8. J. Cole’s numbers outsold Kanye West's.
If you only paid attention to the mainstream discussion of music in 2013, you’d hear endless amounts of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Eminem. Those last two guys did pretty well for themselves in terms of album sales, but the rest of those artists were a lot more bark than bite.
Dropping the same day as Kanye’s controversial Yeezus album, J. Cole was taking a risk by putting his sophomore album Born Sinner next to a juggernaut, as most expected Ye to sell like hotcakes. But Jermaine’s hard work intersected opportunity at the perfect time: while Kanye was shunning any viable marketing strategy, J. Cole had served up a hit single with “Power Trip,” featuring Miguel and becoming his biggest single to date.
Shedding antics in exchange for delivering the goods that fans wanted, J. Cole’s plan worked like a charm, and within three weeks of release he had outsold Kanye. Yeezus may still be a point of contention for music fans today, but J. Cole realized that talk is cheap and acted accordingly.
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