The last week has seemingly been all about Jay Rock.
After years of waiting for a sophomore album, Rock's label, TDE, announced that 90059 was on the way. Since we live in the Age of the Surprise Album, it was widely assumed that a release date would come very soon after news of the pending album release broke, and sure enough it was only a matter of days before we received a tracklist, witnessed an exclusive album listening session and were provided with an iTunes link for the LP with an ability to pre-order.
In a bombshell of an Instagram post made last night, TDE's all-powerful CEO, Anthony Tiffith (though you may know him as Top Dawg, or Dangeroo Kipawaa), announced that the last detail mentioned above happens to be the most important factor regarding the release. Since the album was listed with a release date one year into the future, it was anyone's guess as to when the project might actually drop. According to Tiffith, the album will only be released when it has achieved a pre-determined number of pre-orders.
It has always been said that the fans hold the power, and well, it looks like TDE and Jay Rock want us to prove it. The release date on iTunes is currently listed as May 20, 2016, but that date will apparently be pushed forward with every pre-order goal that is hit.
What an experiment. TDE has undoubtedly been witnessing the hype, reading the anticipation, and recognized the tremendous prestige they currently hold in hip-hop, so it makes sense then they would turn around and want the public to put the money where their mouth is. This is a genius move if you ask me, and could very well end up launching a new trend, whenever artists realize the tremendous pot of gold they're sitting on and want to cash in to the highest degree at the earliest stage possible.
There is one potential problem, albeit one I think is unlikely to happen. If 90059 does not receive the preset number of pre-orders in a reasonable period of time, Jay Rock & Co. run the risk of being forced to stay true to their word and sit on the project. At that point, the story is no longer about the quality of the album, regardless of how incredible it might be, but how the label seriously overestimated album interest and forced fans that did want to hear it to wait unnecessarily. Again, I don't think this is likely, but it's certainly a risk. For what it's worth, Tiffith believes the goal could possibly be reached in a day, so there's that.
Where does this leave us? Simple. Grab your credit cards and head to iTunes; I would like to hear this album now.
UPDATE (August 25): Alright, looks like we're one step closer. As the iTunes store now suggests, the album's release date has been moved up to December 4. Progress, people. Progress...
[By Brendan Varan. He'd pre-order right now, but see, he's got a checking and a savings, and all his money is in his savings, so he's gotta switch it to his checking. Follow him on Twitter.]