Tyrese is the smartest person to ever log on to social media.
Now, don't get all upset because you thought that you were the smartest person on social media. Your shares of cat videos on Facebook and pictures of your lunch at Cheesecake Factory on Instagram mean nothing compared to the sophisticated Bill Gates meets Mark Zuckerberg meets Tom from MySpace stylings of one Tyrese Gibson. Here is a man who in recent years has been regarded as that guy from the Fast and the Furious franchise, and now he's geared for his first No. 1 album on the charts with his sixth studio album, Black Rose. And it has nothing to do with his music.
Tyrese has had some real hits throughout the tenure of his career. Remember "Sweet Lady"? You loved that song. Not enough to give him a No. 1 album, but still. He's had Grammy nominations (no wins, but whatever, a nomination is still good), starred in movies, wrote a book, made some more albums (no chart toppers, though). And somehow on his sixth try with what's rumored to be his final project, Black Rose gets to be the real MVP with 70,000 projected units sold. How did he do it this first (and final) time?
Well, it's pretty simple. First, Tyrese became a soccer mom on Facebook. That is, he shared every single viral video he could find. From dead pregnant sharks being washed up on a beach to children singing, anything that had the Internet going nuts appeared on Tyrese's Facebook. He ranks No. 14 on the list of celebs who have had the most followers this year. He currently clocks in at over 26 million likes on FaceBook. Everyone shares random things on Facebook, but the artist sometimes known as Black Ty took it a step further. He frequently hosts these videos on his page (making his Facebook the destination), with a link on each post to his iTunes catalog. Then he captions it with a #BlackRose and a link to "Like" his Facebook page. So if you're someone who just came for the video, you stayed for the Tyrese. That #BlackRose is drilled in your mind, so when the album dropped on July 10, your Spidey senses tingled to click "Purchase" on iTunes. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Step two in this scheme happened on Instagram, where Tyrese posted a series of video shorts for his 4.3 million followers, including some where he hopped on a bus like he did back in his Coca-Cola commercial days and started singing. Someone somewhere had to have said, "Oh, THAT'S where I remember him from!" and purchased the new album, overwhelmed with nostalgia. He also posted a sleeping woman (perceived to be homeless), suggesting she was "sleeping" on Black Rose (poor form, but it apparently worked). Add to that, selling his own CDs on the NYC subway, and grabbing a copy of Black Rose becomes more of a social media souvenir than a musical work of art. It's not like the album is bad or anything — "Shame" with Jennifer Hudson was a strong enough single to drive the whole project if need be — but the musicality takes a total backseat to his digital grassroots promotional vehicle.
This album could have been a T-shirt that read #SquadGoals or #WCW at this point. But it worked. Somehow, and all of these strategies were shared on his Twitter account as well, with over 3.2 million followers.
So with what's allegedly Tyrese's swan song, Black Rose, the artist-slash-actor-slash-author-slash-self-marketing guru found his first chart-topping effort with the help of social media. But let's be realistic, here. Unknown artists who attempt this same phenomenon typically get left with unfollows and unfriends. Don't try this at home. Hashtag Black Rose.
(Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BET)