For some, the reality of first-week record sales means utter exaltation. A stamp of approval from the masses. For others, it can be deflating. A show that you weren't on as many people's radars as you expected. Last August, Plies' initial Nielsen SoundScan numbers were the latter, but he promised himself never to let up.
"I guess I looked at my situation differently last time," he said, recalling the debut of his first album, The Real Testament, which scanned 96,500 copies in its first week. "To be able to come back ... I tell people all the time: You can sell a million records off hype in this game in the first two weeks. When you really see what your album is made of is after week four. Week four will show you the true response of how people view your material. For me to sell 96,000 records the first week, I was crushed by that number. All the work I put in, I expected bigger. That turn made me come up with the whole [mantra] of 'God don't make mistakes.'
"I had the blessing of selling another 400,000 records after week one," he added. "It doesn't really happen that way. A lot of times you see big artists sell 300,000 records the first week and still don't get to that mil. Or artists that sell 500,000 the first week and just get to a mil."
Plies should be satisfied with the opening week of his second album in under a year, The Definition of Real. With sales of 214,000 copies, Plies' latest landed the #2 spot on next week's Billboard albums chart. That's not even close to Lil Wayne's 1 million sales, but it is double Real Testament's opening numbers.
Plies has built his popularity by cementing his street cred while still maintaining a strong appeal with the ladies. For every record that has women screaming, such as "Bust It Baby Part 2," he drops another for the "goons," such as his latest, "Worth Goin Fed Fo."
"I'm at a cross point in my career right now," he explained. "I had a gold album on my last record. I could play over there in that realm, or I could make friendlier, more acceptable music to try to sell records. At this point in time, I don't feel that that gamble is worth it for me.
"I'm not one way all the time," he continued. "Sometimes, I may get off a phone call and be in a verbal confrontation with a cat out of the streets. That's enough to make me formulate a whole song off of that conversation. Sometimes, I'm in my woman mode, like we all are. Sometimes, I can look at the newspaper and see an indictment just happened, and it makes me write a song, like I just did on my sophomore album, called 'Worth Goin Fed Fo.' ... I never force myself to go to the studio and to feel the pressure of trying to come up with good music. I feel there's so many problems in the world, you should never run out of things to talk about that are important."