Top Tracks Of The Week: January 12- Jan. 20
Here it is, our weekly rundown of what’s new and notable at the top of our charts. Please keep in mind that Top Tracks highlights a hand-picked assortment of the most popular songs on our Top 100 chart. These are songs that generated a lot of interest, whether it be through comments or views, and still deserve a second look or a deeper consideration.
J. Cole Covers ESPN Magazine, Explains Dale Earnhardt Jr. Shoutout
J. Cole surprised fans with the announcement of his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album late last year, and he surprised us once again when he achieved the biggest first week sales in hip hop for the year. He did all of this without conventional promotional strategies, but it doesn't mean he'll turn down a magazine cover if it's offered to him.
Charts Don’t Lie: January 18
While Taylor Swift remains the reigning queen of the Billboard 200, we get a few new entries from the hip-hop sphere this week. Rae Sremmurd, as projected, landed a top 10 Billboard 200 debut with SremmLife. They even did one better, making it into the top 5 by sliding in at #5. The duo definitely had a successful first week out, although they didn't quite break the 50k mark, they sold a solid 46,000.
Ice Cream Freestyles: Vote For Your Favorite
Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx has been celebrated as a classic for some time, but one record from the Wu Tang Chef's debut album has managed to stay on the tip of our tongues over the last 20 years. "Ice Cream", which originally featured contributions from fellow Killer Bees Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and Cappadonna, has become one of the most iconic freestyle beats, with some of hip hop's most talented emcees taking on the instrumental.
Charts Don’t Lie: January 11
This week's chart contenders prove to be rather boring, because not much has happened in the past week when it comes to rap, hip-hop and r'n'b charters. We've got Nicki Minaj doing what she does at her #2 spot, which she refuses to leave, we've got J. Cole continuing to hold on to a spot in the top 10, impressively, after charting for four weeks. We've got Iggy Azalea randomly climbing up the charts (thanks to Billboard for counting album and single streams into their chart data), and we've got Loso making a smaller splash in his second week out.
Wale Speaks On "The Album About Nothing," Confirms J. Cole Feature
We recently had the chance to chop it up with Wale while he was back in the DMV area, and the MMG rapper spoke about his recent mixtape release and while he felt the need to offer fans free music, as well as the album that will follow the mixtape: The Album About Nothing.
Hottest Albums Of 2014
In terms of sales, hip hop albums did not do very well this year. As of press time, J. Cole is the only rapper with a gold album this year, and he just sneaked into the fourth quarter with a surprise release. Most of this boils down to a simple lack of "event" albums. Most of the biggest hip hop artists dropped last year (Drake, Kanye West, Eminem, Jay Z, etc.), and thus created something of a drought in terms of high profile releases.
T.I., J. Cole & Raekwon To Be Featured On LL Cool J's "G.O.A.T. 2" [Update: Eminem To Be Featured]
LL Cool J's final Def Jam album, entitled G.O.A.T. 2, has been in the works for quite some time, and today we got some more details about the upcoming project. In a new interview with XXL, Cool J reveals that T.I., J. Cole, Raekwon, Loaded Lux, Murda Mook, Uncle Murda, Maino, Mavado and Fred The Godson will all appear on the project. Speaking to XXL, the NYC veteran said:
Royce Da 5'9" Doesn't Think J. Cole's "Fire Squad" Was An Eminem Diss
It's a combination of rap fans' thirst for beef and media's thirst for clicks that often turns ordinary statements into "shade". In the case of J. Cole's "Fire Squad", the speculation around a line made the rounds before many even heard the song themselves.
Charts Don’t Lie: December 28
Nicki Minaj dominates the charts this week, although, there is one artist she isn't able to dominate: you guessed it, Taylor Swift. No matter, Nicki outdid sales projections with her first week on shelves, after moving a sold 244,00 units; basically 100k more than we expected. Magic? Or did Cash Money snatch up 100k copies? We'll let you be the judge. We're also seeing D'Angelo make a return to the Billboard 200 after a good ten years, with his surprise new album Black Messiah.
J. Cole's "2014 Forest Hills Drive" Reportedly Goes Gold
J. Cole's new album 2014 Forest Hills Drive already did great numbers opening week, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 and selling 371,228 copies, which includes streams. His second week on shelves is proving just as eventful, as Cole has quickly reached more than 500k units in sales, which equals gold certification.
Charts Don’t Lie: December 21
It's a Cole Winter. The rapper surprised us when he announced his new album 2014 Forest Hills Drive in late November, and released the album shortly thereafter. J. Cole stripped the album release of all things unnecessary, from endless promo interviews where the same subjects are broached again and again, to excessive bonus records, to the expected listening sessions with industry insiders.
140 Bars Or Less: Tweets Of The Week (Dec. 13)
To say a lot of stuff happened this week would be a complete understatement. So we won't and will just give you a short recap. For one, we're living in a world where there's a new D'Angelo album. Secondly, we may soon live in a world where Bobby Shmurda is behind bars.
J. Cole's "2014 Forest Hills Drive" Debuts At Number One On The Billboard 200
Rick Ross, move over -- J. Cole just topped your first week sales record for 2014. Rozay's Mastermind moved 179,000 units in its first week back in March, but now his tally's been handily topped by that of Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The official numbers just came in, and it looks like Cole sold a whopping 361,120 copies of his new project.
Review: J. Cole's "2014 Forest Hills Drive"
J. Cole has come a long way from rapping about how to get up off the sideline. Three albums in, with 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the “God” is home. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native composed an honest, nostalgic album without any apologies. Cole typically plays it safe, straddling the fence of a conscious rapper who can still create commercial hits and enjoy a good romp in the bed.
140 Bars Or Less: Tweets Of The Week (December 12)
Interesting juxtaposition we have in the first two weeks of December. This week saw the release of J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, an album projected to be highest selling hip-hop project of the year while having more than its fair share of aw shucks moments. We're turning up next week, though. The Pinkprint is coming out, and those thinkpieces will be on their way soon.
J. Cole Lists Top 5 Rappers, Recalls "Worshipping" Eminem
J. Cole's address of white privilege on "Fire Squad" has consistently been misconstrued as an Eminem diss by fans and media alike. Cole has always been pretty vocal about his admiration for Shady, but he nevertheless took the chance to set the record straight in his recent interview with Angie Martinez.
Samples Of The Week: December 11 (J. Cole Edition)
When hip-hop began, samples were all that DJs and producers had to construct instrumental tracks with. They'd dig through crates of vinyl trying to find isolated drum breaks, melodies or vocals that they could repurpose for use in hip-hop music. Today, sampling has become less common, but a choice sample can still push a track from lukewarm to hot faster than you can say "uh-huh honey".
Top Tracks of the Week: Dec. 2- Dec. 9
This is our weekly rundown of what's new and notable at the top of our charts. Y'all were feeling real introspective this week and it shows in tracks from Lil' Herb, Nicki Minaj and J. Cole.
First Week Sales Projections For J. Cole's "2014 Forest Hills Drive"
Thus far in 2014, no one in hip-hop has been able to top the first week that Rick Ross' Mastermind had in March (selling 179,000 copies), but now J. Cole's been predicted to best it by quite a substantial margin.