Alkaline’s publicist speak on his album Top Prize sales figures amid comparison to Vybz Kartel and Spice.
Dancehall is fuelled by competitiveness. Most hardcore fans of dancehall know that the genre often erupts in intense battles, which once took place on stage, then migrated to diss tracks but now the war of words comes from album sales.
Alkaline‘s latest effort, Top Prize, has come in for some criticism from fans who seem unconvinced that the album offers the best of the deejay. While the reception does seem to be lukewarm in some circles, he is being defended by well-known music public relations guru, Rickardo’ Shuzzr’ Smith, who spoke with the STAR recently and shared his view of the album, its numbers, and Alkaline’s performance as an artist.
Giving high praise to the “Hostage” singer, he said that he chose to ignore the controversies and comparisons made and that he believed that Alkaline’s talent and resistance to critics have made him a star. In fact, he added the artist’s resilience “has propelled him not just into the spotlight, but fuelled his reign at the helm of dancehall.”
Alkaline’s second album was released independently on May 14. There were no collaborations, but the album managed to secure a good number of pure sales which helped it to debut at number two on Billboard’s Reggae Album Chart. Since its debut, Top Prize dropped to number 12 in its second week.
The big drop once again fuelled a debate among fans as to whether or not the album was a bust. Smith used data to support his argument that despite the sudden drop of the album, Alkaline’s music was still being widely distributed and played.
“The total consumption had originally amounted to 2,957 units and 1,527 in pure album sales,” he said. He added that according to the sales tracker MRC Data, Top Prize sold an additional 2,000 units and enjoyed over 600,000 radio spins. Smith added that based on the numbers, the album is actually doing quite well.
Vybz Kartel’s Born Fi Dis album debuted at number nine, with 1290 album-equivalent units, and Spice’s 10 sold 1,447 album-equivalent units and debuted at number six in the first week of releases.
Smith also pointed to Alkaline’s impressive streaming numbers as another reason he believes the artist is at the top of the game right now. The album has recorded over 20 million streams on digital service platforms, and even more impressively, his YouTube account is getting close to one billion views overall.
This proves that he outperforms all other artists in the genre when it comes to numbers, Smith claimed. He noted that the only other artist who does better is the legendary Bob Marley.
“Even in an era where streaming is the tool to measure success, Alkaline’s singles, videos and albums continue to amass millions of streams. Credit must be given as he not only does such but manages to move pure units, a feat many can’t claim,” he said.
Recently Alkaline’s sister and manager, Kereena Beckford, rallied fans to show their support of the artists following the first week numbers of Vybz Kartel’s Born Fi Dis and Spice’s 10. She did so by gloating with a picture of Alkaline’s Billboard plaque for his offering Top Prize, with the caption, “Everything aguh mek sense soon.”
She further added on Instagram, “So they call Vybz Kartel and Spice the king and queen of dancehall, they said Alkaline fall of[f] and Skillibeng is the only one who can take Kartel’s place as the next king of dancehall. Alkaline then released an album called #TopPrize they said the album flopped cause it sold only 1.5k pure sales the first week and now Vybz Kartel, Skillibeng, and Spice all dropped an album and if you add up all the 3 album’s first week sales is not up to Alka’s 1.5k pure sales #legendary #dettawayorgetaway #vendettaforlife,” in an image.
It looks like Alkaline’s team is going the extra mile to prove to fans that the artist’s sophomore album, Top Prize, is no flop.