They say ‘lightning never strikes the same place twice’, but Alkaline’s albums seem to be the exception to the rule. His sophomore effort, Top Prize, dominated the weekend following its Friday debut with impressive unit sales and streaming numbers. The 14 track project received overwhelming support on all platforms and is expected to make an equally impressive entry on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.
Alkaline’s first album, New Level Unlocked, debuted at No. 1 in 2016, spending 18 consecutive weeks on the coveted charts. A similar feat with Top Prize would make him the only independent reggae-dancehall artiste to have two consecutive album debuts in this way.
The Champion Boy spits, “Bruck dung every barricade and set world records” on the new album’s title track and lived up to the prophecy, receiving high praise for his growth, flows, and consistency. The album is currently No. 1 on Amazon Music’s best-selling album chart and was trending everywhere from Twitter to Deezer, where all 14 tracks occupy the Top 100 playlist in Jamaica.
The album’s distributor, Zojak Worldwide, was among those who lauded the deejay publicly. “Congratulations to @manhimselff #1 on @itunes #Reggae #7 on #itunesmain chart #TopPrize is #outnow,” they wrote on Instagram.
The album peaked at No. 6 on Apple’s worldwide charts, sharing the top 10 with the likes of J. Cole and Nicki Minaj who occupied the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.
Top Prize also took the top spot on Audiomack with over 10M streams, and got a major nod on Vevo’s official homepage, where the album playlist was displayed and made accessible to Vevo’s over 20M subscribers.
Pandora, Audiomack and Spotify also included the bouncing, catchy tracks on their weekend playlists. The City deejay is the cover of Audiomack’s Verified: Dancehall playlist while Maniac, Heat A Di Moment, Nuh Trust Mankind, Top Prize and Hostage are featured on the 34 song tracklist. The slick ladies’ anthem Magic was also added to the three of Spotify’s collections including New Music Friday Kenya and New Music Friday UK.
Alkaline is now the face of Pandora’s New Reggae Now and Today’s Dancehall playlists, “the hot lists for massive tunes and soon-to-be-hits” according to Pandora’s page.
Needless to say, the Vendetta Boss’ team is ecstatic about their winnings. Jahvy Ambassador of Tru Ambassador Ent, Alkaline’s friend and producer for Ocean Waves and Hostage, took to Instagram to celebrate the record-breaking achievement. “Number 1! @manhimselff Alkaline’s album #topprize took 12 minutes to reach #1 on ITunes Albums history again!! #HOSTAGE WE DWEET INNA 12 minutes !” he wrote on Instagram.
Naturally, Alkaline’s publicist Shuzzr shared his succinct views in a press release.
“As an independent artist, Alkaline continues to break barriers globally and expand the genre’s footprint in mainstream and new media markets. The artiste has spoken, the album in entirety addresses any question critics may have. The best is yet to come”, he said.
The artist’s sister and manager, Kareena ‘Kereberry’ Beckford, sent gratitude to Vendetta fans for the groundbreaking response on behalf of the team. “There were many firsts for this #Alkaline project titled #TopPrize and so much more to go.. #DettaGang baddest in the biz. Thanks for the support given to #DANCEHALL music #MoreLife,” she wrote on Instagram.
With the help of his die-hard supporters’ crafty memes and Top 5 lists, the hashtags #TopPrizeAlbum and #Alkaline went to the top of Jamaican Twitter’s trending by noon on Friday.
Among the excited fan reactions were “Nah this Alkaline album f—g slaps. No skips, it’s perfect”, while another said “Alka wid d master class. Go do unnu homework.” One fan lamented its debut during lockdown, “Dis whole album can f—k up a party enuh #TopPrizeAlbum #Alkaline”, while an enchanted female fan posted “Me too busy a repeat all of these songs.. D man tone a voice in the song them dwg … D multiple flow changes …..kmttt…. Legendary yf.”
Bloggers also agree that Alkaline’s layered vocals gave him an edge and a clear advantage this time around.
UK based radio presenter KXVU had this appraisal of the standout track, Hostage: “In dancehall who else is doing that really? Who else is giving those really charismatic vocals? There’s no one who’s projecting that much of a vocal range if we’re being entirely honest people. Davido kind of does it over in the Afrobeats scene a little bit more but it’s not as wide and as quick in its transition as Alkaline’s unique vocal range.”
A few of Alkaline’s dancehall cohorts including Stalk Ashley also showed their support on social media. “Got a chance to listen to Top prize #badd”, Kranium wrote while dancehall veteran Mr. Vegas urged, “Please support one of the biggest name in dancehall album. #oneindustry #unity #love #Alkaline #congratulations #1”.
Meanwhile, it looks like the buzzing project might have already spawned its first social media spin-off. Hostage (currently #2 on Youtube Trending) is already a bonafide fan fave and in his repost of ‘Kereberry’ dancing to the sensual track, Jahvy Ambassador teased the #hostagechallenge. “what a whine bad @kereberry_new_era_ent unnu ago make kere a show off pon unnu? Send mi unnu videos”, he wrote.