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Tag: Ghostface Killah (1-2 of 2)

Usher tops the albums chart; Erykah Badu makes the top five

usher-erykah-baduThe newest Billboard 200 albums chart holds good news and less-good news for Usher. Good: His Raymond v. Raymond is the No. 1 album in the country! This is his third chart-topper in a row. Go ahead and break out the champagne, Mr. Raymond. Less good: Raymond v. Raymond got there by selling 329,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s a solid opening number, so I wouldn’t call this bad news. But it’s a step down from the 443,000 his last one, Here I Stand, bowed with in 2008, much less the 1.1 million copies his album before that one managed in the ancient year of 2004. Part of that is obviously due to the changing retail market for album-length music. It also suggests, however, that the dip in sales from Confessions to Here I Stand wasn’t a fluke. Usher now seems to be a totally respectable 300,000 to 400,000 range artist, just not the unstoppable megastar he was in ’04.

Usher knocks his protégé Justin Bieber down to No. 2, with another 291,000 copies sold of his My World 2.0 in week two. That’s actually 8,000 more than Bieber’s album sold in its first week. Credit where credit is due: My World 2.0 still has yet to become a runaway smash, but his ability to dodge second-week deflation is impressive. (According to Billboard, this “marks the first time a No. 1-debuting album — issued on a traditional Tuesday release schedule — has posted an increase in its second week since 2002.”) If Bieber can keep this up in the weeks to come, he’ll have something more valuable than a huge debut — a steady long-term seller.

Erykah Badu can now put an exact number on how many album sales a naked video (and a $500 fine) will buy: 110,000, which is how many copies her New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh sold in its first week on shelves, winning her the No. 4 spot. That’s a minor comedown from the 124,000 that New Amerykah Part One sold in 2008, so it’s unclear whether Badu’s “Window Seat” video helped boost her sales at all. All controversy and legal drama aside, however, Return of the Ankh is an excellent album, so Badu deserves every one of the sales she got.

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Raekwon and Ghostface Killah bring 'Wu-Massacre' to NYC's Nokia Theater

Wu-Massacre, the album that Method Man, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah are dropping March 30, whittles down the Wu-Tang Clan to three of its finest. Last night, that line-up was pared further to just Raekwon and Ghostface, for what was billed as an early Wu-Massacre release celebration at the Nokia Theater in NYC’s Times Square. There was some sense in making the trio a duo. Rae and Ghost, in particular, have often felt like a group within a group on the Clan’s releases. These guys go together like peanut butter and jelly, or pasta and tomato sauce — speaking of which, they collaborate often enough to have come up with the acronym R.A.G.U. (for “Rae and Ghost United”) to identify their joint efforts.

The concert began with a string of unimpeachable cuts from 1995’s classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… — technically Raekwon’s solo debut, but one to which Ghostface contributed heavily, earning prominent billing on the album’s cover. Their undiminished chemistry was evident in the show-opening string of “Criminology,” “Incarcerated Scarfaces,” “Ice Cream,” and “Verbal Intercourse.” Both rappers are essentially storytellers, Ghostface narrating crime sagas with a jumpy urgency, Raekwon doing the same in gravelly and matter-of-fact tones. Together they strode the stage like giants, joining in on one another’s lyrics at key points for emphasis.

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