REALLY QUICK: ‘Watch the Throne,’ ‘Tha Carter IV,’ and the Hip-Hop Numbers Game.

What the album comes packaged in - Tha Carter Foreskin!

For those of you who read this site and ONLY this site, you’ve probably been wondering both where I’ve been and what else the internet has to offer. Well, I’ve been writing for several sites and publications, such as The New York Times, Complex Magazine, Funny or Die etc., and regularly write my music reviews at Spectrum Culture. Being I write for so many sites now, Popular Opinions is going to serve as something of a mothership, not only a place where I generate the same quality content you’ve grown to love and respect, but a place to keep you abreast of all the different articles I’ve been writing for different sites.

So, given the two biggest stories in Hip-Hop for the past month, let’s talk Watch the Throne and Tha Carter IV.

Here’s my full review of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne

Here’s my full review of Tha Carter IV

Now that you’ve read both of those, let me break it down like this:

The Best moments of Tha Carter IV > Jay-Z’s rapping on Watch the Throne > The Worst moments of Tha Carter IV > Kanye’s rapping on Watch the Throne > The Game’s rapping on The R.E.D. Album.

If I knew you were debuting on Billboard that high, I would have baked a cake!

But probably the most rewarding thing about Tha Carter IV moving almost a million (or a millie) units in its debut week is the sign that people once again really seem to care about Hip-Hop. I know, your industry friend on Twitter has been exercising his ‘SMH’-typing fingers and wondering aloud “why do people care about first week sales?” Well, in some weird way, they’ve become a returning cyclical excitement for the modern music listener. Remember in 7th grade when you kept a piece of notebook paper hung up in your locker with a list of upcoming albums and their release dates so you could count down each day remember to cop them? Prior to Nas’ I Am… and Jay-Z’s Vol. 3 ushering in the MP3 era, if you lived outside of New York the possibility of bootlegging new albums before their release was non-existant. Release dates seemed to signify something, and now they act as almost a validating testament for artists that we’re excited about. When Atmosphere and Tyler, the Creator had albums debut in Billboard’s Number 5 spot, or when UGK finally debuted at Number 1, I did feel somewhat like my high school basketball team just took State. Sure, it’s a silly numbers game, but ladies love numbers. Fellas do too! While strong catalog titles may in all actuality be a more impressive feat (shouts to Waka Flocka Flame whose “No Hands” single has been on the Hip-Hop charts for an astonishing 56 weeks in a row!)  seeing an album’s release be an important pop culture event is a pretty cool thing.

As for Tha Carter IV, it may redefine how a rap artist is treated in the music industry. Typically, every artist on a major label is one under-performing album away from being a has-been. Looking at the past decade, how many artists have gone from the biggest single of the year to not even making the sticker when they guest on other records? Wayne may have changed that. At the height of Wayne hysteria, Tha Carter III moved one million copies its first week. Two years later, his follow up album Rebirth did only 100,000 copies. Last week, Tha Carter IV did 1 million again. While all of these were #1 debuts, the really impressive feat here is that not only was Rebirth a pretty substantial dropoff, Tha Carter IV is possibly the biggest artist comeback of our time. To put it in perspective, for everyone ONE person that bought Rebirth, NINE MORE bought Tha Carter IV. Further, this is TWICE the number that Jay-Z and Kanye’s powers combined (436,000) managed to sell. Compound that by the fact that Jay and Kayne had NO LEAK, and Wayne’s was readily available for pirates more than a week ahead of time, and you realize what a commercial slam dunk this record was.

At the end of the day, what does this all mean? Run the numbers anyway you want, but what has me genuinely excited is that a million people paid for copies of a rap album that they really didn’t have to. That’s pretty cool.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

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