We all know the saying, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t…” which has become the modus operandi on how the music industry deems it should cater to when measuring an album’s worth. Nevermind the caliber of the songs that are included on those albums. That would be insane, wouldn’t it? Today, platinum albums are a rarity in rap music and it’s quite possible fans have been burned one too many times to get anywhere near the oven again.
For anyone who has had to endure a conversation where record sales were used as leverage, here’s a list of twenty terrible Hip-Hop albums that spit in the face of the happy medium and were still financially successful. Everything that glitters ain’t gold and everything that’s platinum isn’t worth the Hip-Hop hooray.
20. Foxy Brown – Chyna Doll [Def Jam/1999]
Lead Single: “Hot Spot”
Def Jam’s anointed queen was destined to have automatic commercial success at any cost, yet and still, Chyna Doll didn’t move too many heads to buy into her shenanigans in the near future. Which is a shame because the follow-up, Broken Silence was the best album of her career.
19. Jadakiss – Kiss Of Death [Ruff Ryders/2002]
Lead Single: “Times Up”
Yeah, so what Mr. Muah asked a few prolific questions that got the Pentagon a little aroused. It doesn’t change the fact that he spent the rest of the LP trying to be superthug to every generic situation under the sun. When’s the last time you heard “Time’s Up,” “Hot Sauce To Go” or “Gettin’ It In” on SHADE 45? Answer: Not Never!
18. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV [Young Money/2011]
Lead Single: “6 Foot, 7 Foot”
The C4 bashing on TSS is still warm from the microwave, but boo-f**kin’-hoo. It’s 2012 and championing celebrity status over unique talent is why commercial media for Hip-Hop is so boring and predictable.
17. Fat Joe – Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) [Atlantic/2001]
Lead Single: “We Thuggin'”
Imagine the puzzlement Fat Joe experienced when he struck a million sales by dropping a couple wack songs with R. Kelly and Murder Inc. after years of performing critical beatdowns in his traditional style. Well, this project hasn’t aged well because those songs aren’t hits anymore and chasing the shiny record has only hurt The Don. He’s been making the same album since 2001.
16. Mystikal – Tarantala [Jive/2002]
Lead Single: “Bouncin’ Back (Bumpin’ Me Against The Wall)”
Although Mystikal worked hard to become a star outside of the shadow of Master P’s tank, 2002’s Tarantula didn’t have enough venom to make a baby cry for their mother. Sadly, it was his last musical output before a six-year bid in prison. And to show just how much sales screw the system, this weed plate was nominated for a Grammy in 2003.
15. Method Man – Tical 2000: Judgement Day [Def Jam/2000]
Lead Single: “Judgement Day”
The curious of case of Method Man is one that a week long special of Unsolved Mysteries couldn’t crack. Even with all the talent displayed on the various Wu-Tang albums and Biggie’s “The What,” it never transferred to a solo release. Sure, the 28-track Tical 2000 sold off of namesake but no one’s ever been in a greatest album discussion where it was brought up. Not even one where Method Man was standing there.
14. 50 Cent – The Massacre [G-Unit/2005]
Lead Single: “Disco Inferno”
Coming off the hysteria of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, 50 probably could have sold a blank disc. Truth be told, The Massacre would have benefited from having a chunk of the records erased from the master copy all the same. Too concerned with marketing strategies instead of making forceful music, 50 scanned tons of units but continued to grow disconnected from the rap world.
13. 50 Cent – Curtis [G-Unit/2007]
“Straight To The Bank” “Amusement Park” “I Get Money”
September 11, 2007 was an unforgettable day in Hip-Hop history. Nearly a million brainwashed fans marched out to purchase an album that probably wouldn’t have graced their radar had there not been a ballyhooed sales battle with Kanye West. 50 had been delaying the album until he found the right club hit but he found a better way to get money by putting on a circus for Billboard.
12. Ja Rule – The Last Temptation [Murda Inc/2002]
Lead Single: “Thug Lovin'”
Give Ja credit for predicting the waning moments of his career. His fourth album was the last time the public would be tempted to give him a platinum plaque, thanks to his beef with another guy who isn’t exempt from this list. As for the music, the leather-soft “Mesmerize” and hiring the “king of R&B,” Bobby Brown, did him no favors in the long run.
11. 2Pac – Loyal To The Game [Interscope/2004]
Lead Single: “Thugs Get Lonely Too”
By 2004, the Hip-Hop community was all Pac’d out on posthumous albums with a half dozen already on the market. So of course they released another one. Jimmy Iovine’s camp took full advantage of Aftermath’s ongoing popularity as G-Unit, Obie Trice and executive (and lead) producer, Eminem perverted the hell out of some old recordings. They should have named this one Disloyalty To The Legacy.
