After announcing on Twitter yesterday that fans would dictate the release date for his new album, it’s safe to say Ab Soul’s upcoming offering These Days… is not going to get the same retail treatment equivalent to releases from his homies Kendrick and ScHoolBoy.
— dangeroo kipawaa TDE (@dangerookipawaa) May 15, 2014
First of all, why even offer theses various June dates to rabid followers? There’s only one date they’re picking. The interaction feels like a cheap ploy to engage folks who really just want music and real details to a proper release from one of the most heralded emcees in the game.
More importantly, giving us the chance to pick a release date that’s less than three weeks away exposes their lack of real promo. Unless surefire singles start falling out of the sky, there’s clearly no build-up to sell an Interscope-type debut from the Black Lipped Bastard. When’s Q project was on the horizon, he had multiple street singles out months prior, as well as two or three records in radio rotation by the time of release. When Kendrick dropped, he was in the middle of a solo tour and also had various records that were buzzing prior to his anticipated major label debut.
Yet, all we’ve gotten from Soulo is “Tree Of Life”, a very dope loosie that got released with no context, weeks before the album even had a name.
Why is that?
Seeing as Ab-Soul recently threatened to leak the album himself, there’s a chance Top Dawg is being forced by his stubbornness to rush the album out, despite there being no true plan in place for a proper push; however, giving into bad business doesn’t seem very TDE at all.
The more likely rationale is that there is really no major market for the Control System rapper’s detailed pen game, and the label knows that. Because of the lack of a market, TDE doesn’t see the need to pump money into promo, when core fans will buy the album, regardless. Therefore, we probably won’t see as many lead-up singles and almost certainly won’t see big budget videos or records on radio, because the music will be potent enough to move units alone.
Still, doesn’t every rapper work to achieve the opportunity for a major label debut? Don’t emcees still want their shot to hit the Billboard charts, move retail units and say they were given a chance to reach the biggest audience possible? Or is investing in wordy, intellectual rappers like Soulo just seen as a waste of money these days? One would think Kendrick’s success would have proven that point wrong. Yet in today’s wavering world, ideal success stories like that aren’t easily duplicated.
More than likely, the only way we’ll really know is when the album drops in June. If the quality warranted advanced treatment, the answer will be obvious.