The kids of "High School Musical 2" stay put at No. 1 for a second week with a relatively minor drop in sales while rapper Talib Kweli arrives at a career-high No. 2 ... Producer Swizz Beatz enters at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with his solo debut while rock act As I Lay Dying bows at No. 1 on Top Rock Albums ... Country star Joe Nichols arrives at No. 2 on Top Country Albums with his latest while M.I.A., Cartel, Rilo Kiley, Travis Tritt and the New Pornographers also bow on The Billboard 200 ... In Progress Reports, we've got news on Rodrigo Y Gabriela's MTV-fueled rise, Kenny Chesney's historic bow on Hot Country Songs, Fergie's multi-format success and Babyface's return to the Adult Contemporary chart.



FLASH POINTS



• While the soundtrack of "High School Musical 2" holds steady at No. 1, the top 10 of The Billboard 200 greets debuts from Talib Kweli, Swizz Beatz and As I Lay Dying. "High School Musical 2" sold another 367,000 last week, down only 40% as compared with its debut week of 615,000. That's the smallest second-week drop for an album that started with 500,000 or more since Kenny Chesney's "When the Sun Goes Down" declined by only 36% in February 2004. For the purposes of this comparison, we are backing out 50 Cent's 2005 set "The Massacre" and Eminem's 2004 effort "Encore." Both titles had a shortened debut week, therefore creating artificial second-week volume. "Massacre" dropped 32% in its first full week in stores while "Encore" rose 22% in its first full week. Since the beginning of 2006, every title that started north of half-a-million -- save for "High School Musical 2" -- declined by at least 48% in its second week. For example, Jay-Z's "Kingdom Come" plunged 79% in its second week while Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way" dropped 48%.

• With the two-week total of "High School Musical 2" rising to 982,000, that makes it the second-biggest-selling soundtrack of the year. The Walt Disney label owns six of the top 10 best sellers of 2007. At this point last year, Walt Disney had three out of the top 10 year-to-date best-selling soundtracks: "High School Musical," "Cars" and "The Cheetah Girls 2." Going back farther, at the same point in 2005, Walt Disney's highest-ranking year-to-date soundtrack was "Ice Princess" at No. 23.

• Talib Kweli plants his "Eardrum" at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 (60,000 units) and at No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, marking his first top 10 on the former tally and his highest-charting album on the Hip-Hop list. The set features an impressive list of guest stars, including Norah Jones, UGK, Kanye West, Will.i.am, Musiq Soulchild and Justin Timberlake ... Producer Swizz Beatz brings his debut album, "One Man Band Man," in at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 (45,000 units) and No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The producer/rapper is best-known for helming top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits by the likes of Beyonce, T.I., Cassidy, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and DMX.

• Metal band As I Lay Dying easily surpasses its previous peak on The Billboard 200 as its third proper album, "An Ocean Between Us," starts at No. 8 with 39,000 units. It also bows in the penthouse on Top Rock Albums. The act's last proper set, "Shadows Are Security," debuted and peaked at No. 35, shifting a then-career high of 33,000 units ... At No. 18, M.I.A. returns with her second effort, "Kala," selling 29,000. Two steps down at No. 20, pop/rock group Cartel debuts with its self-titled album, moving 29,000. The band's last album, "Chroma," spent 14 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 140 last summer. The new album was recorded while the band lived inside a see-through structure on Pier 54 in New York from May 24 through June 12. The project, titled Band in a Bubble Presented by Dr Pepper, was also the focus of a series of TV specials on MTV. During Cartel's stay in the "bubble," fans could tune in to drpepperbubble.com to view footage from 23 Web cams located within the structure on the Pier.

• Other debuts on The Billboard 200 this week include Rilo Kiley's "Under the Blacklight" (No. 22; 27,000), Joe Nichols' "Real Things" (No. 23—and No. 2 on Top Country Albums—26,000), Travis Tritt's "Storm" (No. 28; 23,000), the New Pornographers' "Challengers" (No. 34; 20,000), Aiden's "Conviction" (No. 55; 12,000), the Devil Wears Prada's "Plagues" (No. 58; 12,000), Ricardo Ajona's "Quien Dijo Ayer" (No. 60; 11,000), Sixx: A.M.'s "The Heroin Diaries" (No. 62; 11,000), Minus the Bear's "Planet of Ice" (No. 74; 9,000), Josh Ritter's "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter" (No. 79; 9,000), the soundtrack to Rob Zombie's remake of "Halloween" (No. 82; 8,000) and Blaze Ya Dead Homie's "Clockwork Gray" (No. 100; 7,000).




