Budding Artists 2009: From the Buzz Bin to the Budget Rack
Mon, 27 Apr 2009 11:24:55
This is really hard to admit, so please bear with us as we take a really deep breath. Ready? Here it goes: We—meaning the media 'elite'—are not always right. There, we said it; obliterating the blog-driven notion that deafening Web buzz automatically translates to smash record sales.
While the following three artists won't be in a breadline anytime soon, they aren't exactly breaking records and hearts on their way to the top, either. Here's why...
Debut Album: No Introduction (Young Money Entertainment/Decaydance Records)
Sales Numbers/Peak Billboard 200 Position: 29,893 copies; No. 112
Coming straight outta' Compton like a softcore NWA, Tyga used his bloodline (he's the cousin of Travis McCoy) as a launching pad for a decent tour debut with Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes. Then Lil Wayne's label, Young Money Entertainment, snagged him alongside Pete Wentz's Decaydance imprint. The McCoy-backed "Coconut Juice" single proved to be promising but…
Relying on people like Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump for beats—no matter how genuine their hip-hop fascination is—seems destined for failure. Ultimately, Tyga delivered a few songs that could easily sneak onto a summer mixtape without any complaints from backseat drivers, but he didn't deliver the chart-crashing album he promised.
Debut Album: Partie Traumatic (Columbia)
Sales Numbers/Peak Chart Position: 39,559 copies; No. 127
Comparisons to The Cure, Arcade Fire and Bloc Party—coupled with a glaring "Best New Music" stamp from Pitchfork (for the self-released Wizard of Ahhhs EP, which the site called "catchy," "tightly executed" and "memorable")—made these Floridians seem like an easy sell. Hell, even the mean-spirited cynics at Vice were into the group at first. Everything seemed to go downhill as soon as a major label came calling with a well-padded contract, however.
Talk about building someone up, only to knock them down—Pitchfork, for one, gave Black Kids' debut LP a 3.3 out of 10. (Their EP got an 8.4.) And while Partie Traumatic nearly topped the UK charts, it barely snuck into Billboard's Top 200 and didn't exactly stick around for long. Maybe those Brits were simply psyched about the production of former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. Whatever the case, Black Kids should win an award for receiving the quickest backlash of the iPod Era.
The Cool Kids
Debut Album: Still waiting…
Mikey Rocks wanted to buy a beat he'd heard on Chuck Inglish's MySpace page, so the pair met up and ended up tracking original material for two hours. Soon after the duo made it official, The Cool Kids were pursued by such respected producers/DJs as Diplo and A-Trak. They released a single with the latter, but A-Trak's Kanye West commitments pushed the pair to sign with Chocolate Industries instead. "Gradual" (their words, not ours) success has followed in the wake of a Mountain Dew endorsement (the "Delivery Man" single) and acclaimed EP (The Bake Sale).
The Cool Kids haven't bombed so much as made us wait … and wait … and wait for their proper full-length debut. With the whole neon-doused sneaker freak scene cresting and artists like Kid Cudi stealing the Kids' thunder, their When Fish Ride Bicycles album better come out this summer as promised. Otherwise, most people will probably forget the group's M.I.A. opening slots and co-headlining gigs with Q-Tip. Not to mention that one Internet-borne track they did with Lil Wayne ("Getting' It," which will reportedly land on a DJ Benzi LP).