[artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] is dominating the charts like it’s 2000 all over again, when his second album, The Marshall Mathers LP, spent eight weeks at the top spot on Billboard‘s top 200 and went on to sell 9 million copies in the United States alone. His latest LP, Recovery, isn’t as big of a blockbuster just yet, but in the current music-industry climate, it’s killing.
The album has spent seven non-consecutive weeks at #1, the first hip-hop act to do so since Outkast’s double-LP Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in late 2003/ early 2004. A lot of Eminem’s chart success can be attributed to a very old-school source: radio hits. His first two singles, “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie,” have been staples on top 40 stations since they dropped.
“Radio still makes hits, and hits make artists relevant outside of their core consumer base,” Complex Editor in Chief Noah Callahan-Bever told MTV News. “That’s why you see that aberration in Em’s sales on Recovery vs. Relapse. To a 16-year-old, Eminem was bordering on being their older brother/ sister’s favorite artist, but ‘Love the Way You Lie’ has not only re-excited Em’s existing fans — now mostly in their mid-20s to mid-40s — but reintroduced him to new generation of teenagers for whom Relapse didn’t register.”
New York Times music writer Jon Caramanica for thinks Em’s fanbase has also been starved. In a sense, they’ve been waiting for something worth buying from him. “Eminem has been around for long enough to develop different pockets of fans: total loyalists, casual listeners, people who like only specific songs or sorts of songs,” he explained. “That he’s continuing to sell week after week is reflective of the fact that all of these groups don’t get activated at the same time. There are still people out there who might buy an Eminem album but haven’t, and each week, it seems, a few more do.”
But can Em’s reign at the top continue? “I believe Em has a couple more weeks on top of the charts, even if he gets knocked out of #1 a few times before October 1st,” Vibe Editorial Director Datwon Thomas said. “He has two mega-concerts where he’s headlining a hometown show with Jay-Z in Detroit and then opening for Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium in New York. The amount of media and fan fervor for these events alone will spur people to grab both artists’ albums from their respective catalogs. [And] if Em can build on that momentum and release another smash of a hit from this album, he’ll be OK well into the holiday season.”
Working his album through Christmas seems like it might be an option, if only because his record label, Aftermath/Interscope, appears committed to going the whole 12 rounds with Recovery. “Nowadays, [labels] push [albums] until the first-week sales and then generally abandon ship,” Callahan-Bever said. “With Recovery, it’s clear that Interscope knew they had a record with legs and went out of their way to push it. ‘Love the Way You Lie’ just connects to people in that really special, emotive way that only one or two pop songs a year do, and that is just undeniable.”
Will Eminem rule the charts until Christmas? Let us know in the comments!