Nas nabs not only his fourth No. 1 album, but first since 1999, as "Hip Hop Is Dead" starts atop The Billboard 200. The set registers his best sales week since 2002 ... Justin Timberlake can thank "Saturday Night Live" for helping double the sales of "FutureSex/LoveSounds" this week ... Corinne Bailey Rae made a series of TV show appearances, thus causing a significant bump for her self-titled set ... Bow Wow, RBD, Trick Daddy and Styles P all debut on The Billboard 200 ... With Christmas 2006 in the history books, holiday albums start to tumble ... And in other news: Daughtry, Nelly Furtado, Olivia Newton-John, Nickelback and Beyonce.




FLASH POINTS

• Eight solo albums into his career, Nas lands his fourth chart-topper, as "Hip Hop Is Dead" enters at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with 355,000 units. It's his first effort to reach the penthouse since 1999's "I Am ... " debuted at the top. He's also earned No. 1s with "It Was Written" and his 1997 Firm collaboration with Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature. The new album is led by the title track, which features Will.I.Am, and was ranked top 20 at seven radio stations for the week ending Dec. 24 according to Nielsen BDS. Those outlets include WQHT New York and WWPR New York. The video clip for the track was the most-played at MTV2 last week with 24 airings, while BET and MTV played it less than 10 times each ... The 355,000 opening for "Hip Hop" is Nas' best first-week since "Stillmatic" moved 343,000 when it started at No. 8 in 2002 ... The new set, Nas' Def Jam debut, also moves to No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, giving the rapper his sixth No. 1 on that chart.


• Since this week's charts reflect the seven day shopping period that ended at the close of business on Christmas Eve, it's no shock to see increases for those albums that are perfect for gift-giving. Those that likely made their way into a stocking or perhaps under a tree include the "Hannah Montana" soundtrack (3-2, up 28%), "Now 23" (4-3, up 33%), Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" (6-4, up 47%), the Beatles' "Love" (8-5, up 58%), Josh Groban's "Awake" (5-7, up 15%), Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds" (22-9, up 98%), Beyonce's "B'Day" (20-13, up 64%), Nickelback's "All The Right Reasons" (21-17, up 65%), Hinder's "Extreme Behavior" (27-20, up 65%), Keith Urban's "Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing" (28-21, up 72%) and the Fray's "How To Save A Life" (30-25, up 67%). Figure that any artist or album that is perceived to be widely appealing to a diverse population likely had a significant bump due to gifting. As has been the case in years past, in the week after Christmas, we'll probably see Mom and Pop-friendly titles from Groban and Underwood take a slight tumble, while hip-hop, metal and rock albums will move up the tally.


• Timberlake nearly doubles his sales of "FutureSex/LoveSounds" (going from 116,000 to 230,000) following his hosting duties on "Saturday Night Live" on Dec. 16. His tour with Pink kicks off Jan. 8 at the ipayOne Center at the Sports Arena in San Diego ... Corinne Bailey Rae continues to reap the rewards of not just having multiple Grammy nominations, but also a number of notable TV appearances. Her self-titled album zooms 52-39 with an 89% jump. She did TNT's "Christmas In Washington" on Dec. 13, CBS' "Early Show" on Dec. 16 and PBS' "Austin City Limits" on Dec. 16. Buzz surrounding her upcoming Jan. 16 performance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (where she'll join Carly Simon and Mary J. Blige) is also driving sales ... Unlike those bulleted acts, there are a handful of albums on the chart this week that take a tumble. Sadly, with Christmas 2006 now history, many titles remotely holiday related are quickly making a run for the bottom of the chart. Witness Sarah McLachlan's "Wintersong" (18-30, down 4%), Celtic Woman's "A Christmas Celebration" (40-72, down 13%), Bette Midler's "Cool Yule" (49-75, down 7%), Elvis Presley's "Elvis Christmas" (105-173, down 19%). Meanwhile, Kenny G's "Holiday Collection," Wynonna's "A Classic Christmas" and the soundtrack to "The Nightmare Before Christmas" all slip off the chart.


