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"The pre-release buzz surrounding this [Ja Rule] release was deafening. It was a great setup by the label, which obviously paid off handsomely."
—Mike Fuller, Hastings

PLAYING BY JA RULES!

Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJ Rapper Tops 250k, UMG Lands Six In Top Ten
Everybody thought Ja Rule was going to have a great first week.

Everybody was right.

"Ja Rule absolutely ruled this week," said Mike Fuller of Hastings, proving that retailers should neither be seen nor heard. "The pre-release buzz surrounding this release was deafening. It was a great setup by the label, which obviously paid off handsomely."

Um, Mike…booooooring. Thank you. We just needed to say that.

As you might have gathered from Mikey's spew, Ja Rule (Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJ) debuted at #1 on the HITS Top 50 Albums chart (one of six Universal Music Group releases in this week's Top 10) virtually crushing all the competition. It wasn't even close.

"Me say more purdy words now?" queried Fuller, gently brushing a wad of drool from his prosthetically enhanced chin.

Of course, it wasn't just Ja. Interscope's Wallflowers came in at #9, while Reprise's Orgy barely missed a Top 10 bow at #11. The two bands keep the rock torch burning following last week's 1-2 debuts by Radiohead (#13 this week) and Green Day (#12).

"Them make boom-boom noise," said Fuller, attempting to remove a staple which he'd inadvertently lodged in his forehead.

But wait, kiddies, here comes next week's chart, where it's all about Flip/Interscope's Limp Bizkit, which hit the streets today. And, just 'cause we know you all want excitement, this wacky little release comes complete with its own wacky little retail war. For more details on that, see related hitsdailydouble.com story.

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BLITZ LIST
Trending topics for Grammy week (1/30a)
YOUR HANDY GRAMMY-WEEK GUIDE
The busiest time of year is here. (1/27a)
ENVELOPING CHAOS:
HARVEY MASON JR.
The heat is on. (1/30a)
ON THE COVER:
MILEY CYRUS
The sweet smell of "Flowers" (1/30a)
HIP-HOP AT 50
The astonishing first half-century of a world-rocking genre.
THE NEXT BIG PLAYER
in the catalog game is...
INDIE BREAKOUTS
More independent music rises at the DSPs.
THE GOP CONGRESS
At last, America can focus 24/7 on Hunter Biden's laptop.
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