NEW YORK (AP)--Jay-Z once again proved he has the blueprint for reaching the top of the album charts.
The rapper's latest disc, ``The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse,'' debuted at No. 1, selling about 545,000 copies during its first week in stores, according to industry figures released Wednesday.
A year ago, his album ``The Blueprint'' debuted at the top spot and stayed there for three weeks.
Jay-Z bumped the ``8 Mile'' soundtrack down to No. 2. The disc, which contains music from rapper Eminem's movie of the same name, sold another 400,000 copies for a total of 1.6 million.
Another rapper, Missy ``Misdemeanor'' Elliott, debuted at No. 3 with her latest, ``Under Construction.'' It sold nearly 259,000 copies.
And ``Riot Act,'' the first studio album from Pearl Jam since 2000, reached the fifth spot during its first week in stores, selling about 166,000 copies.
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:08 PM
Is there any question who's the no.1 rapper today?
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:17 PM
I agree he got a good flow but his lyrics are pointless anyway.
Nov 21st, 2002, 03:05 AM
Jay-Z is on 60 minutes tv show now. Wow!
Nov 21st, 2002, 03:38 AM
Man...I just saw the interview with Jay-Z and it was off the hook. I'll be back later to provide some details. Wow!!
Nov 21st, 2002, 05:15 AM
The show said that Jay-Z is worth more than 50 million. His company was responsible for more than 500 million in sales last year from record sales, his own movie production, own clothing line, concerts, etc. This guy is the true Horatio Algier story.
He is ON TOP OF THE GAME by a long shot. Congratulations!
Jay-Z has once again written the blueprint for big-time album sales.
The prolific rap star scored his fifth straight chart-topper with his new double-CD The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse. His eighth release since he debuted in 1996 with Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint 2 easily topped the Eminem-led 8 Mile soundtrack (which also features a Jay-Z track), selling 545,000 copies for the week ended November 17.
Jay-Z's latest sales feat bested the 426,000-copy debut of the original 2001 The Blueprint and nearly matches the rapper's best week ever, 560,000 copies for 2000's The Dynasty.
With the New York hip-hopster on top, his Detroit counterpart moved down a notch. The 8 Mile soundtrack was the runner-up with another 400,000 copies to push past the 2 million mark in just three weeks, according to SoundScan figures. Eminem also has The Eminem Show at number nine, which, with its release on May 26, was the only current Top 10 album more than a month old.
Rap queen Missy Elliott landed at number three with her latest, Under Construction, selling 259,000 copies. The trimmed-down rapper benefited from the single "Work It" earning major radio and club play. Missy's latest also features a cameo by--you guessed it--Jay-Z, meaning the Jigga appears on this week's top three albums.
Pearl Jam, the last real holdout from the grunge era, remains vital as Riot Act sold 166,000 copies to open at number five. The Seattle group's previous studio release, 2000's Binaural, fared slightly better, debuting at number two and moving about 40,000 more copies in its first week. Still, Pearl Jam remains the last of the grunge supergroups, since Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in Chains have all since disbanded.
TLC's latest, 3D, sold 143,000 copies for a number-six bow. The album features tracks recorded by Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes before she died in a car accident in Honduras last April. The remaining two members finished the album in her memory, and Lopes' hometown of Atlanta declared November 12 (the day 3D released) as TLC Day.
Mississippi-rockers 3 Doors Down returned with Away from the Sun, which sold 115,000 copies to open at number eight. The group's 2000 debut, The Better Life, sold millions of copies on the strength of the super-rock hit "Kryptonite." The group's latest single, "When I'm Gone," is already heating up the radio.
The rest of the Top 10, all holdovers, included a hobbled Justin Timberlake at four with Justified, a half-naked Christina Aguilera at seven with Stripped and guitar-guru Santana in the 10 spot with Shaman.
Just missing the Top 10: Elton John's three-disc Greatest Hits: 1970-2002 wrestled away the number 12 hold from the WWF's own triple-disc collection, The Anthology, which landed at 13 with 86 pile-driving tracks of wrestling theme music.
