Creed's "Weathered" weathered a storm of holiday-season competition to maintain its grip on the No. 1 position on The Billboard 200 for a second straight week. The band's third Wind-Up album holds on

Creed's "Weathered" weathered a storm of holiday-season competition to maintain its grip on the No. 1 position on The Billboard 200 for a second straight week. The band's third Wind-Up album holds on to the top spot, despite suffering a 53% sales decline to 417,000 units in its second week of U.S. sales, according to SoundScan.

Creed's command of The Billboard 200 is relatively uncontested, with just two top-10 debuts, both highly awaited rap albums. The first is the career-best entry for Ludacris at No. 3 with "Word of Mouf" (Distributing the Peace/Def Jam). That set's first-week sales of 282,000 units also lands it at No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while the single "Roll Out (My Business)" hops 17-15 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally. Ludacris' last album, "Back for the First Time," sold 134,000 units when it debuted at No. 4 last November. The set went on to sell 2.7 million units.

Blasting straight to No. 7 on The Billboard 200 on the strength of 185,000 units solid is the latest from Busta Rhymes, "Genesis" (Flipmode/J). The rapper also settles in at No. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally. "Genesis" marks a slight increase over Rhymes' last album, "Anarchy" (Elektra), which entered with 168,000 units last July and has sold 657,000 to date.

Creed's dip narrows the gap between "Weathered" and the eighth volume in the "NOW That's What I Call Music!" (EMI/Zomba/Sony/Universal) series, which holds at No. 2 after selling 353,000 units. Meanwhile, Creed's "My Sacrifice" overtakes Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" for No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks tally. "How You Remind Me," which had been No. 1 on that chart for 12, manages to hold its ground at No. 1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks count for a 13th straight week.

Other noteworthy debuts on The Billboard 200 include Columbia's "The Concert for New York" compilation at No. 27, and Smash Mouth's self-titled Interscope set at No. 48. The latter was unable to muster even half the nearly 100,000 units that the group's "Astro Lounge" moved back in 1999 when it debuted at No. 10.

Shoppers are beginning to show an interest in holiday music, as evidenced by Mannheim Steamroller's "Christmas Extraodinaire" plowing into the top-10. The American Gramaphone set jumps 15-8, while other Christmas-themed albums also reach new chart highs: Destiny's Child's "8 Days of Christmas" (Columbia) soars 53-36; and Barbra Streisand's "This Way" (Columbia) moves 28-22.

Garth Brooks cruises to a third week at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart with "Scarecrow" (Capitol). The set is at No. 4 on The Billboard 200, sandwiched between Ludacris and Britney Spears' "Britney" (Jive). Brooks' single "Wrapped up in You" bounces 9-7 to reach a new peak on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks tally, where Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk About Me" steers its way to a fourth straight week at No. 1.

On The Billboard Hot 100, Usher's "U Got It Bad" knocks out Mary J. Blige's "Family Affair" to claim the top slot. The latter had commanded the Hot 100 for five straight weeks. "U Got It Bad" is also controlling the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally, where it's leading for a fifth straight week.

The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at radio is Ja Rule's "Always on Time" featuring Ashanti, which jumps 20-13 this week due to increased crossover airplay. In pure rap markets, the cut loses some ground, sliding 6-7 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, where Strik 9ine's "Dansin Wit Wolvez (Where My Tribe At?) is No. 1 for a fourth straight week.

The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at retail is Toya's "I Do!!," which, despite an increase in sales, stays put at No. 16 due to the number of well-performing songs ahead of it. The Hot 100's top debut is Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's "Take Away" featuring Ginuwine & Tweat at No. 68. Other notable debuts on the chart include Mystikal's "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall) at No. 71 and Blige's "No More Drama" at No. 74.

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