With the holidays in full swing, shopping and spending is at an annual high, and it’s semi-ironic that a Jesus titled album heads up our charts this week.  The numbers are not massive, and we will have to keep an eye on sales in the coming weeks, closer to actual Christmas, and right after when people are using the gift cards that gift givers are so fond of giving.  We saw two big hip hop debuts this week with one performing well enough to top the Hip Hop/R&B charts, and another falling flat, from Game and Big Boi respectively.  They are both veteran emcees, so fans are still purchasing music from their tried and tested artists, but they do not seem so keen on truly experimental sounds that stray from hip hop.   Next week another veteran rapper, T.I. is projected to top the charts with an output that will nearly double Game’s Jesus Piece.  So that is three veteran emcees dropping three albums, each of which leaked early, and each performing with varying success.   What can we gather from this information?  Not much.  All we know for certain is that R&B continues to sell


1)    Game – Jesus Piece:   Game’s fifth studio effort, and his last with Interscope before signing with YMCMB is one of his best to date, but fell short of some of his massive sales in the past (see: The Documentary).  Still, this is a solid showing with 86,585 units moved, which was good enough for 6th on Billboard Top 200.  After receiving good critical feedback and word of mouth, this album may stick around on these charts for awhile – that is if people actual purchase it instead of just downloading the LP.

2)    Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire:  Miss Keys holds steady adding another 58k to her sales.  She only dropped 21% overall from the week previous and has not released many singles yet.  This album came after she took some time off, and she seems to be in fine form and the sales mirror that with her album staying on Billboard’s Top 10. 

3)    Rihanna – Unapologetic:  Anchored by a massive media blitz which included her “777” tour, Rih Rih’s 7th studio album was her first to crack the No. 1 spot and her sales are maintaining, as seems to be the trend with R&B artists.  The Bajan beauty added 50,965 to her sales, and don’t expect her to let up anytime soon.

4)    Wiz Khalifa – O.N.I.F.C.:  Out the gates Wiz looked solid, even if the numbers fell short of his debut studio effort.  He was No. 2 on Billboard last week, but plummeted down to No. 29 with a steep decline of 72% drop in sales.  O.N.I.F.C. is a decent showing, and closer to the Taylor Gang general’s original material than Rolling Papers, but without a massive single like “Black and Yellow” don’t expect sales to skyrocket.

5)    Cee Lo Green – Cee Lo’s Magic Moment:   It’s Christmas time, and Cee Lo was one of the few R&B/Hip Hop artists to deliver a solid Christmas album.  Sales fell flat originally, but as we creep closer to Jesus’ Birthday Cee Lo holds steady dropping only two spots to No. 32.

6)    Big Boi – Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors:   From a sales perspective, this may be the most disappointing album of the year.  Big Boi took a lot of chances on an album filled with electro funk groove, and the fans responded with a meager 29,087 units sold.  Only good news out of this is perhaps it will lead to an Outkast reunion sooner than later as Fat Sax will be applying pressure on Andre 3000.

One other album of note is Kendrick Lamar’s impressive good kid, m.A.A.d city which added another 25k in sales and dropped only 2% from the previous week, and was also certified Gold.  Sure, Christmas bolsters sales at this time, but it appears we may have another Based on a T.R.U. Story, with an album that will continue to sell well for many more weeks.  With its “instant classic” status, expect this LP to be purchased for many years to come.