The Memphis rock group Saliva--whose singer Josey Scott received mainstream attention last summer from his duet with Nickelback's Chad Kroeger on the Spidey single "Hero"--spit Back into Your System on the charts at 19. Jamaican dance-hall rapper Sean Paul followed at 26 with Dutty Rock, and Making the Band alum O-Town took 28 with O2.
In the battle of former Genesis members, Phil Collins' Testify managed just a number-thirty debut compared to his former band mate, Peter Gabriel, whose Up opened at number nine last month.
Elsewhere on the charts, hefty Bronx rapper Fat Joe plopped down at 31 with Loyalty, Barry Manilow's painfully sappy A Christmas Gift of Love debuted at 71, the score to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets opened at 81, the Madonna-led 007 soundtrack Die Another Day landed at 156, and the Pretenders' Loose Screw bowed at 179.
All Goes According To Jay-Z's Blueprint On Billboard Albums Chart
11.20.2002 3:09 PM EST
... And in the 46th week, Jay Hova looked down from and above and smiled.
Jay-Z's lofty point of view stems from his The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse selling more copies than any other album last week to top next week's Billboard albums chart. Jigga's sequel to last year's Blueprint sold more than 545,000 copies, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (November 20).
The one-time Shawn Carter and current rap revolutionary Jay Guevara's first-week sales fell below industry expectations, which forecasted figures in the range of 600,000 to 700,000, based on first-day sales. However, Blueprint 2 outsold last year's Blueprint, which also debuted atop the chart, by roughly 120,000 copies.
Blueprint 2 ousted the Eminem-weighted "8 Mile" soundtrack from the top of the heap, where it stood for the past two weeks.
Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's Under Construction will have the second-highest chart debut in a week that saw a slew of new releases, as the holiday shopping season approaches. Elliott's follow-up to last year's Miss E ... So Addictive will land at #3, fueled by club-thumping single "Work It," with more than 258,000 copies sold.
The rest of the top 10 newcomers show that some artists may have been gone, but they certainly weren't forgotten by fans. Pearl Jam appear to have retained much of their core fans since their last album, 2000's Binaural. The grunge harbingers' latest album, Riot Act, their seventh studio LP overall, will perch at #5 with more 165,000 copies sold. Binaural, by comparison, made its chart debut two and a half years ago at #2 with 225,000.
3D, TLC's fourth album and first following the death of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in April (see "Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes Killed In Car Accident"), will claim the #6 position, with a first-week tally of 143,000, much of which comes courtesy of first single "Girl Talk" and the press surrounding the posthumous release of the LP, which follows 1999's Fanmail.
Three Doors Down's Away From the Sun, the Deep South rockers' first album in more than two-and-a-half years, is a testament to the devotion of trio's fans — not to mention the pervasiveness of the heavily rotated single "When I'm Gone." The band's second album will take #8, with more than 115,000 sold.
The rest of the top 10 finds Justin Timberlake's Justified slipping two spots to #4 (188,000); Christina Aguilera's Stripped conceding three places to #7 (118,000); The Eminem Show coming in at #9, inching closer to ending its six-month residency in the top 10 (114,000); and Santana's star-studded Shaman falling five notches to #10 (110,000).
Elton John's triple-disc Greatest Hits 1970-2002 will lead the second-tier debuts at #12, immediately followed by World Wrestling Entertainment's three-CD retrospective of theme, entrance and event music, The Anthology, which boasts 86 tracks, 38 of which have never before been available.
Memphis rap-rockers Saliva flowed Back Into Your System and back onto the chart with their third album, which will land at #19 and round out the top 20 debuts.
Further down, Sean Paul's second LP, Dutty Rock, will come in at #26, after audiences were well primed for its acceptance by dancehall smash hit "Gimme the Light." "Making the Band" by-products O-Town will assume the position two places down with their second album, O2, juiced by the single "These Are the Days."
Although the album was named Loyalty, Bronx big boy Fat Joe experienced a loss of it with his fifth LP. The Terror Squad spitter will take #31 with his latest, and while his previous album, last year's Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) debuted lower, at #37, it sold nearly 30,000 more copies in its first week.
