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Lil Jon Leads Indie Charts in 2004

Los Angeles – Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz continued their reign on the year-end Top Independent Albums chart for the second year in a row. The self-proclaimed “Kings of Crunk” finish the year with two of the top five titles on the indie chart.

After breaking through in 2003, the Atlanta-bred party-rap trio of Lil Jon, Big Sam and Lil Bo remained steady sellers throughout 2004.

The act’s BME/TVT release “Kings of Crunk” has spent more than 100 weeks on the Top Independent Albums chart, and has now led the chart two years running. To date, the album has sold more than 2.2 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Lil Jon’s simple, silly and over-the-top cuts have thus far proved to have quite the staying power. A CD/DVD release, “Part II,” ranks as the No. 4 title on the Top Independent Albums recap.

Meanwhile, Lil Jon proteges the Ying Yang Twins have become a force themselves. Their ColliPark/TVT album “Me & My Brother” ranks at No. 2 on the year-end indie tally.

The real test for Lil Jon will come in 2005, as retailers are betting on “Crunk Juice,” the follow-up to “Kings of Crunk,” to keep registers ringing. Early signs are positive, as “Crunk Juice” gave Lil Jon a career-high sales week when it moved 363,000 units in November.

Additionally, New York-based TVT is No. 1 on the Top Independent Album Labels chart, placing five of the top 10 indie albums of the year.

213 IN TOP 10

Elsewhere on the Top Independent Albums recap, the rap powerhouse of 213, featuring vets Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg and Warren G, finished the year at No. 6 with their Doggystyle/TVT debut “The Hard Way.” The Latin-leaning party rapper Pitbull closed out the year at No. 10 with his Diaz Brothers/TVT debut “M.I.A.M.I.”

The year was a banner one for Chicago’s Victory Records, whose emo/hardcore act Taking Back Sunday gave the label its biggest hit.

The band’s “Where You Want to Be,” which was released July 27, debuted at No. 1 on the Top Independent Albums chart with first-week sales of 163,000 copies. To date, it has sold more than 458,000 units.

“Where You Want to Be” finished the year at No. 3 on the indie albums chart; it is another achievement for Victory Records, which also scored with big sellers from Atreyu and Hawthorne Heights.

Sub Pop’s electronic duo the Postal Service is one of 2004’s biggest surprises. Featuring producer Jimmy Tamborello and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, the Postal Service’s “Give Up” was a slow-building success story. The set entered the Top Independent Albums tally at No. 20 in March, and finished as the No. 7 indie album of the year. The group’s strongest showing, however, is on the Top Electronic Albums recap.

There’s no word yet on a new Postal Service album or a major tour, but the act recently inked a licensing agreement with the United States Postal Service. After the USPS sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sub Pop, a deal was struck in which the band was allowed to keep its name if it agreed to promote the government agency.

“Give Up” is now available via the USPS Web site, and the act’s music may be used in upcoming USPS advertisements. A single for “We Will Become Silhouettes,” containing one new song and two remixes, will be released in February.

Rounding out the Top Independent Albums recap is “A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar” from Vagrant’s Dashboard Confessional at No. 5, and Side One Dummy’s “Vans Warped Tour” compilation at No. 8.

Dashboard Confessional, the acoustic-driven punk project of singer/songwriter Chris Carrabba, is expected to release a new album in 2005.

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