Ding dong, Kreayshawn bricked. After seven days, her album Something ‘Bout Kreay sold 3,900 copies. That’s about half as many copies as Kevin Federline’s album sold. All is good in the world and Hip-Hop wins again.
Rap music stood in a weird place a year or so ago. Horrible rappers – like, objectively and unarguably horrible – such as Lil B, Kreayshawn and V-Nasty ruled rap with their particular brands of “music” that gained momentum on the Internet. Hordes of super fans crowded around the artists and pseudo-intellectual over-thinkers applied their finest Maybelline to Hip-Hop’s fattest walking swine: muddying the whole debate. The fact remained; these gimmick rappers just weren’t good.
I recently watched the HBO show Talking Funny that featured Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Ricky Gervais who talked about the ins and outs of the comedy business. In the discussion, they made a simple point: the base level of comedy required the ability to tell jokes. While some comedians got by with a loud talking, theatrical gimmick for a while and maybe had a couple of hot years (think Katt Williams and Dane Cook,) their careers wouldn’t last long if they didn’t have an innate ability to tell jokes.
Rap is the same way. If you don’t have an innate ability to rap or at least make good songs, then your reign on or remotely near the top will be shorter than Sir Charms. You could probably count on one hand how many rappers have had successful, lucrative, decade-long careers while lacking the skill to put together dope rhymes or compose memorable hooks. For all of mainstream music’s faults, rap has a way of self-governing by booting out the trash and allowing the real cream to rise to the top. Kreayshawn can’t even do the bare minimum of a Ca$his or Soulja Boy – strike gold with a song that at least had a catchy hook. That’s because she unable. Her talent doesn’t go that far.
Which brings me back to the Gimmick Rap era. For all of the fanaticism surround Kreayshawn, V-Nasty, Lil B and the rest, their albums saw fewer than 10,000 copies in their first weeks. Combined. So you know what happens next? Maybe these die-hard “fans” only like the music ironically or to be contrarian. Who knows? But whatever the deal was, they didn’t care enough to actually drop money.
Record labels are going to notice the trend of sideshow acts with flimsy fan bases and end the experiment of signing these gimmick rappers. Okay, maybe they’re not smart enough to do that. One can dream though.
Regardless of what labels will decide, the consumers will speak. Gimmick rappers will get plenty of short-term attention. They’ll get hashtags and youtube views but the indelible fact states common fans still support what they deem as good music. Eventually the musicians that rely on everything except that one necessary component will fall by the wayside. And we’re all the better for it.