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Black Eyed Peas' 'The E.N.D.' has a smashing beginning, but the people want Drake

June 17, 2009 |  1:10 pm

BEP_5_

Local hip-hop outfit the Black Eyed Peas score a rare feat on this week's pop chart, becoming one of the few mainstream acts to experience a first-week sales increase over its last album. The group's fifth full-length release, "The E.N.D." (Interscope), became its first to debut at No. 1, selling 304,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan numbers released on Billboard. 

In 2005, the Black Eyed Peas bowed at No. 2 with "Monkey Business," which sold 291,000 copies in its first week and went on to sell 4.19 million. This year alone has seen such popular artists as U2, Kelly Clarkson and Eminem fail to live up to the sales numbers they set earlier in their careers.  

"The E.N.D." came with a lengthy setup, which included an appearance on "American Idol," and the March release of the single "Boom Boom Pow." The cut has topped Billboard's Hot 100 for 10 weeks, and has sold 2.8 million downloads. 

The song is still generating heat. According to data provided by BigChampagne Media Measurement, "Boom Boom Pow" ranked in YouTube's top-five streams in the last week, generating more than 1.6 million views. It's iTunes' No. 2 song, topped by another track from "The E.N.D.," "I Gotta Feeling." 
Only one other album sold more than six figures this week: "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King" from the Dave Matthews Band, which slipped down one spot to No. 2. Billboard puts the second week total for the RCA set at 128,000 copies, giving it a two-week tally of 552,000.

Eminem's "Relapse" (Aftermath/Interscope) is at No. 3, having added 87,0000 copies to its total. The album has sold just over 1 million copies in its four weeks of release. Holding at No. 4 -- and showing the power of the boomer market -- is rock supergroup Chickenfoot. Its album of the same name actually experienced a sales boost, up 53% to 79,000 copies. 

Featuring former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Joe Satriani, Chickenfoot's Redline album has sold about 131,000 copies in its two weeks. 

But the act generating the most online traction this week doesn't have much in the way of official product for sale. Canadian rapper-actor Drake, often referred to as a protege of superstar Lil Wayne, is the most in-demand artist on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, according to BigChampagne. His single "Best I Ever Had" ranks as the track generating the highest combination of searches and downloads, besting the Peas' "Boom Boom Pow." 

The artist, who appeared on the Canadian soap "DeGrassi: The Next Generation," is working on his debut album, and has not announced a label deal. However, what Drake's management alleged was an unauthorized album, "So Far Gone," was released to Web outlets this month by a label called Canadian Money Entertainment, reported Billboard. Drake's management sent cease-and-desist letters to have the release removed from online retailers.

There's great anticipation for his work. Drake has four songs in the top 60 of BigChampagne's TopSwaps chart today, which measures the most popular songs on file-sharing networks. By comparison, Taylor Swift has only one despite appearing on the CMT Music Awards last night.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: The Black Eyed Peas. Credit: Getty Images
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