The young Marley’s chart debut is without a doubt attributed to his current Billboard R&B Singles and Hot 100 hit single Welcome to Jamrock. That single was number 19 on the R&B singles chart and number 58 on the Hot 100 up to a week ago.
Commenting on his latest charge’s chart success, Jerome Hamilton of Headline Entertainment, Marley’s publicist, said the chart debut was expected based on the success of the single. ÃƒÂt was expected and I am wonderfully impressed. It’s going to be an outstanding album, and I hope it grows from strength to strength. There are a lot of good songs on the album,” Hamilton said.
Welcome to Jamrock, which debuted at number 42 on the UK Album chart on the weekend, is Marley’s third set. His previous album, the Grammy-winning Half Way Tree, sold over 2,000 copies in its first week of release four years ago. To date that set has sold over 91,000 copies.
With Damian’s album debuting at number seven on the main album chart, it ranks him among an elite list of Jamaican reggae acts whose albums have debuted or peaked in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200. His father, the late reggae icon Bob Marley, peaked at number eight in 1976 with Rastaman Vibration. Shaggy’s multi-platinum album Hot Shot spent four weeks at number one in 2001. Sean Paul’s Dutty Rock peaked at number nine in 2003.
The 86,000 copies registered by Welcome to Jamrock is the biggest first week burst for any Jamaican reggae artiste. Some notable first week debuts and major first week burst in sales over the years include: Lucky Day by Shaggy which sold over 70,000 copies and debuted at number 24 in its first week of release on the Billboard 200; Sean Paul’s Dutty Rock, which debuted at number 26 with 62,000 copies in 2002 and went on to peak at number nine on the chart; Wayne Wonder’s 2003 album No Holding Back debuted at number 29 with 40,000 copies sold in its first full week at retail.
Beenie Man’s Back to Basics album, upon its release in 2004, sold more than 22,000 copies to debut at number 51.
Other Jamaican reggae acts who have dented the Billboard 200 album chart over the years … Jamaican artistes have had strong representation on Billboard’s main album chart, the Billboard 200, over the years. With Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley’s Welcome To Jamrock (Ghetto Youths) album earning the biggest debut and opening week sales for any Jamaican reggae artiste ever (the album debuted at number seven this week with first week sales of over 86,000 copies), it’s an appropriate time to backtrack and see which other Jamaican reggae acts made their dents on the Billboard 200 over the years.
In 1983, Third World took the album All The Way Strong to number 161 on the Billboard 200. Two years later they fared better with Sense Of Purpose, which stalled at number 119. However, Serious Business became their biggest chart hit peaking at number 107 in 1989.
Reggae outfit Black Uhuru registered their only chart entry in 1990 with Now, which got as far as number 121.
Shaggy Conscious Party peaked at number 23 for Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers in 1988. They fell three rungs lower in 1989 with a number 26 peak for One Bright Day. 1991’s Jahmekya debuted at number 96 and peaked at number 63. But 1993’s Joy and Blues peaked at number 178, while 1995’s Free Like We Want To Be debuted and peaked at number 170. Ziggy Marley’s solo effort Dragon Fly released in 2003 debuted and peaked at number 138.
Maxi Priest’s journey on the Billboard 200 chart began in 1989 with his self-titled set which peaked at number 108.
Bonafide, released in 1990, fared better going as far as number 47, while Best Of Me released in 1991, stalled at number 189. Fe Real released in 1992 debuted and peaked at number 191. Four years later Man With The Fun peaked at number 108. Inner Circle’s Bad Boys album rocketed to number 64 in 1993 based on the success of their hit singles Sweat and the title track Bad Boys.
Diana King only charted once but with her 1995 major label debut Tougher Than Love. It debuted and peaked at number 179.
Double Grammy winner Shabba Ranks racked up four entries on the Billboard 200. As Raw As Ever released in 1991 peaked at number 89, while Rough peaked at number 78. Xtra Naked did better reaching as far as number 64, while A Mi Shabba debuted and peaked at number 133 in 1995.
Mainly because of the single Flex, Mad Cobra powered his way to number 125 with his 1992 album Hard To Wet, Easy To Dry. She enjoyed a good run on the singles charts with Worker Man, Romantic Call, Pull Up To The Bumper and others. But Patra didn’t fare too well on the album chart. Her 1994 debut Queen Of The Pack stalled at number 103. A year later Scent Of Attraction fared worst, debuting and peaking at number 151.
The more recent album chart stars include Elephant Man, Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder and Shaggy.
Shaggy’s 1995 set Boombastic peaked at number 34. He wouldn’t visit that tally until five years later when Hot Shot debuted at number 42. It later clocked four weeks at number one. Hot Shot Ultra-Mix released in 2001 debuted and peaked at number 168. Lucky Day, Shaggy’s last studio effort for MCA Records, debuted and peaked at number 24 in 2002.
Elephant Man’s Good 2 Go album opened at number 74 in 2003 and later fell off the tally. Beenie Man’s 2002 Virgin Records opus Tropical Storm roared in at number 18 with 18,000 copies sold in its first week on the retail in the US. Two years later Back To Basics debuted and peaked at number 51 with 22,000 units sold in its opening week.
With 62,000 copies in its maiden week, Sean Paul’s Dutty Rock disc opened at number 26 in 2002. The set later peaked at number nine on the strength of four top 20 pop hits Gimmie The Light, Get Busy, Like Glue and I’m Still in Love With You.