Posted tagged ‘Cash Money’

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

September 9, 2011

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!

Top Five Rap Songs For the End of Summer (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

September 3, 2010

This is everyday for me.

Welcome to yet another installment of Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza. As you may have seen, we’re only doing five this go round because you only have about four days left of summer and you’ve probably got enough going on in terms of squeezing those last drops of the season in. Instead of focusing on time-tested seasonal classics like “Summertime” and “Hip-Hop Hooray,” these are jams specific to this final week. So grab that last bottle of summer ale and hop the train to Coney Island as we say goodbye to another great season.

DO IT! HONOR IT! DO IT NOW!

5 ) Scarface – “It’s Going Down” (1994)

While this tasteful booty call sounds great year round, it makes for the perfect end of the BBQ “let’s do this” theme music. Brad Jordan’s charming and disarming charisma over a “99 Luftballons” interpolation made for a great moment of release on his masterpiece The Diary as well as an accessible introductory piece to arguably the greatest rap catalog of all time.

4 ) Y’all So Stupid – “Van Full of Pakistans” (1993)

Unfairly but rightly remembered as everybody’s favorite Pharcyde-ripoff, Atlanta’s own Y’all So Stupid have at least one universally beloved favorite in their arsenal, and that’s the title track off their puzzlingly named album Van Full of Pakistans. A laid back tale of loss and, well, more loss, the song compliments those of us who don’t really have a whole lot to look forward to in the fall but are having a good time anyway.

3 ) Atmosphere – “Sunshine” (2007)

Off their 2007 EP Sad Clown Bad Summer, Atmosphere’s “Sunshine” touches on those unexpected great days of summer that come out of nowhere to remind you how great the season is. Historically the first glimpse at Ant’s more live instrument-based production, it’s a fitting closer whether you’re strolling through that park you haven’t had to roll through on a whim or exiting the Minnesota State Fair, it’s makes for some great walking-away person end credits music.

2 ) Jay-Z – “Dear Summer” (2004)

Probably the most literally fitting song on the list, a “retired” Jay-Z popped up on Memphis Bleek’s 2004 album 534 for the entirely Bleek-less song “Dear Summer.” While the face value reads as Jay actually saying goodbye to the season, the context of when it dropped made it seem like the final bow of a storied career. Half-victory lap, half-“I Still Got It,” Jay hasn’t sounded like this since his 2006 return and we’re all the worse for it.

1 ) Juvenile & Soulja Slim – “Slow Motion” (2004)

It’s unfortunate New Orleans rap legend Soulja Slim had to have his first Number One single nine-months after his death, but it’s the type of song that will live forever. Teaming up with Southern rap icon and Bounce pioneer Juvenile, “Slow Motion’s” become something of a requiem for both Slim and the summer itself. Pro J’s beat sets the sluggish summer scorch perfectly for Slim and Juvy to go back and forth one last time. The Life Garland directed video’s also among the most touching of the medium, featuring many then-feuding New Orleans rap artists all coming together to remember one of their own.

FUN FACT: Sometimes words have two meanings.

So there you have it. Have a great labor day weekend!