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The Student News Site of Hazen High School

The Kilt

The Student News Site of Hazen High School

The Kilt

Rap Album Rollouts

Rap+Album+Rollouts

Even with our many distinctions and unique qualities, music has continued to prove itself as a great way to find community. Whether this comes from relating to the same artists or simply joining in the hype for a blockbuster release, music always seems to create opportunities for unity between all types of people. The musicians behind the music we enjoy understand this, which is why a considerable amount of effort is put into the rollout of an album. The process of building anticipation for a new release not only adds to larger success, but also results in a more memorable and meaningful experience for listeners. While there is no proper way a rollout should unfold, the best and most effective ones can create an atmosphere for fans. Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest and most impactful rollouts of recent memory:

 

For All The Dogs – Drake

   As arguably the most dominant rapper in the game, Drake is at the forefront of rap’s current landscape. The need for large marketing stunts and campaigns isn’t necessary anymore, he’s too big to fail in any meaningful way. However, what changed with Drake’s most recent project was the shift in attitude he brought forth with this release. 

   With him on his grand stadium tour, linking up with other juggernauts such as J. Cole, word of mouth had already been spreading with hype trailing not far behind. By already interacting and connecting with fans on a widespread level, the sentiment of nostalgia for the “Old Drake” emerged. Fans desired the more reflective and relatable version of Drizzy, a similar mode that was present during the early days of his career starting with Young Money Entertainment. Whether or not he delivered this with the album is up for debate, however, the rollout pushed this expectation extensively. 

   Personal elements such as having the cover art be illustrated by his son Adonis or the lead single Slime You Out featuring the signature moody melodic performances that set Drake apart from the competition, the record was building up hype as a return to form for Drake. Even the album’s title For All The Dogs was meant to signify that the album would be for the original fans, those who had stuck with Drizzy since the early days of his career. 

As always with a Drake release, the album performed exceptionally well which was to be expected. Still, the push for the “Old Drake” return certainly drew in older fans who likely skipped over recent commercialized efforts.

 

 

Pink Friday 2 – Nicki Minaj

   After a lengthy 5 year break from her last studio album, Nicki Minaj made her lavish return to the music world full of a burning passion to assert her position as rap’s most celebrated and integral female figure. With a significant amount of change present in her life, from the loss of her father to the birth of her son, the rollout and execution of Pink Friday 2 set out to recapture the magic of Minaj’s early career while acknowledging the recent events in her life.

   Leading up to the album’s release, she began shedding light on the maturity that would be present within her new record, an aspect of her artistry that many casual listeners likely wouldn’t have been aware of. She made many public appearances in promoting the album, ranging from the red carpet premiere of the film Barbie to even hosting the 2023 VMA’s where she helped celebrate Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary. 

   While those appearances displayed what many come to expect from Minaj with her signature confidence and girly aesthetic, it wouldn’t come until later when she began expressing a more reflective side of herself. Vogue debuted a series of interviews with Minaj alongside a special photoshoot highlighting her transition into motherhood, including a collage of photos featuring her son whom she calls Papa Bear. With the collaborations with Vogue paired alongside public appearances, Minaj was able to utilize her classic image while still offering a new look into what recent life has made of her. 

The rollout tactic of bridging the new and the old worked marvelously for her as Pink Friday 2 closed out Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary with a bang by securing a number-one debut on the Billboard 200 Chart.

 

 

UTOPIA – Travis Scott

   In perhaps the most anticipated hip-hop release of the decade thus far, Travis Scott returned to the spotlight bringing fans an evolution of what they previously had heard from him. By mixing his classic mixtape sound alongside the rage style beats popularized by artists like Playboi Carti, Travis created an entirely new sonic landscape that breathed new life into the current rap game.

   With an insane feature list ranging from unexpected artists like Westside Gunn and Bad Bunny to classic collaborators such as The Weeknd and Young Thug, Travis Scott made sure that he came back not only harder than ever but with an artistic vision not commonly seen in mainstream music. 

   In preparation for the album’s release, Travis took an unlikely route to promote his newest record. Throughout social media, photos were shared of him with his bodyguards holding briefcases with the title UTOPIA being written across them. Other artists involved with the album itself were also seen with the briefcases, almost serving as a hushed secret they all were keeping. Suspicious billboards began appearing as well highlighting the album’s release date of July 21st, though if you weren’t aware the record was coming the billboards weren’t exactly the clearest.

  In the final stages of the rollout, Travis announced that he would be performing the tracklist at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, a fiery and grandiose way of introducing a new project. Unfortunately, due to legal restrictions, this wasn’t able to come to fruition, though the location merely changed to the Circus Maximus in Rome which would kick off the world tour of the same name. As the performance occurred, the crowds became so riled up that nearby locals believed an earthquake was happening before them, a testament to the sheer level of anticipation Travis brought with this release. 

   Through a mysterious yet effective marketing campaign, alongside a bombastic concert experience that was sold out in minutes, UTOPIA was a trailblazer for rap culture this past year and made an impact like no other record quite was able to.

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Manuel Interiano, Writing Coach
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