19-track set debuted at No. 5 on the FIMI album chart.

The rise of Italian rap continues with the ironic rhymes of Caparezza on his third album, “Habemus Capa” (Virgin). The 19-track set debuted at No. 5 on the FIMI album chart one week following its March 24 release. “That’s his best performance so far,” Virgin Italy GM Mario Sala says. “We’re already close to gold [40,000 shipments] and expect to work this album with at least three or four singles, up until Christmas.”

The album was preceded by lead single “La Mia Parte Intollerante,” which entered the top 20 March 27. “We expect the second single, ‘Torna Catalessi,’ to explode this summer,” Sala predicts.

Sony ATV Italy director Chuck Rolando signed Caparezza (whose real name is Michele Salvemini) to a publishing deal in 1999. “He has this ability to perform verbal acrobatics,” Rolando reflects. “I sometimes think rap lyricists should be given the same credit as guitar wizards.”

However, Caparezza’s lyrical skills have a downside, Sala adds. “Unfortunately,” he concedes, “his emphasis on Italian wordplay is such that he isn’t really an item for export. Nevertheless, he’s perfect for the Virgin roster here.”