Rapper the Game Breaks January Record
By Geoff Mayfield
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - It is not often that we see the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 lead the runner-up by more than half a million units, but this is not your typical week.
Rap fans have eagerly anticipated the first major-label album by the Game for months, and it arrives at a time of year when most other albums in the market are losing traction.
Although his "The Documentary" falls a little shy of the 600,000-plus that some pundits had predicted, based on his first-day sales the Game's start is still historic. With 587,000 units, "The Documentary" scores the largest week by any January release in Nielsen SoundScan history, a mark previously held by Alan Jackson's 2002 release, "Drive," which began at 423,000 copies.
Green Day's "American Idiot," the leader in the last two weeks, is the runner-up at 85,500, down 15%.
The Game's album also high jumps from No. 69 to No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, having bowed there early from street-date violations.
His current hit, "How We Do," which features cohort 50 Cent, continues to grow, bulleting 8-3 on Hot Digital Songs and 5-4 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. But for all his heat, the Game will be lucky to hold court on the big chart.
"The Documentary" appears to be headed for a second-week slide of more than 50%, targeted by one chart watcher to do 275,000. Such an erosion is not unusual for a rap album that starts with a large number, but such a fade could put the Game on the losing end of a tug of war with country stud Kenny Chesney.
Chesney's new album is decidedly non-country, a songwriting diversion with sonics more reminiscent of Jimmy Buffett than anything you might associate with Nashville.
Without a single to light the way at country stations, RCA Label Group never expected "Be As You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair" to replicate the half-million-plus start Chesney saw last year with "When the Sun Goes Down." Still, he has enough fans to give the new album a shot at garnering the second-largest sales week of his career. Sources close to the project say first-day reports from chains put it on course to sell 300,000 copies in its first week.
If he makes that number, Chesney's "Blue Chair" will become a throne.