At one point it was a regular occurrence to see a New York hip hop artist’s name at the top of the album chart, but over the last few years only a small hand full of rappers from the Big Apple have managed to drop an album that reached number 1. Less than a month into 2013 and one NYC newcomer has already met that feat.
According to Soundscan, A$AP Rocky’s debut album, LONG.LIVE.ASAP, sold 138,503 copies in its first week of release. That total was enough for the Harlem emcee to secure his first number one album on the Billboard 200. He also joined Fabolous, Nas, Nicki Minaj, and Jay-Z as only the fifth rapper hailing from New York to reach that accomplishment since 2008.
While New York is regarded as the birthplace of rap music, over the last five years the center of power in mainstream hip hop has shifted below the Mason-Dixon line. Southern rap acts Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I., B.O.B, Young Jeezy, J. Cole, and 2 Chainz have been able to push a large enough number of units to see their respective LPs reach number one. Meanwhile the mainstream East Coast rap scene has been held up mostly by two New York legends from the 90′s and a pop-friendly performer who relocated to the south to start her career. A$AP Rocky’s uncommon commercial appeal could be a landmark moment for New York rap.
Boosted by the Hit-Boy produced lead single, “Goldie” and the Top-20 hit “Fuckin’ Problems” featuring 2 Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar, LONG.LIVE.A$AP reached the top spot despite the fact it leaked online a full month before its official release. The album was also a critical success. Metacritic.com gave the album a weighted score of 73 (signifying “generally favorable”) based on 31 professional critics reviews, 22 of which gave the album a “positive review”.
With several other rising New York artists garnering attention from online rap fans and hip hop media, A$AP Rocky’s achievement may not be that much of an rarity in the new future. A$AP Ferg, Azealia Banks, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, and Action Bronson (the latter two were guests on LONG.LIVE.A$AP) are just a few of the young New York rappers that are set to drop anticipated studio albums in the coming years.
List of Number One Albums By Rap Artists Since 2008:
Rick Ross, Trilla
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
Young Jeezy, The Recession
T.I., Paper Trail
Kanye West, 808′s & Heartbreak
Rick Ross, Deeper Than Rap
Fabolous, Loso’s Way
Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3
Ludacris, Battle of the Sexes
B.O.B., The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Drake, Thank Me Later
Lil Wayne, I Am Not A Human Being
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday
Lupe Fiasco, L.A.S.E.R.S.
Bad Meets Evil, Hell: The Sequel
Jay-Z & Kanye West, Watch The Throne
Game, The R.E.D. Album
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV
J. Cole, Cole World: The Sideline Story
Mac Miller, Blue Side Park
Drake, Take Care
Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Nas, Life Is Good
Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t
2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story
A$AP Rocky, LONG.LIVE.A$AP