Selling For Dummies

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Don’t ask me about my library card.

Leave it hip hop’s king of all nonsensical babblers to take it there.

In an interview posted on XXL’s website, 50 Cent discusses the role intelligence plays in record sales.

What percentage of MCs in hip-hop do you think are actually intelligent?

You have different kinds of people. You have people that are extremely book smart that lack common sense so they don’t know what’s going to affect their audience. They have more information than me based on reading. For instance, Nas is a really smart guy. He reads books constantly. We were around him on the Nastradamus tour. He was almost weirder than me ’cause we would go to breakfast and he’d be there reading a book. Conceptually, I think that’s what made him drift away from what his initial audience enjoys from him and why he’s not hot right now.

So basically in 50 Cent’s eyes Nas is a weirdo because it’s 10 a.m. and he has a book in his hand instead of cheese eggs in his mouth. Notice 50 says almost, which one can infer means he still feels he’s weirder than Nas. What could possibly make him weirder than a reader? Constantly talking about being shot nine times? No, that can’t be it. That makes you real.

Nas’ last two releases have went gold and while that is a far cry from his multi-platinum days, hasn’t Nas always been a bit more serious in subject matter than a lot of his peers? And yes, I’m excluding “You Owe Me” and “Oochie Wally.” Smart asses.

50 expounds on his theory of why Nas can’t recapture past glory.

Because he reads too much?

Yes. He’s feeding you too much information in the music and they don’t actually want it. He’s like a teacher. I was in love with KRS-One when he came with “Criminal Minded” and “The Bridge Is Over.” That was theme music to what was going on at that time. And when he started teaching, he lost them. ’Cause it was like, “What is he talkin’ about?”

Well, I have heard reading is for suckas.

But you’re obviously really intelligent.

Absolutely. Smart enough not to overwhelm people with information.

That’s right, keep it plan. Buy Vitamin Water.

But they’re still getting information from you.
Right, but in different ways and in pieces. Anything [that] changes too fast is no good—[the audience] isn’t sure what’s going on. It’s like you watching an actor portray a character in a film that you really enjoy. Then afterwards, he sits on the couch on a talk show and this guy is so artistic that you’re not sure if you [really] fuckin’ like him.

I really want to chunk this at his head, but I can’t because I actually get the point he’s trying to make. There are three rappers – and T-Pain and Timbaland, who I haven’t a clue as to how to classify – in the top ten. I don’t see anything from Nas making a dent in a world of radio where you’re buying so many dranks that you fall in love with the bartender but you can’t help it because that’s the way you are and partying like a rockstar makes you better…a bay bay.

So where does that leave Nasir and others who don’t fall under the subgenre’s of snap music and coke rap?

Probably not too far away from 50 Cent, who’s currently pushing single number three and album push back number two.

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