"real hip hop heads" only support their favorite rappers on their keyboards.
As for dropping so much free music hurt sales? I can see both sides...without the mixtapes who would know about him, but releasing too much free music hurts when those songs turn out better than the album. I remember back when artists didn't have to drop 4-5 mixtapes to get a buzz. Back when artists would drop SINGLES, get a buzz and then CONTINUOUSLY promote their album by dropping new singles, making videos for those singles, and being out in the public promoting their album. These days rappers (and record labels) seem more focused on 1st week sales and then after that it's "ah well this album is done time to tour and prepare for the next one"
I mean look at adele she's still selling 70k a week. Just think about if a rapper sold 40k a week for a year?
52 weeks x 40k = 2,080,000 Sure it doesn't have the immediate impact like the 50's Ems Jays or waynes but it's still double platinum