Grand Hustle/Atlantic recording artist T.I. has made a triumphant #1 debut on the Billboard 200 album chart with his new album, “KING.” Passing the half million mark with a SoundScan first-week sales total of 521,702, “KING” reigns as far and away the biggest debut thus far in 2006. In addition to its #1 debut on the Billboard 200, “KING” is #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, #1 on the Top Rap Albums chart, #1 on iTunes, and #1 on the Top Digital albums chart.
With this impressive debut, T.I. joins an elite circle of hip-hop artists who have sold over 500K in their first week of release, among them Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Nelly, Eminem, and Kanye West. This also marks the biggest first-week sales for an Atlantic artist in the 15-year history of the SoundScan retail tracking system. In addition, Atlantic ranks as the #1 label in the music industry this week, according to SoundScan, garnering 11.96% of the current marketshare, nearly double that of the #2-ranked label.
It has been week of extraordinary career milestones for T.I., who also made his acclaimed acting debut with the nationwide premiere last Friday of “ATL.” The Overbrook/Warner Bros. Pictures film was the #1 live action opener of the weekend, ranking as the #3 film overall. Fellow hip-hop artist and actor Will Smith, one of the producers of “ATL,” commented: “T.I. is a gifted talent with the rare ability to move from music to film effortlessly. His natural charm and instinct for the camera will serve him well as he journeys toward a great career in film.”
T.I. has earned widespread raves for his portrayal of the character Rashad. The Los Angeles Daily News proclaimed T.I. to be “a force of nature, a performer equally believable whether he’s chillin’ or illin'”; the New York Daily News stated that the film “features an impressive first-time performance by the rapper Tip Harris… Harris lends real gravity to (his) character,” while The New York Times hails his portrayal as “smoldering.” Daily Variety described T.I. as “an actor of charismatic reserve,” and the Hollywood Reporter noted that he “makes a promising debut in a role with considerable depth and charm.”
“From the day exactly three years ago that we signed T.I., we knew he had what it takes to become a bona fide superstar,” said Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman. “Since then, his career has been on an exponential rise, as he has made his mark as an artist, writer, label chief, entrepreneur, and now actor. T.I. is a true renaissance man who has only begun to reveal the depth and range of his many talents. Congratulations to T.I. and everyone at Atlantic for an extraordinary job. And thank you to our friends at Warner Bros. Pictures for joining us for a fantastic roll-out campaign on behalf of both ‘ATL’ and ‘KING.'”
“T.I. is the truth,” said Atlantic President Julie Greenwald. “The huge debut of ‘KING’ represents the culmination of months of hard work by both T.I. and the Atlantic staff. The emergence of T.I. as a hip-hop superstar is a defining moment not only in his career, but in the life of the new Atlantic Records. We are thrilled and proud to have this brilliant, charismatic artist as a member of our family, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this amazing talent.”
“KING” features the current smash single, “What You Know,” which has leapt to #1 at mainstream Urban radio and the top 15 at CHR/Rhythmic outlets nationwide. Its companion video is the #1 most-played clip on BET as well as being in “Big Ten” rotation on MTV and among the “Elite 8” at MTV2. The video was directed by veteran hip-hop video director and Atlanta native Chris Robinson – who also directed “ATL.”
In the online world, “What You Know” has been streamed more than one million times on MySpace, where the song is the #1-ranked stream and T.I. is the #1 overall artist. “What You Know” is also the #1 ringtone in the country. Both the full song and its ringtone were available exclusively as Sprint downloads for two weeks prior to the March 28th release of “KING.”
T.I. jumped into the hip-hop mainstream with 2003’s RIAA gold certified “TRAP MUZIK,” his Grand Hustle/Atlantic debut. Next up from the self-proclaimed “King of the South” was 2004’s “URBAN LEGEND.” The acclaimed album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at #7 on the Billboard 200, was certified RIAA platinum, and spawned such smash hits as “Bring Em Out” and the Grammy-nominated “U Don’t Know Me.”
T.I.’s impressive #1 debut is the latest in a series of top-charting successes for Atlantic Records thus far in 2006. Just three weeks ago, the label scored with the top two albums in the country, as Juvenile’s label debut, “REALITY CHECK” (UTP/Atlantic) entered the Billboard 200 at #1 and James Blunt’s breakthrough premiere, “BACK TO BEDLAM,” climbed to the #2 spot. On the singles front, Atlantic has landed two #1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 within the past month – James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” and Sean Paul’s “Temperature.”