• Nas isn't the only act to debut on this, the next to last Billboard 200 chart of 2006. Bow Wow takes his fourth album, "The Price Of Fame," straight in at No. 6 with 262,000 units, representing his third-best sales week ever. It also starts at No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 2 on Top Rap Albums ... RBD's English-language debut, "Rebels," lands at No. 40 with 94,000. The set closely follows the release of the group's latest Spanish album, "Celestial," which entered at No. 15 with 117,000 a month ago ... Trick Daddy's "Back By Thug Demand" begins at No. 48 on The Billboard 200 (87,000) ... DJ Clue's guest-laden "The Professional Pt. 3" debuts at No. 73 (55,000). Stars appearing on the set include Nas, Mobb Deep, Snoop Dogg, Young Jeezy, Fat Joe and Cassidy ... Styles P's second solo debut set, "Time Is Money," climbs in at No. 79 (46,000). The Lox member's last set, "A Gangster and a Gentleman," debuted at No. 6 in 2002 with 135,000.


• On the Alternative/Modern Rock chart, Chris Daughtry's Daughtry band debuts at No. 40 with "It's Not Over." It's the first song by an "American Idol" contestant to reach this tally ... Olivia Newton-John has her first AC/Adult Contemporary hit since 1998 as "Instrument Of Peace" debuts at No. 30 this week. Her last single to chart was her updating of "I Honestly Love You," which peaked at No. 18 ... On Hot Latin Songs, Beyonce flies 35-14 with "Irreplaceable," as her Spanish recording of the song takes off ... Nickelback scores its fifth Hot AC/Adult Top 40 single from "All The Right Reasons," as "If Everyone Cared" debuts at No. 35 ... On the CHR/Top 40 chart, Nelly Furtado nabs her second top 10 from "Loose," as "Say It Right" skips 12-9. It follows the dismal performance of the album's second single, "Maneater," which clunked out at No. 24 ... Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" (featuring Akon) debuts at No. 32 while "Wind It Up" winds down 26-39 in its eighth (and likely final) week on the chart.



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New NAS Hip Hop Is Dead (Def Jam / Columbia / IDJMG) *11 11 CIARA Ciara: The Evolution (LaFace / Zomba)
*2 3 SOUNDTRACK Hannah Montana (Walt Disney ) *12 15 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
*3 4 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 23 (Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group / EMI / Universal / Zomba / Sony Music) *13 20 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
*4 6 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG) *14 14 GWEN STEFANI The Sweet Escape (Interscope )
*5 8 THE BEATLES Love (Apple / Capitol) 15 2 TAYLOR HICKS Taylor Hicks (Arista / RMG)
*6 New BOW WOW The Price Of Fame (Columbia / Sony Music) *16 17 FERGIE The Dutchess (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope)
*7 5 JOSH GROBAN Awake (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.) *17 21 NICKELBACK All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner / IDJMG)
*8 7 DAUGHTRY Daughtry (RCA / RMG) 18 1 YOUNG JEEZY The Inspiration (Corporate Thugz / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*9 22 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive / Zomba) 19 10 IL DIVO Siempre (SYCO / Columbia / Sony Music)
*10 16 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG) *20 27 HINDER Extreme Behavior (Universal Republic / UMRG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 31.24 million units
• UP 33.6% from last issue's charts: 23.39 million units
• DOWN 6% from same week, 2005: 33.24 million units
• This week: The top 36 albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: the top three slots all went to new albums ... Mary J. Blige's "The Breakthrough" broke in with 727,000 at No. 1 while Jamie Foxx and Notorious B.I.G. started at Nos. 2 and 3 respectively. The top 34 albums each sold more than 100,000 units.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 20 album this week, Hinder's "Extreme Behavior" (Universal Republic/UMRG), sold 163,000.
• The No. 20 album for the same week of 2005, Green Day's "American Idiot" (Reprise/Warner Bros.), sold 145,000.
• Average total of the No. 20 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1997-2006): 186,335.



PROGRESS REPORTS

• Progress Reports is on hiatus this week due to the Christmas holiday.





Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 88 NAS Hip Hop Is Dead (Def Jam / Columbia / IDJMG)
*2 New BOW WOW The Price Of Fame (Columbia / Sony Music)
*3 5 CIARA Ciara: The Evolution (LaFace / Zomba)
4 1 YOUNG JEEZY The Inspiration (Corporate Thugz / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*5 7 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
6 2 MARY J. BLIGE Reflections (A Retrospective) (Matriarch / Geffen / Interscope)
*7 9 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
*8 8 JAY-Z Kingdom Come (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*9 12 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive / Zomba)
*10 New TRICK DADDY Back By Thug Demand (Slip-N-Slide / Atlantic / AG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Country Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 1 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG)
2 2 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
*3 3 KEITH URBAN Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing (Capitol Nashville )
4 4 SUGARLAND Enjoy The Ride (Mercury / UMGN)
5 5 GEORGE STRAIT It Just Comes Natural (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
6 7 RODNEY ATKINS If You're Going Through Hell (Curb )
7 6 JOSH TURNER Your Man (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
8 8 BRAD PAISLEY Time Well Wasted (Arista Nashville / SBN)
*9 10 TIM MCGRAW Greatest Hits Vol 2: Reflected (Curb )
10 9 KELLIE PICKLER Small Town Girl (BNA / SBN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Hot Singles Sales