The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 SOUNDTRACK High School Musical 2 (Walt Disney ) 11 8 JONAS BROTHERS Jonas Brothers (Hollywood )
*2 New TALIB KWELI Eardrum (Blacksmith / Warner Bros.) 12 12 LINKIN PARK Minutes To Midnight (Machine Shop / Warner Bros.)
3 2 MILEY CYRUS Hannah Montana 2 (Soundtrack)/Meet Miley Cyrus (Walt Disney / Hollywood ) 13 11 T.I. T.I. Vs T.I.P. (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG)
4 5 SOUNDTRACK Hairspray (New Line ) 14 14 AMY WINEHOUSE Back To Black (Universal Republic / UMRG)
5 4 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 25 (Universal / EMI / Sony BMG / Zomba / UMRG) 15 10 COMMON Finding Forever (G.O.O.D. / Geffen / IGA)
6 7 FERGIE The Dutchess (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope / IGA) 16 17 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
*7 New SWIZZ BEATZ One Man Band Man (Universal Motown / UMRG) 17 16 SOUNDTRACK High School Musical (Walt Disney )
*8 New AS I LAY DYING An Ocean Between Us (Metal Blade ) *18 New M.I.A. Kala (XL / Interscope / IGA)
*9 13 NICKELBACK All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner ) 19 3 DAVE MATTHEWS AND TIM REYNOLDS Live At Radio City (ATO / RCA / RMG)
10 6 UGK Underground Kingz (UGK / Jive / Zomba) *20 New CARTEL Cartel (The Militia Group / Epic / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 8.05 million units
• DOWN 4.9% from last issue's charts: 8.47 million units
• DOWN 15.6% from same week, 2006: 9.54 million units
• This week: Only the No. 1 album sells more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: Danity Kane sashayed in at No. 1 with its self-titled debut, selling 234,000. OutKast's soundtrack to "Idlewild" bowed in the runner-up slot with 196,000. Mana, Paris Hilton, Lamb of God, Luther Vandross and Kelis debuted at Nos. 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10, respectively. The top three albums sold more than 100,000 units.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 100 album this week, Blaze Ya Dead Homie's "Clockwork Gray" (Psychopathic), sold 7,000.
• The No. 100 album for the same week of 2006, Ice Cube's "Laugh Now, Cry Later" (Lench Mob), sold 9,000.
• Average total of the No. 100 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1998-2007): 12,047.



PROGRESS REPORTS



• On The Billboard 200, Rodrigo Y Gabriela re-enter with their self-titled set at No. 98 with a whopping 209% increase. The act was the third to be featured in MTV's new 52/52 promotional campaign, following Paramore two weeks ago. With 7,000, the "Rodrigo Y Gabriela" album has its second-best sales week (its highest came during Christmas week of 2006), its highest rank on The Billboard 200 and graduates from our new and developing artists chart, Top Heatseekers. It also hits No. 1 for the first time on Top World Music Albums in its 47th chart week. The last time an album took more chart weeks to reach No. 1 was in 2002, with "The Irish Tenors: Ellis Island" by Anthony Kearns, Ronan Tynan and Finbar Wright climbed to No. 1 in its 52nd chart week.

• Since the Hot Country Songs chart expanded to 50 positions in 1964, the title of the highest debut ever was held by Buck Owens' "My Heart Skips a Beat," which started at No. 16 that same year. Until this week, that is, as Kenny Chesney's new single "Don't Blink" matches that bow. It's the second offering from Chesney's forthcoming "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates," due Sept. 11. The album's first radio cut, "Never Wanted Nothing More," slips from No. 1 to No. 3 this week ... With Garth Brooks' new "More Than a Memory" debuting on radio airwaves on Monday -- the first day of the tracking week for the Hot Country Songs chart -- look for it to make a splashy bow next week, perhaps surpassing Chesney's No. 16 debut.


