the historical implications of lil wayne's current popularity

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tha carter IV is projected to sell 900k in its first week. it will eventually become wayne's third platinum album (i'm using the old, fungible def of "platinum" for 'i'm not a human being') since the release of tha carter III. tha carter III doing one million in its opening week is still one of the biggest events of the past five or so years in rap music. along with those album sales, he's been ubiquitous on the pop charts for going on four years now, which from what i can tell is extremely unusual, and possibly historic, for a rapper. and of course, all of this is happening during the most depressed sales economy in the history of the modern music business.

so, the topic of discussion: where does lil wayne's career from, say, "lollipop" to the present rank in the history of the genre in terms of the most popular that a single rapper has ever been at one time? maybe there is a definitive, fact based answer to this, idk. the last few cases that come to my mind are 50 cent at the peak of his popularity (tho he ended up burning out rather quickly, all things told) and eminem circa the trl era (altho i guess current eminem could give both the old eminem AND current lil wayne a run for their money).

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 03:34 (six years ago) Permalink

hermeneutically?

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 2 September 2011 03:37 (six years ago) Permalink

jesus christ 900k?

johnny crunch, Friday, 2 September 2011 03:40 (six years ago) Permalink

I bought it on iTunes #sheeple

the tune is space, Friday, 2 September 2011 04:08 (six years ago) Permalink

so far I'm loving "Abortion" best

the tune is space, Friday, 2 September 2011 04:08 (six years ago) Permalink

it's a terrible album

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 04:12 (six years ago) Permalink

I'd say the low point is the song "It's Good" #irony

the tune is space, Friday, 2 September 2011 04:22 (six years ago) Permalink

I don't know if I would go so far as to call this "terrible". Definitely not very good and without a doubt the worst of his "proper" solo albums, but there are a few decent verses scattered throughout.

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 2 September 2011 04:25 (six years ago) Permalink

let's take discussions of this terrible album to the carter IV thread!

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 04:26 (six years ago) Permalink

I mean eminem like 1999 - now? Just because critics shit on Relapse doesnt mean it didnt sell like crazy. Dude in suburban record store where I grew up sold more copies of whatever THE RE UP was than anything that year because it had the word eminem on the cover

delmar dillinger (Whiney G. Weingarten), Friday, 2 September 2011 05:13 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, i mean could you make an argument that eminem is the most famous rapper ever? you probably could. i isolated eminem in two different time frames (during the trl era & now) bcuz he did have a relative dead period there for a bit in the middle of the 2000s

but i think wayne's current run is potentially up there w/ both of those periods of em

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 05:18 (six years ago) Permalink

i'm wondering if wayne 08-11 has been more famous & popular than jay is/was at any four year point in his career

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 05:18 (six years ago) Permalink

i wouldnt have thought so but apparently i have vastly underrated lil wayne's popularity in 2009-2011

Lamp, Friday, 2 September 2011 05:19 (six years ago) Permalink

i'm bringing a lot of this up both because i think it's fun to talk about and also bcuz while i can just look up numbers and compare them, i think there is something to be said for having lived thru a certain artist's peak popularity, and i couldn't make a certain assertion of, say, how jay was viewed in the pop landscape circa vol 2

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 05:20 (six years ago) Permalink

i mean this maybe speaks as much to my own distance from pop/rap media outlets but my initial thought for 'most popular rapper 2008-2011' would probably have been kanye but having looked his sales #s are way lower than both eminem and lil wayne

i do think the 'famous' part of the equation is a lot harder to argue, as someone who obv isnt paying a huge amount of attn to rap id argue that lil wayne is probably less famous relative to his sales figures than a # of other rappers...

Lamp, Friday, 2 September 2011 05:27 (six years ago) Permalink

kanye is an interesting case because he gained so much notoriety from things only tangentially related to music (katrina telethon, taylor swift thing) but his numbers aren't mindblowing or anything

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 05:28 (six years ago) Permalink

i mean outselling 'curtis' isn't a huge deal at all in retrospect, minaj's album that came out on the same day as MBDTF is way more popular both sales wise & in terms of singles

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 05:29 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah nicki minaj ~feels~ more popular atm than lil wayne but then i feel like shes one of the only ppl other than kayne whos really trying to operate w/in that pop/rap sweet spot where an artist can get legit ~huge~

Lamp, Friday, 2 September 2011 05:36 (six years ago) Permalink

those two wayne songs have been all over the radio this summer. its funny how much better lollipop is of a 'for the ladies' joint & obv what an 'a milli' knockoff 6 foot 7 is

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 05:38 (six years ago) Permalink

It is interesting to think about, especially because I've always found a disconnect between people I interact with online and those irl. So its kind of like the people I talk most about music with have kinda been over Wayne for awhile, but I keep running into him more and more out in the "real" world and I'm always kinda surprised how popular he still is. When I bought my copy of IV at Best Buy about three days after initial release, I'd say 75% people I waited in line with also had a copy. I'm astounded that he's doing 900k though.

