"I was gonna kill a couple rappers, but they did it to themselves. I was gonna do it with the flow, but they did it with their sales." --Jay-Z, who must have seen this coming

To think, Curtis was considered a flop, and it sold 600 some-odd thousand copies its first week out.

Yeah, part of it was that it still sold way less than the million or so copies Kanye West's Graduation sold, thus handily defeating Fiddy in their first week sales battle, not to mention the million-plus copies Fiddy's own The Massacre sold two years before.

Then there was the fact that sales of Curtis fell way the fuck off after that first week. It was really those next several weeks that cemented Curtis' status as one of hip-hop's all-time great commercial failures, even though it did eventually go platinum. (Some African kids must have saved up their Sally Struthers money.)

This new Fiddy album looks like it's about to redefine what it means for a 50 Cent album to be unsuccessful. Never mind Curtis taking months and months on end to go platinum, Before I Self Destruct might never go platinum. Hits Daily Double predicts that it will somewhere in the neighborhood of 160,000 copies its first week out, i.e. something like a quarter of what Curtis sold. Yikes!

And who knows, it might not even do that well. Remember when that Slaughterhouse album was set to sell like 28,000 copies its first week out, and people were like, damn, that's only 7,000 per failed MC? Then come to find out it really only sold like 18,000 copies. Budden also put out one of his albums on Amalgm Digital that week, and the Internet Soldiers may have opted for it instead.

With this new Fiddy album, I'm thinking word might get out that it's a huge, embarrassing failure, and people might decide to cop some weed instead. Slaughterhouse could only ever get but so much press, even though there's four of them. Meanwhile, you can hardly click on a rap blog today without witnessing Fiddy cop a plea with regard to BISD's projected first week sales. That can't be good for his "brand."

Here's Fiddy in an interview with MTV or somebody, which I found excerpted without attribution on Vlad TV:

"With the actual outcome of the project, once the record leaks from the international plant, what more can I do," 50 explained in an interview. "I can't, I held the record long enough to get it to them, to mix and master it and for them to ship it and then it leaks from the plant internationally, I'm like come on, then that's it. They lost the ball. You know what I mean, if the numbers look funny to me, it's they fault."

Before I Self Destruct was available on the Internets a good two weeks or so before it hit stores. The TIs did what they could to silence any mention of the fact that the album sprung a leak, but that only served to piss off the few fans Fiddy has left. You couldn't preview one song from the album on World Star, but downloading the entire thing was a mere matter of consulting the Google.

I should know. I ran a review of the album on the 4th, and that's about as much effort as I was willing to put forth. (I don't think I've ever received a review copy of an album from a major label. True story.) Lord knows it was hard enough just listening to the damn thing. As I mentioned in my review, I should receive a medal just for having the wherewithal to see that task to completion. Maybe my mom can make me one.

Fiddy probably should have done what Jay-Z did with the Blueprint 3 and pushed the release date up. If they couldn't have gotten it in stores by that Friday, they definitely could have gotten it into stores before this Tuesday. They may have sacrificed the opportunity to score a big first week sales number, but as it turns out, they weren't about to anyway. And they probably would have sold more copies overall, if they'd struck while the iron was hot. Crap.

The TIs must have realized this was gonna happen, right? Pushing the album release date up should be standard protocol at this point. They should list a phony release date, then drop the album a week before that, just to throw people off. That's probably what Jay-Z did. That crafty son of a bitch.