Recent albums by Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott and the St. Lunatics reached both gold and platinum levels in their first accountings by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Elliott's Elektra release "Miss E ... So Addictive" and "Free City," the Universal set from Nelly's "St. Lunatics" were each certified for U.S. shipments of 500,000 (gold) and 1 million (platinum) copies.
Pop-punk pranksters Blink-182 made a serious first week impression on The Billboard 200, ending Staind's three-week run at No. 1 to take the top spot with "Take off Your Pants and Jacket" (MCA). The set sold 350,000 units in the U.S., according to SoundScan, a hefty first-week increase over the live album "The Tom, Mark and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!)," which moved 110,000 units to debut at No. 8 in November.
Staind's "Break the Cycle" (Flip/Elektra/EEG) experienced a 25% sales drop, yet manages to squeak its way past a powerful debut by Radiohead's "Amnesiac" (Capitol) to spend a third straight week atop The Billboard 200. "Amnesiac" sold a smashing 231,000 units, according to SoundScan, besting the band's 207,000 first-week sales total of last year's "Kid A," which opened at No. 1. "Kid A," however, didn't have to compete against a hard rock set like "Break the Cycle," which moved 245,000 units this week.
St. Louis-based rapper Nelly is heading out for a brief spring tour of college towns before he joins hometown rap outfit the St. Lunatics for the release of their debut album on June 5. Nelly, whose "Country Grammar" (Universal) currently rests at No. 15 on The Billboard 200, will tour with Detroit-based rapper Alley Life for about two weeks, beginning April 18 as part of Indiana University's annual Little 500 celebration.