Note: I call the column "Speak of Freedom" thanks to the Clipse intro from "Til The Casket Drops". I thought about making my first column introductory but then said, f*ck it speak from your soul on an issue and run with it.)
A quick history lesson: the moment a rap artists’ album leaked, whether it be on to street corner or internet bodega, somebody was going to snatch it and sell it for a cheaper price. Hell, the moment a pack of Maxells or Memorexs were introduced into your daily lexicon it was an object to at least try to scrounge up some lunch money before the day was almost over. I say this because this was my hustle in high school.
Back to the artists and less on my nefarious ways to making a quick $3. With everyone and their mother claiming that an album leaking spells doomsday for a rappers first week sells, it’s on the contrary. Major boutiques are offering up the album for free as well with those that frequent the internet only picking up their personal copies for their iPods and their homies who still run on dial up.
Trust me, for everybody that has a decent internet connection, they could care less about whether MC Mediafire sees a high first week. They just want the songs and keep it moving. For example, The Roots latest album "How I Got Over" leaked only two days before the album was set to hit store shelves nationwide. ?uestlove, the band’s drummer (and most vocal member by far) has over a million followers on Twitter yet only 50,000 copies scanned retail. Coincidence?
I doubt OkayPlayer would wage war against its own but might take such a battle to Drake’s camp who’s album leaked two weeks before its June 15 release date and still managed to nearly go gold in the first week. Leaks aren’t a tell-tale sign of sales these days. For The Roots to only do 50,000 when they’re on TV five nights a week should be considered a war crime.
Then again, The Roots market themselves as the champions of pure hip-hop, something the radio isn’t buying even if you sent Brock Lesnar over to do dirty work. When the blank CD started looking old and gray, the leak became less and less important. Even if the album found its way attached to a Rapidshare or MegaUpload link, the quality of the music should speak for itself, hence 741,000 people picking up "Recovery" or two years ago when even my dad who’s sixty mind you, asked me if I picked up "Tha Carter III".
And the only reason Papa Brando even is aware of Lil Wayne’s existence on this shade of the earth is because he thought he hanged with Lil Kim and all the rappers with Lil for a name. The days of rappers blaming the internet for the sole reason they can’t sell a record is done, especially when a rapper like Soulja Boy can use the internet to effectively dumb down any future takers of the SAT. Then again, maybe catching a link on a popular forum will even make the most casual visitor aware that an album is about to be released – you know, since the other tools of mass marketing failed. In this disposable industry, either you let the flood happen and try to patch your levees up or merely just let the drinking gourd overflow.
From Refined Hype