It took all of about 15 minutes after the cover of this year’s Freshman Issue hit the Internets the other day for someone to point out that last month was that Shady 2.0 issue, which means that Yelawolf has now appeared on the cover two months in a row, in what’s almost certainly an historical first, though I’m not gonna bother to go through the archives to make sure. I couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head, but there’s a period, from about the time XXL began until I started blogging for this site, when I couldn’t tell you what the fuck was on the cover. I was in college, or working at White Castle or some shit, and I couldn’t afford the $5 a rap magazine cost, and I could care less anyway. It’s not like this was the ’90s.
The closest similar example I can think of is the time OJ da Jew Man was on the cover twice in a six months span – which was obviously an accident. In retrospect, the fact that he was on the cover in the first place was an accident, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have bothered if they knew that whoever is in charge of these things would insist that he be on the cover of the Freshman Issue a mere matter of months later. Then there was all of those times in between the first and second Carter albums when Lil Wayne would pop up on the cover, and you’d think to yourself, Wasn’t he on the cover last month? But come to find out that was like three months ago. Plenty of time for you to forget that Lil Wayne likes to take copious amounts of drugs and watch sports highlights (not to be confused with actual sports), or whatever was discussed in those issues. I wonder if there was a different photoshoot for each of those issues, or if there was just one and they had him change outfits.
It’s obvious they stuck Yelawolf on the cover two months in a row on purpose, because they could have just as easily left him off the cover by explaining to the TIs at Interscope he was just on the cover the month before, with half as many black guys (which should result in twice as much impact, unless my math is off), and that there’s already some other white guy in this year’s freshman class, who I’m sure is ultimately signed to the same label Yelawolf is signed to (it’s only an illusion that there’s more than one major record label), and that they already had 10 people for this year’s Freshman Issue, and to add one more, because it’s 2011 and because of some BS having to do with the recession, would be retarded, like something you’d expect to see in The Source. No shots – in order of importance – at Interscope, XXL or The Source.
This must be part of some grand scheme to make 2K11 the year cracka-ass cracka rap returned, capitalizing on the phenomenal success of Eminem’s Recovery. I read the total number of units that album has shifted the other day, and I had to do a double take. It was somewhere between three and four million – the kind of numbers that would have been impressive 10 years ago, let alone several years after anyone with the sense god gave geese stopped buying CDs, and several years now into a recession that will never end, ever, goofy magazine covers notwithstanding. Those aren’t the kind of numbers that come from merely putting out a very good album. That Kanye album is a very good album, to hear every critic there ever was tell it, and it hasn’t been nearly as successful. Eminem must be selling albums to people who don’t buy CDs very often. I don’t even know anyone who fuxwit Recovery. This is like in the late ’90s, when that Lauryn Hill album supposedly sold like eight million copies, and no one I knew had actually heard it. (You can imagine the kind of people I hung around.)
You’d have to think that the TIs would try to capture some of whatever went so right with Recovery. They’ve been known to play copycat anyway, and they’re more desperate now than they ever have been. The money from Jay Electronica’s soda commercials can only go but so far. They failed once before to create a second Eminem, back in the late ’90s/early ’00s, but that was then and this is now. It used to be the case that there couldn’t be a successful white rapper, unless you want to count the Beastie Boys (which is more of a rock groups), because white people by and large suck at rap, and the few who don’t have limited commercial prospects. The only chart they’re showing up on is my last.fm. For Eminem to become better than pretty much all of his black counterparts. Let’s just say all. What was his competition, really, in a post-Biggie Smalls landscape? I’m sure people who like anything Jay-Z did post-like half of Vol. 1 would beg to differ, but they’re obviously idiots. LOL
Things have since changed, in that Recovery lacks the black cosign (er, the people who know from good rap music cosign), and it’s arguably the most successful album he’s ever released. It hasn’t sold nearly as many copies as the great Marshall Mathers LP, from 2000, but that was the same year that N’Sync album sold over 2.4 million copies in a single week. Cappadonna probably sold more albums that year than the vast majority of rappers sold in 2K10. Eminem probably made more money from Recovery anyway, once you count all of the suspect marketing tie-ins and whatever he received from the Illuminati to promote Alcoholics Anonymous, which has been revealed (here at XXL) to be an Illuminati indoctrination program. He almost won the Grammy, but he ended up getting robbed by the Arcade Fire, who genuinely made the best album that was nominated, those crafty Canadians. He may have been nominated back in 2001, but there was no way he was gonna win, with the fudge community pissed at him for the allegedly homophobic lyrics on the Marshall Mathers LP. That’s why the Illuminati had him perform with Elton John. (They may have also effed him in the a, to show him it’s not that bad, and it’s necessary anyway.) 2K11 was supposed to be his year. I bet he got way more votes this year than he did 10 years ago. It’s just, there’s no way the Illuminati could get Price Waterhouse to tamper with the voting. I take it they thought the fix was in, right up to the last minute, and that’s why they had that guy Steve Stoute write an angry open letter to NARAS, in one of the saddest spectacles since that time they had Jermaine Dupri blog for the Huffington Po$t about the evils of iTunes, and then like two weeks later they summarily fired his ass. Who ever heard of a black man being upset Eminem and Justin Bieber didn’t win at the Grammys. (He might be the first black guy to ever write an angry open letter.) I’m sure he makes a lot of money from whatever his cut is when Eminem sells out to a soft drink company, and it doesn’t bode well for his bottom line when a group that actually has some integrity achieves that level of success, at the expense of one of his shills, but there comes a certain point, as a black man, when you have to draw a line in the sand, via “the first President Bush.” He should have insisted one of the guys from Kings of Leon write that letter.
