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On the Billboard charts: George Strait, Lil Wayne, The Beatles post big numbers

The fall release schedule has only just begun, with plenty more massive albums coming over the next few months.

And label folks and artists alike must be breathing a sigh of relief, because the chart numbers suggest that people are interested in buying music.

Lil Wayne leads this week’s Billboard sales numbers. After notching the second-biggest opening week of the year (Lady Gaga’s Born This Way still holds tight to the top spot), Weezy moved another 219,000 copies of Tha Carter IV to keep the number one spot. Adele checked in at number two, likely buoyed by the success of the Hot 100-conquering single “Someone Like You.”

The two biggest stories on the chart come in at spots three and four. In the third-place position, George Strait sold 91,000 copies of Here For a Good Time, making it the week’s top debut. Strait’s numbers are sort of absurd: This is his 39th album, his 17th debut in the Billboard top 10, and the 24th time he has topped the Billboard Country Albums list. He’s had a pretty staggering career, though it should be noted that his opening week numbers are down a bit from his previous album Twang, which debuted on top of the albums chart with 155,000 copies sold.

Another release comfortable with the upper echelons of chart success came in at number four: the Beatles 1, the compilation of their 27 chart-topping songs originally released in 2000, moved 60,000 copies of its newly-remastered version. That’s sort of a drop in a bucket, as 1 has sold more than 31 million copies worldwide and was the top-selling album of the first decade of the 21st century. 1 also spent a total of eight weeks at the top of the albums chart at the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001.

The only other big headline this week belongs to Maroon 5, whose 2010 album Hands All Over got a shot in the arm thanks to the success of “Moves Like Jagger,” which is on the just-released deluxe edition of the album. It came in at number seven this week, a jump from position 23 last week. Rounding out the top 10, Foster the People’s Torches returned to the first tier thanks to the continued love for “Pumped Up Kicks” (look for some more info on that song coming in this week’s episode of Entertainment Weekly).

This week’s new albums includes a number of excellent releases, though only the new album by Staind seems to have a shot at dethroning Lil Wayne. Who do you think will topple tha Carter himself in the coming weeks? Let us know in the comments.

Read more on EW.com: 
Review: Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV
Fall Albums We Can’t Wait to Hear
Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ is the first ballad in three years to top the Hot 100 — or is it?

Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter IV' sells 964,000 copies, lands second-highest first-week numbers of the year: Is he really the 'best rapper alive'?

Okay, let’s answer the headline’s question first: No, Lil Wayne is not the best rapper out right now. In my mind, Eminem, Jay-Z, and Kanye West are duking it out for that crown. He is, however, the most popular.

Yesterday Billboard reported the final first-week tally for his new album Tha Carter IV. It sold 964,000 copies, making it the best selling hip-hop debut of the year and the second biggest opening week overall—second only to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which moved 1.11 million copies.

Wayne’s no newbie to colossal numbers, either. The last edition of his Carter series scored big with 1.01 million records sold in its first seven days on shelves in 2008.

Wayne’s C-4 debut more than doubles the opening figures rap peers Kanye West and Jay-Z’s collab album Watch the Throne (436,000), causing the blogosphere to come to the rash conclusion that Wayne, as he’s said often before, is “the best rapper alive.”

Really? Sure, numbers mean plenty. But as I so eloquently wrote in under 140 characters on Twitter recently, “If I ate a doughnut for every bad album that’s been commercially successful, I’d be fatter than that fattest person you know.”

READ FULL STORY

Drake talks about making his upcoming album, growing as a rapper, and finding a mentor in Stevie Wonder: An EW Q&A

The summer’s nearly over. But rap wiz Drake is feeling the heat. The deadline to submit the final version of his sophomore album, Take Care, is one month out. To say the least, it’s crunch time. Though, it seems he’s comfy in the clutch.

While holed up in his “quaint” Toronto studio recently, Drake checked in with EW to give us a progress report on the album, due on his birthday, October 24. Creatively, he says he’s “at a great place” and has a tons a recorded material to select from.

In the EW story on stands now, he gave us five recording rules to live by. Here, though, we get into the rest of the conversation—one that includes, among other things, how Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album impacted his project, how his song with Stevie Wonder might make you shed a tear, and why you won’t hear him crying about his riches this go around.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In what ways are you challenging yourself this album?
DRAKE: I push myself in a lot of aspects when I write a song. I write a piece and where most people would stop and say “Oh, that’s the hook right there,” I’ll move that to the first four bars of the verse and do a new hook. That makes the song easy to learn and catchy. That’s how I like to challenge myself. I’ll write something and everyone that’s around might be like “Oh that’s that hook right there.” And then I’ll write something better than that.

