Which controversy will generate the most record sales: upstart rapper Canibus battling
rap vet LL Cool J (combined with Canibus album producer Wyclef Jean allegedly pulling
a gun on Blaze editor Jesse Washington) or Courtney Love enlisting the writing
help of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan for Hole's latest album?
As demonstrated on this week's Billboard 200 albums chart, the answer seems to
be Canibus. According to SoundScan, the battle-rhymer's Wyclef Jean-produced debut,
Can-I-Bus, sold 127,000 copies in the week ending Sept. 13 -- enough to send it
to #2 in its first week of release.
Canibus made hip-hop headlines earlier this year with
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Canibus/LP_Version.ram">"Second Round K.O."
K.O."(RealAudio excerpt), a song that jabbed at LL Cool J over a
behind-the-scenes conflict that took place during the recording of LL's "4,3,2,1," from the
album Phenomenon. LL responded to the Canibus track with
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/LL_Cool_J/The_Ripper_Strikes_Back.ram">"The Ripper Strikes Back"
Ripper Strikes Back"(RealAudio excerpt), which included a reference to Wyclef
as "a Bob Marley impostor." In turn, Wyclef responded to "The Ripper" with "Retaliation,"
a rap that implied LL is old and irrelevant.
Can-I-Bus was also the subject of a controversy this year, when Blaze
editor Jesse Washington alleged in an editorial that album producer Wyclef Jean
displayed a gun when Washington gave him the chance to respond to a bad review that
was going to run in Blaze's premiere issue.
Hole, meanwhile, sold 86,000 copies of Celebrity Skin and bowed at #9. The
album generated controversy earlier this year when frontwoman Courtney Love and
Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan traded barbs through the media about how involved Corgan was in the making of the album. Corgan said he was quite involved; Love said Corgan was only in the studio for 12 days. Corgan is given credit with
helping to write the music on five of Celebrity Skin's songs: "Petals," "Hit So
Hard," "Malibu," "Dying" and
Still perched at #1 this week was the critically acclaimed The Miseducation of Lauryn
Hill, which sold 214,000 copies, bringing its grand total up to 903,000.
In other news, just as Madonna was the big winner at this year's MTV Video Music
Awards, she was also the only one of the show's performers to see a substantial
increase in sales as a result of the televised exposure. Her electronica-fueled Ray of
Light sold 35,000 copies last week, as opposed to 31,000 in the week previous to the
awards show, bringing her grand total up to 2.2 million. The show's other performers --
including punk-rappers the Beastie Boys, swing-revivalists the Brian Setzer Orchestra,
jam-rockers the Dave Matthews Band and pop stars the Backstreet Boys -- all matched
their previous week's sales or witnessed a sales drop.