Since releasing his acclaimed seven-track album, DAYTONA, on May 25, Pusha-T has been relatively quiet about his surgical summer battle with Drake. However, during a live interview at Red Bull Music Academy in Berlin, Germany on Wednesday afternoon, the G.O.O.D. Music president couldn't help but take an apparent potshot at his arch nemesis over, of all things, the length of his tracklists.
“The idea of everybody putting like 25 tracks on an album to get the streams up, it’s such a poverty way of like cheating to me,” Pusha said to music journalist Anupa Mistry, likely a reference to the exact number of tracks on Scorpion. “I was like, you know what, we need to be totally against everything, and we need to have a whole other mantra in regard to what we’re doing.”
It's easy to criticize artists like Drake, Lil Wayne (Tha Carter V is 23 tracks), or Migos (Culture II is 24 tracks) for delivering overwhelming and, at times, bloated bodies of work, but their success on Billboard is proof positive that a beefed-up approach in 2018 is a winning formula. Drake's Scorpion debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with 732,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending July 5; Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V debuted at No. 1, with 480,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending October 4; and Migos' Culture II debuted at No. 1, with 199,000 equivalent album units in the week ending February 1.
As for the Kanye West-produced DAYTONA, which clocks in at a brisk 21 minutes, Pusha debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, moving 77,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music.
As for that whole other mantra Pusha is referencing, according to the artist himself, it's about packing a powerful punch in limited time. "Man, if we can't kill you in seven songs, we don't really need to be doing the music," Pusha explained on episode one of King Push Radio, which aired on Beats 1 on Apple Music the same day DAYTONA touched down.
For some artists, throwing a ton of music at the proverbial wall and hoping enough of it sticks is a great strategy. For others, less will always be more. While there is certainly no right or wrong way to approach the music marketplace in 2018, the idea that a 25-track release is somehow cheating the game is absurd. Back when people purchased physical CDs, a double-album release meant not one but two sales. Did Biggie cheat by releasing Life After Death? Did Wu-Tang cheat by releasing Wu-Tang Forever?
The game is the same in 2018. It's just being played in a new arena.
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