What the hell are ‘apple bottom jeans?’ I’m sorry. Maybe I’m missing something, but it just seems like jeans that make you look like the bottom of an apple would not be appealing, let alone lyric-worthy. But let’s face facts – those fruity denim garments are half the reason Flo Rida has become the most financially profitable hip-hopper of the past year.
For those who cite Kanye West as a counterexample to that last sentence, let’s review: Flo Rida’s two ultra-smash hits (‘Low’ and ‘Right Round’) have destroyed the previous records for first day and week single sales on iTunes. Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida,’ iPod commercial and all, has got nothing on the immense (and immensely tattooed) Floridian with the so-idiotic-it’s-almost-genius stage name. Sure, Kanye’s ‘808s & Heartbreak’ has probably outsold Flo’s (ha!) debut album ‘Mail on Sunday,’ but that fact doesn’t matter in terms of popularity. For those not familiar with (or unwilling to accept) this, let me reiterate: hip-hop albums don’t matter to anyone but critics and obsessive fans. The typical fan could give a crap that all of the other songs on ‘808s’ are better than its single ‘Heartless.’ By the same token, nobody cares that, in all likelihood, Flo Rida’s ‘roots’ will play little to no part in the lyrical or musical merits of Flo’s new CD ‘R.O.O.T.S.’ More than likely, 75-95 percent of the kids who jam out to the nearly emo-hop hook of ‘Right Round’ every day in their car will never listen to the track immediately preceding or following it on the actual disc (unless those songs end up being singles).
The axiom has existed for years in hip-hop: get one or two airtight singles in the can, then fill the rest of the LP will filler. There are exceptions to the rule (thank you for existing, Lupe Fiasco), but let me ask you this – name more than 2 songs by Lil Mama. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Don’t Google it!
The facts back me up, too. Flo’s first album only peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard chart, and didn’t chart among the iTunes top album sellers of the year. ‘Low,’ which was on ‘Mail on Sunday,’ remained No. 1 on the Billboard chart for 10 weeks and was nominated for a Grammy. ‘R.O.O.T.S.’ and ‘Right Round’ are doomed to the same fate. Either explanation for this works, and they’re both pretty depressing: either we only care about singles, or most of the albums by smash hit hip-hoppers suck. In Flo’s case, both are probably true.
But here’s the bright side. You know that $200,000 you were about to give to Bernie Madoff but didn’t? Well here’s what you do – find Kanye West, Timbaland, will.i.am or (god forbid) T-Pain. Give them all the money, and in six weeks, you’ll have your own beat worthy of the iTunes top 10, all without the hassle of having to actually write a record. Oh, and you need a good song name. Mine’s Tex-Ass. Nice.