Fred and his readers discuss Diddy, Ludacris, Janet and the Scissor Sisters.


Hi Fred:

With his album "Press Play" debuting atop of The Billboard 200, Diddy is reported to be "scor[ing his] first No. 1 album in nine years," according to the headline at But wait, I said to myself -- didn't Diddy debut at No. 1 with a remix album?

He did -- or at least, the album did: "P. Diddy with the Bad Boy Family: We Invented the Remix" debuted at the top in 2002; it featured remixes of hit singles by artists from Sean Combs' Bad Boy Records.

As far as you and Billboard are concerned, is
this a various artists album, or does Diddy a.k.a. P. Diddy a.k.a. Puff Daddy get artist credit for this one? I don't own the disc, but checking the song listings online, I count nine songs with a Diddy credit on them out of 16 tracks -- that's more than half.

I realize this is one of those grey areas of chart statistics. Some remix albums are probably easier to categorize than others (e.g., that same year's "J-to-the-L-O!" is an easy Jennifer Lopez credit). And I guess artist-driven soundtracks, such as "The Bodyguard" and "8 Mile," are also a bit murky (are those Whitney and Eminem albums, especially if they don't sing/rap half the songs?). But this Diddy remixes album totally stumps me.

Thanks as always,

Chris Molanphy
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dear Chris,

I checked with Geoff Mayfield, our director of charts and senior analyst, about the status of the remix album. It was considered a multi-artist album when it was released, and so when we write about Diddy's chart history, it's not included in work credited directly to him.
You can read the Chart Beat angle on Diddy's debut at No. 1 in this week's column.


Dear Fred,

Earlier I noted that no single had topped both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the Hot 100 this year. That [was true] until now.

By ascending from No. 2 to No. 1 on both charts, Ludacris' "Money Maker" became the first pop/R&B crossover chart-topper in 2006. This is the [longest] we've had to wait in any year since Billboard reinstated its R&B singles chart in 1965 for one of the year's No. 1 R&B singles to reach No. 1 on the pop chart. And with only two months left in 2006, and no real dual chart-topping contenders on the horizon, this could [be a year in which we have just one R&B/pop dual No. 1 single].

The last time that happened was back in 1982, when Daryl Hall and John Oates had the only song to reach No. 1 on both charts when they did it in January with "I Can't Go for That."

Darrell Roberts
Bethesda, Md.

Dear Darrell,

Thanks for noticing the unique achievement of "Money Maker." Now we'll all be keeping an eye on both charts to see if we have a second dual No. 1 in 2006.



I hope it's not too late to mention another artist who charted the same week their name was used in another song title.

Let's not forget Scritti Politti's entry "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)," which charted in February 1986 at the same time Aretha Franklin was in the top 40 with her hit, "Another Night."

I have long enjoyed your books and weekly column.


Alan Feldman
Newtown, Connecticut

Dear Alan,

I always liked Scritti Politti, and am especially fond of "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)." Thanks for remembering that Lady Soul was on the chart at the same time she was namechecked in the Scritti Politti hit.


Hi Fred,

I wonder if you have any thoughts about why Janet Jackson's last two albums have tanked, compared to her previous efforts?

"20 Y.O." was supposed to be her comeback album, but its sales are struggling, and her single with Nelly failed to dent the top 20.

Here in the United Kingdom the album peaked at No. 63 before dropping off the chart - not much better than "Damita Jo," which peaked at No. 32 then dropped off the chart two weeks later.

Has America not forgiven her for her "wardrobe malfunction," is she too old to be credible any more or are the quality of songs just not as good as they once were?

Thanks for a consistently great column.

John Marrs
London, England

Dear John,

I don't know that there's any one reason. There could be a residual effect from the wardrobe incident at the Super Bowl, but if there is, I believe it could only play a minor role. It is difficult for artists to get airplay as they get older, but I don't think Janet is over the hill yet.

That leaves the quality of the album. Earlier this week, Billboard's Clover Hope wrote about Jermaine Dupri leaving his position at Virgin Records. Here's what Hope wrote:

Jermaine Dupri has stepped down as president of urban music at Virgin, following lackluster sales of his girlfriend Janet Jackson's latest disc, "20 Y.O," which Dupri co-executive produced.

In a statement released to the Associated Press today (Oct. 25), Dupri said, "Since there are so many rumors running rampant about my position at Virgin Records, I feel that it is necessary to set the record straight. I was not forced out of the company -- I made a decision that it was in my best interest to leave."

The producer/rapper was appointed to the post in January 2005. Since then, his signings have included Dem Franchize Boyz; he also pacted with OutKast member Big Boi's Purple Ribbon imprint.

As for "20 Y.O.," it bowed at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 last month and has sold just 443,000 units to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Dear Fred,

I was looking through the Billboard charts hoping to find Scissor Sisters' "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" on the Hot 100.

Nada. It was on the Bubbling Under chart at No. 2 and I believed it would jump into the Hot 100. Unfortunately the following week I couldn't find it either on the Hot 100 or in the top 10 of Bubbling Under. What a disappointment!

Though Scissor Sisters are huge in Europe, they are still almost ignored in the United States.

Even such a radio-friendly song as "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" receives no radio play in the United States.

We will see how they do with their second album; hope they will be at least top 20. What do you think about their future in the United States? Will they ever have a breakthrough like they had in Europe?


Jenya Kachalin
Kiev, Ukraine

Dear Jenya,

I think the Scissor Sisters have the same problem garnering radio airplay in the United States that the Pet Shop Boys have had. Both have been categorized as "gay bands" and there is enough homophobia at radio to keep them off the airwaves.

That's just a personal opinion, of course. Some acts simply don't translate from Europe to America, even if they are U.S.-born, like Anastacia, and it has nothing to do with sexual orientation.