• Fergie flies from No. 3 to No. 1 on the Hot AC/Adult Top 40 chart with "Big Girls Don't Cry," her first No. 1 on the tally. The song's ascension ends a 52-week hold at the summit by male bands. KT Tunstall was the last solo female to lead the list, when "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" completed its 10-week No. 1 run on the Aug. 25, 2006, chart. As "Big" climbs into the top 10 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart, it becomes the first single since Ricky Martin's 1999 tune "Livin' La Vida Loca" to top the Hot AC/Adult Top 40 chart and reach the top 10 on the Rhythmic Top 40 list.



• Babyface notches his first hit on the Adult Contemporary chart since 1997 as his cover of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" debuts at No. 26. The last time Babyface debuted on the chart was the week of Feb. 15, 1997, when "Every Time I Close My Eyes" started at No. 28. His AC chart history dates back to April 21, 1990, when "Whip Appeal" bowed at No. 46. Taylor's original version peaked at No. 7 on the Adult Contemporary chart back in 1970. Babyface's take on "Fire and Rain" is the first single from his new all-covers album "Playlist," due Sept. 18. The 10-track album includes Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight," Bread's "Diary" and Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."




Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New SWIZZ BEATZ One Man Band Man (Universal Motown / UMRG)
*2 New TALIB KWELI Eardrum (Blacksmith / Warner Bros.)
3 1 UGK Underground Kingz (UGK / Jive / Zomba)
4 2 PLIES The Real Testament (Big Gates / Slip-N-Slide / Atlantic / AG)
5 3 COMMON Finding Forever (G.O.O.D. / Geffen / IGA)
*6 4 T.I. T.I. Vs T.I.P. (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG)
7 5 T-PAIN Epiphany (Konvict / Nappy Boy / Jive / Zomba)
*8 10 AMY WINEHOUSE Back To Black (Universal Republic / UMRG)
*9 11 NE-YO Because Of You (Def Jam / IDJMG)
10 7 SEAN KINGSTON Sean Kingston (Beluga Heights / Koch / Epic / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Country Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
*2 New JOE NICHOLS Real Things (Universal South )
*3 New TRAVIS TRITT The Storm (Category 5 )
4 3 BRAD PAISLEY 5th Gear (Arista Nashville / SBN)
5 4 TIM MCGRAW Let It Go (Curb )
6 5 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG)
7 6 TOBY KEITH Big Dog Daddy (Show Dog Nashville )
8 7 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
9 2 LUKE BRYAN I'll Stay Me (Capitol Nashville )
10 8 BIG & RICH Between Raising Hell And Amazing Grace (Warner Bros. / WRN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 MICHAEL BUBLE It's Time (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
2 3 TIM MCGRAW Greatest Hits (Curb )
3 2 GUNS N' ROSES Greatest Hits (Geffen / IGA)
*4 10 PINK FLOYD Dark Side Of The Moon (Capitol )
*5 6 AC/DC Back In Black (Legacy / Epic / Sony Music)
*6 12 BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND Greatest Hits (Capitol )
7 7 MICHAEL BUBLE Michael Buble (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
8 8 ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING Wicked (Decca Broadway / Universal Classics Group)
*9 11 EAGLES The Very Best Of (Warner Strategic Marketing )
10 4 ELVIS PRESLEY Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits (RCA / RMG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Casting Crowns' "The Altar and the Door," Lyle Lovett's "It's Not Big It's Large," Ben Harper's "Lifeline," Ringo Starr's "Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr" and Paul Anka's "Classic Songs, My Way."
• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2006 when: Bob Dylan debuted at No. 1 with "Modern Times," selling 192,000. Danity Kane's self-titled album slipped to No. 2 with 117,000. Meanwhile, Young Dro's "Best Thang Smokin' " started at No. 3 with 104,000. Other debuts in the top 10 included Jessica Simpson's "A Public Affair" (No. 5), Method Man's "4:21 . . . The Day After" (No. 8) and the Roots' "Game Theory" (No. 9). The top five albums sold more than 100,000 units.