Each week Cyrus Kyle Langhorne weighs-in on hot button topics with his sharp commentary. This week’s subject: Drake.
Let's not be suckas or even modest about Drake's Thank Me Later. It's GOING to do numbers. All in all, let's consider the importance of this week (beginning Monday, today) in regards to not only Drake's career but the state of R&B. If Thank Me Later comes out on June 15th and does not do Lil Wayne's The Carter III first-week sales (or better), Drizzy is going to be stunted on from rap and R&B fans alike. Would it be his fault? Nah, but does this show something about Drake as an artist most people do not want to admit? Yes, this anticipation and excitement—over an album which has leaked on the internet two weeks prior to its long-awaited release—goes to show you there has not been more "hope" in an artist than the early rap success of a 50 Cent or even going back to when The Notorious B.I.G. was ready to drop Ready to Die.
Sure, there have been huge artists like Alicia Keys and The-Dream and Ne-Yo who, based off their debuts led them to pretty extreme success and dumb, silly, cwwazy expectations on their sophomore projects, maybe even fueling all those sophomore jinx feature cover stories, etc. But going back to my rap comparisons of what Drizzy is bringing to the game, man oh man, he brings about "hope" in believing music is still important because face it, we laugh and flaunt at the ease of getting free music. Shucks, I still laugh when artists are doing mad radio promo just in support of a funking free mixtape. (laugh) Say word, dun dun?
It has gotten to a point where I thank Hov for being able to "write" about music and cover it from a journalism standpoint because dreams of hitting the music scene and landing on the front page of a mazgazine like The FADER or XXL or VIBE is almost sick humor when you count the rate of publications scrapping to stay alive as we bid farewell to the days of $12/12-month subscriptions. So based off what Drake's Thank Me Later can do for an image-setting standard is quite crucial. So you take Drake and automatically question his credentials. We often tend to take away the fact Drizzy is an actor-turned-musician (at least from my perspective) when you think of big, sad backstories behind your average artist. Shucks, even T-Pain said he once was at a point where he was homeless and had to give himself a shower with a Poland Springs bottle.
I look at Drake's album and "hope" in the same respects of The Little Engine That Could or even the diggy-diggy-dumb Parappa The Rapper video games (remember, "You gotta believe!") or even those classic stories-turned-into-films like Dreamgirls, Ray, or an 8 Mile where at the end of the day, you are going to be planting a seed of "hope" into peeps' heads. Whether Drizzy or music critics or illegal downloaders/hackers (myself included!) want to admit it or not, this June 15th release is going to set the standard for urban music. I pride myself in being a hip-hop head to the core with a sprinkle of R&B sense, well, at least enough to get me a temporary slot on here blasting off the top of my dome to the unwelcoming instances of a spelling mistake here or there. But even having photos of Jay-Z tossing up the Roc diamond in my room as I type this, I cannot even fake like Drake's album is going to be vital for hip-hop, because quite frankly, this is a double-edged sword. If the album does "well" (which is dumb-silly units), then not only does the rap game appear to have caught a "W," so does the R&B game. The idea of an artist with a few co-signs and a ton of pre-debut album records making it to such a large level, quite frankly, international fame, is almost mind-boggling to me.
We have heard the album, duh. At this point, if you have not yet gotten your hands on the entire album prior to its release, you're almost the equivalent of being the kid no one asked to join in a game of basketball. And whether or not we vibe with the album is completely on us, but I feel like Drake is going to be given this one final shot: no pushed up dates, no pushed back dates, business as usual. The sad-somber guy who still believes in confidence and positivity, all these factors are still present. Now it is really up to the consumers to figure out if Drake is the last Mohican. (laugh)
June 15th is going to come here and the public will speak for themselves. Will shorties cop it just to see the pictures while their brothers are sleek dissing and lying about buying it for their sisters? Who knows? But what I do know is once Sound Scan hits and those numbers continue to get tallied up with numerous predictions running left and right, when Wednesday, June 23rd spits out a "TOTAL SOLD ALBUMS" number, the game is going to change. Could his album "save" the industry? No. But what it could and what I truly believe it will do is sell a grip of records which will prove Drake has done what every kid writing on a crumbling notepad each night hopes for—to become a "believable" inspiration for those out here believing their music can reap the benefits of financial success and reach a large consumer base.