In today's Times, Kelefa Sanneh profiles All $tar, a Nashville rapper signed to Cash Money Records, who — despite a large fan base, a 2005 hit ("Grey Goose"), and a guest verse from Lil Wayne on the remix — can't seem to get his label to put out his album. Street Ball has apparently been finished for three years, but All $tar is stuck recording mix tapes while he waits for Universal (Cash Money's parent company) to give him a definitive release date. As Sanneh notes, "[I]t's not uncommon for rappers to wait months or years while labels try to figure out the right single, the right track selection, the right marketing plan." But we think the problem might be simpler than that. In fact, we're pretty sure we've got it figured out.
He's impossible to Google. Seriously, try it — you're much more likely to end up at Converse.com or on YouTube watching the awful video for that annoying Smash Mouth song than All $tar's official MySpace page (it took us a half-hour to find it!). Sure, there are probably other causes for the delays as well, but in the music business' current troubled era, we think up-and-coming rappers would be wise to pick names that comply with the standard alphanumeric character set, or, at the very least, spend a little money on a good search-engine-optimization guy.