feeding you the artist….i’d rather remain faceless til we get the demand up because if nobody’s gon buy the album then why should drop the album?…the artist is better off making 6 solid radio singles for the yr and then drop the album a yr or 2 later…til then you gotta make make money off legitimate businesses.shows and features.

    • Jamal7Mile

      Hell yeah, Cap!! LOL!!

      That’s some 1950′s, Black group with White folks on the cover-type, pre-Motown marketing shit! I hate that fucking era, but it fooled a lot of white folks into buying GOOD MUSIC made by Black artists (and Brothers STILL ain’t get paid off that shit, ask Little Richard)!!

      I ain’t seen AMG’s face until I $$bought$$ the album (uhh, cassette) and opened that shit to the inside cover. That single did it for me.

      • capcobra

        the funny thing is i still don’t know what AMG look like…lol.

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

          He looks like a cross between Big Tigger & Michael Bivins with a receding hairline.

      • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

        I always thought that would be the illest introduction onto the scene (a la Ghostface).

        “Don’t worry about what I look like, I’ll let my music speak for me.”

        It’s too many “superstars” now, everybody wants their face to be what you remember. That’s part of the problem.

        • Jamal7Mile

          HA!! Co-sign Tony Grand$, what’s up player?!

          Your [COMMENT] button on your blogsite doesn’t work too well (maybe it’s my laptop that’s on the blink) but I loved that convo with your young’un!!

          A toast, as always Bro!!!

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

          What up Mally Mall.

          Hell, I didn’t think anybody be checking me out! Thnx. I just dropped something a little more relevant not 10 minutes ago.

          Good look!

        • $ykotic

          I got u bookmarked homie.

          I go there before coming here!

          Back to the post:

          The game is so faulty mcnaulty right now. There’s no Rap City,TRL,Yo MTV Raps,Video Music Box,good radio station that will help you get that buzz.

          A push back from the label basically sounds like a death knell for that artist.

          I even laugh at these new artists trying to push their myspace music like they’re the next big thing. Cats be saying “They should’ve been signed..” To who? Aftermath? Dudes breaking their weed on your project! You ain’t never coming out! On Atlantic? You mean the ocean? Def Jam? You deaf? Redman coming out before you!

          A lot of these dudes signed don’t even realize they are tax write-offs.

          I tell my young douljahs we need pilots and lawyers. Not rappers.

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

          No doubt $yk! Thnx man, that’s most defly what’s up!

          “Now back to the post.”

          My daughter wants to be a clothing designer & a “pop star” granted, she can actually sing (no fatherly bias), but I’d be a fool if I didn’t let her know what kind of a shot she has realistically, even WITH talent.

          My son wants to rap because he used to see me do it. I tell him all the time, “look where it got me”.

          Seems like the Net has expanded an already huge industry to monstrous proportions. The competition used to be dudes in your home town. Now, if a dude has a online hook up, he’s as accessible as everybody else, worldwide.

          & that’s even before the “labels” show any interest. It’s not a “game” any longer. It’s a full fledge, cut throat business.

          We need more doctors. I can’t even pronounce my dr’s name. & she helped save my life last year. Ha!

        • $ykotic

          And the new cats:

          Please don’t think I do not respect the grind.

          But if 50 gets pushed back what makes you think you’re gonna pop off before him?

          I think Nevuary should be included on the calendar.

          McDonald’s will give u 50 stacks for a hot commercial.

          A no name rapper gets no fame in this new rap world.

          Bishop Lamont aint drop yet. See the trend? Yet them “Stanky Leg” kids get on?

          Dipset did well with mixtapes. Them signing to the Roc killed them.

          Leave the major labels alone.

