Andy Mineo did it again. Last year, the New York MC turned heads when he sold 28,000 copies of his Heroes for Sale album independently — right under the nose of most hip-hop heads. Now, the rising rapper's back on the Billboard 200 with his latest EP, Never Land
Impressive sales weren't the goal for Mineo, whose Never Land EP had a very limited budget and was only released digitally. But he still managed to move 26,000 copies of his EP in its debut week, landing at #13 on the Billboard albums chart and #2 on the rap albums chart.
We caught up with Mineo on Wednesday (February 5) by phone as he was making plans to travel from a snowy New York to Nashville to rejoin the Roadshow Tour, the Christian music-themed run that he's been on since the top of the year. He told us he didn't go into this with great expectations:
"I didn't know what to really expect because I was dealing with two opposing things. One was that, yes I expect our fans and the 116 family [fan army] to come out and show support, because they always have. But at the same token, I said this is a very last-minute EP that didn't have marketing dollars, that didn't have a big budget, that didn't have a lot of stuff that we normally put into an album."
Mineo is signed to LeCrae's Reach Records and though Never Land is driven by his faith, his skill helps to break the stereotype that religious rappers aren't typically very good. Tracks like the loud and boisterous "You Can't Stop Me" and the introspective "Rewind" prove that Mineo can MC with the best of them.
"The goal of this was to put out a really cool project between Heroes for Sale and my next album just to keep [fans] excited and keep the momentum," he said of Never Land. "This is for my core."
The dedication exhibited by Mineo's fanbase helped to land him at #2 on the rap charts, behind Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist, an album that got a heck of a sales boost after the duo's 2014 Grammys appearance. "Number two on the hip-hop charts? I'll sit behind Macklemore after the Grammy performance and take #2; that's cool," he said humbly.
Yes, Mineo is happy to be in the company of the Seattle group on the charts. And while he isn't consumed with sales figures, he's grateful for all the support his fans have given him. "They know like I know, numbers aren't what we live for," he said. "Numbers at the end of the day and charting is not what we're here to do only. They just help tell the story."