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Buy Your Old Album Jay-Z? Sounds Like a Good IdeaPosted by Burmy on 07/22/10 | Filed under Top Stories, Features, After Further Review
All visual conspiracy theories aside, the most-quoted bar is Hov's second: "N*ggas want my old shit, buy my old album." This one bar became the motto for the fanbases of similar artists who have gone through artistic progression. Even Three 6 Mafia's DJ Paul centered a standout mixtape cut and music video on that line.
Nonetheless, just hearing that bar demands some serious thinking:
1. Don't you think the folks who want your old stuff already HAVE your old albums? In fact, I think they bought them when they came first dropped.
2. Most of your old albums are out of print, so these folks might have to check quite a few places to buy them (if of course #1 doesn't apply)
3. How exactly will buying your old album help? Do you mean if enough folks buy your old stuff, you'll go back to that? Or should they just keep listening to that old stuff and ignore what you're doing now?
So in response, here's my description of artists who have gone through evolutions. Welcome to Old vs. New:
Round 1: Rihanna
Old: Broke onto the scene in 2005 with her island-tinged debut Music of the Sun, followed up the next year with more pop-sounding A Girl Like Me. Hits included the debut smash "Pon De Replay," her first Hot 100 #1 "SOS," debut 'dark territory' dive "Unfaithful," and surprise Sean Paul collabo smash "Break It Off."
New: Do I even need to say anything? Four #1's, 3 million in sales, worldwide success. All this started while she was on the verge of getting dropped from Def Jam. (And I consider the Browngate hatchet buried)
What she says: In various magazine interviews, she claims Def Jam forced the "old" image on her, and didn't start giving her creative freedom until "Good Girl Gone Bad."
Which album to buy?: In the new her's spirit, I don't care what anybody says about me, which is why I'm free to recommend that you "buy her old album." They say fame is addictive, and I'm a nostalgic at heart who loves folks at their purest sound.
And as long as I'm down south, let's head up to Miami for:
Round 2: Trina
Old: First appeared on Trick Daddy's "Nann" from his breakout album "www.thug.com". Went on to release three albums under Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic: "Da Baddest Bitch", "Diamond Princess", and "Glamorest".
Life: Though the only crossover hit was the Kelly Rowland-assisted "Here We Go," she had already built a reputation in the urban circuit (it didn't hurt that it was at the peak of its "nasty" stage). Plus, she got to work with the likes of Rick Ross, Plies, Trey Songz, Kanye West, Cool & Dre, and Jim Jonsin before they got famous.
New: Though still on Slip-N-Slide, parted ways with Atlantic in favor of EMI, matured her image. Got first #1 rap album with '08's "Still Da Baddest", followed up with this year's Amazin'. Launched jeans & perfume lines, "Million Dollar Girl" got her a deal with Diddy's Ciroc brand, has been dating Nuggets star Kenyon Martin on-and-off for past two years.
What she says: Unlike Ri-Ri, she says the old image really was her, but she's evolved over time, and is making some of her best music as a result.
Which album to buy?: I appreciate natural growth and higher quality musical evolution, so I'd say "buy her new album." Now all she neds to do is get her weight back up and get her skin back to its natural dark.
Well, it's a tie right now, so for the tiebreaker, here's:
Round 3: Lady Gaga
Old: Former indie-rock artist, caught Akon's eye and signed to his Kon Live Distribution, where she released her debut album The Fame in '08. Made Billboard history with her club smashes "Just Dance" and "PokerFace," then followed up with almost-as-strong follow-ups "LoveGame" and "Paparazzi". In short, dance-pop's dream artist.
New: Not that different sonically, but everything has changed with her image-wise in her re-release The Fame Monster. Most who make a bet as to which outfit she's going to wear next are bound to go broke, and her videos are equally as provocative. ("Bad Romance," "Telephone," and "Alejandro" drawing complaints ranging from parental advocacy groups to the Catholic League). Also, neither of these has nearly the success of her first two singles.
What she says: She hasn't spoken about her evolution yet, but I expect her to right around the time her next album drops in 2011.
Which album to buy: "BUY. HER. OLD. ALBUM." 'Nuff said.
So After Further Review, artist progression is encouraged if you're changing as a person, but not merely for evolution's sake. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a strong adage, but whether it works out for you is all in what's within. If you're evolving as a person, the artistic type will follow smoothly afterwards.
Come back next week when I discuss...well, what do you want me to discuss? Vote as to what you want next week's After Further Review to talk about by leaving a comment in this section. If I pick your topic, e-mail your address to firstname.lastname@example.org for a really cool surprise.
'Till then, as Weezy would say, "Yadig? Young Moolah baaaybeee!" (OK, I'm running out of goodbye quotes)