Fat Joe's reduction was nothing compared to the grave loss felt by Crazy Town. The band that once ruled the rap-rock roost with hit single "Butterfly" from 1999's The Gift of Game, will enter the chart at #120 with Darkhorse.
Other notable debuts on next week's chart include Phil Collins' first studio album in seven years, Testify, at #30; the single-disc (sans B-sides) version of U2's The Best Of 1990-2000 at #34; Barry Manilow's A Christmas Gift of Love at #71; the cinematic score to "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" at #81; the bonus track-bolstered reissue of Shakira's last English-language album, Laundry Service: Washed and Dried, at #112; the soundtrack to the latest Bond flick, "Die Another Day," at #156; and the Pretenders' eighth studio album, Loose Screw, at #179.
Nov 21st, 2002, 02:41 PM
I agree with public enemy's song. Don't believe the hype.
Nov 21st, 2002, 02:45 PM
His figures are blown up... you need to divide them by 2. His CD contains 2 CDs, and their total length exceed 100mins, so every copy sold counts as 2.
Big Fat Pink Elephant
Nov 21st, 2002, 03:45 PM
*getting Blueprint 2, Missy's Underconstruction..... and Em's 8 Mile sountrack*
JAY-Z NUMBER ONE AGAIN: And was profiled on 60 minutes ll last night.
(Nov. 21, 2002) *Jay-Z is once again king of the charts. With "The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse," Jigga now has his 5th number 1 single ... as far as the Billboard 200 is concerned.
The album sold 545,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and kicks the "8 Mile" soundtrack to down to No. 2
"Blueprint" is also numero uno on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Meanwhile, did ya see Hova on 60 Minutes ll last night? He spoke to correspondent Bob Simon about his growing empire, his latest album, and growing up in the projects of Brooklyn.
When a mainstream show like 60 Minutes takes notice, it's obvious that the rap game is well north of being huge. Rap has now surpassed country music as the nation’s second-most popular genre after rock and roll. And since Jay-Z is the reigning king of rap, the big boys wanted to take look. And last night they did.
Of course his life as a drug dealer came up and he dealt with it. The height of the crack epidemic was a rough time, Jay-Z says.
“Pretty rough time for everyone, like, especially in that neighborhood, it was a, it was a plague in that neighborhood, it was just everywhere, everywhere you look. In the hallways. You could smell it in the hallways.”
“Back then, it was like, I would say it was, like, two things, like, it was either you'z doin' it or you was movin' it,” he says.
“And you was moving it?” Simon asked.
"I was – yeah ? I would, what, what you consider a hustler,” Jay-Z said.
“Drug dealer?,” Simon said.
“That's a harsh word, yeah, yeah,” Jay-Z said.
“Did your mom know you were dealing crack?” Simon asked.
“No. She had a lot of trust in me, she gave me a long leash, and she let me, you know, learn on my own,” he says.
“The story goes that when you got to the end of the leash, and you were dealing drugs, somebody tried to kill you. Is that right, or is that” Simon asked.
“Yeah, I was shot at before,” Jay-Z said.
The show pointed out that just as Jay-Z was beginning to be recognized as an entrepreneur, he fell back into his old hustler ways. In 1999, he stabbed record executive Lance Rivera at a nightclub. Police say he thought Rivera was bootlegging his music. He was sentenced to three years of probation.
Jay-Z says the incident was a wakeup call, “let me know like it could just all go down the drain, like it could all be taken away from you.” He says something like that will “never” happen again.
Well, that was then. This is now, and financially, things couldn't be better. At 33, Jay-Z has already sold over 15 million albums and his personal fortune is above $50 million.
And he has Beyonce. For Jigga, life is good. Reall good.
Nov 21st, 2002, 11:13 PM
Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles. Wow, some people have all the luck and money. :)
Nov 22nd, 2002, 07:21 PM
Jay-Z Urges Students to Graduate
Nov 22, 2:11 PM (ET)
DETROIT (AP) - Rapper Jay-Z, with a bottle of water in one hand and a microphone in the other, told an audience at the city's Cass Technical High School about the importance of staying in school.
