Marley Legacy Rises On Reggae Recaps

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Jr.jpgReggae veteran Sean Paul rules the year-end Top Reggae Albums chart, but the artist who got everyone talking was the son of legend Bob Marley, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley.

His Welcome to Jamrock (Ghetto Youths/Tuff Gong) nabbed the highest debut of a reggae release on The Billboard 200 in the Nielsen SoundScan era when it bowed at No. 7 this fall.

To date, Welcome to Jamrock has scanned 260,000 copies in the United States, and spawned a crossover hit at radio with its self-titled single. The album ends the year at No. 2 on the Top Reggae Albums recap.

This is from an artist who had previously been dropped by Universal's Motown Records, which released his 2003 effort "Halfway Tree."

Tuff Gong-the Kingston, Jamaica-based label the young artist's father started in 1965-serviced Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" to radio in early 2004. Once the label secured some play, Marley was the subject of a major-label bidding war, eventually returning to Universal Music Group.

Marley fell just short of besting a proven hitmaker like Paul, whose third-full length, The Trinity (VP/Atlantic/AG), has sold 294,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Paul, in fact, is one of few veterans in the top tier of the year-end reggae albums chart.