View Full Version : Lean Back can't boost Terror Squad's album sales

Wendy Williams
Oct 11th, 2004, 11:40 AM
Remy Martin is a friend to the show so I don't want to get greasy about the Terror Squad. Fat Joe are we friends again?? Holler.

Hit just can't get Terror Squad CD to hop

It was the biggest uptempo radio hit of the summer, but the Terror Squad's smash "Lean Back" couldn't translate into major CD sales.

For seven weeks, this rap group from New York held the No. 1 slot on Billboard's R&B/Hip-hop radio formats with their maddeningly simple dance track. They also took the peak position at Rhythmic Top 40 *radio, and, most impressively, seized the top spot on the *nation's biggest singles list, the Hot 100 Song Chart, for three weeks. (The song still stands at No. 3. )

But Terror Squad's full CD, "True Story" is languishing at No. 87, with total sales of just 275,000 copies.

So, what went wrong?

Certainly, the group's label made *every effort to ensure that they wouldn't lose any CD sales to the *single. The song wasn't *available commercially except in a 12-inch vinyl version for DJs. And that version moved fewer than 17,000 copies.

Part of the problem had to do with the disparity between the single's in-your-face appeal and the group's murkier identity.

First, anyone who wanted to hear the song hardly had to own it themselves: With over 130 million "impressions" at radio, you could turn on almost any youthful, hits-oriented station and hear it whenever you like.

Of course, the same could be said for the singles from *Usher radio's other top star of this year. But he has a persona, and a sex appeal, fans wanted to buy into. Also, he convinced listeners his full album had more to *offer than just the three songs that *dominated radio.

By contrast, listeners probably had trouble figuring out just who Terror Squad is these days.

The group first emerged in 1999 with a self-titled debut, led by Big Pun and Fat Joe, two identifiable and physically huge Latin rappers from the Bronx. They got lots of media attention. But the album didn't spawn any hits. It sold just 231,000 copies. Pun did far better on his own, moving 900,000 and 1.4 million copies of his two solo albums, respectively. But he died in 2002. Then Joe became better known as a guest rapper on hits by Ashanti and R. Kelly. By the time the Terror Squad reconvened for a new album they had a refigured lineup and a different sound.

The changes may have made listeners wary of the full CD. Also, word of mouth seems to have been bad. The CD sold more than two-thirds of its copies in its first week.

To make matter worse, hip-hop collectives have had trouble competing with solo stars of late. A similar disappointment has befallen the group 213, which consists of Snoop Dogg, Warren G. and Nate Dogg. Their debut, "The Hard Way" has plunged to No. 64 in Billboard after just six weeks. As with the Terror Squad, it seems the more rappers on a CD these days, the fewer the sales.