Ever since Beyonce pulled the surprise and dropped her self-titled album on December 13, 2013, it slowly, but surely became the trend for a lot of rappers. J. Cole announced his album Forest Hill Drive a couple of weeks before it was set for release and it sold well. Drake pulled it off on February 13th when he dropped If You’re Reading This Then It’s Too Late on iTunes and proceeded to go Gold over the Valentine’s Day weekend. So we fast forward to March 2015 and Kendrick Lamar announces his highly anticipated sophomore album To Pimp A Butterfly for release later in the month. Surprisingly the album is dropped out of nowhere on a Sunday Evening on iTunes. Despite it looking like an accident, I feel it was no accident. The album proceeded to sell and stream very well overnight until it was pulled and then officially released a week later.
Within a 3 week span rappers, Earl Sweatshirt, Wale, Tyler the Creator, and Young Thug made surprise announcements that they are dropping albums within a week or two. So the new wave within the Rap community are “surprise” albums in hopes of boosting sales. THANK YOU BEYONCE AND DRAKE you gave too many underlings false hope.
So why will this go wrong? Well let’s start off by saying not every rapper has a fan base who actually buys albums in large quantities like Drake, J-Cole, and Kendrick, arguably the top 3 rappers in the game right now. So they would benefit most from a surprise album dropping. Rappers like Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler the Creator have strong followings, but they won’t sell huge amount of albums. Young Thug’s demographic simply does not buy albums, so this experiment will doom him more then benefit him.
Many rappers will quickly learn that the “surprise release” is not meant for everybody, unless you are a superstar in the game, like Drake, J-Cole, Kendrick, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and even Lil Wayne. For most others, this method will not do you any good. So I plead to my non-superstars in the rap game, STOP IT because I don’t want you all to have y’all feelings hurt when your “surprise” falls flat.
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