"I'm just here to let y'all know it's real," Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, said Thursday.
The students had won a contest sponsored by radio station WDTJ-FM by having good school attendance. The prize was Jay-Z as principal for a day.
The rapper, whose album "The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse," debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, didn't perform for the students, the Detroit Free Press reported for a Friday story.
Instead, they performed for him. The marching band played and cheerleaders inserted Jay-Z's lyrics and rap titles into a cheer.
Only students with grade point averages of 3.0 or higher - 1,209 of them, or half of the school's student body - were invited to the rally.
Behind Jay-Z Inc.'s doors
The rapper has his hand in many businesses. But he plans to leave the one that made him a star.
By Alan Light, Special to The Times
New York -- "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming out," says Jay-Z in a Vegas lounge lizard voice. "Now don't forget -- there's a $10,000 cover charge, so if you could just take care of that on the way out."
Jay-Z always thinks big. One of the towering names in hip-hop, with seven platinum-plus albums to his name, he stands at the center of an empire that includes Roc-a-Fella Records and the Rocawear clothing line -- a hot young men's sportswear brand with sales projected at more than $300 million in 2002.
He and his team branched out into film, producing 2000's hip-hop documentary "Backstage" and the recently opened action flick "Paid in Full." They even made a deal to distribute Armadale vodka, a British brand whose promotional material says that its strategy is "to be the highest-priced vodka on the market."
So here at rehearsal for "Saturday Night Live," Jay is launching his new album, "The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse," with an appearance that's almost star-studded enough to make a five-digit admission price sound reasonable. He's performing the record's first single, " '03 Bonnie & Clyde," with Destiny's Child leader (and his much-rumored squeeze) Beyoncé Knowles, and Lenny Kravitz and band are playing behind them.
This blend of hip-hop, R&B and rock exemplifies the crazy-quilt approach Jay took on the album, a two-disc extravaganza full of big-name collaborations and surprising styles. In addition to Knowles and Kravitz, guests include Big Boi from OutKast, the illustrious rapper Rakim and rising dancehall reggae star Sean Paul. Producers Dr. Dre, Timbaland and the Neptunes -- the three leading studio wizards in hip-hop -- are also on board.
"We're at a point in hip-hop where everyone is sounding like each other," Jay says, relaxing backstage during the endless, tedious hours of downtime during "Saturday Night Live's" all-day run-through. "If someone doesn't experiment with the music, it's not going anywhere. So as one of the people at the forefront, I feel like I need to put out all different types of music, to show that you could make a rock song, a reggae song. You could make a song with live drums. You can make any type of music you want, and you don't have to feel like you're selling out."
The 25 songs on "The Blueprint 2" could certainly benefit from some editing. Part of the power of Jay's best albums -- his 1996 debut, "Reasonable Doubt," and last year's "The Blueprint" -- was in their concision and consistency. But here, the sprawl is part of the point. "Some people might have to skip over some tracks," says Jay. "I'm saying that, and I'm the one that made 'em!"
He's everywhere you turn
In a year when it truly felt as though hip-hop was spinning its wheels, this sort of all-inclusive ambition is a statement in itself. And Jay-Z, who turns 32 next month, is nothing if not ambitious. In the past few weeks, as well as releasing his own album, he has turned up on the soundtrack to Eminem's movie "8 Mile" and on new albums by Missy Elliott and Snoop Dogg. ("Blueprint 2" knocked the Eminem soundtrack out of the No. 1 spot on the charts last week, selling 545,000 copies its first week out.)
Since the release of "The Blueprint," he's recorded a triumphant "MTV Unplugged" backed by Philadelphia hip-hop band the Roots, and released the massively anticipated, and ill-fated, "Best of Both Worlds" project with R. Kelly.
"Best," which seemed like a sure commercial juggernaut, came out a few weeks after Kelly's arrest last June on child pornography charges and has sold less than a million copies. (Over the summer, he told Teen People, "If [Kelly] is doing something morally wrong, he should get help, and I pray for him. I still think the album is a piece of art I wanted to do with a creative person I respect.")
