There is a lot that goes into releasing an album in 2018. Years ago when compact discs, cassettes, and vinyl were still the only way to bring home your favorite music there was more time to prepare but no room to make last minute changes. The things that the young fans know as “merch” or merchandise used to be free through “street teams” from each label. I’ve worked for free on a few street teams myself in my younger days. Today, an artist has to have their music on cassette, vinyl, CD, downloadable links, and streaming platforms. On top of that they have to sell concert tickets along with clothing and apparel. Follow that up with the usual media run; television, radio, podcasts, and other interview platforms. You can’t forget the music videos or “visuals” as they call them now. All of that is known as a rollout Hip Hop heads. I know you all know but the term is becoming a bit watered down.
If you don’t do all of these things then your album sales or streams will suffer. Nicki Minaj was unhappy with her rollout. Eminem had to do a whole new album to redo his rollout and Lil Wayne has probably the best rollout of 2018. Travis Scott had a dope rollout as well but La Flame’s anticipation didn’t have anything on Tunechi’s. Nicki’s Queen album got rolled over by Scott’s second week “Astroworld” sales. The game changes just as much as the players so ass an artist you have to decide if you’re in or out but “scared money don’t make money.” (African-American Proverb) To be in the music business today you have to maintain your hustle and you have to always be ready for the new hustle.
Artists need to look at it like this, an album rollout is like rolling out the red carpet to your fans. Access to VIP shows, VIP mailing lists, and other experiences that not everyone will be privy to. The industry is more cutthroat than ever in 2018 and it only has the potential to get more scrupulous. Either get down or stay down, box or throw rocks, or put your money where your mouth is. It’s all the same no matter how you say it. It’s all in the presentation folks. An artist can release a trash project but if the rollout is good the numbers won’t reflect that. There were a couple of duds from a couple artists this year even though they had a great rollout. Kanye is in constant rollout mode for a project that is seemingly lack luster. His rollout is his unbalanced mental health. Confusing tweets, confused wardrobe, and confusing collaborations all lead to a confusing album…possibly titled Yandhi. The rollout is all about ceasing a moment in time and getting the full attention of the world. What you do with it afterward could get you rolled over on social media resulting in your favorite rappers rolling out of the business.
“Man, I ain’t got nothin’ to prove, I paid my dues.” – Ludacris (Rollout [My Business])