The Bad Boy with the Midas touch did it again this week. Only this time it looks like that golden flair may soon turn in some platinum for production prodigy Sean "Puffy" Combs.
And he has no one but himself to thank for it.
The budding record executive's debut solo album, No Way Out, which he recorded under the name Puff Daddy as well as produced, found its way into the #1 spot last week on sales of over 560,000, according to Soundscan.
Combs, who has produced a string of hits by New Edition, Method Man, Mariah Carrey and his biggest triumph, the multi-platinum success of his late right-hand man, rapper Notorious B.I.G., has been responsible for more than $100 million in sales since his company Bad Boy Entertainment Inc. came into being four years ago. He recently unseated Oasis at the top of England's singles charts with "I'll Be Missing You," a tribute to B.I.G. that features the rapper's estranged wife, Faith Evans, and which is based on a loop of the 1983 Police hit, "Every Breath You Take."
Although the debut release by Combs, who has appeared in videos and guest-rapped on numerous tracks, but never released his own album, was impressive, it was still overshadowed by the first week numbers for B.I.G.'s posthumous album, Life After Death, which sold 689,500 copies its first week, as well as the Wu Tang Clan's Forever, which also recently debuted at #1 on sales of over 600,000. Like those albums, No Way Out benefited from pre-street date sales, in this case 2,100 copies sold by merchants before last Tuesday's official release date.
Sarah McLachlan's former #1 album Surfacing slipped three places to #5 in its second week on the charts with sales of 116,000 while the soundtrack to Men In Black, starring Tommy Lee Jones and former Fresh Prince Will Smith, whose title track single marks Smith's return to the rap game, landed at #2 on sales of 180,000 copies, with to-date sales approaching 705,000.
Squeaky-clean Hanson rose a few more places to #4 on sales of 124,000, which put their debut, Middle of Nowhere within spitting distance of 1.3 million copies sold and those randy Spice Girls rose back to #3 with sales of 140,000. Prodigy's Fat of the Land slipped one to #6 on sales of 101,849, according to their label Maverick, giving the album gold status with more than 500,000 sold so far. Meanwhile, rapper Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's Supa Dupa Fly fell four to #7, Jewel's still-strong Pieces of You actually gained two spots to #8, followed by Matchbox 20 and God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation.
Ska punkers Reel Big Fish continued their slow climb by jumping five spots to an all-time-high of #71 with their album Turn the Radio Off, fueled by their anti-hit single, "Sell-Out." A quickie re-issue of Trio's Da Da Da, currently heard in a popular Volkswagen commercial, squeaked onto the top 200 at #194, one of the defunct band's highest U.S. chart positions to date.