Tangentially related, my wife has sucked me into watching America's Got Talent with her and the other night they had a live performance that started out with David Guetta and Flo-Rida doing their song and the crowd was pretty subdued. Then Nicki came out on stage and the crowd seemed to go batshit, which was really cool to see. I'm glad she is finally hitting these levels, because, imho, she is way more interesting as a pop star than Katy Perry.

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 2 September 2011 13:39 (six years ago) Permalink

blowin my mind rn that lil wayne is doing these numbers

max, Friday, 2 September 2011 15:58 (six years ago) Permalink

^^^yeah me too. who gives a shit about this guy still?

I can feel it in my spiritual hat (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 2 September 2011 16:05 (six years ago) Permalink

he has two huge hit singles -- not totally surprised hes sellin well -- but yeah 900k is insane

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 16:07 (six years ago) Permalink

when ppl talk about how big jay-z is, or kanye its like

these guys are nothing in rap right now -- just totally dwarfed by wayne. i think theres a large portion of the rap audience that does not give 2 shits about jay-z

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 16:08 (six years ago) Permalink

Serious question, why do you guys think its Wayne doing these numbers and not Jay or Kanye?

I mean, apparently overexposure hasn't hurt him in the least.

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 2 September 2011 16:12 (six years ago) Permalink

cuz he's such a cute lil gremlin...?

I have no idea

I can feel it in my spiritual hat (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 2 September 2011 16:13 (six years ago) Permalink

Is it because so much of his stuff has been on, relatively, "breezy" pop stuff? Whereas some of the stuff Kanye and Jay have been doing is seen as more "difficult" by the Top 40 listening public?

jon /via/ chi 2.0, Friday, 2 September 2011 16:13 (six years ago) Permalink

I mean, Wayne is no longer the pet project of the internet media machine, but that doesn't mean he's not still beloved by the people who aren't controling that narrative [read: non-white, teenaged, etc].

Like Twitter trending topics all day are just ppl posting about Wayne and YMCMB and Nicki and Drake.

delmar dillinger (Whiney G. Weingarten), Friday, 2 September 2011 16:34 (six years ago) Permalink

kanye & jay are crossover artists w/ a rock crowd & id argue have lost a hold on a large portion of the rap & pop audiences

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 16:36 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, i mean, for real, the last Kanye POP HIT was fucking "Heartless" in 2008.

I mean, dont judge popularity based on a narrative created by bearded white men who cried along to Elvis Costello records in college imo

delmar dillinger (Whiney G. Weingarten), Friday, 2 September 2011 16:38 (six years ago) Permalink

rap stations are playing otis but it hasnt been burning up the charts all summer like '6'7'

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 16:39 (six years ago) Permalink

Even when Wayne's not on top of his game he's still got a Berry Gordy-level ear for the hit single. He picks He's all over TV and radio and he's been touring all year. Why is this so hard to understand? That his flow has slackened considerably doesn't make much difference commercially - all most workaday listeners ask is that it sounds good, or at least catchy.

Melle Mel and the Coconuts (thewufs), Friday, 2 September 2011 17:01 (six years ago) Permalink

it's ok whiney i never trusted you anyway ;)

Armand Schaubroeck Ratfucker, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:06 (six years ago) Permalink

idk i think selling 900k in this environment is an amazing feat period

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 17:06 (six years ago) Permalink

True - I was just on a chart website called UKMix that discusses album sales, Soundscan, etc. There's a thread on the top selling Hip-hop albums in the U.S. year by year, and 2011 YTD is dismal:

JAY-Z & KANYE WEST - Watch The Throne : 612,911
WIZ KHALIFA - Rolling Papers : 549,258
BAD MEETS EVIL - Hell: The Sequel EP : 463,012
LUPE FIASCO - Lasers : 457,560
BEASTIE BOYS - Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 : 308,520
BIG SEAN - Finally Famous : 189,740
PITBULL - Planet Pit : 174,150
LONELY ISLAND - Turtleneck & Chain : 167,517
MAYBACH MUSIC GROUP - Self Made Vol. 1 - 150,668
TECH N9NE - All 6's & 7's : 130,063

Only 2 of these albums have even sold enough copies to go gold. First week really is make-or-break for major label albums these days, and Wayne's shifting nearly a million copies despite a leak, mixed-to-bad reviews, a horrid economy, etc. Pretty impressive, even if the album itself isn't.

