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Another freshman flunks out

Lost in the hoopla re: last week’s Billboard albums chart was the fact that Kid Cudi’s album did so well.

When I saw the results last week, I was more concerned with the fact that the Blueprint 3 continued to do so well, and M.O.P.’s Foundation did so poorly.

The Jay-Z album sold an additional damn near 300,000 more copies, which is more than pretty much any rapper these days could hope to sell their first week out, and enough to land it in the number one spot for the second week in a row. I know the beginning of the fall is a big time of the year for album releases. I wonder if the Blueprint 3 beat out some other, non-rap album that was released.

It’s hard to get an idea how rap album sales compare to album sales overall, from the dumbass album sales rundowns XXL pays some kid to do – not to mention the reports on how much rap albums are projected to sell, the ones where people who work for XXL predict how an album might sell, the videos where random-ass people on the street predict how an album might sell, so on and so forth.

That M.O.P. album, meanwhile, only sold 2,100 copies. I’m not even sure how to go about categorizing such poor album sales. I can’t think of another example of an album by a prominent rap group selling so poorly. Even that Clipse album on Koch Graveyard, where it was just garbage from their last few mixtapes, somehow made even worse, sold more copies than that.

In a widely disseminated update on Twitter last week, I made it a point to compare M.O.P.’s disappointing album sales to the fact that Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon: The End of Day somehow managed to sell 104,000 copies its first week out, i.e. damn near 50 times as many as the M.O.P. The comparison seemed especially fascinating to me, in that I can hardly think of two rap groups that are more diametrically opposed. M.O.P. are old and badass. Kid Cudi is young and suspect. Kid Cudi is like the anti-M.O.P.

I didn’t even realize people were checking for Kid Cudi like that. In the past few weeks, all I’ve heard about on Twitter re: Kid Cudi is how people who stumbled upon a leaked copy of his album were surprised at how much they didn’t like it. And keep in mind, these weren’t aging haters such as myself. These were people you’d think might like a Kid Cudi album.

Then I saw where Cudi deleted both his Twitter and his blog, which was considered by the late, great (er, zombified?) Vibe magazine as one of the best hip-hop blogs evar – probably several spots ahead of my own blog, which I’ve been updating since back when Kid Cudi was having his first homosexual experiences, in middle school. What a waste. Whether or not the harsh criticism of his album and Cudi retreating from the Internets were related, I’m not sure.

I’ll give credit where credit is due – the hype re: Kid Cudi seemed a lot more genuine to me than the hype surrounding a lot of these other beta male rappers. “Day N’ Nite” and “Make Her Say” were both big singles. “Make Her Say,” which is Kanye at his lecherous best, and perhaps a foreshadowing of the incident at this years VMAs, is my shit. And I’m not gonna lie – when I’m on my way home from the BGM and one of those teh ghey techno remixes of “Day N’ Nite” comes on Sirius, I’ll let that shit ride. Kid Cudi supposedly wrote both of the songs people actually like from the last Kanye West album, and he’s featured on the new Jay-Z album.

If you would have told me that Kid Cudi, rather than Drake, had received a groundbreaking $2 million contract, I might have actually believed you. What has Drake really done, by comparison? Before I mentioned that the Kid Cudi album sold way better than the M.O.P. album, I saw where it was projected to sell way better than the retail version of Drake’s So Far Gone. This seemed odd to me, and I said as much on Twitter. A few people responded that the Drake album was just a bowdlerized, $8 version of a free mixtape. Which might be true, but I doubt the people who gave Drake $2 million give a shit. Why did Drake put out a retail version of a mixtape last week, as opposed to an album? It’s not like “Best I Ever Had” is getting any newer. And people are obviously (inexplicably) back buying CDs.

Alas, it looks like last week’s strong album sales could end up being the peak of Kid Cudi’s career, rather than the promising beginning. This week, Man on the Moon slid 13 spots on Billboard’s albums chart, selling about 28,000 copies, i.e. only a little more than a fourth of what he sold last week. So Far Gone: The Version That Has Less Songs and Costs Money outsold it by about 8,000 copies, which was enough to land it in the top 10. Let me guess – the 100,000 people who copped Man on the Moon its first week out hated it, just like the people I follow on Twitter, and they spread the word. Otherwise, who knows how well it would be doing right now. In fact, advance negative word on the Internets may have even hampered those first week sales. Man on the Moon possibly could have even given the two week old Blueprint 3 a run for its money.

It’s not like I give a shit whether or not Kid Cudi album does well. As I stated at the outset, that’s just not my cup of tea. I was much more concerned with how poorly the M.O.P. album sold. But the Kid Cudi album is fascinating to me, in that I can hardly think of a rapper in a better position to blow. What’s happened in the past week or so with Man on the Moon is like what happened with Cudi’s Freshman 10 cohort (and touring partner) Asher Roth earlier this year all over again. They both had the full force of the industry behind them, but they could only ever make but so many people give a shit.

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