Sidebar: I don’t even give a shit about the Grammys, but Arcade Fire winning album of the year has to be just about the best thing that’s happened to me in my adult life, with the caveat that nothing good has happened to me in my adult life.
I’m sure Asher Roth is sitting at home kicking himself. If only he’d waited a couple of years to release Asleep in the Bread Aisle. I’m sure he could have lived off of his trust fund in the interim. Worst case scenario, maybe he’d have to cut back on the weed. Hey, it’s a recession. We all have to tighten our belts a little bit. Bread Aisle dropped in ’09, the same year as Relapse, which I’m sure was no mere matter of coincidence. That was the year Eminem was set to make his big comeback. They probably had a whole slew of white rappers on ice, practicing their blaccents, waiting for it to be like the early aughts all over again, when all sorts of people we’ve long since forgotten received ridonkulous sums to be some black producer’s white puppet. Pretty much every artist back then had at least one cracka-ass cracka in the crew. One of these sites that are better than list-making than analysis should put together a list. Asher Roth was pushed to the forefront, on account of being both white and a hipster rapper (whatever that meant). He was a virtual shoo-in, until he wasn’t. Alas, Relapse was awful, and Asleep in the Bread Aisle, and (more importantly) no one gave a shit about either of them, and there was no big white rap comeback in 2009. Eminem had made the mistake of trying to appeal to people who actually like rap music, instead of whoever it is that keeps snapping up copies of Recovery.
I can see 2K11 being way different. Asher Roth might even luck out and secure a released date for his followup to Asleep in the Bread Aisle, which, from what I understand, has been sitting on the shelf, much like an actual loaf of bread, until the tax department over at Interscope has some sort of strategic use for it. That kid Sam Adams showed the way, with that song where he had the sheer balls to sample “Walking on Broken Glass,” which, I’ll admit, I enjoyed the shit out of whenever I heard it in the grocery store back in the mid ’90s. But you guys know I enjoy all sorts of things. That doesn’t necessarily mean they should be the basis for rap songs. That song wasn’t hip-hop in the least bit. Recovery was like Supreme Clientele by comparison. And yet, that song was ridonkulously popular. It dominated iTunes’ singles chart for a period of time. There were rumors that he bought all of those singles himself, using his father’s credit card, but from what I would understand, that would take some haX0ring. You can’t just buy your own song a million times, or whatever it takes to top iTunes’ hip-hop charts. (300 times?) At the very least, you’d have to use several stolen credit cards, like that African guy who got caught recently. Furthermore, I saw the other day where someone linked to a Tumblr that consisted of nothing but songs by white rappers like Asher Roth and Sam Adams, and maybe even worse than Asher Roth and Sam Adams. *shudders at the thought* I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t listen to any of it, because I’m a lazy person who writes 2,000 word essays drawing heretofore unconceived of connections between obscure rap groups, politics and the arts, via “’90s babies who obviously struggle with reading comprehension.” They don’t need me to listen to their music anyway. I get the sense that, like Recovery, they have the potential to become remarkably popular, despite brothers such as myself. The TIs may have finally found a way to make any ol’ cracka-ass cracka a famous rapper. This could be the grim future Ray Benzino paid Harry Allen to warn us about back in like ’02.