Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Ricky Martin, Common, the Roots, and Hootie & the Blowfish.

MARTIN TO BREAK 'SILENCIO'

Keith,

Do you have any news about a new release from Ricky Martin?

Liliana Kelley

Hi Liliana,

Ricky Martin's forthcoming album, "Almas del Silencio," is due out May 20. The set's first single is "Tal Vez," which this week debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks chart. It marked the first time a single has opened at No. 1 on this chart since 1998.

"Almas" is a new all-Spanish language studio album, Martin's first since 1998's "Vuelve." That album spent 26 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart and has sold 861,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

His most recent studio album was 2000's "Sound Loaded." That effort debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 1.7 million units in America.



COMMON ROOTS

Keith,

Common and the Roots' newest albums ("Electric Circus" and "Phrenology," respectively) are very good but haven't received overwhelming attention even though both their lead off singles were all over the radio and TV. Why is it that the mass consumers cannot grasp this type of hip-hop? And what are their albums' total sales up to now?

Thanks,

Gabe

Hi Gabe,

Lots of artists who are critically acclaimed sometimes never break through to the pop mainstream. Certainly both the Roots and Common have had lots of mainstream exposure recently. Roots performed with Jay-Z on his "Unplugged" album, and with Eminem at the Grammys; Common can be seen in a high-profile Coke commercial where he duets with Mya.

Lately, the Roots have found themselves with a good-sized music video hit. Their clip "The Seed 2.0," which features Cody ChesnuTT, has been getting play at MTV and MTV2. Common's latest single, "Come Closer," hit No. 21 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

The Roots' "Phrenology" has sold 420,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Common's "Electric Circus" has moved 240,000.



HOOTIE PATOOTIE

Keith,

How is the new album from Hootie & the Blowfish performing in comparison to their previous albums as far as U.S. sales are concerned?

Austin Cassidy

Hi Austin,

Hootie & the Blowfish's latest self-titled album has sold 51,000 copies in the U.S. since its debut three weeks ago, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and bowed at No. 46 on The Billboard 200. Certainly, Hootie has seen larger sales weeks in the past.

"Hootie" is the band's first studio album since 1998's "Musical Chairs," which sold 110,000 copies in its first week, enabling it to debut at No. 4 on The Billboard 200. That album has since sold 811,000 copies.

The group's biggest selling album is 1994's "Cracked Rear View," which spent eight weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 10 million copies in the U.S.