The TIs might be shooting themselves in the foot by not respecting the power of the Internets.
Yesterday, while scanning the Internets for r-word humor and baiting pr0n stars on Twitter, i.e. the kind of shit a man does when he already went to college once, and obviously it didn’t do him any good, I stumbled upon XXL’s review of the new Jadakiss album.
I figured they might have panned it, since I’ve heard it and it’s awful. Not to start any shit between Yak Ballz and Jadakiss, but I was telling Yak Ballz – when he was here in the STL the other day – that I heard the new Jadakiss album and it wasn’t very good, and he was like. “Well, what did you expect? Jadakiss albums always suck balls.”
I suppose I should have known XXL wouldn’t give The Last Kiss a bad review. They actually went so far as to give it an XL – one notch below full-on classic status. I guess the TIs at Def Jam made it clear this was an important release.
Or who knows? Maybe the guy who reviewed the album really did like it. The review was written by Anslem Samuel, whom I worked with once or twice when I did that column for the dead tree version of XXL. He seemed like a nice enough, except when he was flipping out on you over some ol’ bullshit. He might be bipolar, but I’m not sure how that would cloud his music judgment. I’d encourage you to check out his blog. It’s a bit grown and sexy for my liking, but that’s because I’m neither grown nor sexy. Your mileage may vary.
But I digress.
Anyhoo, it’s hard for me to say how an album like The Last Kiss gets an XL rating without being privy to the editorial process here at XXL. I hardly know anything more about XXL than the rest of you fruits – I just blog for the website. It could be that a big meeting is held where the white guy in charge runs down a list of how much the major labels spent on ads that month and the attendant ratings said labels’ albums should receive, or it could be that they purposely hire people they know are gonna be deferential to the most commercially successful artists, a la the theory laid out in Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent.
But that’s just XXL. And while XXL could end up the only print rap magazine left (and I hope it does), they’re (we’re?) just one voice in the vast expanse that is the Internets.
I was googling my own name yesterday, to make sure no girls mentioned that they might want to have sex with me (in which case I might have to gas up the van and take some vacation time), and I notice what seemed to be more or less the opposite effect with the new Asher Roth album. A lot of people who could obviously give a rat’s ass about how much money Steve Rifkind is spending to promote Asleep in the Bread Aisle have been calling that album the shit sandwich that it is. My own review was cited in roundups of reviews by Fat Lace Magazine and my boy TAN.
Reading some of those other reviews, most of which are negative, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like to be a fly on the wall in the Universal Records building right about now. Mofos must be pissed! Asleep in the Bread Aisle sprung a leak a good 10 days before it’s supposed to hit record stores (er, wherever it is you’d buy a CD at this point), and the word of mouth is decidedly negative. People might read all of these bad reviews and decide to stay home and smoke weed on 4/20. You know it ain’t hard to convince a pothead to stay home and smoke weed, let alone on 4/20. Come to think of it, Asher Roth might have tripped picking that as his release date, given the nature of his fan base.
Which begs the question – and this is a two part question: 1) Could the Internets kill Asher Roth’s career, before his album even hits the streets next week? I know the kind of people who read this site aren’t gonna cop, except for maybe Dallas Penn, but it’s not like we buy shit anyway. What about all of those people who bought “I Love College” from iTunes? 2) What, if anything, can be done to make the Internets at large more like the dead tree version of XXL, i.e. a place where people still know to show some respect for a TI’s money?
Honestly, I’m not sure if there’s much that could be done at this point. They could try spending some of their marketing budgets on people who actually live on the Internets, rather than whatever it is they’ve been spending it on. But a brother such as myself isn’t gonna be swayed by filthy lucre. I’ve long since parted with the idea that I might be able to live well. And even if they managed to find someone who isn’t quite as defeatist, it wouldn’t matter, since some people’s opinions count way more on the Internets than other people’s, and mine counts more than most.
Could it be that we’re finally arriving at a point when labels can’t just release any ol’ bullshit and count on the MSM to help sell it?