Drake Hysteria – Thank Him Later?

Who’d have thunk 10 months and 10 million downloads ago that a half-Jewish Canadian boy would be hip hop’s wonderkid? With the release of his debut album Thank Me Later this week, nearly a year after the So Far Gone mixtape landed on the net, everyone is in dispute with exactly how brightly Drake‘s star really shines.

Besides that fact that Drake built his success as a mixtape artist, and his album leaked two weeks ago, (even before the full project leaked tunes were being ‘liberated’ on a daily basis) Thank Me Later is projected to shift between 425,000 to 475,000 units in it’s first week.**

His critics are saying that his hype is built up by the engine around him rather than his talent. Their argument might have a little validity. There’s hardly a blog, music magazine or pop music radio station that hasn’t been on Drake overdrive in the run up to his release, and  even the gossip rags have been covering him; if they’re not talking Thank Me Later they’re talking about Drake and Rihanna or Drake and Lil Kim.

However, there’s no way Drake hysteria could be caused solely by PR and label hype. After all, when So Far Gone dropped, he was relatively unknown on an international scale. His tornado of success has been somewhat organic. Besides, once you have Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West co-signing you on wax you haven’t done too badly. Aside from that, the hip hop scene have given Drake their stamp of approval:

But more than industry buzz, it’s the people who’ve driven Drake Hysteria the most, something even Drake seems a little bemused himself; he recently admitted to being nervous he wouldn’t be received well before hitting the stage in Manchester, UK (he didn’t need to worry, the crowd chorused every word back to him). Something in Drake’s music has resonated with audiences – the big question now is, will it resonate enough for people to buy it?

It’s been a while since a hip hop artist has caused this:

By the way, I’d be P*SSED if I went to that Best Buy later that day looking for Thank Me Later…to find out TWO people took every damn copy.

It’s been even longer since a hip hop artist caused this before his album was out for less than 24 hours:

I doubt these guys were rioting for Hanson. Read the full story HERE.

Even LONGER still since (maybe, like, since never?) a non-US hip hop artist has caused this:

And yes…homeboy at the end is crying. Over Drake. Pause (for thought).

Drake’s hysteria is definitely more than a little buzz to his fans. However, when the figures are in next week we’ll see if he’ll be thanking them later.

**The big question for me is, will Thank Me Later move those projected numbers? With the Drake saturation, it can feel a little like an overload, and personally I’ve skipped listening to the album in it’s entirety. In fact, it will probably go un-played until the hype dies down. What if there are more Drake fans like me who wish for his success but feel like Drake Hysteria detracts from his natural talent? Will they hold back buying?

Look out for part 2 of this blog post next week when the numbers are out. Until then check out Soul Culture’s review of Thank Me Later.

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