How many tracks are you shooting for here?
Obviously, I can only fit so many songs on a CD. So what I’m doing is there will be a Take Care physical edition in stores that’ll hopefully have 15 to 17 songs on it. Then I know a lot of people do deluxe editions. But since October 24 is a special day for me, I got, like, a Take Care birthday edition that I’m going to put on iTunes that will have extra songs. I really want to encourage people to be excited about the album releasing. I remember how excited a lot of artists used to make me. I used to want to buy the physical copy to see the artwork. And if there were any bonus tracks, I’d go find them. I’m definitely trying to cause some of that excitement. I hope people go get the songs off the birthday edition. It’s going to be great, man. I’ve got a wide array of music this time. I’m very excited.

Talk to me about your team. Who are the people who are helping guide you through the album?
There are about three or four major opinions that I respect. Obviously, the main one would be [engineer and producer] 40 (Noah Shebib). He’s worked with me every single night I’ve set foot in the studio since Comeback Season. He knows what I’m capable of and he’s not afraid to say “You can do that better” or “That’s it” or “I know you can write a better verse than that.” And Oliver El-Khatib, who has progressed from my friend who just used to advise me on how to dress to a guy who came up with the artwork for So Far Gone to, since he’s such a creative brain, that he’s become one of my managers. Then my DJ Future the Prince has a great ear for music. And probably the most important person in the equation is Hush, who is a friend of mine who grew up rapping in Toronto and he’s present every night. If anyone knows what I’m capable of, it’s Hush. We love rap the same way and we have the same exact ear. So I know he’s hearing what I’m hearing. I never take criticism personally from anyone. I love feedback, but especially when it comes to Hush. He understands rap probably better than anyone else I mentioned. And he’s a close friend of mine.

Rap has become like fast food. Fans want it quickly and a lot of it. It’s only been a year since Thank Me Later and your fans seem to be starving for Take Care. Do you think they’ve forgotten that artists need life experiences to craft their art? READ FULL STORY

Lil Wayne releases 'How to Love' video, steers woman away from life of stripping

The lesson in Lil Wayne’s new video is clear: If you know better, you’ll do better.

In the long overdue clip for “How to Love,” currently No. 8 on the Billboard hot 100 chart, we see a young lady travel down two paths—during the first half she’s the product of a broken home and abusive father who becomes a stripper and spirals downward.

Then Wayne hits rewind and takes us down another route. That same girl watches her mother marry a man who loves her. In turn, the girl matures into a college student who knows what to look for in a man. Watch it after the jump.

READ FULL STORY

Lil Wayne lyrically attacks Jay-Z and 'his lady' on leaked cut from 'Tha Carter IV': Will Jay answer?

As of late, rap beef’s been more like tofu, with tired disses slung by subpar rappers to ramp up promo attention for an album.

That said, what Lil Wayne just got himself into is real, Grade-A rap beef—well-done steak even. Last night his new album Tha Carter IV (slated for release Aug. 29) leaked on the Internet. And there’s one track out of the bunch that’s generating huge buzz, because of a few shots he throws at rhyme titan Jay-Z.

On “It’s Good,” which also features Drake and Jadakiss, Wayne seemingly reacts to a perceived swipe Jay took at Wayne’s Cash Money label head Bryan “Baby” Williams on his “H.A.M.” collab with Kanye West at the top of the year.

“N—-s fantasize about the shit that I do daily/ Like these rappers rap about all the shit that I do really/ I’m like ‘Really half a billion, n—-?’/ Really, you got baby money/ Keep it real with n—-s, n—-s ain’t got my lady’s money,” Jay spits on the record.

Lil Wayne finally hit back on “It’s Good,” taking it a step further and threatening to steal Jay’s wife. “Talkin’ ‘bout baby money,” he asks on the cut. “I got your baby money/Kidnap your b—-, get that ‘How much you love your lady?’ money.” Ouch. By the way, talking about folks who aren’t even involved (ie: children, wives, parents, etc…) in battle is a low blow.

READ FULL STORY

This week in Lil Wayne: Rapper crashes out on skateboard, reveals new album release info

Lil Wayne took a nasty spill last night after his concert in St. Louis, earning himself a pretty ugly cut over his eye following a crash at a skatepark.

The damage, Wayne tweeted this morning, required nine stitches to patch up.

“The Lou’ was good,” he wrote. “But I busted my fuggin head at the sk8park! 9 stitches! Gnarly gash over my left eye!”

The rapper will still be ready to perform at upcoming shows and is also set to hit the stage at MTV’s Video Music Awards this Sunday. And following the evening’s event, his new album Tha Carter IV will be available for download on Amazon and iTunes, and other legal providers at midnight (Aug. 29). Physical versions of the IV drop later that day in stores.

“The MTV Video Music Awards are one of the most watched and respected shows in the industry,” Ronald “Slim” Williams, CEO of Cash Money Records, said to MTV. “Wayne is one of the most respected and prolific artists in the industry. By pairing the release of Tha Carter IV with the VMAs, it will certainly add to the overall anticipation and excitement for fans everywhere for what will surely be an unforgettable evening.”