Melle Mel and the Coconuts (thewufs), Friday, 2 September 2011 17:59 (six years ago) Permalink

P fucking sad that the best albums on that list are the Beastie Boys and Tech N9ne

delmar dillinger (Whiney G. Weingarten), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:34 (six years ago) Permalink

the beastie boys record is zzz but that list does make tech n9ne look p damn good

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:37 (six years ago) Permalink

i would listen to wiz, maybach, maybe even big sean before tech n9ne

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:38 (six years ago) Permalink

argh before beastie boys i mean

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:38 (six years ago) Permalink

Tech N9ne number is the most interesting imo. Lil B can't break 5k but Tech N9ne can hit 100k? Where is that coming from? Are there similar undie rappers hitting say 50k?

Jay-Z ft. Kanye 'Big Hat Club (Spiritual Big Hat Club Jazz Remix)' (a hoy hoy), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:45 (six years ago) Permalink

fyi not listened to TN in what seems over 10 years, forgot he existed.

Jay-Z ft. Kanye 'Big Hat Club (Spiritual Big Hat Club Jazz Remix)' (a hoy hoy), Friday, 2 September 2011 19:45 (six years ago) Permalink

"Where is that coming from?"

Juggalos?

Spottie_Ottie_Dope, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:57 (six years ago) Permalink

tn came up in an underground that still bought records and still (to some extent) does. lil b is a creature of the internet in every way. his lack of sales is just "web phenom who gives shit away for free by the assload cant turn publicity into actual sales" part whatthefuckever.

strongo hulkington's ghost dad, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:58 (six years ago) Permalink

Love this thread title.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 2 September 2011 19:59 (six years ago) Permalink

tech n9ne has been selling mad records for a while now

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 20:01 (six years ago) Permalink

tech n9ne also tours places that no rapper would ever dream of stepping foot in. like helena, montana

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:18 (six years ago) Permalink

he basically tours constantly, and does it in flyover country

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 20:19 (six years ago) Permalink

I work in an environment in which I'm constantly exposed to top 40 radio against my will (student common areas, rec centers, pep rallies, etc), and Adele, Wayne, LMFAO, and Katy Perry are played non stop along with recurrents like "Empire State of Mind" and the two big 2010 Eminem singles. The rub is no one is passionate about any of them except Adele and Katy Perry. Last year I couldn't find a single student who admitted to liking the Em singles even a little bit yet there they were -- huge and ubiquitous, like A/C units in South Florida. For most people, depending on where they're exposed, music really is boutique ambience (i.e. gyms are loud, therefore "Love The Way You Lie" is perfect).

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 2 September 2011 20:31 (six years ago) Permalink

with the exception of the shitty santi white 2008 ca$h-in, the Beasties album is basically a fucking Rammellzzee album for old, weird heads dude. You're like 18 so I'll give you a pass tho

delmar dillinger (Whiney G. Weingarten), Friday, 2 September 2011 20:33 (six years ago) Permalink

Today the student on staff who most likes hip-hop -- a Colombian whose favorite current artists are J. Cole and Lupe and who's cutting his own album lol -- loves "She Will"; thinks it's Wayne's best since the mid nineties mix tape days. On the other hand he despises "How to Love," "A Milli," and "Lollipop." I guess I'm asking -- who's buying this stuff if no one's passionate about it?

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 2 September 2011 20:34 (six years ago) Permalink

tech n9ne's career has been pretty amazing

plus, whiney is a juggalo evangelist now

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 23:18 (six years ago) Permalink

a testament to tech n9ne's work ethic is i can remember multiple times, sitting around a table at my college newspaper going, "didn't we do a preview for a tech n9ne show... last semester?"