Soft-spoken and quick to laugh, Jay-Z (sometimes called Jigga or Jay-Hova or various other ever-evolving nicknames) sits forward on a couch in the "Saturday Night Love" lounge area and talks excitedly about his new songs. He travels with no entourage, just one security guard. A walking example of cross-promotion, he sips at an Armadale and cranberry juice, and wears a dark Rocawear jersey. For the show's broadcast, he'll change into a Run-DMC T-shirt in tribute to the group's slain DJ Jam Master Jay.
Depending on whom you ask, Jay-Z represents the best or the worst of hip-hop. His effortless, conversational delivery ("He flows like a faucet," according to "The Vibe History of Hip-Hop"), innovative slang and irresistible hooks on singles such as "Hard Knock Life" and "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" rank him with the genre's greatest talents. "Remarkably, rap's best MC may be its most popular," wrote Spin magazine earlier this year.
But his relentless materialism and obsessive product-placement lifestyle -- complete with multimillion-dollar fantasy videos, carousing in the Hamptons and rhymes crammed with prestigious brand names and glamorous, high-maintenance women -- is something many in the hip-hop community have grown tired of. Jay-Z's 1999 single "Big Pimpin' " even created a name for this sensibility.
At the same time, his lyrics often point to the roots of his fascination with all that glitters. Filled with references to his own past and intricate narratives of drug deals and street crime, they tell a classic rags-to-riches story. Born Shawn Carter, Jay was raised in Brooklyn's Marcy Projects by his mother, a city worker (he recently met with his father, who left the family when Jay was 11). He dropped out of high school to tour as rapper Big Jaz's sidekick, but when that didn't work out he returned to Brooklyn and a life of dealing crack, he says. After someone shot at him from close range in 1995, he decided to get back into the rap game.
Unhappy with the record deals being offered to him, Jay formed Roc-a-Fella Records for the release of "Reasonable Doubt." He and his partners eventually signed a distribution deal with rap powerhouse Def Jam Records and began a run of hits few rappers have ever matched.
Several well-publicized offstage actions, however, add a disturbing underside to his story. Most notable was his 1999 stabbing of record executive Lance "Un" Rivera at a party. Jay pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and received three years' probation. ("It was a fight that escalated and got crazy," he told XXL magazine recently. "It made me that much more cautious -- even more levelheaded.")
Then there was the ugly war of words between Jay and rival rapper Nas. What started as a feud over who has superior talent devolved into personal attacks and talk of either a pay-per-view rhyme battle or a boxing match. Discussion of this bad blood dominated New York rap radio for much of this year and gave a dramatic boost to Nas' career.
In a recent speech at a New Jersey hip-hop conference, Public Enemy leader Chuck D attacked the "criminal element and criminal attitude" of rappers like Ja Rule and Jay-Z. "They can't tell you the difference between a musical note and a banknote," he said.
Jay-Z shrugs off the disapproval, attributing most of the criticism to jealousy. "Everybody wants to come for the top guy," he says. "That's an easy target. Everyone wants to root for the underdog, that's just our nature. After a while, it's not cool to say Jay-Z is hot anymore. It's like saying, 'Michael Jordan can play basketball,' 'Michael Jackson can dance.' OK, fine, cool. I just got to keep continuing to make great music and people will support me."
Getting his hooks into a song
One thing no one can deny is Jay-Z's pure rhyme skill. Astonishingly, like his late friend and fellow Brooklynite the Notorious B.I.G., Jay never writes anything down on paper, but improvises his raps in the studio. "It's a gift, man," he says quietly. "Even I'm like, damn, how the hell did I do that? Sometimes I finish songs in like seven minutes -- three verses, hooks, and perform it. Think it, do it, and gone right there on the spot.
"I don't believe in coming in with ideas," he says. "Putting it on paper makes it too uniform for me. It puts it between those two margins and it locks the flow up, so I don't ever think about what song I'm gonna make. I listen to a track and I think this track is saying this or saying that. Or I'll think of an idea and try to find a track that matches, but that's much harder, that's tough."
