Which Recurring Musical Franchise Is The Most Successful?

by (@unclegrambo)

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5. Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor I and II
FIRST RELEASE: Food & Liquor (2006)
METACRITIC SCORE: 83
SALES TO DATE*: Certified gold

SECOND RELEASE: Food & Liquor, Vol. 2: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 (2012)
METACRITIC SCORE: 70
SALES TO DATE*: Has yet to be certified gold

ANALYSIS: When Lupe Fiasco dropped Food & Liquor back in 2006, it appeared that hip hop’s next superstar had arrived. His track “Kick, Push” was a certified crossover smash, and earned him an opening spot on Kanye West’s infamous Glow In The Dark Tour. In the intervening years, he continued to turn out critically acclaimed albums, but he got caught up in major label politics which stalled his career from a commercial perspective. His 2012 Food & Liquor sequel became one of the year’s most controversial releases, but was unable to capture the attention of the record buying public in the same way that his debut did.

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4. Kid Cudi, The Man On The Moon I and II
FIRST RELEASE: The Man On The Moon (2009)
METACRITIC SCORE: 70
SALES TO DATE*: Certified gold

SECOND RELEASE: Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager (2010)
METACRITIC SCORE: 69
SALES TO DATE*: Certified gold

ANALYSIS: Kid Cudi might not exactly be a household name or a darling of the mainstream media, but he’s one of the brightest young stars of hip-hop. His 2009 track “Day N Nite” engendered him to millions, and his commitment to the “Legalize It” lifestyle will ensure that he remains a folk hero of sorts for the rest of his career. His Man On The Moon series are true stoner delights, and hardcore Cudi fans are anxiously counting down the days until he releases Volume III.


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3. Lil Wayne, I Am Not A Human Being I and II
FIRST RELEASE: I Am Not A Human Being (2010)
METACRITIC SCORE: 67
SALES TO DATE*: 953,000 copies

SECOND RELEASE: I Am Not A Human Being II (2013)
METACRITIC SCORE: 51
SALES TO DATE*: 529,000

ANALYSIS: Arguably the most polarizing franchise in the current musical landscape, I Am Not A Human Being‘s commercial success is something that you cannot argue against. It’s a series that does not really have a thematic throughline, but thanks to another one of Weezy’s signature franchises (more on that later), his impact on the hip-hop landscape is something that we can’t see entirely disappearing anytime soon.

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2. Jay Z, The Blueprint I-III
FIRST RELEASE: The Blueprint (2001)
METACRITIC SCORE: 88
SALES TO DATE*: 2.7MM copies

SECOND RELEASE: The Blueprint II: The Gift & The Curse (2002)
METACRITIC SCORE: 64
SALES TO DATE: 2.117MM copies

THIRD RELEASE: The Blueprint III (2009)
METACRITIC SCORE: 65
SALES TO DATE: 1.993MM copies

ANALYSIS: Jay Z kicked the modern sequel concept off in earnest with his back-to-back releases, The Blueprint and The Blueprint II: The Gift & The Curse. The former album is arguably the best of Jay’s career, and is well-regarded as one of the best albums of this millenium, period, regardless of genre. The brand was damaged a bit with the swift release of its sequel, but rose back like the proverbial phoenix in 2009 with the release of The Blueprint III. That album is the lowest selling of the three, but in a lot of ways, it’s the most successful of Hova’s career because it contained “Empire State Of Mind,” one of the most iconic songs in music history. Will there be a Blueprint IV one day? Fingers crossed!