Right before Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later, hit shelves in June, everyone and their grandma was predicting how many copies the Great Hip-Hop Hype would sell in his first week. Young Money President Mack Maine even made a bet with Drizzy that he’d break 500,000. Next up? Sales predictions for Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday.
Expectations may be higher for Nicki, since the Young Money rapstress also has the entire female rapper community on her shoulders. Mack Maine tells VIBE that Nicki was naturally anxious over her first-week sales.
“She was worrying about first week. She was like, ‘Drake sold [463,000]. What you think I’ma sell? As if she gon’ sell less,” recalls Maine. “I explained to her, ‘You know a lot of the press and the media really got it brainwashed with first week sales.’ Bieber went on to sell 2 million and Bieber might have only sold 17,000 the first week. Juvenile sold like 30,000 his first week of 400 Degreez and went on to sell 6 million.”
What’s more important, adds Maine, is ensuring that people don’t forget about the album after the first week buzz dies down. “I don’t know what happened to working the record and making sure that the artist reaches a certain point. I rather the end number be higher than the beginning,” says Maine. “These days, it’s all about: Let me do 500,000, a million the first week. Don’t get caught up in what Wayne did. You don’t want your pinnacle to be your first-week sales. Then everything’s downhill from there and then what? I don’t care if you sell 10 the first week and you go on to sell 5 million—we did better than the person that sold 300 the first week.”
We guess that means Maine hasn’t placed any bets with his Young Money soldier this time around? “Nah, I bet with Drake that time because I knew what he would probably do. It was just a friendly bet,” says Maine. “But then I sat back and had to realize, hold up, what am I worrying about first-week sales when it’s really about the end result?”
“Everybody can’t be Wayne. Wayne’s been in the game like 17 years so he deserved that million the first week,” Maine continued. “That was 17 years of hard work. We talking about new artists and trying to compare them to see if they can get a million the first week. That’s not even fair. If they do it, it’s congratulations. But let’s not try to put that weight on their shoulders.”
Pink Friday is already off to a good start. The album’s first single, “Right Through Me,” has been earning good reviews. Many hip-hop heads are worried the album will feature more cheery pop-centered songs than hardcore rap joints, but Maine says there’s a solid balance.
“I heard the majority of the album. Nicki’s talented so I made sure she still put something on there for the urban audience, so it’s not all pop,” says Maine. “Nicki can sing, rap, she just giving you what she feel like giving you. It’s diverse, she’s versatile—she’s been there. Everyone’s loving the ‘Right Through Me’ record.
“There’s no reason to be nervous. Basically, right now, there’s no competition,” says Maine of the advice he gives Nicki to calm her nerves. “I think confidence kills nervousness. She is the one. All eyes [are] on Nicki so all she really has to do is do her. It’s not an act. When you doing you, it’s nothing you can mess up at because you’re being yourself. She’s found herself, she’s found her lane, so there’s not really too much to be nervous about.” —Clover Hope