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Rap Reigns on the Chart

July 29, 1998 12:00 AM ET

So is rock & roll dead, or is it just resting? Judging by this week's musicsales chart, which continues a year-long trend of strong hip-hop/R&B businessand almost non-existent rock sales, the answer is still open to debate. But ifthis goes on much longer, the rock corner may have to throw in the towel.

For the week ending July 26, the Beastie Boys' Hello Nasty remains the nation's best-selling album, moving 315,000 copies its second week in stores.(In fourteen days the record's sold 997,000 copies.) Making runs at theBeasties with big first-week debuts are fellow rappers JD (better known astwenty six-year-old hit producer Jermaine Dupri), Cam'ron, and Wu-Tang KillaBees who *all* hit the top ten first week out. (Another rapper, Mac, justmissed the top ten, coming in at No. 11, while Sunz of Man debuted a bitfurther down at No. 20.)

Fact is the Barenaked Ladies are the only guitar band in the top 20 this week,compared to twelve hip-hop or R&B titles.

From the top, it was Hello Nasty, followed by the soundtrack toArmageddon (selling 244,000 copies); JD's Life in 1472(162,000); Wu-Tang Killa Bees' Swarm (140,000); the soundtrack to theCity of Angels (138,000); Cam'ron's Confessions of Fire(107,000); the soundtrack to Dr. Dolittle (100,000); Brandy's NeverSay Never (99,000); Backstreet Boys (98,000); and the BarenakedLadies' Stunt (93,000).

JD's big debut is just the latest in a long string of successes for thefounder and CEO of So So Def Records. Dupri, who in the past has produced hitsfor Usher, Aretha Franklin, Xscape, TLC and scores more, is currently all overthe rap singles chart with "Money Ain't A Thing," featuring Jay-Z, and "TheParty Continues," with Da Brat. Next up is his single with Mariah Carey,"Sweetheart."

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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