Ant and Slug are living the rock-star dream with another album in the Billboard top 10. / Publicity photo


Minneapolis rap vets Atmosphere cracked the top 10 of the big Billboard 200 album chart again this week off of last week’s sales for “Southsiders.” The duo’s eighth album came in at No. 8 on the chart, just below another cult-loved Middle America indie-rapper, Tech N9ne, and above other new releases by Santana and Lily Allen. It also made a No. 3 showing on Billboard’s R&B/hip-hop album chart, where (at least for one week) it’s sitting above the likes of Beyoncé and Eminem.

Total sales for “Southsiders” in its first week were about 23,000 U.S. copies, which is about a third less than what its highest-charting album, “When Life Gives You Lemons..,” sold when it debuted at No. 5 in 2007  -- but that was in that bygone era before digital streaming.

The new album did particularly well on iTunes, where it was at the top of the hip-hop sales chart for most of last week and at one brief point even reached No. 2 on the main chart. That success also could be good news for Atmosphere’s Rhymesayers labelmates such as Brother Ali and P.O.S., since iTunes created a promo feature alongside its “Southsiders” display touting the rest of the company’s roster.

Read our interview with Slug and Ant about the new album, which they touted with sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles last week ahead of their return to the headlining slot at the Soundset fest on May 25.