50 Cent Brushes Off Soft Sales For Before I Self Destruct

Rapper says online leak caused sales dip.

For a man who has talked big about sales figures for much of his career, [artist id="860639"]50 Cent[/artist] seems to have had a change of heart when it comes to his latest, Before I Self Destruct. The rapper's fourth solo album had the lowest opening week of his career, bowing at #5 on 160,000 sales, trailing his next-smallest debut, 2007's Curtis, by more than 500,000 copies.

Self Destruct did leak weeks before its release, causing a one-week push-up for the physical release and an even earlier release for the album's digital incarnation. And 50 doesn't appear to be sweating the sales dip.

"For myself, I'm asking myself, 'What did you expect, bro? Your fans got it when it was available, at the first available opportunity,' " he said in an interview on DJ Green Lantern's Sirius Satellite radio show earlier this week, before the numbers were official. "For me this album is a prequel — it's full circle. When the energy around a project is the way this is, you can't really feel like it's a failure. Like, I look at the numbers and am like, 'What is this?' I've already assessed that the album has been out a month before its actual release period [due to an online leak, and the album's early digital release due to the leak]. So when you got that, you go, 'Well, what did you actually expect?' "

In July of 2008, 50 predicted that Self Destruct, then slated for a late 2008 release, would sell 1 million copies in its first week.

He has recently been in the midst of a publicity blitz that has included a rash of promotional appearances and attempts to start one of his traditional pre-release beefs with a major rap figure, in this case Jay-Z. Considering that his 2003 debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin' sold 872,000 and nabbed the #1 spot in its first week and the 2005 sequel, The Massacre smashed the charts with 1.5 million in sales for a second consecutive top debut, in a season filled with major releases from the likes of Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Susan Boyle and Beyoncé, Self Destruct faces a tough market.