Can Spice or Vybz Kartel ever unseat the ‘Legend’?

Despite their large fan bases, Vybz Kartel and Spice may find it impossible to unseat reggae legend Bob Marley from the pole position on the Billboard Reggae charts. 

The dancehall stars have earned top placements on the iTunes charts this week, a development that augurs well for them, but to overthrow the Legend — a greatest hits collection first released in May 1984 by Island Records — which routinely moves about 10,000 to 13,000 total units each week, could prove too tall an order for any dancehall artiste – even the ‘World Boss’.

Both Spice and the incarcerated Vybz Kartel have been aggressively encouraging their large online fan bases to stream and purchase their recently released dancehall albums – 10 and Born Fi Dis respectively, but will that be enough? 

Most critics don’t feel that the reigning ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ of dancehall have the ‘juice’ to take the chart crown from the ‘King of Reggae’. Alkaline failed when his Top Prize album sold 1,527 copies and 2,957 units in total consumption from sales and streams in the first week after its independent release on May 14.

Cover for Spice’s debut album 10

In the meantime, American roots reggae and dub band Iya Terra debuted No 1 on the sales-driven US Current Reggae Album Chart with their album Ease & Grace, while Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Legend: Bob Marley & The Wailers held the No 1 spot on the Billboard Reggae Album Chart for the 83rd consecutive week.

Iya Terra’s 15-track set, Ease & Grace, debuted No 1 on the Current chart after selling 372 copies in its first week in the United States, according to data provided to Observer Online by sales tracker MRC Data (formerly Nielsen SoundScan). The album’s total consumption from pure album sales plus stream equivalent albums was 974 units.

On the sales and streaming-driven Billboard Reggae Albums chart, Ease & Grace debuted just outside the Top 10 at No 11.

Legend is also currently No 78 on the Billboard 200 Chart, where it has been for a record 690 weeks. Last week, the collection sold 2,615 copies in pure album sales and 11,440 total units of consumption from sales and streaming in the US, according to MRC Data. This included 743,160 audio streams and 5,083 video streams in the US.

Meanwhile, Shaggy’s Best of Shaggy: The Boombastic Collection is at No 2 and has spent 125 weeks on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

Jason Mraz’s Love For The Good is No 3 this week, followed by Rebelution’s Live At Red Rocks at No 4.

UB40’s Greatest Hits collection is at No 5, followed by American band Stick Figure at No 5 and 6 with their albums World On Fire and Set In Stone, respectively.

Dancehall superstar Sean Paul is at No 8 and 9 this week with his Trinity and Dutty Rock albums, respectively.

Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Gold album rounds up the Top 10 at No 10.