Relapse: The new Kingdom Come?
Could it be that Eminem's Relapse has a higher marketing budget than any rap album since Jay-Z's Kingdom Come? It'd be hard to say, without being privy to the actual figures, but I wouldn't be surprised.
Already, there's a few different videos from it, including the clips for "We Made You," and "3 AM," which had to be fairly big budget. Plus, I saw there was a clip for (or maybe just a preview of) "Crack a Bottle" on World Star, but I didn't bother to have a look. I don't really watch music videos like that anymore. I still want back the 10 min. or so I spent watching those first two.
The video for "3 AM" premiered on Skinemax, right during the time when they'd usually be showing the world's shittiest pr0n flicks, and at the time I wasn't sure how that arrangement worked. Did Em pay to get his video on Skinemax, which a lot of his fans probably still watch? Or did they pay him for rights to his new video? But now I'm thinking it's probably the latter. If he didn't receive a hefty fee for letting them play "3 AM" before Busty Carwash or whatever, they probably at least underwrote some of the cost of the production.
I remember, back when Kingdom Come came out, a lot of the bum rappers on Def Jam were pissed that Jay had Danica Patrick, the great American lager, Ace of Spades champagne, and god knows what else in his video, and they couldn't even get the $50 or whatever it costs for Ashley Logan. But Jay argued that a lot of these brands were covering the cost of the excessive promotion for Kingdom Come, Tag Records-style. It could be that Eminem has a similar arrangement for Relapse. Case in point, the cover of the new XXL, with him dressed as the Punisher.
Then there's the viral marketing campaign, with the Popsomp Hills website, and whatever else they're planning. I spent a little time messing around with the site just now, and I was reminded of when a lot of albums on Loud Records used to come with those enhanced CDs. Remember the one from Mobb Deep's Hell on Earth? There was a phone booth, then you'd click on it and Prodigy would be like, "Fuck off!" and that's pretty much all it was. Steve Rifkind, who's now rolling with Asher Roth, must have had a deal with the guy who invented that shit. It may have been one of his cousins. And I wouldn't be surprised if there were similar shenanigans involved with Popsomp Hills.
It's too bad there isn't any way I could get in on this free for all. Maybe Eminem could say something racist about black women, and Paul Rosenberg could pay me not to post it.
No but really, it's too bad the marketing of Relapse isn't going any better than it is. This could be the last time a label spends that much money promoting a rap album. You know good and well they wouldn't be bothering if Em had released an album in the past couple of years, and it did, say, Curtis numbers. But Em managed to sell 5 million copies of even the godawful Encore. The TIs probably figure Relapse could at least do Carter III numbers. If it does, it won't be because of all of these silly videos, websites, comic books and what have you.