Statistics show that crappy rap albums often outsell the good ones. Here are 10 sure-fire ways you can help keep it that way.
1. Jump on the Bandwagon EarlyTalent doesn't always match demand. Time and time again, we've seen an album debut on top of Billboard only to fall off drastically the following week. That's because one week is enough time for everyone to find out how bad an album is and spread the word to their friends. So, next time you're aching for a sorry rap CD, pick the most-buzzed about artist and you may be in luck. (For best results, be the first person at Best Buy on the morning of release to guarantee early purchase.)
2. Follow the SingleGone are the days when a sure-shot single signaled an equally strong album. These days, a typical rap album consists of three "hot" ringles and 12 filler tracks. Luckily, this means more crappy albums for you and me.
3. Confine Your TasteIt's amazing how much music you can discover when you broaden your musical horizon. Since this is not our goal here, be sure to confine your taste to one genre or sub-genre of hip-hop. Limiting your taste to the same style of music will unfailingly increase your chances of discovering crappy rap albums.
4. Buy it at the Gas StationNine out of ten times, there's always someone standing outside a gas station trying to sell me his homemade rap album. I don't know about you, but I've never bought a masterpiece from any of those guys. In fact, the only time I allowed a wannabe rapper to hustle me out of my hard-earned five bucks in exchange for a copy of his low-fi CD, I was later overwhelmed by the urge to go back and demand a refund.
5. Buy the Sequel to a Good AlbumWhen was the last time you came across a sequel that was as good as the original? Often when an artist tries to recapture the magic of a pure classic, the effort always falls flat, with a few exceptions. Even Jay-Z will attest to the fact The Blueprint 2 was everything the classic Blueprint wasn't. Adrenaline Rush 2007 was so lousy it made Adrenaline Rush sound like Illmatic. Bottom line: True success cannot be duplicated.
6. Previews Are for LosersYou know those "hear before you buy" sampling sections at most record stores? Those things are for nerds. The streaming audios on Myspace and iTunes? Those are for complete losers who have nothing better to do with their time.
7. Believe the HypeWhen unsure, go with the flow. Hey, if MTV's playing that music video 65 times an hour, there must be something special about his music, right? Wrong. The most hyped albums sometimes end up being the worst.
8. Don't Believe the HypeCritics sometimes do an excellent job of warning people about crappy rap albums. More often than not, the public will buy that crappy album anyway.
9. Buy a Greatest Hits CDDon't be fooled by the title, a Greatest Hits CD is not necessarily a compilation of an artist's very best songs. Rather, these are mostly an assemblage of "popular" hits or singles, good and bad. Next time you're looking for a crappy rap album, consider buying a greatest hits CD. Chances are, you could find your next "Ice Ice Baby" there. (Bonus Tip: This also works with other genres.)
10. Do Your HomeworkSome artists are generally good: their worst effort would eclipse most rappers' best work. Others are officially terrible at everything. The most effective way to ensure an icky purchase is to research your artist and pick the one whose catalog reeks of garbage.