J0rdan S., Friday, 2 September 2011 23:20 (six years ago) Permalink

Not hating btw

Though honestly you know who you guys hate on but was doing the same thing as tech n9ne since forever (touring and work ethic wise)?atmosphere & rhyme sayers

velvet underground - reloaded (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 2 September 2011 23:23 (six years ago) Permalink

eh id say i hate on both of them equally -- ive owned the same no of tech n9ne and atmosphere cds lol

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 23:27 (six years ago) Permalink

(2)

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 23:27 (six years ago) Permalink

one of the tech n9nes was gifted though

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 23:27 (six years ago) Permalink

this is a really obvious point, maybe someone already made it above, but at this point record sales are only an measure of popularity among people who still pay for music, not really a great measure of general popularity.

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 2 September 2011 23:33 (six years ago) Permalink

A lot you downloaders are heaven sent
But general popularity don't pay the fuckin rent

velvet underground - reloaded (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 2 September 2011 23:46 (six years ago) Permalink

i'd barely even heard of tech nninene before he was doing crazy numbers for an independent, what little i've heard is i guess real aggro speed rap shit? i can respect that

some dude, Friday, 2 September 2011 23:48 (six years ago) Permalink

Also I don't really buy that. I bet the most stolen/downloaded music is the same stuff that's at the top of itunes and the billboard charts. So far the spotify top charts are all popular pop tunes

velvet underground - reloaded (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 2 September 2011 23:54 (six years ago) Permalink

nah im with n/a on this, i think theres a relationship between whats popular & what sells but hardly an a+b=c situation

D-40, Friday, 2 September 2011 23:56 (six years ago) Permalink

it's not directly representational but it's not like there's some hugely overlooked shadow music industry anymore. everyone knows about mixtapes now and most of the top downloads on datpiff are like chris brown and drake and a bunch of mid-level major label rappers, with a handful of rappers here and there that genuinely don't have a mainstream profile.

some dude, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:08 (six years ago) Permalink

you're downplaying that like its not meaningful?

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:18 (six years ago) Permalink

like isnt 'a handful of rappers here and there that genuinely dont have a mainstream profile' qualify? i'm sure its not exclusive to rap, either

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:18 (six years ago) Permalink

it's meaningful sure but you always seem to have this fantasy that if every person in the country had arbitron people meters monitoring everything everyone listened to 24/7 we'd suddenly realize that yo gotti is more popular than drake and i just don't see it

some dude, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:21 (six years ago) Permalink

it's meaningful sure but you always seem to have this fantasy that if every person in the country had arbitron people meters monitoring everything everyone listened to 24/7 we'd suddenly realize that yo gotti is more popular than drake and i just don't see it

― some dude, Friday, September 2, 2011 7:21 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark

i dont think yo gotti is more popular than drake but i dont think that their relative sales are proportionate!

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:22 (six years ago) Permalink

we've argued about this before & you did the same thing where you accused me of saying that the less popular artists were secretly the most popular which isnt what i'm saying. i'm talking about how im sure some genres & styles of artists are hit more heavily by downloading than others, have their numbers more significantly impacted. i think thats a pretty sizeable amount, considering what a massive percentage drop in sales there have been across the board.

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:23 (six years ago) Permalink

sure, i'm exaggerating, but that's just because we agree that the sales are disproportionate but you seem to think it's like some huge gap where i get the feeling it's not quite so dramatic.

some dude, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:27 (six years ago) Permalink

well, neither of us can prove this either way, but i remember distinctly an era where random no name no limit rappers went platinum, & i feel like yo gotti is bigger than some of those dudes

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:30 (six years ago) Permalink

well sure, but that was in the day when tons of rappers went platinum, the bar for platinum's really high now but in the late '90s/early 2000's it was almost kind of too low

some dude, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:37 (six years ago) Permalink

Suggest Ban Permalink

well sure, but that was in the day when tons of rappers went platinum, the bar for platinum's really high now but in the late '90s/early 2000's it was almost kind of too low

― some dude, Friday, September 2, 2011 7:37 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark

yeah but some rappers still sell. i think drake is more likely to sell to a buys-cds fanbase than yo gotti. certainly jay-z as well

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:39 (six years ago) Permalink

i have to say it is kind of amazing that Wayne came out of 2010 relatively unscathed, Rebirth actually moving units and Cash Money timing singles/features well enough that there was really never any point when he wasn't on the radio the whole 10 months he was locked up. i really thought that was going to be the point where the world kind of moved on from him and Drake and/or Nicki started to be a much bigger star.

some dude, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:49 (six years ago) Permalink

i think the fact is ppl respect drake as a rapper more than they respect either drake or nicki.

