HIT AND MISS: 10 Albums That Should Have Sold More Units in 2012Published by Justin Joseph on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm.
In a world where people will illegally download an artist’s music and call themselves a fan, the institution of selling albums, especially those that cater to Black people, has become a feat of epic proportions. In 2012, the odds of landing a gold or platinum certification for units sold (we’re not talking shipments) mirrors the odds of winning the Power Ball lottery. Granted that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not too far off. Granted people like to blame the economy for their illegal moves, but that has become a lazy cop out—especially when evaluating other Negrodian expenditures that have moved the Black spending totals into the billions.
There are a slew of “real/good music” making artists who released projects in 2012, and not one of them sold over 350,000 copies. A crying shame, seeing as though many of them have a successful track record. Here are our list of 10 Albums That Should Have Sold More Units in 2012
Quite possibly one of the most slept on albums of the year, Glasper’s foray into more R&B/soul tinged music was and is one of the best albums to come out in 2012. Featuring some of R&B and soul music heavy hitters—Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild, and Bilal—each song is strong, inspired, and collectively an example of what urban radio should sound like now. Released in February 2012, the album debut at number one on the Billboard Jazz chart, and number 4 on the R&B album chart. It has sold 128,000 copies worldwide—large numbers for a jazz musician. But not enough for an artist of Glasper’s caliber.
With so many people crying out for the return of good music, one would have thought and album from these Sisters With Voices—chalk full of some certified jams—would have yielded some good numbers. But, when the acclaimed trio’s reunion album dropped in April of 2012, it debuted at number twenty-five on the US Billboard 200 and number six on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart selling a paltry 14,000 units in its first week. A damn shame.
While Keyshia’s reintroduction into the world of pumping out angry my-man-played-me female anthems is a bit questionable, the music on this album is strong. And even if Mrs. Boobie isn’t the angry hood-chick who stole our hearts a few years ago (who would expect her to be?), she proved she could still pump out hits, especially when she has something to prove. “Enough of No Love” featuring Lil Wayne and the declarative “Trust and Believe” are enough to make you testify. However, since the album’s release in November 2012, it hasn’t even sold 200,000 units.
While this album was released as a dedication to the late Whitney Houston (she passed on February 11, 2012), Brandy’s latest album was also a clear cut message that she, like her late mentor, has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music history. Brandishing that signature raspy-yet smooth voice, this album had the songs of a veteran, but the spirit of a newbie. While the first single, “Put It Down” featuring Chris Brown, was met with mixed reviews, the album had some 90s tinged bangers on here that would have you thinking it was 1994 all over again. Unfortunately the album has only sold 110,700 units, becoming her lowest-selling effort to date.
After a six year hiatus, Tamia made her highly anticipated return to R&B music. Led by the album’s title track, the veteran singer—best known for 2001’s “Stranger in My House”—released the album independently in August 2012 to favorable reviews. While it debuted at number one on the iTunes music chart, and number six on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop album chart, the album has sold just over 100,000 units—a number far lower than deserved. But on the bright side, the album received a nomination for Best R&B Album at the 55th Grammy Awards.
For some “diehard” Jon B. fans, the Grammy nominated singers last album was 2001’s Pleasures You Like, and for a few people—who live under a rock, of course—1997’s Cool Relax. But over the years the former Babyface protege has released seven albums, including 2012’s Comfortable Swagg, which found him doing what he does best singing—but those units sold weren’t that comforting. The album, notable for being the first recording that Jon B. has done without marketing, promotion and distribution from a major label, failed to chart on any album or singles chart.
Featuring the Billboard R&B top ten singles, “Heart Attack,” “2 Reasons” and “Dive In,” Trey’s fifth album had and has the blueprint of a hit. Released in October 2012, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming his first album to do so. But Trey’s angels must be financially strapped or illegally downloading thieves, because his album has only sold 300,000 units to date.
Santigold is a queen in the electronic world, and while some (read: Black people) shun anything outside of traditional urban genres (i.e. R&B, soul, hip hop) this album was surprisingly soulful and rhythmic, evident by the project’s first single “Disparate Youth.” Released in May 2012, the album debuted at number 21 on the Billboard 200, selling 18,000 units in it’s first week.
Nas’ highly anticipated eleventh studio album was one of his best bodies of work. A veritable affirmation, the album was in his words represented “the most beautiful, dramatic and heavy moments” in his life. Despite superlative production and lyrical content this album—while debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and Rap charts—has only sold 339,617 units to date, and has no charting singles outside of “Daughters” which came in at number 76 on the R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart.
“Adorn” was one of THE best R&B singles of 2012, and the other tracks featured on the Grammy Award nominated singer/songwriter’s sophomore album are of the same cloth. However, the album has only sold a ridiculous 198,000 since its October 2012 release.
HONORABLE MENTION: Faith Evans – R&B Divas
When Faith Evans releases an album, you are guaranteed a good R&B project. Add to that good formula, a slew of fellow R&B songstresses—Kelly Price, Fantasia, Nicci Gilbert of Brownstone, Syleena Johnson, KeKe Wyatt, Monifah—and the word “great” seems apropos. But the fan response to Evans’ R&B Divas album fell way below what it desrved. Billed as a tribute to the late Whitney Houston—who’s last performance was at an event Evans was MC-ing—seemingly fell on deaf ears. The album, released in October on the heels of her successful reality show of the same name, debuted at number 46 on the US Billboard 200 with first week sales of 10,817 units.
HONORABLE MENTION: Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up
This re-release of Nicki’s sophomore album was everything the initial release should have been. Featuring a slew of undeniable hits that would make even a Nicki hater head bob—”High School,” “I’m Legit,” and “I Endorse These Strippers” among the highlights—the additional songs added the perfect balance to the pop fare that was so prevalent on the original. While she’s one of the only rappers—female and male—pushing out decent numbers, the sales on this project fell flat only selling 36,000 units, a number probably a result of Target and Walmart not selling the album.