This was rapper Big Punisher's week to rule hip-hop, albeit posthumously.
The late performer's Yeeeah Baby emerged as the week's top-selling hip-hop album and will sit at #1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart. The album mixes R&B hooks with dramatic gangsta songs such as "Off Wit His Head" (RealAudio excerpt), as well as several curveballs, including the two-minute ghetto lampoon "Nigga Shit" (RealAudio excerpt).
Big Pun (born Christopher Rios) weighed 698 pounds when he died of an apparent heart attack in White Plains, N.Y., on Feb. 7. His obesity and the physical pain it caused made his touring and recording schedule difficult to maintain, but his friends and wife, Liza Rios, said they marveled at how he never missed a beat.
"It was very hard," Rios said. "But he knew he loved his music and he didn't want to let his people down."
Trailing behind Yeeeah Baby are the "Romeo Must Die" soundtrack and Flipmode Squad rapper Rah Digga's solo debut, Dirty Harriet. "Romeo Must Die" features two bass-heavy, sultry collaborations between singer Aaliyah and producer Timbaland. Dirty Harriet's first single, "The Imperial," is a duet with Busta Rhymes and samples Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie."
On Billboard's rap singles chart, "Wobble Wobble," the first single from the No Limit supergroup 504 Boyz's Goodfellas, rises to #1 this week, replacing the bass group Ying Yang Twins' "Whistle While You Twurk." 504 Boyz consist of Master P, his little brother Silkk the Shocker and Mystikal. Goodfellas will be the first release from No Limit this year; the label released 18 albums in 1998.