What’s the likelihood, really, that Amazon accidentally shipped 500 copies of Lil Wayne’s Rebirth, on CD, months before it was scheduled to be released?
Reasons I suspect the TIs may have put them up to this:
1) Amazon has been around for damn near as long as the Internets in general, and I’ve never heard of them accidentally releasing something months ahead of time, let alone one of the most highly anticipated albums evar. Rebirth is the sequel to Tha Carter III, which is not only one of the best-selling albums evar, but it somehow managed to achieve said status in an age when I’m not even sure where you’d buy a CD. The only reason I know Best Buy still sells them is because I heard Wale copping a plea about how they didn’t stock enough copies of Attention Deficit. Has it gone on to sell even as many copies as that Asher Roth album, or was that some ol’ bullshit? At any rate, Rebirth was probably set to be a big payday for both the TIs and Amazon. And I’ve worked in enough fast food places to know that, when a certain sandwich is being advertised on CD that, they’ll send a guy from corporate in to show you how to make. They don’t just take a risk.
2) 500 seems like such a nice, even number. I wonder how it compares to the number of copies of the most anticipated album of any given week it typically ships. Not to let the Internets in on more than they need to know about me, but I think the last CD I bought from Amazon was Vespertine by Bjork, and that may have been in part because of that uncut video she made that I saw before a showing of the Coen brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There. I didn’t even know nude Bjork would be included as part of the price of admission. Suffice it to say that was a better than average evening for a 20 year-old Bol. But you guys know I haven’t been part of the economic mainstream at any point in my adult life. It could be that Amazon sold way more than 500 copies of Rebirth, but they capped the leak at that amount, perhaps to make sure someone would rip it and upload it to the Internets. That way, the TIs could write it off as a loss for ’09, and they won’t have to pay as much tax on that Carter III money.
3) Lil Wayne isn’t in any condition to release an album right now. It’s one thing if you’re Gucci Mane, and despite all of the TIs’ efforts to force feed him to the populace, there’s a certain realization that he can only ever be so popular. As I may or may not have pointed out in a post last week, it was once thought that he might be the next Lil Wayne, or at least something approaching that, but he turned out to be less than a tenth of that. The real Lil Wayne, meanwhile, is much more of a known quantity. He’s the closest thing the TIs have to a sure thing at this point. Even if the next Lil Wayne album only sells half what Tha Carter III sold, that’s still more than pretty much anyone other than Susan Boyle. (I’m surprised the TIs haven’t tried to get them on a song together. You know they’ve thought of it.) But Lil Wayne is headed off to prison here in a lil bit. (See what I did there?) They might as well wait until he’s free to actually promote an album.
4) I heard Rebirth sucks balls. When you have the kind of success Lil Wayne had with Tha Carter III, the TIs pretty much give you free reign to do what you want. Otherwise, you might take your proverbial marbles and go home. That’s why they gave James Cameron $500 million to make Avatar, after Titanic became the highest-grossing film evar. They didn’t want to get on his bad side. He wasn’t kidding when he called himself the King of the World. The thing is, that might still turn out to be a good deal for the TIs. Even if Avatar failed here in the US, where people are a little more sophisticated, you know how people in foreign countries love movies with expensive special effects. That shit probably already recouped. On the other hand, the TIs may have tripped in letting Lil Wayne follow up Tha Carter III with a rock album. I’ve yet to hear it myself, but I read a 0-day review the other day from the kind of white guy who pretends to like Lil Wayne, and they were obviously struggling to say something positive about it.
Now that anyone’s who’s actually interested in hearing Lil Wayne impersonate Fred Durst can simply consult the Google, who wants to bet Rebirth is scrapped as the official followup to Tha Carter III? I know at one point they were talking about releasing it as a two disc set, along with an album by Young Money. Presumably, the idea was that the more traditional Young Money album would offset the (drug) experimentation of Rebirth, but the music on it must not have been strong enough. At this point, they might be best off waiting until Lil Wayne gets released from the joint suspiciously early, like T.I. just did and putting an album out then. Or maybe he’ll struggle with withdrawal in the joint and go all batshit, like Ol’ Dirty. Then if he dies, they can put out whatever, and it’ll probably sell like pancakes. You know how people love albums by dead rappers. As long as it doesn’t leak.