US Charts Review

Here we are, it’s almost Thanksgiving and the Holidays shopping season has finally begun, with some of the industry’s heavyweights dropping their album this week. But not everybody will be happy with the rankings. Numbers are cruel for, according to Jay-Z, “they don’t lie”…

No doubt this week’s major urban release is 50 Cent’s “Before I Self Destruct.” There was some speculation about the mogul’s ability to dominate the charts once again. Confident and boastful as usual, Fifty rolled-out an extensive pre-release promotion plan, centered on the club-friendly single “Baby By Me” featuring Ne-Yo. But despite his efforts and wide media coverage, it seems that 50 Cent’s era is now over…

The album did not grab the #1 spot, nor did he land in the Top 3. In fact, “Before I Self Destruct” landed at a disappointing #4 with 157,000 copies sold. Decent numbers for the music industry’s climate, but far from the G-Unit boss past success. He can always use the excuse that he was facing some big names like #1 guitarist and heartthrob John Mayer who pushed 301,000 records, or #3 Norah Jones selling an impressing 177,000 of her comeback effort. Or that the album suffered from a leak stemming from an international record plant. But let’s be honest, which major artist does not face the same issue today?

The worst part for 50 Cent: he sold even less than enemy Rick Ross 1st week sales… Rough start for Fifty but the man has resources and will probably make up for this slow debut with international sales. Will he?

Now, enough with hip hop! We have another interesting debut: British soul singer Leona Lewis landed on the charts at #13. She seems to have recovered from the fan attack which occurred a few weeks ago during am autograph session… Her album “Echo” is off to a promising star with 68,000 copies sold.

Holidays releases often means greatest hits albums invading shelves… The first one in this category this year is Janet Jackson’s “#1” which actually grabbed the #22 spot. The diva, in the spotlight for her highly publicized breakup with Def Jam exec Jermaine Dupri, should benefit from the Christmas effect with this compilation filled with classic hits.

As for the rest of the urban acts still holding on the Top 50, Jay-Z maintains his momentum with 30,000 copies of “BP3” pushed, ending this week at #32. In the meantime, the Black Eyed Peas dropped 4 spots to #27 with a solid 32,000 units. The two albums are now in the 1.3M range. A number 50 Cent must no longer dare dreaming about…

Also noticeable: New York veteran Rakim’s entering the charts at #61 with his third studio album “7th Seal.” After more than 20 years in the game since his debut with legendary DJ Eric B., Rakim remain a strong name in underground hip hop and is still relevant despite today’s fierce competition.

The comeback of the week? None other than Ms. Carter herself, Beyoncé! It might be the Holidays effect that helped the R&B superstar makin this unexpected re-entry on the charts at #48… “I Am… Sasha Fierce” sold another 14,000 records this week, bringing the total sales to a staggering 2.4M albums!

Next week will be again a huge battle for the #1 spot with releases from Rihanna, Birdman, Lady Gaga, Shakira, Jay Sean, Angie Stone, Lil Jon, Boyz II Men… and Susan Boyle. Stay tuned!

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