Wayne, Wayne, Wayne!
This week, the multi-platinum-selling rapper 50 Cent released his first collection of music since his last album, 2007’s Curtis. It was a quirky mixtape for the gruff Queen’s MC, featuring him singing over early 90s R’n’B nuggets and very little rapping.
But judging from the beats blaring out of the SUVs on King St. W. on Saturday night, along with the rap blogs and mainstream media attention, no one knows or cares what 50 Cent, his G-Unit crew or the rest of rap music is doing. Right now, all eyez are on one lil guy - namely Lil Wayne.
In most ways, what Wayne did with Tha Carter III is unprecedented. He isn't the first rapper to sell one million units in a week, as the aforementioned Cent did that in 2005. But he is unique in a post-Napster, hip-hop is dead atmosphere. He also did it without product endorsements, movies, a clothing line or fragrance - which, as silly as it sounds now, was for a while becoming a prerequisite for rap releases (see: P. Diddy when he was Puff Daddy).
But he also did more than sell CDs: Right now, Wayne is all anyone cares about and listens to, at least in rap. He is, at least for the moment, evidence that monoculture can still exist.
Here’s a quick list of Youtube videos and articles detailing the places your boy Wayne has turned up in the last week:
- with P. Diddy on a YouTube video, advocating getting off the computer and doing something;
- the Globe & Mail technology page (?);
- on stage with the Game;
- Fox News!;
- on a remix of his song A Milli, along with the 17 other rappers who've remade that song. When was the last time 17 musicians remade a song within a month of its release?;
- New York City police blotter;
- on a preview of a documentary on the making of his album;
- the late night television circuit;
- on top of every sales chart.
And, as announced on Tuesday, he'll be at Circa nightclub on Canada Day - what could be the first Canadian appearance of his solo career.
UPDATE: For reasons "unknown," Lil Wayne has cancelled all his Canadian dates, including the above mentioned Circa show.