Musical guests were featured at the end of each episode of the first two seasons, and considering the healthy ratings these first two seasons enjoyed, and the rapid rate at which the DVDs sold (the second season was the fastest selling TV on DVD of all time, moving 1.2 million units in 7 days), any artist appearing on the show could count on valuable exposure to a large and relevant audience.
To analyse the impact of the show on an artist or group's career, the analysis looks at the 2 albums released prior to an artist or group’s appearance on the show, and the two directly after.
Lil Jon saw the biggest spike in sales per album after he was featured on the show in February 2004. In Episode 4, Season 2, Chappelle had two skits in which he impersonated the rapper. Lil Jon would appear playing himself in episode 5 during a phone call with Chappelle, who was also playing Lil Jon. The rapper’s fourth album, Crunk Juice, dropped the following November, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard 200, and selling 2,000,000 copies, significantly more than his previous two records.
Common, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes were already established artists, all having released 5 or more albums prior to their appearance on the show. This mid-career injection of mainstream popularity could in part be attributed to the show, and Lil Jon credits the show with his rise up the charts, telling MTV in 2004:
“This Dave Chappelle sh-- just really put me on a different level. He basically has thrusted me into pop culture, and not just urban but white society as well.”
Singles released 3 years before an appearance on the show and 3 years after the appearance are
included. This is the change in the average Billboard Hot 100 chart position before and after
the episode airs.
Lil Jon’s singles chart performance rose nearly 20 places, and it must be noted that his guest place on “Yeah” by Usher was not included, as Lil Jon wasn’t the primary artist.
Chappelle’s Impact on Specific Careers
Kanye’s appearance coincides with a huge spike in Google searches for “backpack rap” in 2004:
The word “backpack” also experienced a healthy increase in usage in rap lyrics after this appearance.
The statistics show that this performance helped the previously underground "conscious" rap classification move into
the mainstream. 3 years later, Kanye would defeat 50 Cent in a first-week sales battle concerning their respectic third
solo LPs. 50 Cent's loss signalled the end of the commercial success of gangster rap, ushering in a new era of hip-hop,
where artists like Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi would flourish with more introspective content.
- “A.D.I.D.A.S” debuted on the Hot 100 at 60 the week after Mike appeared on the show. He would never have another Hot 100 charting single as a solo artist
- Monster, Mike’s debut record, was released the week after his appearance. It would peak at number 10 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and 4 on the Hip-Hop/R&B chart. His next highest charting solo record is 2012’s R.A.P. Music, at 82. Mike achieved success with El-P and their collaborative project Run The Jewels, but his commercial peak directly coincides with appearing on Chappelle’s Show
- “Yeah” jumped from 6th to 4th the week after Ludacris’ episode aired. It peaked at number 1 two weeks later, staying there for a further 12 weeks
- “Splash Waterfalls” rose 6 places from 23 to 17 the week after Ludacris’ episode aired
- Chicken-n-Beer gained 3 places on the Billboard 200 the week after Ludacris’ episode, turning out a 4 week streak of chart drops
- Phrenology re-entered the Billboard 200 albums chart at number 96 after their episode aired, after having been outside the chart entirely for 4 months
- Chappelle’s Show co-creator Neal Brennan linked The Roots with Jimmy Fallon, a relationship that has seen them exposed to a huge mainstream audience as the house band on “Tonight Show”
- Heavier Things climbed 3 places on the Billboard 200, despite having dropped 6 places the week prior, and been on the charts for 20 consecutive weeks
- Mos’ appearance in 2003 was the middle of his mainstream peak. His 2004 record The New Danger hit 5 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Gold, and his single “Sex, Love & Money” from 2004 peaked at 16 on the Hot 100. He’d never chart again on the Hot 100 as a solo artist, and he’d never release another Gold selling record
- Angela formed The Breakfast Club with DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God, one of the biggest hip-hop radio shows of all time. Her start in radio came about thanks to an appearance at the premier for Chappelle’s Show, where she met Paul Rosenberg and was invited to work for Shady Records. She’d end up presenting a show on Shade45, a stepping stone to a successful and pioneering career.
- Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, aired in 2006, was the first of many popular artist-driven music festivals such as Made In America (Jay-Z) and Camp Flog Naw (Tyler, The Creator).
- Dave Chappelle's Block Party was also attended by a young J. Cole.