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:52 (six years ago) Permalink

argh i mean respect wayne obv

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:52 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah but that didn't stop Kanye from becoming in some ways bigger than Jay

some dude, Saturday, 3 September 2011 00:57 (six years ago) Permalink

yah but i think theres an ideological consideration there ... jay couldnt be an anti-50 cent the way kanye could

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:00 (six years ago) Permalink

whereas i dont see the same kind of need for a drake or minaj ... maybe a minaj, idk, but we'll see how much further she runs from rapping

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:00 (six years ago) Permalink

i don't know what "need" means here. i mean millions of people feel the need to hear their songs on the radio five times an hour, that's the only need that matters, right.

big spiritual hat club (some dude), Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:09 (six years ago) Permalink

thats pop appeal, obv i think wayne's got to have more or taio cruz would be selling wayne numbers

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:12 (six years ago) Permalink

like wayne is 'legit good rapper' + pop appeal, kanye was "thinking man's pop star rapper" which made up for the fact that he wasnt actually thinking rlly, but he wasnt a gangster like 50 ... there was a need for all the ppl for bourgeoise / 'conflicted' rapper contrast to 50 cent

imo

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:14 (six years ago) Permalink

at this point record sales are only an measure of popularity among people who still pay for music, not really a great measure of general popularity.

― congratulations (n/a), Friday, September 2, 2011 7:33 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark

i don't think this is necessarily true for someone like lil wayne who moved an exorbitant amount of albums in week one -- i'm sure that there are a lot of ppl for whom carter IV is the only album they'll buy this year, maybe even out of brand loyalty. moving 900k in a week in 2011 is a REALLY great measure of popularity imo

J0rdan S., Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:24 (six years ago) Permalink

once again tho its a measure of 'an artist we are likely to spend money on when we almost never spend money on music' which is v different than the way things used to be

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:30 (six years ago) Permalink

maybe even out of brand loyalty

i'm going to bed now and this isn't really an argument but i just want to pick up on this and lob the whole 2011 stan culture angle into all of this cuz i think it's relevant

lex pretend, Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:31 (six years ago) Permalink

Drake had a huge fanbase already when he was signed.

swagliacci (The Reverend), Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:31 (six years ago) Permalink

didn't he officially sign after "best i ever had" was already in the top 5

J0rdan S., Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:34 (six years ago) Permalink

once again tho its a measure of 'an artist we are likely to spend money on when we almost never spend money on music' which is v different than the way things used to be

― D-40, Friday, September 2, 2011 9:30 PM (5 minutes ago) Bookmark

i'm not sure what your point is? that wayne's number is less impressive? cuz i think it's more. or maybe you're sorta arguing w/ shipley even tho i'm not really making his point

J0rdan S., Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:37 (six years ago) Permalink

no i think thats totally impressive -- not arguing w you per se

D-40, Saturday, 3 September 2011 01:56 (six years ago) Permalink

ok

J0rdan S., Saturday, 3 September 2011 02:00 (six years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

the historical implications of lil wayne skateboarding til sun-up in ur town

johnny crunch, Thursday, 20 October 2011 18:47 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, idk about this guy

the skateboarding thing is only less embarrassing than the guitar playing cuz it doesn't infiltrate his music, but i guess it's kind of cool that wayne is showing up at random skate parks across the country and hanging out w/ teenagers

J0rdan S., Thursday, 20 October 2011 18:59 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm still like a kid, because unfortunately my childhood was raped away from me because I became a star

huh

J0rdan S., Thursday, 20 October 2011 19:15 (six years ago) Permalink

why you rape away lil wayne's childhood like that

unorthodox economic revenge (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 20 October 2011 19:16 (six years ago) Permalink

birdman did what?

turfin' bird (The Reverend), Thursday, 20 October 2011 22:50 (six years ago) Permalink

Like, people watch commercials, and they're like, "Who's gonna buy that?" I'm the person they make the commercials for. I watch them, and I'm like, "Oh God, that's awesome."

unorthodox economic revenge (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 20 October 2011 23:10 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm not a star, somebody raped

some dude, Friday, 21 October 2011 00:45 (six years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
two years pass...

ever since you got them titties you
talkin bout you thinkin bout some ass shots
takin all these snapshots different backdrops

johnny crunch, Friday, 27 November 2015 01:39 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

dedication 6 sounds good

johnny crunch, Saturday, 30 December 2017 01:09 (five months ago) Permalink

I'm pretty far from a hip hop expert but he is my favorite rapper I've ever heard. Da Drought 3 being his pinnacle.

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 30 December 2017 01:22 (five months ago) Permalink


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