On the charts: The Lil Wayne experiment, and how far north are the Far East Movement?
At the top: Behind bars, but he still has near-free reign of the U.S. pop charts. Rapper Lil Wayne returns to a familiar position as "I Am Not A Human Being" bolts to No. 1 after falling to No. 16 last week. Sales are up more than 440% to 125,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and give "Human Being" a three-week tally of 259,000 copies.
"Human Being" was released three weeks ago to digital outlets, but last week retailers were given the green light to sell the more ol'-fashioned compact disc edition, one that came with more tracks than were initially available digitally. Fans appeared willing to wait for the expanded physical edition.
The download was sold at close to the same price as the CD -- around the standard $9.99 at most outlets -- and lacked a sizable portion of the content. In two weeks, fans purchased about 133,000 downloads, just a little more than what the CD sold in one week of release.
"Human Being" is not being classified as a direct follow-up to Lil Wayne's blockbuster "Tha Carter III," and sales expectations are down to more realistic heights for "Human Being." Earlier this year, Lil Wayne issued a rock-influenced album in "Rebirth," which was lukewarmly received by fans. So far, the album, released in February, has sold 678,000 copies.
Kids and country: The jump by Lil Wayne spoils the return of Hootie & the Blowfish singer Dairus Rucker, appearing once again in his country getup with "Charleston, SC 1996." The album opens with just a tad more than 100,000 sales. Though country-branded solo-Rucker doesn't sound all that different from the pop-branded Hootie Rucker, it's given the artist a career rebirth. His first country effort, 1998's "Learn to Live," has sold just shy of 1.5 million copies to date.
Below Rucker at No. 3 is the CD companion to Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush, "BTR," which opens with 67,000 copies sold, and the teen stars are nestled on the chart in a sort of country sandwich. Behind "BTR" at No. 4 is Band Perry, a country family act making a grand entrance. The act sold 53,000 copies of its debut, which builds on the success of an EP released in April of this year.
Indie hero: Folky pop singer Sufjan Stevens scores the biggest week of his career, entering at No. 7 with "Age of Adz," an effort that takes its name from a piece by outsider artist Royal Robertson, and sees the artist adding an electronic flair to his choral base. "Adz" sold 36,000 copies, a significant jump over the first week sales of "Illinois." The latter, an album based around the loose gimmick of connecting all the songs to the Land of Lincoln, took two weeks to reach 15,000 copies sold.
A bit harder than Sufjan but still on on the indie tip, East Coast metal act All That Remains scores its first-ever top-10 album with "For We Are Many." The title sold more than 29,000 copies, and gives local label Prosthetic, who released the album in conjunction with Razor & Tie, its highest sales week.
From K-Town to top-30: Locals Far East Movement enter at No. 24 with their major label debut "Free Wired," an effort that sold about 17,000 copies. The dance/pop/rap act was raised in Koreatown, and has a hit single in "Like a G6." The act has already toured with the likes of Lady Gaga, Robyn, LMFAO, La Roux and Mike Posner.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: The Far East Movement. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times