'Sweat,' 'Suit' take top two spots.
With two simultaneously released albums, rap star Nelly pushes everyone out of his way on The Billboard 200 this week, taking over the chart's top two slots. "Suit" is No. 1 with 396,000 copies sold in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, while "Sweat" enters right behind with 342,000.
At 737,000 units combined, the Derrty/Fo' Reel/Universal sets barely surpass the opening of his 2002 set "Nellyville," which bowed at No. 1 with 714,000 and has sold 6.2 million.
Nelly becomes the first artist to debut in the top two slots of both the big chart and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. He also joins Guns N' Roses as the only acts to debut in The Billboard 200's top two positions. In 1991, the pop/metal icons' "Use Your Illusion II" bowed at No. 1 with sales of 770,000 and "Use Your Illusion I" surfaced at No. 2 with 685,000.
With Nelly taking the lion's share of retail thunder, the rest of The Billboard 200's top 10 entries experienced sales declines. Last week's chart-topper, "What I Do" (Arista Nashville) by country star Alan Jackson, tumbles to No. 7 in its second week with a 60% slide to 72,000 copies. Fellow former No. 1 "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw is a little steadier, dropping one spot to No. 3. The Curb album's sales fall 21% to 121,000 units.
Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" (Concord/Hear Music) falls 3-4 on a 16% dip to 113,000 units. The 16th installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music!" (Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba) series holds at No. 5 for the third week as sales dropped 21% to 101,000. Ashlee Simpson is No. 6 for a third week with her Geffen debut "Autobiography," even though sales fell 15% to 75,000 copies.
Despite falling sales, two acts manage see their albums rebound into the top tier this week. A 4% drop to 64,000 units still merits Maroon5 an 11-8 move with "Songs About Jane" (Octone/J), while Usher rises 12-10 with his LaFace/Zomba set "Confessions" as sales dipped 4% to 61,000 copies sold.
Other debuts this week include Megadeth, which enters at No. 18 with 46,000 of "The System Has Failed" (Sanctuary), and British new wave duo Tears for Fears, back on The Billboard 200 with its first album since 1989, "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending." The group's inaugural set for new label New Door enters at No 46 with 20,000 copies.
Overall U.S. album sales are up 2% this week to 10.4 million units, about 3% lower than the same week last year. Year-to-date sales are beating those of 2003 by about 7% with 442 million units.