September 11, 2001 (9/11)
A day that will go down as one of America’s greatest tragedies also has one positive light to shine through. The significance of Hip-Hop albums releasing on the day we refer to 9/11, is a great one because the day it happened we received a staple album The Blueprint, so it set the tone for others to release great work on this day Americans want to remember their loved ones lost.
Done in the matter of a couple of weeks, The Blueprint had an original release date of September 18th; but because of bootlegging, the label (Def Jam) decided to push the release date a week early. No one, not even Jay-Z could predict the importance of this classic album releasing on such a tragic day in American history. Jay-Z, born and raised in New York City was not in town the tragic day of 9/11. He was in Los Angeles shooting a music video for his second single off his sixth studio album “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
The hype surrounding the album was immense. The Source magazine gave The Blueprint five mics, Jay-Z performed his classic diss-record Takeover at Hot97’s Summer Jam aimed at Prodigy of Mobb Deep, and had the single Izzo (H.O.V.A) working on radio. All of those factors involved was set up for Jay-Z to have significant sales which the rapper hadn’t seen since he sold five million records, three years prior.
The first week sales for The Blueprint came back at an impressive 427,000. Music critics from all publications held the album in high regard. Hip-Hop fans all around the world claimed this album to be one of his best, being his sixth studio album, that’s an impressive gesture.
Also on 9/11, Fabolous dropped his debut album Ghetto Fabolous on that day same. With the lead single Can’t Deny It ft. Nate Dogg, the album sold 143,000 which was a huge win for the new rapper out of Brooklyn, NY
The 9/11 Showdown
On the same day, six years later, another monumental moment in Hip-Hop happened. Kanye West was pitted up against 50 Cent in a “Who Would Have Better Sales” competition. 50 Cent going diamond worldwide in his first two attempts, and Kanye with two great efforts as well, was set to release their third studio album on 9/11. Before the release, there wasn’t a show of doubt in anyone’s mind that 50 Cent’s Curtis album was going to out-sell Kanye’s Graduation album. But when the first week sales came in Kanye outsold 50 Cent by a large margin.
Kanye West’s Graduation LP sold 957,000 while 50’s Curtis album only sold 691,000 in the first week. On 106&Park both artists got to show off their personalities and cater to their fanbase which made for great television. It was the boost Kanye needed to super stardom and a humbling experience for the Queens rapper.
While we remember and pray for the people lost on the tragic day of 9/11, there is a great light that shines in the midst of tragedy. In the future, music can help change the narrative and make 9/11 one of the biggest days to release music.