The Star (Jamaica)

Music publicist defends Alkaline’s numbers

Says deejay’s latest album is no failure


At the start of 2021 when recording artiste Alkaline announced his sophomore album ‘Top Prize’, it was greeted with more criticism than fanfare.

Despite that, it remains one of the highest charting albums released since the start of the year with consistent sales and streams, says Rickardo ‘ Shuzzr’ Smith.

“Not buying into the comparison­s, controvers­ies nor feeding into the payola means of climbing to the top, Alkaline’s talent and resistance to the oppressive system that exists has propelled him not just into the spotlight, but fuelled his reign at the helm of dancehall,” he said in a recent statement to THE STAR.

Top Prize, which was released independen­tly on May 14, had no collaborat­ions, and features mostly new and up-and-coming producers, but was accompanie­d with a record number of pure sales and secured the number two position on its debut on Billboard’s Reggae

Album Chart. It, however, dropped to number 12 in the second week, and again opened the window for more criticism.

“The total consumptio­n had originally amounted to 2,957 units and 1,527 in pure album sales,” said Smith, adding that the figures, according to sales tracker MRC Data, “show that it has even sold an additional 2,000 units with over 600,000 radio spins. So, I am tired of people saying the album failed when the numbers don’t lie.” Comparing data, Vybz Kartel’s Born Fi Dis album debuted at number nine, and Spice’s 10 was at number six in the first week of their releases. Meanwhile, Top Prize has garnered over 20 million streams across digital service platforms. The artiste’s YouTube account is also approachin­g the one billion threshold.

“He outperform­s everyone when it comes to numbers. The only other person who continues to outsell everyone is 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.

Smith said that those who seek to belittle Alkaline, given name Earlan Bartley, should do the necessary research rather than speak from a place of ignorance.

“Alkaline’s career and impact, without label support and endorsemen­ts, remains undisputed, as the numbers prove,” Smith said.

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