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Lost in Translation

The numbers for some of the best Hip Hop albums have been tallied and I don’t know what they are. We don’t watch the actual numbers instead we keep our ear to the streets and it seems like Terrance “Pusha-T” Thornton’s album sales didn’t skyrocket after he dropped the response to Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle.” Don’t get me wrong we all know DAYTONA is a great album but why didn’t the beef translate into more album sales? This wasn’t any type of antic or stunt to get everyone’s attention rather it was a well-rounded project rooted in rhymes, beats, and Hip Hop. How can one of the newer young rappers disrespect legends, shoot at one of their peers, or even get into a brawl at an airport and have that translate into album sales? Is it because ignorance and violence is celebrated more times than not? Last time I checked “Infrared” wasn’t even the most downloaded or streamed song on the album. Drake’s “I’m Upset” didn’t really do anything compared to what his singles usually generate but Pusha-T should’ve gotten some type of boost in sales. Was it his association with G.O.O.D. Music and Kanye West that caused the ball to drop?

I mean everyone seemed to listen to Kanye’s album but I guess that’s because Kanye has Black and white fans and I’m sure he’s gained a few Trump supporters after he dismissed several generations of slavery in this country as a choice. What does that signal to the young up and coming emcees? That no matter how fire your bars are you have to do something outlandish to get people to purchase your music. No matter how great your album rollout is you still have to tap dance with the devil for your livelihood? I see why entertainers end up with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Living in a constant state of cognitive dissonance can take its toll on a person’s mind especially a young Black or Latino entering into the music business. A person doesn’t reach the point of self-actualization until their mid-30s.

Despite what you may think people still buy albums and I’m one of them and Pusha’s album was only $7 on his website. I’ve never seen an album that cheap but Push got it, as always. Just when you think you’ve got the game figured out the rules change. There are no rules which is perhaps why the youngsters are out of control. Is Drake “powerful” enough to stifle the radio play for Push because radio play plays a huge part in album sales? But if everyone’s label is paying for radio spins did the President of G.O.O.D. Music think that he didn’t need any radio play? I just want real emcees to have get the support they deserve across the board as they try to maintain the core values of the culture. Somewhere there was a disconnect and in order to keep fans engaged we might have to start translating to those who are lost…in the hype.

“Lost in translation or just lost in traffic?” – Black Thought (Rising Down)