He did finally break down and buy a Dictaphone recently so that he'll stop losing ideas that come to him and disappear before he makes it to the studio. "I really believe I lost about three albums' worth of music that were in my head and I just didn't get them."
But, Jay claims, those ideas won't be making it onto records for much longer. His own relationship to performing has been sufficiently ambivalent that he's talked about retiring ever since his first album. He swears, though, that he now has his exit strategy worked out.
After the experimentation of "The Blueprint 2," he says he's got one more album in him and then it will be time to move on. "My next album will be 'The Black Album,' " he says, "and then that's it. I want to make it a prequel to 'Reasonable Doubt,' leading up to me having an idea for a song. I'll be saying, 'I'm going to use that Four Tops song, "Ain't No Woman" [a reference to his breakthrough single "Ain't No Nigga"],' and that's how the album's going to end. I'm going to loop the whole thing back together, make it a nice package, and that's it -- it truly, truly is. I just feel like it's time to do something else."
He sees his future not in the clothing line or film or even the liquor business -- he leaves those divisions to his longtime partner Damon Dash -- but in getting more involved in Roc-a-Fella Records. The label has enjoyed moderate success with acts like Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek, and Cam'ron's single "Hey Ma" went Top 10 this fall, but Jay thinks that with his experience, he has more to offer on the executive side of the game.
"I really enjoy new artists," he says. "I like watching someone grow, watching when they first get on Letterman, hearing them say, 'I'm never going to get a chain, I ain't into it like that,' and then next time you see them, they have eight chains. It's almost like having a kid. I don't have any kids, but I can imagine that's what it's like."
As for the widespread speculation about his relationship with Beyoncé Knowles -- who's not just one of the biggest names in R&B but also a budding movie star in her own right after her role in "Austin Powers in Goldmember" -- Jay prefers to let the music do the talking. His new " '03 Bonnie & Clyde" is a sweet declaration of love and devotion, with a chorus featuring Jay singing the line ( taken from a 2Pac song) "All I need in this life of sin / Is me and my girlfriend."
His version of "no comment" goes like this: "As far as making music, we make music -- the record is out there, listen to it. It could be entertainment, might not be. But as far as elaborating on the details of one's relationship, I think that's a bit much. I think that's crossing the line as far as being an entertainer."
He's more eager to talk about the unconventional tour he's doing in the weeks after "The Blueprint 2" comes out -- traveling the country, speaking at schools, acting as "Principal for a Day."
"Do you remember the guy who came in with the fake smoke in his lungs, to show how your lungs look after smoking?" he asks. "I thought about that for years. I still think about it. So I'd like to maybe be able to get to somebody and be able to affect their life. I just want to give them my story, and my story is a long road. I want to show them that there's at least five or six times I could have given up before I ever made an album, tell them about perseverance and about working hard.
"I still beat a lot of my artists to the studio -- that should never happen, but it does. Just tell these kids they can do anything, and I ain't one for preaching, but I really mean it. It's sort of like my music. I don't tell people to deal drugs or be hustlers or do anything, I just show them my life, show them, this could happen to you. This ain't every day, this is one in a billion."
* * *
Alan Light is the former editor in chief of Vibe and Spin magazines.
Nov 27th, 2002, 08:01 AM
What scores a hit with the hit maker?
Here are five records that have Jay-Z's ear these days.
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
(track from "Before These Crowded Streets")
"I can't get over that one: 'Sexy lady, I am at your feet / I want you so badly.' That record puts me in such a relaxed, amazing mood. I don't even know what the rest of the album sounds like 'cause I can't get over that one track."
"The Eminem Show"
"I like whatever he does. He uses different patterns, he's not lazy. And he makes sense, he sticks to a subject for more than two bars. I can appreciate that."
"Come Away With Me"
"That's always got to come up. I ask Quincy Jones every time I see him, 'How did you make that? It's all hits! So many great records on this one CD. How do you do that?' "
"Turn Off the Radio" (single)
"I just got into them. I always thought they were just anti-successful people, but they're like 'Pac and Sonny Carson. They're revolutionaries."