Keith answers readers' questions on David Archuleta, the best rappers alive, Britney Spears and more!

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at askbb@billboard.com.

ARCHULETA OFF THE MARKET?

Hello Keith,

There are a lot of rumors going around about David Archuleta signing a record contract with Jive Records. Is he officially signed with the label?

When is the scheduled release of his debut album? After "Idol" was over, the whole country wants to hear more of Archey.

Thank you,
Kenn Russell Baston


Hello Kenn,

Yesterday, June 5, it was announced that David Archuleta had indeed signed to 19 Recordings and Jive Records. In a statement, Archuleta said "Signing a record contract with 19 Recordings/Jive Records is truly a dream come true.

Being a fan of 'American Idol' since season one and admiring the alumni, I am honored and humbled to be a part of that group. I'm really excited to start working on everything."

It is anticipated that Archuleta's debut album will arrive later this year.

Until then, you can catch him on the American Idol tour, which begins July 1 in Glendale, Ariz.



THE BEST RAPPERS ALIVE

Keith,

Just wondering who the top 10 best rappers are according to total album sales. Any information would be great. I have searched everywhere for the answer and thought you guys are the final word on such issues.

Thanks for your time,
Mark

Hi Mark,

First, we have to be clear that this list is a ranking the "best" rappers, but rather for those that have sold the most albums in the United States.

Many would contend that some of the best rappers, in terms of artistic talent, may not sell very much.

For this list, we have compiled the top selling rap acts (solo or otherwise) based on their cumulative U.S. album sales since 1991 (when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data).

1. Eminem (33 million)
2. 2Pac (31.8 million)
3. Jay-Z (28.8 million)
4. Nelly (20.9 million)
5. Beastie Boys (18.9 million)
6. OutKast (17.3 million)
7. DMX (16.5 million)
8. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (16.4 million)
9. 50 Cent (15.4 million)
10. Dr. Dre (13.3 million)



SPEARS' SALE 'BLACKOUT'

Hi Keith,

I've been hearing all sorts of stories about Britney Spears' "Blackout" failure. Do you by chance know exactly how much the album has sold?

Thanks a lot,
Mia

Hello Mia,

"Blackout" has sold 861,000 albums in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. Additionally, the Spears has sold 3.1 million digital downloads of the songs and remixes from the "Blackout" album.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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