It's Wednesday on the Internets, and you know what that means: it's time to pore over last week's Soundscan figures and lament the fact that rap albums these days are selling as if they had AIDS on them!

In a relatively quiet week for hip-hop albums (even by '06 standards), Jim Jones a/k/a the Dirt Angel had the highest-selling rap album out, having moved about 94,000 units of his new, bizarrely-titled Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment).

To be sure, this won't be enough to save hip-hop, or bring New York back or whatever, but it's still better than most other rap albums this year, and it's especially impressive given the fact that the album was released independently through Koch Records.

I don't buy for a minute this claim that rappers on Koch make $8 per album sold, but if they did, the Dirt Angel would be ballin' for real, Barenaked Ladies-style. At any rate, you'd have to assume that he's making out better than the vast majority of his major label peers.

I wrote a review of the album this morning, and it ain't half that bad. Best Dipset album since Purple Haze? Best Dipset album evar? It should be noted though that I generally could give a rat's ass about Dipset, so what do I know.

[The review I wrote of Jim Jones first album back in 2004 remains inexplicably popular to this day. I haven't read it myself in over two years (who's got the time?), but people seem to find it amusing.]

As I noted in the review, Jim Jones' actual rappin' ability doesn't seem to have improved a bit compared to his first couple of albums, but here you don't notice as much. Instead, the Dirt Angel plays to his strengths, i.e. talking shit and shouting his new signature catchphrase.


And the production seems improved quite a bit compared to some of the other Dipset albums I've heard - which I realize is not saying a whole lot, but still. At the very least, they've mostly moved beyond rapping over sped-up soul (and, in some cases, Starship) samples.

Will I be spending much more time this winter rocking out to Hustler's P.O.M.E.? Probably not. But given a choice, I can honestly say I'd rather hear it than the new Jay album. Tell me I'm not going crazy.