Photo by Jonathan Mannion
Let me just put my argument out on the table: if Drake does not sell a million plus copies with his debut, the album and marketing behind it will be one of the biggest failures we have seen "thus" far... seriously. As much as artists try to say it is no longer about the numbers but about the brand, pweease, stop it. Imagine Al Pacino and Robert De Niro coming together for a big screen film and their reaction if the movied failed to... er, never mind.
Okay, for the record, the above title is supposed to be a play on words with What Dreams May Come, however, looking at it from your perspective it seems nothing less than a cheap urban adult film title with a light skinned kid playing Drake as he has to rise (pun intended) up through countless women executives to land his Universal Motown contract (of course a non-looking Sylvia Rhone would be at the end).
So let's get rid of this possible porn film title and focus on something a bit more musical, Thank Me Later. Sure, now if you're reading these very few words, I feel it is necessary to consider the overall outcome of what this project could have in the music game, or for argument's sake, this R&B 'ish.
Could Drake be the savior of music, R&B and rap all marked up into one? Yes. Is it likely? No. Am I the best judge for such conclusions? Maybe. The question I tend to find myself asking myself is, "what defines success?" No matter how many debates, blood-thirsty arguments I find myself in when it comes to new artists and their inability to push more than let's say, 10,000 to 13,000 copies of their debut releases, I always get the blank stares and "C'mon Son" remarks as if I'm crazy. Word 'em up?
I'm "bugging" because of my inability to consider the independent dollars which went into work the low budget costs here and there, yada yada yada. I have even found myself in a situation where label reps have told me it is all about building a brand and continuing to move forward.
Now publicist(s) excuses aside, I present a simple question fo' real fo' real, "what defines 'success' with Drake's upcoming new album?" It's really a simple question but it demands such a complex answer: if Drake sells 200,000 in his first week (500,000 or 1,000) funk it, "A Milli" can we sit back and say, "Yes!" and "Oh boy!" (Killa!)?
If you were to ask Drizzy, I'm sure he would say, "I do the music for the fans" in his typical humble manner, but I really wonder how serious people take this attitude. See, if he were just doing something like Lloyd Banks' Hunger For More release where it all came from in-house artists/producers, that were lesser known, then maybe. But when you have Eminem, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Jerry Garcia (kidding) attached to the debut album? Come on, really?
As much as he would want people to believe it's all about the music, it's about creating a takeover in music. For example, I was really shocked when Kid Cudi's Man on the Moon album dropped and did over 100K in its first week, but then it fizzled down a bit and settled for roughly 300K, "possibly" 400K range. Now if you were to ask the average newcomer (rapper, singer, rock star, etc.), those numbers are crazy impressive. But for Drizzy?
In all seriousness, I will end my "blah blah blah AND THEN blah blah" posting right about here, but consider the facts I pointed out: huge cameos, producers, and oh yeah, his "boss" is the biggest selling artist of 2008.