On the Charts: Lil Wayne, Hit Single Machine

The rapper has two songs on the chart, 'How to Love' and 'She Will'

August 24, 2011 2:15 PM ET
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Lil Wayne performs in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jason Squires/Getty Images

WINNER OF THE WEEK: In a digital-singles world, Lil Wayne has the perfect skill set. He's perhaps the most prolific rapper in history, spewing out quality single after quality single with such speed that he even confuses his own backup band. "After the second leg [of the tour], we had to to figure out how to incorporate all these new songs with all this stuff that people know and love and come to see him perform, plus we have a [new] mixtape that has nothing to do with the seven songs he just dropped on the radio, plus [the upcoming] Tha Carter IV," his music director, Gil Smith II, told Rolling Stone recently. "You're talking about 30 songs we haven't even tapped into." It's characteristic that even before Wayne's last single, "How to Love," dropped out of the top 10 on the singles chart, Wayne has a new one, "She Will," co-starring Drake, which just hit Number One on both iTunes and Billbord and sold 255,000 digital copies. Prolific songwriters should pay very, very close attention to how Lil Wayne runs his business – each single activates the next.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Could LMFAO's insane dominance of the singles chart this year finally be coming to an end? The duo's "Party Rock Anthem" finally slips from Number Two to Number Five on Billboard's Hot 100, selling 148,000, a drop of eight percent. On the most recent Ultimate Chart, which BigChampagne compiles from online stuff like Facebook likes and YouTube views, it slipped from Number One to Three, and it landed at just Number Six on iTunes. We're sure the band doesn't care: As of a couple of weeks ago, according to Nielsen Soundscan, it sold more than 3.6 million singles total – compared to just 109,000 copies of its album Sorry for Party Rocking.

RAPPERS STILL REIGN – OVER A TINIER AND TINIER KINGDOM: We were concerned that a week ago, the new Kanye West-Jay-Z single "Otis" had tumbled down the singles charts not long after its release. The hit, containing a prominent Otis Redding sample, seems to be stabilizing, having jumped nine spots to Number 18 on the Ultimate Chart, although it plummeted from Number 20 to Number 36 on Billboard's singles chart – which indicates there's still online buzz, if not necessarily actual sales. The Watch the Throne album hangs on to Number One on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second straight week, selling another 177,000 copies, for a total of 613,000. The explanation for the 59 percent sales drop has to do with iTunes – Watch the Throne was an exclusive from August 8th to 11th, and after that, the album went out into "the real world." The buzz was a lot lower there. The two biggest rappers in the world (Eminem and Lil Wayne notwithstanding) should have a much more solid position on all the charts.

LAST WEEK: Jay-Z, Kanye Sitting on the 'Throne'

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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