10. Ying Yang Twins – U.nited S.tate Of A.tlanta [TVT/2005]
Lead Single: “Wait (The Whisper Song)”
It’s a triumph that the Ying Yang Twins extended their 15 minutes of fame into years of smattering the charts with various hot songs. But you knew the cash-in was coming and the ATLiens made it rain with a very random guest list from Adam Levine to Pitbull, to Bun B and Free from 106 & Park. Subsequently, the people had finally heard enough “Hannnh’s.” Their next album only sold a 10th of this.
9. Will Smith – Willennium [Columbia/2000]
Lead Single: “Will 2K”
When Will Smith had a great movie (Men in Black) in his pocket going into creating an album (Big Willie Style), he made a project littered with hits. When he was coming off a Razzie in the Wild, Wild West, he made this. Any questions?
8. Dr. Dre – Dr. Dre Presents…The Aftermath [Aftermath/1996]
Lead Single: “Been There, Done That”
The Good Doctor definitely had the last laugh in his battle with Death Row but it sure did take a little rebuilding. He f**ked us up by doing the tango and cashing in with a disjointed compilation that rarely gets brought up when his legacy is being glorified.
7. Snoop Doggy Dogg – Tha Doggfather [Death Row Records/1996]
Lead Single: “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head”
If you looked up “sophomore slump” in Webster’s, you’re liable to see a permed-out Snoop Dogg in a fedora, looking like he missed all of his friends. Even with all the turmoil the house Suge built was enduring at the time, it was still hard to believe that this was the same guy who made Doggystyle. If you let Snoop’s actions dictate his opinion on the album after its release, Tha Doggfather never happened.
6. Redman – Doc’s Da Name 2000 [Def Jam/1998]
Lead Single: “I’ll Bee Dat”
After three consecutive albums that boasted originality and put him on rap’s A-list, Reggie Noble finally cracked the platinum ceiling with the bloated, Doc’s Da Name 2000. The honor is largely credited to the hilarious video/single combo of “I’ll Bee Dat,” as most of the album featured an unusual amount of silliness — even for Redman — and half-baked beats. Sometimes you just can’t have the best of both worlds.
5. Soulja Boy – Souljaboytellem.com [Collipark/2007]
Lead Single: “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)”
Look at y’all. These days, you can’t speak on Soulja Boy without a hundred derogatory statements following his name. But when was he was talking about giving chicks sperm capes, he got a pass because he was a kid, thus opening the door for even more swag drones to clog up the airwaves. Tsk tsk, Hip-Hop. Tsk tsk.
4. Chingy – Powerballin’ [Capitol/2004]
Lead Single: “Balla Baby”
What needs to be said that this album cover already isn’t yelling to your eyeballs? Approximately three million cornballs looked at that CD, smiled, walked it to the register and offered up a crisp Andrew Jackson. It doesn’t get more tragic than this.
3. Nas – Nastradamas [Columbia/1999]
Lead Single: “Nastradamas”
No matter how many times he throws a ‘Matic at the end of an album title, Nasty Nasir will never be able to live this one down. If the false prophet who recorded this album would have told his ’94 version that he would soon juggle gigolo fantasies with demands of 40 acres and a mule, he would have cracked a bottle across his face. And then wondered why he didn’t have change to buy a lottery ticket.
2. Jay-Z & R. Kelly – Unfinished Business [Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/Rockland/Jive/2004]
Lead Single: “Big Chips”
While the initial Best of Both Worlds was a solid enough effort only to be marred by R. Kelly’s (alleged) private home activities, the sequel just showed the hottest rapper & R&B star just didn’t give a damn about their fans. It’s good to know all their business was “finished” shortly after this heehaw to the bank.
1. Vanilla Ice – To The Extreme [SBK/1990]
Lead Single: “Play That Funky Music”
If you were to tell me that “Ice Ice Baby” went 15x platinum, it wouldn’t be a shocker, seeing that it’s a globally renown example of what a one-hit wonder should sound like. But the entire album, though? Back when people used to buy singles? The album’s title isn’t even a household name in pop culture history nor would it be a simple task to find someone who can name you any of his other albums. When horseshit is used to analyze buyer trends, they’re not putting the bloomed roses out on the market for your perusal. As with everything else, be smart with your money when it comes to supporting artists.