Personally, I haven't seen an album so highly anticipated since Snoop Dogg released his debut album in 1993. Some believe that Drake can actually surpass his mentor, Lil Wayne, and sell more than a million copies in the first week of the album's release. Others think that these numbers are entirely too ambitious in the age of the Internet, where people can find your songs for free on YouTube or file sharing sites. Nonetheless, King Drake reigns supreme, and this is going to be his week.
I like Drake's music, but only to a point. What I noticed more directly was the fact that my daughters love Drake to death. Every Drake song that comes on the radio gets the words "don't change the channel!" screamed in my ear, so I owe Drake a doctor bill for all the times that I've gotten a little bit more hearing damage from the screech of a teenage girl. All the while, I am not sure how Drake's album is going to do financially, but I am sure it'll be huge. I asked a few other prominent figures about their expectations for the Drake album, and here's what they had to say:
♦Dr. Marc Lamont Hill: Columbia University professor, hip-hop expert and social critic who's actually said that he hates Drake:
With his street buzz and top-flight marketing team, Drake should have one of the biggest releases of the year. The only thing that will hamper his sales is the heavy Internet bootlegging of his album, which will be bigger than for most artists because his core fanbase are native users of digital technology.
♦Michael Bivins (formerly of Bell, Biv, Devoe):
It's the most anticipated CD, it'll probably do about 400,000 copies.
♦Free (formerly of BET's '106 & Park'):
Drake has one of the most anticipated CDs ever, his music is great and his fanbase is greater. I heard about Drake from my Godson in Boston about two years before he hit mainstream because he was on Youtube. So, his viral presence is undeniable.
♦Vigalantee (Rapper out of Kansas City):
I think he will sell 800,000 in reality, but my gut says 450,000.
♦Dara Cook (Producer for BET/MTV):
If Drake's album doesn't sell this week, nothing will. He has the perfect set up: A huge artist behind him, months of anticipation, we're looking at another 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg-style setup.
♦Madam Prezident (Spoken word/hip-hop artist):
Drake is all over the TV, radio, Internet. His album will sell this week and personally, I think "not bad for a high school dropout!"
We can at least agree that Drake represents a much-needed shift in the direction of the hip-hop industry. As I recently declared in an article, the age of the hoochie mama is over, I think that Drake represents at least some semblance of an elevation in the consciousness of commercialized music. Yes, Drake is about as corporate as a McDonald's commercial, but McDonald's cheeseburgers are actually pretty good. Drake is going to be okay.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce's commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here.