For a minute there, it looked like hip-hop was officially back from the abyss. That Drake album came out, and while it didn’t do two million its first week out, as predicted by some random dipshit MTV News found and presented as if his opinion was at all relevant, it still sold upwards of half a million copies its first week out – which would have been impressive even 10 years ago, let alone today. Then that Eminem album came along and blew it out of the water. It sold damn near three quarters of a million copies its first week out, despite the fact that it’s an even worse album than his big ’09 comeback effort, which didn’t sell nearly.
It didn’t make any sense. The only thing I could think is that a lot of black people might be having problems with their computers, and they can’t afford to replace them, what with the state of the economy. It’s cheaper to just find out where they still sell CDs and go back to buying CDs. Even though once you’ve bought about 20 of them (I used to have hundreds), you could have bought a decent computer. I wrote some of the best dick jokes in the history of hip-hop journalism on a laptop that cost less than $400. And then of course it died. I read somewhere the other day that, as, erm, amazing as it is that something like a fourth of the people on Twitter here in the US are black, a lot of it has to do with the fact that black people are so into mobile devices. Black people and hispanics (presumably East Coast-style hispanics, not these people at Home Depot) are much more likely to own especially fancy mobile devices, and much more likely to use them for shit like mocking people with fucked up haircuts on Twitter.
Things were looking up for Big Boi, whose Sir Luscious Left Nut was set to be released three weeks after the Eminem album hit stores, after having been delayed for something like two years – just in time to capitalize on the upward trend in rap album sales, but not so close that he’d have to worry about competing with the likes of Drake and Eminem. Certainly he could move enough units to top the Billboard albums chart, after those two albums had already been in the stores for a few weeks. He wouldn’t be like the rest of this year’s tax writeoffs, who somehow managed to get beat their first week out by that Black Eyed Peas album, which has been out since back when Sir Luscious Left Nut was first supposed too come out. I’ll admit, I was a little bit nervous the other day, when I published my post on how Left Nut sounds like the boring Big Boi parts from a few different OutKast albums all stitched together, and how Jive Records was right to be concerned that it was poised for huge, embarrassing commercial failure. I knew my instincts are pretty much always right about everything, and I knew that the chorus of clueless cracka-ass crackas praising Left Nut as if it came with a coupon for a free blowski meant absolutely nothing at all, but I was worried that some of that Joementum from the past few weeks of rap album sales would carry over into this past week and make it seem as if I was wrong. As if!
As it turns out, I didn’t have any cause for concern. I was right. Again. Sir Luscious Left Nut sold even worse than I expected: only about 60,000 copies sold its first week in stores, and on iTunes, i.e. about one per every critic on the Internets who tried to make it seem as if it’s the new Supreme Clientele, with a few left over for members of Big Boi’s family, and especially hardened OutKast stans – the kind of people who have Idlewild on DVD. Next week, it’ll probably sell about half as many copies, and then it’ll fall off even further from there. This shit might not hit the six figure mark, let alone gold. Usually, they don’t allow you too remain on a major label when you fuck up so royally, especially when it’s your second colossal fuckup in a row and hence it’s probably not a fluke, but Big Boi is fortunate in that he’ll have a deal with Island Def Jam as long as LA Reid is in charge there. He’s quoted as saying so in the New York Times, the newspaper of record. That might even stand up in court, if he tries to renege. I’ll have to ask TPAR, if I run into him here in Chicago, where I’ve come to see Pavement this weekend.