It’s a smart strategy: Watch Wayne kill it on TV, get excited, then buy CIV.

Looking forward to Weezy’s VMA set and album? While you wait, watch this clip of Wayne skating a few weeks ago in Tampa Bay. He’s no Tony Hawk, but he’s alright: READ FULL STORY

While you're waiting to 'Watch the Throne,' enjoy these punchline-friendly jams

On “Otis,” the first single from Kanye West and Jay-Z’s upcoming Watch The Throne, Jay-Z spits, “Photo shoot fresh, looking like wealth/ I’m about to call the paparazzi on myself.” Not to be outdone, Kanye fires back with, “Luxury rap, the Hermes of verses/ Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive!”

Ba-dum, crash. It’s been a great summer for club-goers and college kids (read: people who love LMFAO), but when it comes to witty, winking rap one-liners, well, let’s just say we’ve missed these guys.

There’s no arguing with the fact that Jay-Z and Kanye are two of the cleverest guys in hip-hop. So if you’re getting feverish waiting for Watch The Throne to drop on Monday, fear not—we’re here to help! To tide you over for the weekend, we recommend that you first watch Jay and ‘Ye’s vaguely inexplicable new teaser trailer, and then check out these other tracks we love by rhymers with a sense of humor. READ FULL STORY

Adele, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown set to perform at 2011 MTV Video Music Awards

This morning, MTV announced that Adele will be making her first appearance as a performer at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.

Along with the English songstress, rapper Lil Wayne and R&B stud Chris Brown–both familiar with the VMA stage–will return to give it a go this August.

“I am excited about my nominations and to be back on the VMA stage,” Brown, who hasn’t performed at the VMAs since 2007, said in a statement. “I have a special performance planned for my wonderful fans.”

The timing of the show couldn’t be any better for Wayne. His new album, Tha Carter IV, drops the day after the show. “Being a nominee and performer on the VMAs once again is an honor because everyone doesn’t get that opportunity,” he said in a statement. “Looking forward to performing on the show, and having Tha Carter IV drop the same week!”

Several more acts will be announced in the coming days leading up to the big show. The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards air live on Sunday, August 28 at 9 p.m. ET.

Read more:
Adele pays tribute to Amy Winehouse: ‘I don’t think she ever realised just how brilliant she was’
Lil Wayne apologizes for album delay with new ‘Sorry 4 the Wait’ mixtape
Chris Brown’s ‘Today’ performance draws biggest crowd of all Summer Concert Series’ concerts: Watch it here

Lil Wayne apologizes for album delay with new 'Sorry 4 the Wait' mixtape

sorry-4-the-wait-cover

Since his release from prison, fans of Lil Wayne have been looking forward to his next album, Tha Carter IV.

And honestly, we should already have it by now. Weezy’s sequel to his 2008 smash Carter III was originally slated for a spring release, but has been pushed back to Aug. 29. And with his latest single “How to Love” sitting pretty in the top 10 of Billboard hot 100 singles chart, that date finally seems like a reality.

Still, Wayne feels that an apology is is order. Enter Sorry 4 the Wait, a mixtape that he released this morning that functions as an appetizer to Carter IV. On it, he jacks beats from recent hits like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls),” and Big Sean’s “My Last.”

Lyrically there’s not much new territory traveled here–just more raps about his own excellence, be it in the recording studio or in the sack. And frankly, it lacks the passion and energy of his last tape, 2009′s No Ceilings.

Have you heard Sorry 4 the Wait yet? What do you think of it? Let us know.

Read more:
Lil Wayne and Paris Hilton talk rap, paparazzi, and share jail stories in odd-couple Q&A
Chris Brown raps alongside Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes in ‘Look At Me Now’ video: Watch it here
Lil Wayne loses his brain, head, and sleep in ’6’7′ video: Watch here

Mary J. Blige, Kelly Rowland, and Trey Songz to perform at 2011 BET Awards on June 26 -- EXCLUSIVE

Mary J. Blige, Kelly Rowland, and Trey Songz are the latest artists set to perform at the 2011 BET Awards, EW has learned exclusively. Additionally, Cee-Lo Green will also make a “special appearance” at the show, which will air live from L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium on June 26 on cable network BET.

BET has already announced some talent for the telecast, including host Kevin Hart, Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Patti LaBelle, Humanitarian Award honoree Steve Harvey.

Drake, Lil’ Wayne, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys, and Jill Scott have also been previously confirmed to be performing. Nominees for the show’s awards — including Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj — were revealed last month.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more:
Chris Brown earns six BET Awards nominations, leading nominees Lil Wayne, Kanye, and Nicki Minaj

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