Saigon finally released his album The Greatest Story Never Told and about 11,000 people purchased the long delayed project in its first week in stores. The album is a good seven years in the making after being originally recorded for Atlantic Records with multiple delays almost shelving the project completely. The Greatest Story Never Told’s first week numbers (good enough for #58 on the Soundscan charts) may seem modest by major label standards, but are outstanding since the album was released via independent label Suburban Noize Records.
The Yard Father’s sales totals are also none too shabby when considering that Ghostface Killah’s latest Def Jam album, Apollo Kids, sold 13,000 units its first week (#114 on the Soundscan chart) while Redman’s Redman Presents… Reggie album sold about 10,000 its first week (#100 on the Soundscan chart). Sheek Louch had even worse luck, with his album, Donnie G: Don Gorilla (also on Def Jam), selling only about 5,400 copies it first week.
Lately a number of well-established hip-hop artists have forsaken major labels in favor of aligning with smaller labels or releasing music via their own imprints. Traditional labels only come into play for distribution with marketing and promotion being the responsibility of the artist. In 2009 Raekwon the Chef of Wu-Tang Clan fame finally released his own long delayed album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. II. The sequel to the heralded Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (released by Loud Records, which at the time was distributed by RCA Records and eventually the Sony Music Group) sold a solid 68,000 units in it's first week. This is all the more significant since it shared a release day with Jay-Z’s the Blueprint 3, which sold 476,000 copies it's first week with a significantly higher promotional and marketing budget.
Other recent releases from artists once on major labels but now going the indie route include Talib Kweli’s Gutter Rainbows which moved about 14,000 copies it first week (a digital only release, initially) and Lloyd Banks’ whose G-Unit Record album The Hunger For More 2 (distributed by EMI), sold 44,000 its first week on shelves.
With the onus squarely on his shoulders and small team, Saigon went out and hit the pavement to support the release; making stops at FYE Records to sign copies of his album and conducting interviews with different outlets to let fans knows the Greatest Story Never Told is no longer an urban legend.
What are your thoughts on Saigon's debut album? Tweet to us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below?