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 1 BEYONCE Irreplaceable (Columbia )
*2 3 KATHARINE MCPHEE Somewhere Over The Rainbow/My Destiny (RCA / RMG)
3 2 JEFF FOXWORTHY/BILL ENGVALL Redneck 12 Days Of Christmas/Here's Your Sign Christmas (Warner Bros. (Nashville) / WRN)
4 4 TAYLOR HICKS Do I Make You Proud/Takin' It To The Streets (Arista / RMG)
*5 8 BEYONCE FEAT. JAY-Z Deja Vu (Columbia )
*6 9 BEYONCE Ring The Alarm (Columbia )
7 5 THE SHINS Phantom Limb (Sub Pop )
*8 6 ENYA Oiche Chium (Silent Night) (Reprise )
*9 10 JANET & NELLY Call On Me (Virgin )
10 7 MADONNA Jump (Warner Bros. )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Hot Digital Songs

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 BEYONCE Irreplaceable (Columbia )
2 2 FERGIE Fergalicious (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope)
3 3 AKON FEATURING SNOOP DOGG I Wanna Love You (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown)
4 4 AKON FEAT. EMINEM Smack That (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown)
5 5 NELLY FURTADO Say It Right (Mosley / Geffen)
*6 8 THE FRAY How To Save A Life (Epic )
*7 10 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FEAT. T.I. My Love (Jive / Zomba)
8 9 JIM JONES We Fly High (Diplomats / Koch)
*9 15 THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS It Ends Tonight (Doghouse / Interscope)
*10 13 HINDER Lips Of An Angel (Universal Motown )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Heatseekers

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 1 REGINA SPEKTOR Begin To Hope (Sire / Warner Bros.)
*2 New AVENTURA K.O.B.: Live (Premium Latin / Sony BMG Norte)
*3 17 RODRIGO Y GABRIELA Rodrigo Y Gabriela (ATO )
*4 3 MAT KEARNEY Nothing Left To Lose (Aware / Columbia / Sony Music)
*5 4 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE The Poison (Trustkill )
6 2 R.K.M. & KEN-Y Masterpiece: Sold Out (Pina / Pr / Universal Latino)
*7 6 SHINY TOY GUNS We Are Pilots (Universal Motown / UMRG)
*8 7 CARTEL Chroma (The Militia Group / Epic / Sony Music)
*9 9 ANA GABRIEL La Reina Canta A Mexico (Sony BMG Norte )
*10 12 AUGUSTANA All The Stars And Boulevards (Epic / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 IL DIVO The Christmas Collection (SYCO / Columbia / Sony Music)
2 3 VINCE GUARALDI TRIO A Charlie Brown Christmas (Soundtrack) (Fantasy / Concord)
3 2 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA The Lost Christmas Eve (Lava / AG)
4 4 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Christmas Eve And Other Stories (Lava / AG)
5 5 LARRY THE CABLE GUY A Very Larry Christmas (Jack / Warner Bros. (Nashville) / WRN)
*6 10 RASCAL FLATTS Feels Like Today (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
7 6 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA The Christmas Attic (Lava / AG)
*8 20 DANE COOK Harmful If Swallowed (Comedy Central )
*9 12 BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND Greatest Hits (Capitol )
*10 22 THE BEATLES 1 (Apple / Capitol)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Omarion's "21," Switchfoot's "Oh! Gravity," the compilation "Rocky Balboa: The Best Of Rocky" and Matisyahu's "No Place To Be."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2005 when: Jamie Foxx and Mary J. Blige switched slots on the chart, giving Foxx a No. 1 with "Unpredictable" (200,000). Blige's "The Breakthrough" dropped to No. 2 (193,000). The only debut in the top 50 was Ying Yang Twins' remix album "U.S.A. Still United" (No. 45; 35,000). The top eight albums each sold more than 100,000 units.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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