        • Jamal7Mile

          Yeah man, co-signing again $ykotic (sigh)

          I’ll share a quick paragraph with you and TonyG$… In ’94 I copped mixtapes for the latest and greatest from (none other than) DeShaun “Big Proof” Holten when he was the manager at The Hip-Hop Shop on 7Mile and Greenfield (it’s called The Shelter in that 8 Mile movie). The best one Proof sold me was a DJ Enuff cassette. The HHShop was mainly a Maurice Malone clothing store. A real small store space that transformed into a cypher on Saturday afternoon and a Chess spot on Wednesday (can’t make that shit up). It was there that I saw Obie Trice, Royce 5/9 and some peculiar white boy who could rap his ass off even though he was high off his ass most of the time (yep, him) for the first time. Me and Proof went to grade school together. You’d never believe it was a Catholic School. Google GESU ELEMENTARY in Detroit. AAliyah was there too but I never really spoke to her due to age actually being more than a # (what 5th grader says more than 2 words to a Kindergartener??). My loss, I guess.

          Anyway, just thought I’d throw that out there. Gotta go to the store for a min.

          Salut!

        • $ykotic

          “Mally Mall is one hell of a man…..”

          Did you just drop Maurice Malone? Wow

          I used to have cyphers like that in Bklyn with some other dudes around:

          Me and my homie with my boys Inna Mental, and these other guys Smif N Wessun and some other chubby youngin coming up who would always be around, some guy named Joell Ortiz.

          How many other people on the planet can say they created a culture?

          This game has given many people HOPE.

          G’z like you Mall, grand$ that speak volumes with words, thoughts come to mind. It’s relative.

          Dudes don’t understand that the game is missing the LOVE. We used to have fun with it. And still go to work and see the babies. If you was nice you was nice.

          Artists don’t even shine these days and it’s sickening.

          Even I stand by this until today: Once Onyx came out, the whole culture suffered a setback in which we haven’t recovered.

          We got paid, but we really didn’t prosper.

          And nobody ever talks about Naughty By Nature.

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com tony grand$

          Maurice malone, lol! Y’all got me jumping in time machines & shit!

          I don’t have any fantastic voyages, well maybe hanging @ the Good Life on Fridays when Acey Alone & Freestyle Fellowship were “somebody”, Volume 10 & The Pharcyde would be up there occasionally, & the parking lot was like the biggest “kick a rhyme, smoke some trees, meet a girl” session I’ve seen in a while.

          But like $yk said, it’s the love of the word. That’s something that passed out for a quick minute, but I see a little CPR happening these days. It’s all about the art, when all’s said & done.

          No matter what tangible things are attached, it all comes from that burning desire to speak & be heard.

          Something got lost in that translation, but IMO, nothings ever truly irreversible.

          Well, maybe Death, but we ain’t getting deep like that lol.

        • Jamal7Mile

          (sighs again)

          *speechless

          *smiling real big right now..

        • $ykotic

          grand$ did you just mention a Freestyle Fellowshipper??? It is so on!

          I hear you. It is coming back. Thankfully.

          That new Royce joint is fire.

          Ima go google cross colours and flashback.

        • Jamal7Mile

          Freestyle Fellowship, WOOOWW!! I still remember that joint they did with Daddy-O! Pharcyde used to hang out in Detroit for a minute when they were working with J Dilla. Volume 10, damn!! They got one of the most vicious basslines I have ever heard, Pistol Pump Grip, I think it was called. I’m about to go to YouTube for some reminiscing in a minute. First, I gotta drop some comments on the Black Eyed Peas thread (check towards the end, or this time stamp) because it’s pretty interesting.

  • http://xxl All Dae

    This whole post is on point. so many diffrent angles to look at here.
    I think if an album is pushed back for a good reason like no marketing or yr overlapping with a lablemate mabey it’s a real label move.

    If yr pushed back just because after dropping a hot single like “Hi Hater” then the album cant be that hot. IF yr pushed back after dropping a hot single like “Come on Baby” then somethings wrong. Maybe more politics are involed than revealed. Every T.I. want to make money and strike while the irons hot.

  • dj ashy fingerz

    He probably went to the atlantic offices and put the hands of god somebody and this is the punishment

  • Kabelo

    I get you, anybody remember Papoose???

  • BIGNAT

    all i know when you keep pushing back a album it doesn’t make me want it more. it makes me feel like if this shit ain’t classic i am going get for nothing. i dl albums all the time and if i like your shit. i will go out to the store and buy it. some rappers i turst what they do and i buy there joints with no need to listen first.